What Is the Zone Diet and Is It Healthy?

The zone diet has been famous for many decades. It enhances followers to consume a certain amount of carbs, protein, and fat at every meal to lower inflammation in the body, among several other benefits. However, critics have focused on some of its health claims.

This article offers detailed information about the Zone Diet, including how to follow it, its advantages and disadvantages.

The diet review scorecard

Overall score: 3.83

Sustainability: 3.75

Weight loss: 4.5

Nutrition quality: 5

Healthy eating: 3.75

Whole-body health: 2.25

Evidence-based: 3.75

The Zone diet target eating a specific ratio of macronutrients to reduce inflammation. Though eating patterns may be connected to many benefits, the proponents of the diet also make several strong and unfounded health claims about its efficacy.

What is the Zone Diet?

The Zone Diet recommends its member adhere to eat a precise ratio of 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat.

As a portion of the diet, carbs should be a low-glycemic-index, which means they give a slow discharge of sugar into the blood to maintain fuller for longer. Protein should be fat and lean must be monounsaturated. The Zone Diet was improved more extra than 30-years ago by Dr.Barry Sears, an American-Biochemist. His book The-Zone-Was popularly published and sold in 1995. Dr. Sears created this diet after losing his family members to an early death by heart attacks and felt that he was also at risk without knowing how to cure it.

The Zone Diet challenges to decrease the pain in the body. Dr. Sears said inflammation was the main reason for weight gain, age faster, and sickness. Experts of the diet claim that once you lower inflammation, you will reduce fat at the fastest rate, lower the risk of chronic diseases, and slow down aging, and improve performance.

How to Follow the Zone Diet?

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The Zone Diet has no special phases and it is planned to be followed for a lifetime. There are different ways to follow the Zone Diet: the hand-eye method, or Zone food blocks.

You can begin with the hand-eye method and start using Zone food blocks later since it is an advanced method. You can change between both ways whenever you feel good since they each provide good benefits.

The Hand-Eye Method

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This method is one of the most natural ways to begin the Zone Diet. As its name suggested, your eyes and hand are the only tools required to do, even wearing a watch is also suggested to notice when to eat.

While this method, your hand takes many uses. You use it to know your serving sizes. Your 5-fingers suggest you use it 5-times a day and do not avoid food for 5-hours.

Meanwhile, you use your eyes to cover your portion sizes on a plate. You require to divide your plate into sections to create zone friendly plate.

  • 1/3 lean protein: 1/3 of your plate should contain one source of lean protein, approximately the thickness, and palm size.
  • 2/3 carbs: 2/3 of your plate should be filled with carbs (with a low glycemic index).
  • A little fat: Include some monounsaturated fat in your plate, such as avocado, olive oil, or almonds.

The hand-eye method is created to be a simple process for a beginner to adopt the Zone Diet.

It is also a flexible diet and makes you eat at restaurants during the Zone-Diet, by using one hand and eyes as tools to pick choices that fit in Zone recommendations.

The Zone Food Block Method

This method makes you build a personalized diet according to your body by measuring how many grams of carbs, fat, and protein you eat every day.

The amount of Zone blocks you require every day depends on your height, weight, hip, and waist measurements.

The average man eats 14-Zone blocks every day, while the normal female eats 11-Zone blocks per day.

The main food such as lunch, breakfast, or dinner consists of 3-5 Zone blocks, while a snack ever consists of on Zone block. Each Zone Block is prepared of protein block, a carb, and a fat block.

Protein block: consists of 7grams of protein.

Fat block: Consist of 1.5grams of fat.

Carb block: Have 9grams of carbs.

What Meals Can You Consume While Following the Zone Diet?

A lot of real Zone Diet Food options are the same as those of the Mediterranean Diet, which is one of the best diets on the planet. The creator of the Zone Diet has published a new book known as the Mediterranean Zone, in which he covers the same and benefits of the two diets.


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These options in the Zone diet should be lean. Good options have pork, lean beef, lamb, game, veal.

