Zone Diet :: What is Zone Diet?
The Zone Diet was developed by Barry Sears, a former researcher in biotechnology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
What is the Zone?
The Zone is not some mystical place. It is a real physiological state in which the hormones (insulin and eicosanoids) governed by the food you eat are maintained within zones that are not too high, nor too low. The benefits of controlling insulin are increased fat loss, decreased likelihood of cardiovascular disease and greater physical and mental performance. The benefits of controlling eicosanoids are decreased inflammation and increased blood flow, which will help improve virtually every chronic disease condition and improve physical performance.
The blood tests that define the Zone are ultimately the same tests that can be used to define wellness. This is what Dr Sears calls evidence-based wellness which is the foundation for 21st century health care.
The Zone Dietary Program
The Zone dietary program is based upon consistent insulin control coupled with the supplementation of high-dose fish oil in order to modulate the synthesis of arachidonic acid.
Insulin control is achieved by balancing protein and carbohydrate at each meal (1-4). The insulin-control component of the Zone dietary program can be described as a moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, and moderate-fat dietary program. The maximum amount of low-fat protein at any one meal should be no bigger than the size and thickness of the palm of the hand (this is approximately 3 oz. for females and 4 oz. for males). The majority of carbohydrates should come from vegetables and fruits, with starches (such as bread, potatoes, rice and pasta) used sparingly as condiments.
Finally, most of the fat should consist of heart healthy monounsaturated fat. Unlike high-protein diets (that induce ketosis) or high-carbohydrate diets (that elevate insulin levels), the insulin control component of the OmegaZone dietary program is based on balance and moderation at each meal.
The other component of the Zone dietary program is supplementation with high-dose fish oil. This has only become possible with the advent of pharmaceutical-grade fish oil that for the first time allows the use of high doses without severe gastric disturbances.
The goal of the Zone diet is to keep a hormonal balance between fat-storing insulin and the hormone glucagon sand. Glucagon is responsible fore releasing stored glucose from the liver when it is needed. Maintaining a balance between the two hormones is achieved by limiting the amount of certain food groups. In particular, it can be defined as keeping the hormone insulin in a tight zone: not too high, not too low. The Zone Diet is a life-long hormonal control strategy.
The Zone’s eating plan is a combination of a small amount of low-fat protein, fats, and carbohydrates in the form of fiber-rich vegetables and fruits. Proteins should be eaten with every meal and at every snack. Carbohydrates should be twice the size of the protein portion. These include vegetables, beans, and whole-grains. “Unfavorable carbohydrates” such as brown rice, pasta, bananas, bagels, etc. should be eaten in smaller portions.