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Zone Diet

The Zone Diet is based on the 1995 book by Barry Sears, Ph.D., Enter the Zone: A Dietary Road Map.

When I first started weight training in the gym in 2001, my trainer’s advice about the nutritional end of fitness was simply “Read and follow The Zone… it’s all you need to know!”

I read it, followed it, gained muscle, and lost weight. But in hindsight, the gaining muscle probably had more to do with the weight training and protein supplementation than the Zone diet. And the weight loss was probably the restricted calories more so than the other specifics of the Zone Diet.

Nevertheless, The Zone Diet is a good plan.

What is The Zone Diet?

In a nutshell this program advocates getting 30% of your calories from protein, 30% from fats, and 40% from carbohydrates. That’s a much higher percentage of fat and lower percentage of carbohydrates than was commongly recommended.

In this program the fats should be “good fats”, the protein should be lean meats, and the carbs should be “low glycemic” (less white bread, white sugar, pastas, potatoes, etc.).

The Zone Diet also recommends three small meals per day and two snacks. Each of these meals should under 500 calories each. The meals and snacks are supposed to be spreadh pretty evenly throughout the day.

The program also calls for a fairly tight ceiling on daily calories.

They also offer helpful tips for measuring portions. For example, your protein in a meal should be approximately the size of the palm of your hand. Things like that are a happy medium between trying to eat lighter and carefully measuring everything you eat and drink. The “palm” trick is a good way to visualize the right portion size.

The thinking

The 30/30/40 breakdown, reducing high glycemic index foods, and 500 calorie per meal limits all mostly serve to control the body’s production of insulin and other harmful hormones.

High calorie meals and high-carb items cause insulin spikes, and insulin spikes cause the body to store more fat.

Review

The Zone Diet is a good plan, and the book is a good, interesting read.

And frankly, the overall message of the book is undeniable. Eat less carbs, especially highly refined carbs like white breads. Eat smaller, portion-controlled meals.

In all likelihood someone who diligently and carefully follows the nutrition plan advocated in this program will lose weight, lose fat, and be healthier.

I think the only reason NOT to read and follow the book is that the “active ingredients” of the Zone diet – calorie restriction – are available free on my site! But if you enjoy reading more of the theory behind it, go for it.

 


 

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