Shellfish and fish

turkey breast and skinless chicken

tofu, vegetarian protein, other soy products

Egg whites

low-fat cheeses

yogurt and low-fat milk


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The Zone Diet promotes choosing a kind of monounsaturated fat. Good options include:

Nuts like peanuts, macadamia, cashews, pistachios, and almonds


Peanut butter


Oils such as sesame oil, canola oil, olive oil, and peanut oil.


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The Zone Diet motivates its followers to choose vegetables with low-glycemic-index and a little fruit.

Good options include:

Vegetables such as peppers, cucumbers, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, chickpeas, yellow squash

Fruit such as berries, plums, oranges, apples.

Grains, such as oatmeal, barley

What Cannot eat while on the Zone Diet?

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Nothing is strictly banned during the Zone diet. However, some food choices are considered not favorable because they increase inflammation.

High sugar fruits like grapes, bananas, raisins, mangoes, and dried fruits.

Starchy vegetables or high sugar like corn, peas, potatoes, and carrots.

processed and refined carbs like a bagel, bread, pasta, and noodles.

Other processed foods like muffins, and breakfast cereals.

Foods carrying added sugar like cakes, candy, and cookies.

Soft drinks like sugar-free drinks are advised.

Tea and coffee retain these to a reduction since water is the choice beverage.

Not all food is forbidden while the Zone Diet, but meals that are not developed include those that are more starchy and sugary foods are processed, or refined high sugar or carbs. Water is an advised beverage.

Sample Food – Block Meal Plan for Men

Here is a sample food block meal plan with 14-food blocks, for the average male.

Breakfast (4-food blocks):

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Eat Scrambled eggs and turkey bacon, fruit, and vegetables.

Eat scrambled and 2-eggs

3-strips of turkey bacon

One ounce of low-fat cheese

One apple

3 1/2 cups that is 630 grams of spinach, cooked

1 cup that is 156 grams mushrooms (boiled)

1/4 cup that is 53 grams onions, (boiled)

1 1/3 tsp (6.6 ml) olive oil

Lunch-4 food blocks

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Eat Grilled chicken with egg salad containing fruit.

3-ounces (84 grams) grilled chicken (skinless)

Eat one hard-boiled egg

Eat Up to 2-heads of lettuce

Raw mushrooms – 1 cup (70 grams)

Raw cucumber -1 cup (104 grams) sliced

One red bell pepper (sliced)

2 tbsp avocado

1/2 tsp walnuts

One teaspoon (5 ml) vinegar for dressing

Two plums

Mid-Afternoon Snack -1 food block:

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Nuts, Boiled egg, and fruit.

One hard-boiled egg


1/2 apple

Dinner-4 food blocks):

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Eat Grilled salmon and sweet potatoes with lettuce.

Salmon 6-ounces (170 grams), grilled

One cup (200 grams) of sweet potatoes (baked)

Up to one head of lettuce

1/4 cup tomato, (37 grams) (raw)

1 cup (104 grams) cucumber, (sliced & raw)

Two tablespoons avocado

2/3 tsp (3.3 ml) olive oil

Before Bedtime Snack – (1 food block):

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Eat Cottage cheese, fruit & nuts.

1/4-cup (56 grams) cottage cheese


Half orange


The Zone Diet food plans break meal portions into food blocks, which provide you the proportions of the diet of macronutrients in the day.

Sample Food Block – Meal Plan for Women

Follow this sample block meal plan for the average woman with 11 food blocks.

Breakfast (3 food blocks):

Eat Scrambled eggs with fruit and turkey bacon.

2-eggs (scrambled)

3-strips turkey bacon

Half apple

1-cup (156 grams) mushrooms (boiled)

3 1/2-cups (630 grams) spinach, (cooked)

1 tsp-(5 ml) olive oil

Lunch (3 food blocks):

Eat Grilled chicken with fruit and egg salad.

2-ounces (57 grams) grilled chicken (skinless)

One hard-boiled egg

Up to two heads of lettuce

Raw mushrooms – 1 cup (70 grams)

Raw cucumber, sliced – 1 cup (104 grams)

One sliced red pepper

avocado – 2-tablespoons

Vinegar dressing – 1-teaspoon (5 ml)


Mid-Afternoon Snack (1 food block)

Boiled egg, nuts, & fruits

Eat One hard-boiled egg


half apple

Dinner (3 food blocks):

Grilled salmon, lettuce, and sweet potatoes

4 oz-(113 grams) salmon (grilled)

2/3 cup-(67 grams) of sweet potatoes (baked)

One head of lettuce

Raw tomato – 1/4 cup (37 grams)

Raw cucumber, 1 cup (104 grams), sliced

Two tablespoons avocado

1/3-teaspoon (3.3 ml), olive oil

Pre-Bedtime Snack (1 food block):

Eat Cottage cheese, fruit, and nuts.

