The Zone Diet was made popular by a series of books written on the diet by biochemist Barry Sears. The diet helps people lose significant amounts of weight by encouraging the consumption of carbs, protein and fat in a particular ratio.
Ratio Of Carbs, Proteins And Fats
While on the diet, you are supposed to consume a ratio of 40:30:30 carbs, protein, and fat respectively. This type of diet actually creates a situation in the body where insulin levels are neither too high nor too low and the body’s hormones are balanced. The diet is also anti-inflammatory and health-friendly.
Another goal of the diet is to put the body into calorie balance (any diet you take on should be a balanced diet) so that it does not have to store any excess calories as fat. Sears theorized that the body cannot both store and burn fat, so it’s important to keep the metabolism in a fat burning phase (it isn’t really a phase, the Zone Diet isn’t broken down in clear separate phases like Dukan Diet) to reduce fat stores instead of creating new ones. Later books on the subject address the importance of including omega fatty acids in the diet. Sears is credited with making omega fatty acid supplements popular, such as food grade fish oil capsules (fish oil is also an important component of the Mediterranean Diet).
The key hormone involved in the diet is insulin. Sears believes that achieving the correct insulin balance in the body is the key to burning, rather than storing fat. Because this change in basic body metabolism can take time to achieve, it’s important to keep the body in fat burning mode for as long as possible. One of the best diets to speed up the metabolism is the 6 meals a day diet.
Less Restrictive Of Carbohydrates
The Zone Diet is much less restrictive of carbohydrate intake than so called low-carb diets like the Atkins diet. The Zone Diet takes a slightly different approach to carbohydrates by emphasizing moderation rather than restriction. According to him, moderation leads to hormone balance, which is the key to the right way how to lose weight. The typical American diet is high-carb, which could make the Zone Diet look like a low-carb diet by comparison, however moderate-carb would be a more accurate description.
Difficult To Adapt To For Vegetarians And Vegans
Vegetarians and vegans may have a difficult time participating in the Zone Diet because protein consumption is a key factor. Without consuming the proper amount of proteins, the body cannot operate at its optimal capacity and weight loss becomes difficult to achieve.
It’s also important to note that many of Sears’ colleagues in the science field have criticized his diet, saying that the claims he makes are overstated and untrue based on evidence. Those who wish to attempt the Zone Diet should speak with their doctor before altering their eating habits dramatically. It’s also important to note that the beginning stages of the diet can leave the dieter feeling drained, weak and generally unwell. These effects should pass with time.
Zone Diet Foods List
The Zone Diet is different than other diets on the market today because it does not recommend eliminating carbohydrates from your diet. In spite of the popularity of the Atkins Diet, the Zone Diet is paving a pathway for carb lovers to consume their favorite foods while still shedding pounds and getting into shape.
The Ratio Of Different Foods
The Zone diet recommends dieters eat a ratio of different foods. The diet states that people should aim to consume 40% of their calories(how many calories does a person burn in a day?) as carbohydrates, 30% as protein and 30% as fat. Eating in this manner will not only help you lose weight, promoters of the diet also believe it can help control your diabetes symptoms.
So you may be wondering what types of foods you can eat on the Zone Diet. A lot of people look at the foods list to see if the diet is something they can handle. Luckily, you’ll probably see a lot of your favorite foods on the list of approved choices for the Zone Diet. Read on to discover some of the highlights.
- Red Meat - The Zone Diet states that 30% of your calories should come from protein and another 30% from fat. That’s great news for red meat lovers, because the Zone Diet allows you to sink your teeth into the thick juicy steaks you love. Red meat is fatter than other meats, which is why most diets cut it out.
- Pasta – Pasta is usually another off-limits item for most dieters. However, with the Zone Diet, you can go ahead and indulge in some whole wheat pasta. The trick is that you need to stay within your recommended calorie intake, and pasta with sauce is very easy to overindulge on. So with that in mind, learn to control your portion size and you won’t have to cut out your favorite spaghetti recipe.
- Tofu – Maybe you’re not really excited about tofu, but it’s a great source of lean proteins. Filling your plate with some well-prepared tofu can help keep you full, keep you satisfied and keep you interested in your food. The Zone Diet is a great time to branch out and try new things along side your old favorites.
- Vegetables – This one is pretty self-explanatory. Many diets cut out certain vegetables, claiming they are too high in carbohydrates to be good for you. Because the Zone Diet doesn’t cut out carbohydrates, fats or proteins, you are free to eat plenty of fresh vegetables as long as you maintain your calorie allowance.
- Fruits – Fruits are a dieters best friend. They contain plenty of natural sugars that will help ward off your sweet tooth and they’re portable, which make them great snacks for on-the-go. Instead of sticking to your favorites, try branching out into some new and exciting fruit options. Be watchful for fruits that contain fiber and try to consume a healthy amount of those as well. You should avoid bananas because of their high calorie content. You can also use make your own juices as explained on our juicing diet page, juicing for weight loss is a healthy choice.
