Discovering The Zone Diet

Celebrities such as Madonna, Demi Moore and Jennifer Aniston swear by the results of the Zone Diet created by Barry Sears, PhD. The Zone Diet contains 40% protein, 30% carbohydrate and 30% fat and is also known as the 40-30-30 plan. The Zone Diet works on the basic idea that 100,000 years ago, we were essentially meat eaters and our bodies was designed to handle the demands of a meat-based diet.

As we have evolved, more carbohydrates have been introduced into our daily diets, causing an imbalance. The reason for weight gain could therefore be attributed to the many grains and starches in our diet (pasta, rice, breads, and potatoes). The Zone Diet’s strategy calls for a return to the diets of our ancestors where meat, fruits and vegetables were the main dietary items.

How Does The Zone Diet Function?

The Zone Diet functions by working the right ratio of carbohydrates to proteins and fats in order to control the insulin in the bloodstream. Excess of that hormone (insulin) can increase fat storage and inflammation in the body (conditions that are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease). Sears asserts that through using the Zone Diet, you will be actually optimising the body’s metabolic function. Through the regulation of blood sugar, you will allow your body to burn excess body fat.

The Zone Diet doesn’t actually prohibit you from any particular food group. However, food with high fat and carbohydrates such as grains, starches, and pastas must be avoided. Fruits and vegetables are the preferred source of carbohydrate and monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil, almonds, avocados) are the ideal choice of fat. The Zone Diet claims to use food as a medicine for overall good health, weight loss and prevention or management of heart disease and diabetes.

Sears says that you can test to see whether you are ‘hormonally’ correct by testing the Zone diet and see how you feel four hours later. To simplify the Zone Diet, you may fill one-third of a plate with low-fat protein, and then two-thirds with fruits and vegetables.

Promoters of the Zone Diet

Promoters of the Zone Diet include certain celebrities and also some health experts who say that the Zone’s recommendations don’t stray far from the USDA’s (United States Dietary Association) dietary guidelines. Critics have nevertheless argued that the Zone Diet has flawed ratios but Sears argues that the Zone diet is really a low glycemic-load diet that has adequate protein. Sears also defends the criticism that the Zone Diet is complicated. He believes this is a misconception. The reason for it was that his first book on the Zone Diet was targeted to cardiologists who were more scientifically-oriented.

Criticizing The Zone Diet

The AHA (American Heart Association) classifies the Zone Diet as too high in protein and does not recommend the Zone Diet for losing weight. They assert that the Zone Diet hasn’t been proven effective in the long term for weight loss. They even issued an official recommendation warning against diets such as the Zone Diet.
They believe that the Zone Diet is hazardous because it restricts the intake of essential vitamins and minerals present in certain foods.

They are concerned that the protein ratio in the Zone diet is too high even if the minimal fat ratio is alright. Robert H. Ecker M.D of the A.H.A., finds the Zone Diet’s theory on insulin flawed and argues that there is no scientific proof that the hormone insulin plays a big role in the regulation of weight.

John Rifkind is a contributing editor at This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.

Healthier Eating Plans

Late night snacking is an element which can ruin your diet. If your time is structured, you will be less likely to think about food. The question is why are so many people tempted to snack late at night?

The first reason is boredom. When the mind isn’t stimulated, it tends to seek pleasure; and eating is a very pleasurable experience.  Here are tips for eating healthy which will prevent those unplanned snacks that can add unwanted calories.

Do not skip dinner. Skipping dinner will set you up for failure. The temptation to eat junk food or whatever is available will become overwhelming when you are very hungry. You can help your weight loss effort tremendously by simply not skipping meals.

Include a light dessert for your dinner. If you love sweets, any light dessert will do. Desserts which are less than 150 calories can easily be added to your diet to give your sweet tooth a real treat. When you are satisfied, you will be less tempted to snack later on at night.

