Compared to the standard dietary guidelines of 40-60% carbohydrate : 15-25% protein : 25-35% fat The Zone is slightly higher in protein.
A former biochemist, Dr Sears approach is to balance hormones insulin and eicosanoids by adjusting the ratio of foods you eat. Correct food choices help you to stay in the so-called ‘Zone’. To make it easy a 1-2-3 Step program offers patented dietary products – Step 1 is two pre-packaged Zone Meal Replacements plus one snack (you have to make your own dinner), Steps 2 and 3 are anti-inflammatory omega3s supplements and anti-oxidants called polyphenols which slow the rate of ageing.
The Zone’s claim is you will experience freedom from hunger, have improved mental focus, increased energy and ability to handle stress and promises you will lose weight, increase wellness and slow the ageing process.
This diet is in opposition to the low fat/high carb rationale of most diets including that recommended by the USDA MyPyramid and subsequent MyPlate. Sears asserts that a high carbohydrate diet increases the production of the hormone insulin which causes the body to store fat and says it is supported by the fact that in spite of the American public dramatically cut back on fat, the country has experienced an epidemic rise in obesity.
Dr Sears says “the primary culprit that decreases wellness is cellular inflammation” which triggers chronic disease and rate of ageing. His claim that consumption of fat is essential for burning fat and that omega-3s such as salmon oil have natural heart- and health-friendly anti-inflammatory properties, led to the popularity of taking fish oil capsules.
Sears’ advice is "eat as much protein as the palm of your hand, as much non-starchy raw vegetables as you can stand for the vitamins, enough carbohydrates to maintain mental clarity because the brain runs on glucose, and enough monounsaturated oils to keep feelings of hunger away."
The Zone Diet is based on maintaining hormonal balance for a lifetime.