1/4 cup (56 grams) cottage cheese

6 peanuts

1/2 orange


A sample meal plan for ladies is similar to the plan for men but it has 11 food blocks rather than 14.

The Zone Diet: How it works?

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The Zone Diet claims to optimize hormones to make the body enter a state named the Zone. It is where your body is optimized to manage inflammation from your diet.

The claimed benefits of being in “the Zone” are:

Extra body fat loss as fast as possible.

Balancing wellness into the older age

Aging slow down

Doing better and thinking positively and fast.

Dr. Sears suggests testing 3-blood values to know if you are in the Zone.

TG/HDL Ratio

It is the ratio of bad fats called triglycerides to the healthy cholesterol in the blood. A reduced value means you have extra good cholesterol, which is healthier. The Zone Diet suggests lower than one as a good value, which is low. A higher quantity for your TG/HDL must be tested by a health care professional, such as a doctor.

AA/EPA Ratio

It is the proportion of omega-6 to omega-3 lipids in the body. A diminished sense refers to have more omega-3 fat in the blood, which is anti-inflammatory. The Zone Diet recommends a value between 1.5-3, which is less. A high amount for your AA/EPA ratio is related to higher depression risk, chronic diseases, and obesity. You can examine your ratio for AA/EPA at home using a kit bought from the Zone Diet website.

Hba1c Also Called Glycated Hemoglobin

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It is a marker of average blood sugar levels in the further months. A reduced value refers to less sugar in the blood. The Zone Diet suggests a value of lower than 5% which is less. A higher HbA1c is connected to higher diabetes risk. Your HbA1C must be tested by a physician.

Supplements Recommended

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The Zone Diet suggests consuming omega-3 supplements such as fish oil to increase health benefits.  They reduce the bad cholesterol in the body and risk other risky health problems.

The Zone diet also suggests taking polyphenol supplements, which are molecules present in plants that contain antioxidant properties.

The proof behind polyphenols is combined and although they may offer health benefits like lowered risk of heart problems, they also have risks like lowering iron absorption.

The Zone Diet: Benefits

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The Zone Diet has added benefits. Unlike different diets, the Zone Diet does not restrict any food options.

However, it does advise against the decision that is not desirable such as more sugar and prepared foods. It can make the Zone Diet more appealing than the other diets like people who fight with food limitations.

The suggested food options for the Zone Die are quite similar to the Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean Diet is supported by proof as being one of the best for long-term health.

The Zone Diet also offers flexibility, since there are two types of following the diet. The Zone food block method can also benefit fat loss because of how many calories you consume every day. It is well known that managing your calorie consumption every day. It is well known that managing calorie consumption helps with weight loss.

The Zone Diet: Disadvantages

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The Zone diet challenges that it is based on the theory. However, there is some evidence to support that the theory creates the stated results.

For example, the Zone diet claims to increase performance. However, a study about athletes following the diet understand that, although they had weight loss, they also lost endurance and were exhausted faster than the other diet.

Lowering diet-induced inflammation to get the Zone is another claim the diet makes. The Zone Diet also claims that once the blood value reaches their target, the body would be in “the Zone”.

Although some research shows the diet may help with blood values, more research is required before researchers can tell this significantly lowers the inflammation in the body.

There is also some proof that helps Zone Diet’s 30% of protein, 40% of carb, and 30% of fat proportion as the ideal ratio for fat loss and health advantages.

Another research compared the results of a Zone-type diet that had 40% carbs, 30% fat, and 30% protein to the results of a diet that had 60% carbs, 25% fat, and 15% protein.

The study observed people on a Zone diet ratio lost extra weight. However, that distinction could be because of higher protein consumption.

