THE GOOD: Dr. Sears admits that not everyone has a negative hormone response to high-carbohydrate diets, and depending upon genetics, some people can eat lots of carbohydrates and never gain weight. Frying foods is discouraged, and it is recommended that egg yolks, organ meats, fatty red meat, and saturated fats in general be restricted or eliminated. The outlined diet plans basically includes 3 to 4 ounces of lean meat or protein at each meal. Fat servings (all monounsaturated) are allowed in limited amounts. If "unfavorable" carbohydrates must be eaten, whole grains are suggested. Water or sugar-free, decaffeinated beverages are encouraged with meals and snacks.
THE BAD: Studies that Sears refers to involved subjects who were only slightly overweight (5 to 10 pounds) or competitive athletes. The author found body composition changes of athletes "astonishing" since none of the subjects ate more than 2,500 calories per day. (Decreased body fat should have been expected at that calorie level, considering the size and activity level of these athletes - top college football players and professional basketball players, during training!) The author admits that this is a low fat, low calorie diet, ranging from 1,000 to 1,600 calories a day. Intake is not to exceed 500 calories per meal or 100 calories per snack. (Decreased fat and calorie intake result in decreased weight . . . not so revolutionary!)
THE UGLY: There is little to no evidence supporting Sears' theory that one biochemical system controls every reaction in the human body. The author calls high-carbohydrate diets "trendy," and deems the medical community ignorant because of lack of knowledge of his eicosanoids. Sears goes so far as to say that anticancer benefits of fruits and vegetables come not from their antioxidants, but the fact that they are "Zone-favorable carbohydrates." Readers are made to believe that the development of all risk factors and diseases are consequences of being out of the Zone for extended periods. Most shocking of all is a bullet point on the back cover boldly stating, "You can burn more fat watching TV than by exercising."