According to SportsRDpro the Zone Diet is named based on the thought that the “zone” is the metabolic state at which the body is performing at optimum efficiency. Although the Zone diet is classified as a lower-carb diet, the carbohydrate recommendation is only slightly lower than the USDA recommendation of 45-65% of caloric intake. Manipulation of the carbohydrate to protein ratio during meals is the premise of the zone diet and leads to a reduction in chronic disease risk and improved overall health.
Daily Caloric recommendations:
- 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 30% fat
- every meal abides by 3:4 ratio (grams of protein to grams of carbohydrate)
- maximum physical and mental performance
- permanent weight loss
- promotion of fat burning
- prevention of chronic diseases
- enhanced immunities
- greater longevity
Very limited research supporting health claims made by the zone diet. Several health claims, promotion of fat burning and weight loss, have been refuted. The idea of manipulating the insulin to glucagon ratio to enhance metabolism is not significantly different compared to a regular diet and the body’s use of fat as an energy source. The zone diet claims to help prevent heart disease by increasing dietary intake of the “good” eicosanoid to alter the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6. Definitely oversimplified, eicosanoids, both good and bad, have several different pathways in which they are involved in blood clotting and also play a critical role in cerebral vasodilation. Needless to say, both “good and bad” eicosanoids are necessary to maintain optimal health.
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Reference: Cheuvront SN. The zone diet phenomenon: A closer look at the science behind the claims. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2003;22(1):9-17. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a412648.pdf