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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Types of Diet >>  Zone Diet

The Zone Diet

What is the Zone diet?

The Zone isn’t some mystical place – it is a real physiological state. According to the Zone diet the hormones (insulin and eicosanoids) governed by the food you eat are maintained within zones that aren’t too high, nor too low. The advantages of controlling insulin through the Zone diet are: increased fat loss, decreased likelihood of cardiovascular disease and greater physical and mental performance. The benefits of controlling eicosanoids are lowered inflammation and increased blood flow. Thus the Zone diet helps improve virtually every chronic disease condition and improve one’s physical performance.

The blood tests that define the Zone diet are ultimately the very same tests that can be used to define wellness. Dr Sears calls this evidence-based wellness that is the basis of 21st century health care.

Zone Diet Menu - What are Zone diet recipes?

The Zone Diet is based upon consistent insulin control. This is coupled with supplementation of high-dose fish oil to modulate the synthesis of arachidonic acid. The Zone Diet achieves insulin control by balancing protein and carbohydrate at each meal (1-4). The insulin-control component of the Zone Diet can be described as a moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, and moderate-fat dietary program.

In The Zone Diet the maximum amount of low-fat protein at any one meal should not be bigger than the size and thickness of the palm of your hand. This is roughly 3 oz. for females and 4 oz. for males. The majority of carbohydrates in The Zone Diet have to come from vegetables and fruits, with starches (like bread, potatoes, rice and pasta) that are used sparingly as condiments. Finally, in the Zone Diet most of the fat should comprise heart healthy monounsaturated fat.

Unlike high-protein diets, or high-carbohydrate diets (that elevate insulin levels), the insulin control component of the Zone Diet program is based on balance and moderation at each meal. The other component of the Zone Diet is supplementation with high-dose fish oil. This has only become possible thanks to the advent of pharmaceutical-grade fish oil.
This, for the first time, allows the use of high doses without severe gastric disturbances.

The goal of the Zone Diet is to maintain a healthy hormonal balance between fat-storing insulin and the hormone glucagon sand. Glucagon is responsible fore releasing stored glucose from the liver, when required. Maintaining a balance between the two hormones is achieved by regulating the quantity of certain food groups. This, in particular, can be defined as keeping the hormone insulin in a tight zone: not too high, not too low. The Zone Diet is a permanent hormonal control strategy.

The Zone's eating plan is an amalgamation of a small amount of low-fat protein, fats, and carbohydrates in the form of fiber-rich vegetables and fruits. Proteins ought to be had with every meal and at every snack. Carbohydrates must be twice the size of your protein portion. These necessarily include vegetables, beans, and whole-grains. "Unfavorable carbohydrates" like brown rice, pasta, bananas, bagels, etc. must be eaten in lesser quantities.

By eating too many fat-free carbohydrates or too many calories at any one meal, Americans succeed in doing both.

Zone Diet Plan - how it works?

High insulin levels are said to be the harbinger of heart disease. Increased carbohydrate consumption is seen as the key reason for higher obesity levels. The Zone Diet plan works on the premise that fats aren’t the cause for obesity. The culprit, rather, is the increasing levels of insulin. Growing instances of cardiovascular deaths have also been assigned partly to this factor.

A look at the Zone Diet pyramid shows water at the base – this is indicative of the fact that one should drink lots of water. Fruits and vegetables come in the next stratum. Next, in the Zone Diet plan pyramid, come low-fat, high proteins and monosaturated fats. Carbohydrates follow shortly after. The Zone Diet menu is protein adequate – it isn’t high, but sufficient to cater to the body's requirements. Exercise is crucial to maintaining the Zone Diet plan. A blend of aerobic and anaerobic exercise will balance the Zone Diet menu and you can see better results.

Zone Diet – Pros and Cons

Pros of the Zone Diet

The Zone Diet usually has lesser dietary restrictions than many other low-carb plans. It recommends that you eat more of fruit and vegetables. The Zone Diet also encourages you to cut out a lot of the ‘junk’ or low-nutrient carbs in your diet such as crisps, cakes, biscuits and chocolate. Having fewer fatty foods – and swapping foods that are high in saturates for those containing monounsaturates – is sensible, heart-healthy advice, as well.

Cons of the Zone Diet

The Zone Diet, unfortunately, is extremely complicated and time-consuming, if you want to follow it properly. You have to invest in a Zone Diet book and a decent set of measuring scales and spoons – if you don’t already have them, that is. The Zone Diet also recommends doing away with some very nutritious foods that are not only a good source of carbohydrate but are also packed with fiber and important vitamins and minerals. For instance, wholegrain cereals are full of fiber, B vitamins and iron, while cheese is an excellent source of calcium and zinc. The Zone Diet can also be very expensive if you decide to buy pre-packaged Zone products! As for eating out, if you count food blocks, you might as well forget it.

Zone Diet – What the experts say?

Accomplishing a 40:30:30 ratio is definitely a departure from current healthy eating guidelines, that recommend 50 percent of our calories must come from carbohydrate, 15 percent from protein and 35 percent from fat. Most nutrition experts agree with the advice to eat less fat, particularly saturates, and to fill up on fruit and veg. Even so, many continue to remain skeptical about the theory that weight loss is due to regulating insulin levels. They are still insist that eating fewer carbohydrate-rich foods results in a calorie deficit. In other words, any weight loss is due to taking in fewer calories than the body uses up.

In fact, if followed properly, the Zone Diet provides around 1,000 to 1,300 calories per day. This is mainly due to cutting out most high-calorie sugary and starchy foods – and replacing them with low-calorie vegetables and fruit. If you’re still not convinced, perhaps this example will help. Swap a large Danish pastry, containing around 650 calories, for a 50-calorie apple and you will save a staggering 600 calories. Do this every day for one week and you could expect to lose more than 1lb within a week!

Submitted on January 16, 2014