Could the Zone Diet help you lose weight?

(60 ratings)
Jennifer Aniston
The Zone Diet, created by American Barry Sears, claims to keep your body within a 'zone' that encourages weight loss. It was all the rage in the mid-1990s when Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore and even Brad Pitt were fans. You could lose up to 5lb in two weeks on the Zone Diet followed by 1 - 1/2 pounds every week after that, says Barry. But is the Zone diet the right diet for you?

How does it work?

According to Sears, it's not food that makes us fat, it's too much insulin - the hormone that helps our bodies control levels of glucose or blood sugar. He's designed a diet he claims will tightly control insulin levels, keeping them within a zone. This, in turn, will help our bodies burn fat more effectively.

This zone is achieved by balancing protein, carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrates should make up around 40 per cent of every meal and protein and fat 30 per cent each. Fans of the Zone Diet call this the 40:30:30 ratio. The bottom line is, the Zone Diet is a low-calorie, low-fat diet which is why you will lose weight.

People who want to de-junk their diets. The Zone Diet encourages you to
eat healthy and natural food. People who don't like counting calories as this diet doesn't focus on calories at all.

What are the drawbacks?

Creating meals and snacks that contain the right make-up of carbohydrates, fats and proteins can be quite complicated. You need to buy the Zone Diet book and a lot of the meals involve measuring and weighing.

Some companies sell ready-prepared meals you can order over the Internet but these are expensive. Some of Barry Sears' claims have not been scientifically proven.

What do you do?

To help make meal times simpler, Barry Sears has developed a system of 'blocks'. Each block contains a standard amount of carbohydrates, proteins or fats and in order to lose weight, you're told how many blocks to have per meal or snack.

The number of blocks you're allowed depends on your height and weight at the start of the diet. It's similar to the way other diets allow you a certain number of points a day.

Another way to work out what you should be eating is to imagine your plate is divided into three equal sections. One section should be filled with low-fat protein such as turkey breast and the remaining two sections with fruit and veg. Adding olive oil, avocado or nuts is encouraged to boost your levels of monosaturates (good fats). Sugary carbohydrates such as cakes, muffins and pastries must be kept to an absolute minimum as these foods have the biggest effect on our insulin levels and therefore our blood sugar levels.

Greek yogurt with fruit salad and nuts

Tuna salad

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Cold roast chicken with salad followed by fruit

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