- Lean Proteins – Nobody likes being hungry(or entering starvation mode) and consuming plenty of protein will help keep you fuller, longer. Chicken, turkey, egg whites and other lean meats are great choices throughout the day. The Zone Diet recommends that 30% of your calories come from protein sources. Another diet advising lean meats is the GI diet.
The Zone Diet is one of the least restrictive diets on the market. You can eat virtually anything you want as long as you eat it in the right ratios and stay within your calorie allowance. The program is designed to work with a modern lifestyle, and allow for eating out or other social activities. Try the Zone Diet today and unlock the formula for weight loss.
Zone Diet Plan
The Zone Diet is a weight loss plan that revolves around reaching a hormonal balance in your body. Once you reach the balance, your metabolism will begin working at an optimal level and you’ll start shedding pounds.
Reaching a hormonal balance is easy. The Zone Diet promotes a 40:30:30 eating plan that will change the way your body works to help you reach your balance point. Dieters should aim to consume 40% of their daily calories(how many calories does a person burn in a day?) as carbohydrates, 30% as protein and 30% as fat. That’s it. There are very few foods that are banned as long as you stay within the prescribed ratios and total calorie count.
Eating More Carbohydrates
By eating more of your calories as carbohydrates than proteins or fats, dieters are able to train their body to use the carbohydrates as their energy source. This particular ratio will help dieters get into and stay in “the zone”, which is essential for success.
500 Calories Or Less Per Meal
During the diet, you’ll eat regular meals and enjoy snacks throughout the day. No single meal should exceed 500 calories and no single snack should exceed 100 calories. For most people, that’s less calories than they are used to eating, which is part of the reason that the diet plan causes weight loss. Visit our how many calories to lose weight article to learn more about weight loss and calories.
In addition to losing weight, you’ll also enjoy other health benefits. Diabetics have successfully used the diet to control their diabetes and people who are at risk for heart disease can use the diet to improve their cardiovascular health.
Staying In The Zone
Even if you don’t have any other health conditions, staying in the zone will lead to increased energy and improved mental clarity. You’ll also learn healthy eating habits from the diet, which promotes the consumption of fruits and vegetables. The diet also suggests drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day, which will help keep your body well-hydrated.
The Zone And Weight Loss
The Zone Diet can be used temporarily for weight loss, or its ideas can be incorporated into your everyday lifestyle for a change that will last the rest of your life. Learning a new way of eating isn’t easy and dieters should expect to have a transitional phase in the beginning. Luckily, because the diet is simple it’s easy to catch onto and with time choosing low-calorie foods to create your meals with will become second nature.
Trying It Out
If you’ve tried other diets and have had limited success, the Zone Diet may be the plan for you. The easy diet plan can help get you looking and feeling your best without eliminating food groups or causing dangerous health side effects. Get in the Zone and get into shape!
To be successful at the Zone Diet, you have to stay in the zone. This means eating a ratio of 40:30:30 at every meal. The ratio stands for the percentage of your meal that should come from carbohydrates, protein and fats, respectively. If you base your meals on this ratio, you will successfully get into the zone, which will lead to weight loss and improved overall health.
Introduced In The 90’s
The diet was first introduced in the 90’s and revolves around the idea that by sticking with the 40:30:30 ratio, you can control your body’s hormone levels. The creator of the diet believes that excess insulin causes weight gain, and that by eating according to the diet’s plans, you can eliminate excess insulin and thus control weight.
The Different Blocks
Going further into the diet, you will discover that the creator has grouped foods into blocks. A meal or snack consists of a grouping of various blocks. For example, a serving of skinless chicken breast might count as a block of protein. You would then combine your protein block with other blocks to create a meal or snack.
Each protein block consists of 7 grams of protein. Each carbohydrate block is made of 9 grams of carbohydrates and each fat block is made of 1.5 grams of fat. Women are allowed a specific number of blocks per meal and men are allowed another number. The diet plan accounts for gender differences because men and women have different nutritional needs and different metabolisms.
Women vs. Men
For a meal, women would choose 1 block of protein, 1 of carbohydrates and 1 of fat. These food blocks would combine to form a meal block. A snack block consists of a single food block. For men, 1 meal block consists of 4 food blocks and a snack consists of one block. In a single day, women should aim to consume about 11 meal and snack blocks total and men should aim to consume about 14 meal and snack blocks total. Of course this can vary depending on your body type and level of physical activity.
Why Meal Blocks?
Meal blocks were introduced as a way to simplify eating on the Zone Diet. The meal blocks are adjustable to meet your needs. Try the recommended levels and make adjustments based on your hunger and how you feel. If you are losing weight too quickly or feeling fatigued, you may need to increase your blocks.
Stick With Water
Remember that drinks and food preparation items such as oil or butter count into your totals. It’s a good idea to stick with water while on the diet and to use an oil mister or cooking spray to prepare your foods in an effort to limit your fat blocks. If you gain too much water weight, learn how to lose water weight here.