Does ZOE work? The evidence

You’ve probably seen countless wellness companies make impressive claims about their products. Very few of these companies provide robust scientific evidence to back up their boasts. 

So, we put our time and money where our mouth is.

ZOE recently ran a randomized controlled clinical trial to test whether our program really works. And we’re delighted to announce the findings: ZOE works.

Compared with a control group, we showed that people who followed the ZOE program significantly improved a range of measures linked to long-term health.  

And those who stuck to ZOE’s recommendations most closely saw even greater improvements. 

Read on for more details.

What did we do? 

The study is called Measuring Efficacy Through Outcomes of Diet, or METHOD, for short.

Our scientists recruited 347 generally healthy people who were representative of the average adult. They had above-optimal body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference and were aged 41–70.

They were divided into two groups:

  1. Experimental group: These participants followed the ZOE program. 

  2. Control group: We asked these participants to follow general, government-issued dietary guidelines. To help, we provided them with: 

  • written information

  • regular check-ins

  • email access to nutritionists

  • an explainer video

Before, during, and after the 18-week study, we tested blood samples from all participants. 

What did we find?

In a nutshell, and this bears repeating: ZOE works.

At the end of the METHOD study, compared with the control group, participants following the ZOE program had greater:

  • decreases in triglycerides (a type of blood fat associated with heart disease and type 2 diabetes risk)

  • improvements in their gut microbiomes

  • reductions in waist circumference, which is a risk factor for chronic disease

  • weight loss toward a healthier weight

And those who followed ZOE’s recommendations more closely had even better results.

Compared with those in the control group and those who followed ZOE less closely, the participants who followed it more closely had lower levels of:

  • “bad” cholesterol

  • blood pressure

  • blood sugar

They also reduced their waist circumference even further and lost more weight.

This was good news for this group, because at the start, they had overweight and larger waist circumference.

The graph below, which contains unpublished data, compares control participants who stuck closely to the standard dietary advice with those who followed ZOE the closest. 

Those following ZOE reduced their cholesterol levels further and had greater reductions in waist circumference and ApoB, a marker of heart disease risk.

Results from METHOD

Why do these outcomes matter for long-term health? Let’s dive a little deeper.

Why this matters

We chose to focus on a range of measures that help indicate long-term health. 

So, because the ZOE program improves these measures, following ZOE may reduce your risk of a wide range of chronic, diet-related health conditions.

For instance, lower levels of triglycerides, cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure are all linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, like heart attack and stroke. 

And keeping your blood sugar levels and waist circumference in a healthy range reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

If ZOE improves these measures in just 18 weeks, it’s likely to make meaningful changes to your long-term health. 

What's next?

Excitingly, this week, our scientists presented the results of METHOD at the Federation of European Nutrition Societies conference in Belgrade, Serbia.

And in the coming months, our research will be published in a scientific journal. We'll share this with you as soon as possible. 

The full, published paper will include other fascinating findings that we can’t share yet, so watch this space.

Beyond that, we have no plans to slow down.

We’ve already published 30 peer-reviewed studies that all contribute to our understanding of personalized, long-term health, and we’ll continue adding to the science.

METHOD is our first randomized controlled trial and an important step as we continue our mission to improve the health of millions. 

As our science and membership evolve, we plan to keep testing our product. We’ll continue to investigate how ZOE can give people agency to improve their health and reduce the risk of disease.