The study also discovered no specific differences in blood sugar value, cholesterol, and fat between the two groups.

This does not match with the claims prepared by the Zone Diet and could mean the enhanced blood values present in other studies may be because of supplementing with polyphenols and omega-3, rather than benefits from the only diet.

The Zone Diet: Is it Healthy?

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At the end of the day, choose a diet that suits your lifestyle. The Zone Diet could be suitable for you if you wish a diet that has some food options to the Mediterranean diet, but offer you a clear guideline to follow.

However, the health claims the diet makes are good consumed with salt grain.

Although the data about the diet may be combined with better health outcomes, there is not much proof to say the diet will reduce the chronic disease risk, the slow aging process, improved physical activity, or enhance the thought process.

If you wish to improve healthy eating habits, the Zone Diet may support you to get started and practice serving control.

The Zone Diet: Pros


The Zone diet provides variety in contrast to other high protein diets. It is not much restrictive like high protein diets and provides foods from every food group.

Ease of use

This diet is very easy to follow once you know the limits of the food.

Frequent meals

The Zone diet suggests eating some meals 5-6 times every day.

Healthy fats

Even though the Zone is not a reduced-fat diet, it boosts healthy fats and limits trans and saturated fats.

Sugar control

By reducing refined sugars and focusing on whole grains, fruits, proteins, and vegetables, the Zone diet can help to regulate blood sugar and reduce cravings.

Obtainable weight loss

This diet is a good option for weight loss.

The Zone Diet: Cons

There are some worries for people following the Zone diet, including:

Calcium intake

The Zone diet does not benefit dairy products. It will be a problem to get enough calcium over this diet if milk products are less. Much non-dairy food consists of calcium, but you will have to see the calcium consumption on this diet.

Missing nutrients

Food restrictions can lead to limited fiber, folic acid, vitamin C, and other minerals.

Inflexible Dietary Balance

The 30-30-40 breakdown is suggested for every people, but some dieters may need a different balance of nutrition to be healthy and reduce weight.

Kidney risk

A high protein diet can cause stress on the kidneys, which can be risky for some people.


Some people may get it expensive to meet the need of the Zone diet.

Moderate to High Fat

Although the fat is good for Zone diet are good fats, the American -Heart-Association warns that the diet may be much high in fat for those who require to manage their blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Caloric Restriction

An individual who strictly follows the Zone diet will consume lower than 1,200 calories every day, which may lead to hunger and difficulty sticking to the diet.

Short- and Long-Term Effects of The Zone Diet

Weight loss often the plan for people on the Zone diet and, in small terms, weight loss is possible. Long-term diet demands that the diet can reduce heart ailment and risk of diabetes have not yet been verified by research.

In a study that examined the nutritional components of the Zone diet with 15 different popular diets of weight loss. The Zone diet is a popular, and high protein diet that can allow weight loss issues, even though you may need to focus to complete nutritional needs while following it.

Zone Diet: Anti-Inflammatory Supplements

The Zone diet also has an anti-inflammatory nutrition program needed to balance diet-induced inflammation for the whole life.

Zone Diet®

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help to improve with anti-inflammatory supplements. The two most effective are ultra-refined omega-3fatty acids, such as

OmegaRx®2 Fish Oil

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MaquiRx® (filtered polyphenol supplements)

Collectively, these different dietary components give what is needed to stay in the Zone.

The Zone Diet®

It balances the hormones to lower diet-triggered inflammation. Try changing everyday pasta with Zone-PastaRx-Fusilli or Orzo, as it gives better hunger control with 15 gm of protein every serving.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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It promotes the diet-triggered inflammation resolution with OmegaRx Fish Oil.


It controls gut health and slows down aging with MaquiRx or different Zone polyphenol supplements.

Every component of these three supplements is effective, but working collectively offers the best dietary roadmap to get into the Zone diet and control inflammation in your whole life.

Putting It All Together

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Adding the Zone Diet® with anti-inflammatory supplements offers the basis for the Zone-Anti-Inflammatory-Nutrition-Program, which makes you go back to the starting of modern medicine. The Zone Diet makes it possible with less effort on your side. Losing extra body fat, balancing wellness, improving athletic performance, slowing the process of aging.

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