Skip to content

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

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
Font Size
A
A
A

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 fats.

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 olive oil

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."

Sound Science?

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 foods.

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.

Today on WebMD

measuring waist
4 tips for shedding yours.
apple cider vinegar
Does it have health benefits?
 
Chocolate truffle
For weight loss, some aren’t so bad after all.
woman holding red dress
24 simple, practical tips.
 
woman shopping fresh produce
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens
 

Special Sections