What is the Zone diet?
The Zone Diet was created by Dr. Barry Spears. The thrust of his nutritional regime is closely linked to the evolution of humankind.
The human genes, as is the case with most other large animals, take hundreds of thousands of years to change as their environment changes.
One hundred thousand years is a relatively short period in evolutionary terms. Grains, bread, or pasta did not exist in our diets over 8,000 years ago.
The Zone diet takes this into account and provides a diet plan based on what foods we should eat based on genetics.
The Zone Diet takes into account our genetic makeup. With the Zone Diet, Dr. Sears says1, we consume the fuel our bodies really need for optimum health.
Dr. Sears says that we tend to receive erroneous nutritional information from our friends, family members, weight-loss companies, government bodies and the media. Most typical weight-loss programs aim to cut down on fat.
All this does, says Spears, is to raise the proportion of carbohydrates we are consuming, spiking our insulin level, and making us fat and unhealthy. We would not eat spoonfuls of sugar, but sugar has no fat – it is pure carbohydrate.
Our attempts at fat free chips, low fat cookies and muffins, fat free ice creams, end up giving us more and more carbohydrates, like the person who eats spoonfuls of pure sugar.
Dr. Sears asks us to look around; after 30 years of trying to eat low fat foods we have got fatter, rather than leaner. We have got exactly the opposite result. Over 50% of the UK´s and USA´s populations are overweight.
The more carbohydrates (carbs) we consume the more insulin we secrete. Insulin turns excess carbs into stored fat. Dietary fat does not trigger insulin secretion.
Insulin production can be controlled if we eat low-density carbs, dietary fat, and protein in the right proportions. If we can maintain insulin levels within what Dr. Sears calls a “therapeutic zone”, it is easier to burn off excess body fat – and to keep it off permanently. Dr. Sears says it is possible, through the Zone to improve mental focus, enjoy increased energy and vitality.
Keeping your insulin levels within the therapeutic zone means staying in The Zone – hence, the name Zone Diet.
The Zone Diet: How Does It Work?
The Zone diet restricts calories while encouraging you to change the balance of the foods you eat in order to lose weight. On the Zone diet, you will get 30 percent of your calories from protein, 30 percent from fat, and 40 percent from carbohydrates. The carbohydrates favored by the Zone diet include beans, most fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. In contrast, many diets heavily emphasize carbohydrates and cut back on fat.
Each meal or snack on the Zone diet is carefully balanced so that you eat a small amount of protein along with your carbohydrates. This balance is thought to control insulin levels, which ultimately leads to a thinner you, according to Sears’ argument.
The Zone Diet: Sample Diet
Here is a sample dinner that you might eat on the Zone diet:
- 4.5 ounces lean hamburger meat
- 1 slice low-fat cheese
- 1 slice each of tomato, lettuce, and onion
- 1 piece whole-grain bread
- Small fruit serving
What You Can Eat
This diet is a good one for someone who does not want to give up any of their favourite foods. Nothing is put ‘off limits’ on this diet, however it still does need to stay within the guidelines of the program.
There are no phases or stages on the zone diet which is nice because it creates slightly less confusion and tracking in that regard and you will basically be eating the same type of meals each and every day, making planning quite straightforward.
The diet favours low-glycemic carbohydrate choices and this would include things such as spinach, beans, berries, cucumbers, celery, salsa, green peppers, oatmeal and barley.
Foods like bread, sugar, bagels, rice, pasta, cereals, other white-flour products, dried fruits, peas, mangoes, corn, raisins, bananas, potatoes and carrots are discouraged but you can still eat them if you really want and they fit within your plan (the 1-2-3 requirement).
When it comes to protein, the diet recommends eating foods such as fish, low-fat lean meats like chicken, turkey, beef and pork, egg whites, low-fat cheeses, soy products and protein powder.
Lastly, on the fat side of things, which is very key with this plan, you will need to consume your fat from sources such as almonds, cashews, avocados, peanut butter, olives and olive oil, salmon and Omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING IN THE ZONE?
Benefits of being in the Zone include:
- Losing excess body fat at the fastest possible rate
- Maintaining wellness for a longer period of time
- Performing better
- Thinking faster
- Slowing down the rate of aging
Controlling diet-induced inflammation is a life-long effort. It is inflammation that disrupts the hormonal communication in our cells that prevents us from reaching peak performance. Making the dietary changes to reach the Zone and stay there may initially appear difficult, but are well worth the effort.
At Zone Labs, we provide the dietary products, continuing education, and personal consultation to make getting into the Zone easier.
How much does it cost?
Online membership is free. A week’s supply of Zone 1-2-3 foods, such as buns and pasta, costs about $70. A package of 14 shakes will run you about $35. “A Week in the Zone,” which will guide you through the diet, is $7.99. And another book, “The Mediterranean Zone,” is $20.