The Zone diet focuses on shifting your calorie intake instead of reducing it, aiming for a balance of 30 percent of calories from protein, 30 percent from fat and 40 percent from carbohydrates. In one reputable diet comparison, the Zone received a "very good" overall ranking for nutrition, but rated only "fair" for its 13 percent allowance of saturated fat.
Experts dislike how the diet focuses almost entirely on just a few aspects of nutrition, to the exclusion of other important considerations, but say it's relatively easy to follow. User reviews tend to echo expert perception; many find success with the diet, but others are concerned about the "pseudo-science" behind this program. Some also worry that the Zone's reduced calorie count is too low.
The Zone diet is included in the latest diet rankings from ConsumerReports.org, which compares seven weight-loss programs. It also receives a comprehensive write-up and ranking in U.S. News & World Report, and an author at WebMD solicits input from nutritional experts about the diet. Well over 200 customers chime review the Zone diet and accompanying books on Amazon.com and Epinions.com.
Seven weight-loss programs are evaluated and rated by ConsumerReports.org. Each receives an overall score based on adherence to nutritional guidelines set down by the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and the results of published randomized clinical studies.
Review: Top Diets Reviewed, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, May 2011
2. U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report asks nutritionists and other diet experts to rate 20 diets, including the Zone, in seven separate categories. The Zone diet scores only in the middle of the field in the safety category, and much lower in the others.
Review: Zone Diet, Editors of U.S. News & World Report, June 2011
WebMD editors survey professional opinions about the Zone diet. Although experts say the plan is simple and easy to follow, they're concerned about its focus on just a few isolated characteristics of nutrition plus the lack of scientific evidence to prove its usefulness.
Review: The Zone Diet, Editors of WebMD
More than 225 reviewers give this book -- just one of several about the Zone diet -- 3.9 stars out of 5. The (often very lengthy) positive feedback usually comes from those who found some success with the diet. Negative reviews include warnings of "nutritional misinformation and pseudo-science"; another user calls the book "slick and bogus!"
Review: The Zone: A Dietary Road Map, Contributors to Amazon.com
About 40 contributors give the Zone diet a 4-star average rating out of 5. Nearly all reviews are positive, although one user found the diet "annoying." Another negative review is actually about the Zone meal delivery program, which was convenient but "way too expensive."
Review: The Zone Diet, Contributors to Epinions.com