Published for the first time in 1995, the regime for feeding ‘zone’ is created by biochemist Barry Sears. This is not a diet but a way of life that should be practiced consistently.
How this diet works?
The theory on which the ‘zone’ diet is relying is this: insulin, the hormone that regulates levels of sugar in the blood, is the cause for obesity. By regulating the level of blood sugar and keeping the insulin levels in the ‘zone’, the body burns fat more efficiently and thus lose the weight (0,5-1,5 kg by a week).
To successfully control the level of sugar, according to the ‘zone’ diet, it is necessary to maintain the perfect balance between carbohydrates, proteins and fats that you enter with each feeding.
What is included in the diet?
The theory may simply work, but in the practice is much more complicated. To access the zone, 40% of calories of each meal should be carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat. This combination is applied at each feeding, i.e you are unable to eat for breakfast only carbohydrates, and protein and fat for lunch.
To be ‘in the zone’, the first meal that you will eat should be not later than 1 hour after you woke up, between the meals should not be a gap of more than 5 hours and the last meal of the day should be at least 2 hours before bedtime.
Dr. Sears divides the food in blocks so that each block of the fat has suitable blocks of protein and carbohydrates.
1 block carbohydrates: 1 cup steamed vegetables or half an apple or half an orange.
1 block fat: 1 tea spoon of olive oil.
1 block proteins: 2 egg whites or 30g meat or fish.
If you eat 60g meat (2 blocks protein), you should balance it with 2 cups of steamed vegetables and 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
How many blocks you need to consume daily depends on your weight, height and circumference of your hips, and waist. The greater your weight, the more blocks you are allowed to eat.
This whole process of creating a proper meal is so complex that many people quickly give up this diet. In order for that to be simpler Dr. Sears recommended for each meal the dish to be divided in 3 equal parts.
In the first third you should put low fat proteins as a piece of chicken breast that can not be bigger or thinner than the palm of your hand. The remaining two-thirds are filled with fruits and vegetables. These are carbohydrates. Finally add a tea spoon olive oil, and you have a complete meal that meets the formula 40:30:30.
Basic foods that are a source of proteins and that are recommended are: chicken without the skin, turkey meat, fish, low fat milk, boiled eggs.
To help provide the necessary calories from carbohydrates, eat any vegetables (except carrots and corn) and all fruits (except bananas). You can allow small amounts of bread, pasta and rice.
Source of fat in your diet can be: avocados, almonds, butter, any kind of oil and fish oil.