Nutrition Information


A diet review by Auraion Rasmussen

The basis for the Zone diet, by Barry Sears, Ph.D. is that if a person eats the correct ratio of carbohydrate to protein to fat (40/30/30), s/he will improve his or her health, weight, and athletic performance, because certain hormones will be balanced and therefore in the preferred "zone." The hormones he focuses on are insulin (necessary for glucose to enter our cells) and eicosanoids (hormone-like substances that regulate inflammation. Some eicosanoids are by-products of metabolism.).

Dr. Sears is one of the world's leading researchers on the hormonal effects of food. His decades of work and findings have been compiled into an easy-to-follow program – the Zone Diet. It isn't complicated at all, and it will absolutely change your life.

Sears alleges that the American public is overweight due to a high intake of carbohydrates, and that this style of eating causes an over-production of insulin. In addition to causing weight gain, excess insulin leads to an imbalance in eicosanoids that he links to other aspects of ill health, such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis, among others. The solution, Dr. Sears offers, is to eat a lower carb, higher protein, and moderate fat diet to balance these hormones within the preferred "zone."

The key is managing insulin levels through a delicious and fulfilling diet. As a result, you will lose weight, burn fat, control hunger and fatigue, and feel healthier. On the Zone Diet you’ll learn the importance of meal timing for keeping your blood sugar balanced. You’ll eat five times a day — three meals and two snacks — so you’ll never feel deprived! Each delicious meal and snack will have the right combination of low-fat protein, favorable carbohydrates (like fruits and vegetables), and a dash of "good" fat to keep your hormones balanced. Dr. Sears’ program also includes easy exercise recommendations, daily fish oil supplements, and stress-management techniques to help you get deeper into the Zone — and stay there.

Method: Block method. 1 carb block = 9g carbohydrates, 1 protein block = 7g protein (absolutely no fat), 1 fat block = 3g fat …… however, since most meats (even lean cuts) tend to have some fat "hanging around", he recommends assuming that your protein source already has 1.5g fat. Therefore 1 fat block = 1.5g fat.

Typical menu: An average meal for a woman with average activity levels is a 3 block meal. You would have 3 carb blocks (e.g. 1c green beans [1block] and 1 apple [2blocks), 3 protein blocks (e.g. 3oz. of chicken), and 3 fat blocks (e.g. cook your chicken in 1tsp. of olive oil [3blocks]).

The only change you make is to add more fat when you are in maintenance to prevent you from continual loss. Otherwise, you eat the same from the beginning….i.e. there is no induction phase.

By the numbers: : 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, 30% fat

- It encourages its followers to eat often throughout the day — at least every five hours.
- It eliminates foods many people overeat, such as sweets, chips, certain starches, and, junk food.
- It concentrates on including a number of healthful foods — low glycemic fruits and grains, vegetables, lean proteins, and monounsaturated and omega-3 fats.
- The Zone diet works for its followers because it is actually a low calorie diet. For instance, the sample meal plans for an average woman totaled approximately 1200 - 1300 calories per day. Most women would lose weight at this level of caloric intake, regardless of the source(s) of these calories.

- None of the references quoted, backing these conclusions, have ever been published, and the book does not contain a reference section or a bibliography.
- with such low intakes of complex carbohydrates, it appears that Sears' recommended diet would be deficient in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and would contain inadequate fiber. Adding insult to injury, this level of protein consumption may promote calcium loss and osteoporosis.
- ignorance to the importance of diet that is rich in vegetables. Since vegetables decreases the risk of various diseases like heart attacks and blood pressures and also helps to keep the skin fresh with out storing extra calories and fats on the body to increase the body weight.
- The diet does not necessarily lead to more efficient fat burning, nor is there evidence that it lives up to his claims of reduced incidence of disease. Testimonials are not proof, nor are they a substitute for scientific research. The studies he does refer to regarding athletic performance don't meet the standards of high quality, respected research, because no control group was included in their study design.


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