Zone Diet

The Zone Diet by Barry Sears PhD, follows a formula of 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fats.

This must be followed at every meal. Considered by some to be the perfect diet, the Zone diet has helped many people lose weight and improve health.

Over the years, the Zone has experienced surges in popularity as various fads come and go. However, it remains a solid and reliable way of eating for many. It is one of only a few diets that have undergone rigorous clinical trials. One such trial found the higher protein Zone diet "may be the most appropriate overall approach to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes."

More recently, Dr Sears has produced a Mediterranean version of the Zone diet.

Macronutrient Ratios

The Zone Diet is all about 'meal ratios'. It can be considered 'reduced carb' rather than low-carb due to the fact that the average person consumes about 50-60% carbohydrates in their diet, and the Zone dieter consumes 40%.

Calculate your macronutrient values here.

The good thing about the Zone diet is that it encourages a combination of all the nutrients in each meal - and it stresses the risks of processed carbohydrates (white pastas and breads etc). The downside is that the recommended calorie intake for the diet may be too low for some dieter to stick to. A diet that is too low in calories can set you up for a rebound later on.

There are number of confusing issues in the Zone diet, such as "blocks" of carbohydrates. There are also certain carbohydrates that are not encouraged (some of these are questionable). It is some of these factors that have made the diet difficult to follow for some.

Protein amounts are calculated by multiplying your lean mass (your weight minus body fat mass) by an activity amount.

Zone Diet Online

This is one diet where you WILL DEFINITELY benefit from an online meal planner and support.

There is one option:

  • FormulaZone - A more affordable option that started out as a recipe site - and now has a full blown set of supports for the Zone Diet.

The official Zone Diet site now servers primarily as an information site.

FormulaZone also offers an enormous amount of recipes, fully searchable, submitted by ordinary people. See example recipe below:

Zone Diet Meal Delivery

The growth in home delivered diets has been huge over the last few years. Please browse our extensive list of Diet Delivery services for those that serve Zone-compliant food.

The Last Word

The Zone Diet has been (in some respects) vindicated due to research. However, Dr. Sears' calorie level recommendations may be a little low for some - however the principles are good. It is arguably one of the more balanced popular diets out there today.

The diet also has assisted many in improving general health (not just weight loss). It is also very good for anyone with hypoglycemic problems. Due to the levels of proteins, it is possible to gain muscle on this diet (provided weight training is carried out). However the calorie levels will definitely need to be upped.

See the Zone Diet Online



  • Dansinger, M. L., Gleason, J. A., Griffith, J. L., Selker, H. P., & Schaefer, E. J. (2005). Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone diets for weight loss and heart disease risk reduction: a randomized trial. Jama, 293(1), 43-53. Link
  • McAuley, K. A., Hopkins, C. M., Smith, K. J., McLay, R. T., Williams, S. M., Taylor, R. W., & Mann, J. I. (2005). Comparison of high-fat and high-protein diets with a high-carbohydrate diet in insulin-resistant obese women. Diabetologia, 48(1), 8-16. Link
  • Due, A., Toubro, S., Skov, A. R., & Astrup, A. (2004). Effect of normal-fat diets, either medium or high in protein, on body weight in overweight subjects: a randomised 1-year trial. International journal of obesity, 28(10), 1283-1290. Link
Last updated 11 Jan 2015