The Zone Diet: The Good and Bad

The Zone diet is basically a low-carb, high-protein diet. It was originally proposed by Dr. Barry Sears in his book “Entering the Zone”. The diet follows the 30-30-40 pattern: 30% of the calories from protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrate.

Looking at the pattern, you can already see that the focus of the diet is balancing the correct ratio of carbs to fat to protein. Dr. Sears believes the consuming the proper amount of the three enables you to control your insulin production. Controlling your insulin levels is crucial because according to Dr. Sears, when it is at the right level, the body burns fat more effectively.

The Diet is founded on the relationship between insulin and a substance called eicosanoids – hormone-like substances that control several vital physiological functions. Dr. Sears believes there are “bad” and “good” eicosanoids. He says that when insulin levels are high, bad eicosanoids are produced. Dr. Sears believes that his zone diet which focuses on proper proportions will keep insulin levels in check.

Pros

Though the Zone diet is low in calories, it has enough fat to make you feel full.

Practitioners of the diet report improved energy levels, general alertness, mental clarity, physical endurance, and weight loss. Though you may experience fatigue in the first few days, it will likely disappear and be replaced with improved vitality.

Keeping insulin at the right level can eliminate food cravings, thus making it easier for dieters to avoid slipups.

The diet’s sugar restriction may help dieters lower their risks of diabetes.

The Zone diet’s emphasis on the proper proportions can help you become more mindful of your food intake. Once you get used to the practice, your approach to eating can change: a balanced and moderate food intake. 

Cons

Following the Zone diet can be difficult especially if you are used to stuffing yourself. Plus, keeping track of your carb-to-fats-to-protein proportions, planning your meals, and monitoring your diet can get really difficult and tedious.

Nutrition experts recommend a high-complex-carbohydrate, low-fat diet for general health and weight loss. Thus, they fear that high-protein low-carbohydrate diets lack important nutrients for health, including dietary fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, and important minerals. The high intake of meat products may also increase a person’s risk fo heart disease. Some experts are also wont to say that the diet does not have enough vegetables, and that since carbs are reduced to eliminate the “bad” ones, we may also be missing out on the “good” ones.

This diet is also no for people with kidney problems since high amounts of protein can increase the amount of nitrogen-containing waste products the kidneys must process for elimination.

Lastly, some sports nutritionists and athletes believe that the Zone diet is not ideal for athletic training and performance. Several studies show that fatigue during exercise is chiefly caused by reduction of the body’s stored carbs (glycogen). Athletes’ glycogen stores are reduced within 90s minutes of intense training. This leaves muscles with no energy source to fuel activity.

Source: Holistic online