Watch less television. Weight loss certainly won’t come by way of deceptive infomercials. You will also be surprised at how watching television can cause you to snack and generate “out of control” eating. When your mind is not working, boredom unsuspectingly creeps in. And boredom can cause you to want something pleasurable such as food. Further to that, TV commercials, with their tempting portrayals of food constantly coming at you, are notorious for triggering you to start eating again, especially treats which aren’t healthy.

Plan some fun projects. Take note of some projects that you always wanted to do. Using your spare time to do worthwhile chores can help to keep your mind off food. Projects can include helping your kids with homework, sewing, developing some business plans, playing some family games, 30 minutes on the treadmill or stationary bike.

It is hard to believe, but very true that fun and productive projects can help you lose weight in a very healthy way.

Plan your snacks. If you are the type of person that just cannot avoid snacking late at night, then plan 1 or 2 low calorie snacks. Plan something like some sugar free hot chocolate with some light whipped cream or 1/2 bag of light microwave popcorn at the time when you are most vulnerable to eating snacks. This way, you’ll consume only 70 to 100 calories, and do very little damage to your weight loss efforts.


John Rifkind is a contributing editor at This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.

Benefits Of The Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet is the focus of the following comments from the American Heart Association:

“The Atkins diet puts forward the controversial belief that low fat is not the only way to proceed for a healthier lifestyle and weight control. Dr. Atkins blames carbohydrates (grains, pastas, fruits, potatoes) for weight gain. He believes that if you reduce your carbohydrate intake, you will then lose weight. Too many carbohydrates in your daily diet encourages your body to retain fat.”

When the body absorbs simple carbohydrates quickly, it causes a response of insulin which speeds the conversion of calories into fat. The Atkins plan focuses on the consumption of nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods and vita-nutrient supplementation. The plan also restricts processed and refined carbohydrates (which make up to approximately 50 per cent of people’s diets). It also encourages you to eliminate sugar from your diet as it contributes to a slower metabolism.

The Atkins diet is designed as a program on which you can keep a healthy weight for a lifetime and is highly suitable (but not restricted) to those who prefer to eat animal protein. The diet offers people who have failed on low-fat diets a healthy, effective and safe alternative. Instead of carbohydrates and sugar, dieters are allowed plenty of fat and protein.

Four phases are included on the Atkins diet, they are; 1) Induction, 2) Ongoing Weight Loss, 3) Pre-Maintenance and 4) Lifetime Maintenance.

During Phase 1 (Induction), you are supposed to restrict carbohydrate consumption to 20 grams each day, obtaining your carbohydrate primarily from salad and other non-starchy vegetables.

In Phase 2 (Ongoing Weight Loss), you then increase carbohydrate in the form of nutrient-dense and fibre-rich foods by 20 grams daily in the first week and then 30 grams daily in the next week until you gradually begin to lose weight. Then you subtract 5 grams of carbohydrate from your daily intake so that you continue on your goal of sustained weight loss.

In Phase 3, known as ‘Pre-Maintenance’, you make the transition from weight loss to weight maintenance through increasing the daily carbohydrate intake in 10 gram increments every week.

In the last phase of the Atkins plan (Lifetime Maintenance), you can select from a wide variety of food whilst controlling carbohydrate intake to ensure positive weight maintenance.

Mixed views exist on the Atkins diet, especially amongst health experts and dieticians. Many experts tend to be critical of low-carb diets but have not totally discounted the Atkins diet as an effective method of losing weight. Although they do assert that it’s too early to adopt a low-carb diet, health experts do accept that it’s worth trying. The main criticism of the Atkins diet is that it entails frequent meat consumption.

However, followers argue that the program can indeed be tailored to different preferences and metabolisms. After the first phase (known as the ‘Induction phase’) the Atkins diet plan may be modified. Despite the immense popularity of the diet, the Atkins diet plan continues to leave many people sceptical. Another criticism of the diet is that a person will be unlikely to keep the weight off over the long term. However, this claim can just as easily be applied to many low-fat or low-calorie weight loss plans, on which dieters are likely to feel hungrier.


John Rifkind is a contributing editor at This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.