Updated 8th May 2024

Does ZOE work? The evidence

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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. Our full findings are published in the high-impact journal Nature Medicine.

Read on for a summary of what we found.

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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 in the United States. 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 with more “good” gut bacteria

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

  • weight loss toward a healthier weight

People following ZOE also felt better. Compared with the control group, they were:

  • twice as likely to report improved mood

  • twice as likely to report feeling less hungry

  • more than four times as likely to report better sleep quality 

  • four times more likely to report having more energy

Following closely

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

Compared with those who didn’t follow ZOE closely, those who did stick to the recommendations had lower:

  • “bad” cholesterol

  • total cholesterol

  • blood pressure

  • blood sugar

People who followed ZOE closely also reduced their waist circumference even further — an average reduction of 2.5 inches (6.31 centimeters). And they lost more weight — losing 4.7% of their body weight on average.

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

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

Those following ZOE closely reduced their cholesterol levels further and had greater reductions in weight.

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 associated with long-term health. 

Lower levels of triglycerides, cholesterol, blood sugar, and reduced blood pressure are all linked to better long-term health. As is keeping waist circumference in a healthy range.

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What's next?

Our scientists have already presented the results of METHOD at the Federation of European Nutrition Societies conference in Belgrade, Serbia.

And the full results are now available in Nature Medicine.

However, 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. 

Our chief scientist, Dr. Sarah Berry, says, “ZOE’s METHOD trial builds on growing evidence that a personalised dietary approach can be an effective tool for improving health. This study supports the development of ZOE’s programme of smarter food choices and future science so we can continue providing valuable, evidence-based, actionable advice."

"As ZOE grows, we will continue to conduct more RCTs to demonstrate ZOE’s efficacy.”

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