Zone Diet Overview
There is a good reason why the original book about this diet was called ‘Entering the Zone’. Embracing this dieting plan really is supposed to be like a whole lifestyle change, not only in the way one eats, but also mentally and physically.
The Zone diet was founded by Dr. Barry Sears, who, after the initial success of that first bestselling book, went on to expand on the ‘lifestyle’ by writing a slew of additional books and guides, developing meal replacement products and making guest appearances on many talk shows. When it first came out, The Zone Diet was a favourite amongst celebrities, such as Jennifer Aniston, which helped establish it as a popular plan with all types of dieters seeking something new.
The Zone website is a very informative but often confusing site with many different sections, pages and links. There are many features on the ‘eating’ part of the diet, although the consumer has to actually register to the site in order to view any Zone recommended recipes. The fitness portion of the site is equally good, featuring articles on health and fitness related subjects.
One of the main features of the site is the product section where any of the Zone brand food items can be researched and purchased. As well as the food, the website also sells health supplements and, of course, all the book titles in the Zone series.
Zone Diet – Product Description
Despite the complicated website, the principles behind the Zone diet are very simple. Each meal should consist of 1/3 lean protein and 2/3 vegetables. A very small amount of healthy fat is allowed with each meal too. The site gives examples of the types of foods allowed such as low glycemic index carbs, fruits and vegetables, low-fat proteins and mono-saturated fats and , as previously mentioned, provides menus, recipes and tips on how to prepare a ‘Zone’ meal. The idea behind the Zone is that eating in this way and adhering to a certain amount of activity, slows the aging process by being anti-inflammatory, one of the main causes of disease.
Many features on the website are free, such as the meal planner, community forums, newsletters and body fat calculator. The original ‘Enter the Zone’ book costs $17.50 although it can likely be bought for less at an independent retailer. The Zone food products can be quite costly – a box containing 14 bars costs $35.95, for example.
Zone Diet Advantage
- The Zone plan has a certain amount of ‘celebrity’ status
- The protein/ vegetable meal plan is nutritionally sound
- The effects of anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant diets are clinically proven
- The Zone diet encourages a healthy amount of exercise (30 minutes, 6 times a week)
- The website offers free access to online tools and support forums
- The diet controls hunger by balancing the body’s hormones
- The website shows the basic principles clearly through the use of the Zone pyramid (much like the food pyramid)
Zone Diet Drawbacks
- The Zone diet food products can be costly
- The recipe section on the site is only accessible through registration
- Meals on the Zone have to be eaten at certain times of the day
- The website is hard to navigate
- The weight loss achieved is likely due to reduced calorie intake, rather than anything to do with ‘balancing’ hormones as claimed
Zone Diet – The Bottom Line
Although very similar to the theory behind the Perricone Diet (in terms of the anti-inflammatory idea), the Zone has become vastly more popular and widely used. Whilst the website and it’s founder Barry Sears, encourage the consumer to embrace the whole Zone lifestyle, it would probably just as useful for the dieter to follow the nutrition tips and menus as shown on the website in order to experience the same results.