The Zone Diet Analyzed

Madonna, Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moore are among its fans. Is it just a fad, or does it really promote healthy weight loss?

By Dulce Zamora
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Michael W. Smith, MD

As if dieting wasn't challenging enough, the sheer number of fat-buster guides out there may be reason enough to just forget the whole thing. But, alas, the unforgiving mirror or those too-tight jeans serve as good reminders of the pudgy enemy. So onward the march to join the infamous fight against flab.

One of the more popular weapons of choice has been a program that claims to use food as a drug for overall good health, weight loss, and the prevention or management of heart disease and diabetes. In the book The Zone, Barry Sears, PhD, explains how the right ratio of carbohydrates to proteins and fats can control levels of insulin in the bloodstream. Too much of the hormone, he says, can increase fat storage and inflammation in the body -- conditions that are associated with ailments such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Sears' theories resonate with a significant number of people who become devotees of The Zone Diet. Many of them enthusiastically talk about "40-30-30," and about "being hormonally correct."

To the outsider, it may seem as if they have gone off to some other zone, but some health experts say the plan may produce good health and weight loss for some people. The Zone's recommendations supposedly don't stray far from the USDA's dietary guidelines.

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