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The Zone Diet

THE ZONE DIET

The zone diet, also known as the 40/30/30 diet, recommends the amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat you should have each day in order to maintain a balanced diet. There are two forms of this diet which vary in the amount of each food they suggest you should have each day.  The more restrictive version of this diet suggests that at every meal 1/3 of your plate should be protein, 2/3 of your plate should be carbs and then you add a dash of fat.  The other version suggests that 40% of your plate should be carbs while 30% should be protein and the remaining 30% fat. This diet was originally developed by Dr Barry Sears in order to reduce diet-induced inflammation.  Dr Sears believed this inflammation led to weight gain, sickness and faster aging.  Therefore, by reducing inflammation you can lose weight, reduce your risk of chronic illness and slow down the aging process.

PROS

Weight-loss:  Studies done on the zone diet have shown that it does not only prevent one from gaining weight but that it leads to weight loss

Health benefits:  This diet was developed to reduce inflammation and in turn lose fat quickly, reduce the risk of chronic disease, slow down the aging process and improve both mental and physical performance

No food group is excluded:  This diet includes carbs, protein and fat but ensure you eat lean protein, low glycemic index carbs and monosaturated fat.  Foods that are not encouraged are those that are processed, high in sugar and starch or have refined carbs and added sugar.

Easy to follow:  The hand-eye method and is the easiest way to start the diet.  Your five fingers remind you to eat five times a day (three large meals and two snacks) and to never go more than five hours without food.  You also use the size of your hand to determine your portion sizes or you can use your eyes to estimate portion sizes.

The diet can be personalised: For those who like to be more vigilant when following diets there is the zone food block method.  You calculate how many grams of carbs, protein and fat you have per day, these are then converted into zone blocks.  The amount of zone blocks you should have each day depends on your weight, height and waist and hip measurements.  The amount of recommended blocks a day also differs between men and women.

It is sustainable: There is no time limit with the zone diet and therefore, is suggested as way of life rather than a quick way to lose weight.  This does mean, however that it is sustainable and will help you maintain a healthy weight.

Flexibility:  There are two versions to this diet so you can ease into it by starting with the 40/30/30 diet and then begin the zone diet.  It is up to you if you want to do the more restrictive diet or stay with the 40/30/30 diet.

CONS

Lack of evidence:  While the zone diet does claim to have many health benefits, there is little evidence to support these claims.  The one benefit it claims that has been proven is that it helps with weight-loss

Time consuming:  The zone food block method and very complicated to follow at first but does produce the best results.  If you choose to follow the zone food block method you will need to do research either on the internet or investing in a zone diet book.  You will also need a set of scales and then have to weigh everything you put into a meal (that includes snacks) to ensure you are getting the right amount of zone food blocks.

Eating out may be difficult:  You will probably find it hard to eat at restaurants while sticking to the zone diet as their meals will probably not be divided into the portions (or food blocks) recommended on the zone diet.

Conclusion: One of the biggest advantages of the zone diet is that it is flexible depending on which method you choose to follow and it doesn’t exclude any food but rather makes suggestions.  The diet does claim to have health benefits, other than weight-loss but there is not enough evidence to prove these claims.