The Zone Diet Analyzed
Celebrities including Jennifer Aniston, Madonna, and Demi Moore have used The Zone diet to achieve their highly admired svelte figures. But is this diet that takes into account hormones and balancing acts just another fad diet or can it actually produce w
The Zone's Boundaries continued...
The diet does not prohibit any foods, but severely restricts
those high in fat and carbohydrates such as grains, starches, and pastas.
Fruits and vegetables are the favored source of carbs. Protein is limited to
low-fat fare that's no bigger and no thicker than the palm of one's hand. And
as far as fat is concerned, monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil,
almonds, macadamia nuts, and avocados are preferred over other kinds of
For a simple interpretation of The Zone, Sears suggests filling
one-third of a plate with low-fat protein, and then piling the rest with fruits
and vegetables. You may choose to add a monounsaturated source of fat such as
To then determine whether a meal is hormonally correct, Sears
offers the following test: "Eat a meal and see how you feel four hours
later. If you have no hunger and you have peak mental acuity, the composition
of the meal was hormonally correct for your biochemistry."
The American Heart Association (AHA) classifies The Zone as a
high-protein diet, and has issued an official recommendation warning against
such programs. The statement says such diets are not proven effective for
long-term weight loss, and could actually be hazardous to health because they
restrict intake of essential vitamins and minerals present in certain
Although The Zone does not ban any type of food, the
organization still frowns upon what it considers as the diet's flawed ratio.
"If the protein's too high -- even if the fat is just right -- the
carbohydrate [portion] must be too low in regards to evidence-based
recommendations," says Robert H. Eckel, MD, the AHA's chair of the Council
on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism.
For healthy living and weight loss, the AHA recommends that
daily calories come from 15% to 20% protein, 30% to 35% fat, and the rest from
carbohydrates (about 50%). Eckel says the AHA's guidelines are based on
scientific research, and are similar to those of other major health groups such
as the USDA, the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes
Association, and the American Cancer Society.