What is the Zone Diet and what are its benefits and its consequences? The Zone Diet was developed by a former MIT biotechnology researcher, Dr. Barry Sears. The Zone Diet is named so because there exists a “zone” where hormones like insulin and eicosanoids are neither too high nor too low and thus just where they need to be for ideal health. These hormonal levels are dictated by the foods that we choose to eat and if we choose to eat foods that keep insulin in check then we will look forward to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and increased mental clarity and fat loss. Furthermore, if our eicosanoid levels can be controlled then benefits like decreased joint inflammation and increased blood flow will be reaped which in turn means better athletic performance and overall mobility.  https://www.healthhelpzone.com/

So how does the Zone Diet actually work? The ultimate goal of insulin control is achieved by balancing protein and carbohydrates at each meal. All in all, the diet stresses moderate levels of everything, so moderate fat intake, moderate carb intake, and moderate protein consumption. As far as percentages go, the macronutrient breakdown is about 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fats. All protein servings should range between 3-4 oz, most carbs should be consumed through ample amounts of fruits and vegetables with starches only used sparingly. Carbohydrate portions should roughly be double the protein portion.

For fats, one should use heart-friendly monounsaturated fats as opposed to saturated ones. Another component of the diet that is also integral for complete health is to supplement with fish oil capsules to even better reinforce your cardiovascular system. Now to help achieve this 40:30:30 ratio, Dr. Sears has formulated “food blocks” that represent a standardized amount of carbs, fats, or protein. In order to lose weight, one must allocate the correct number of blocks for each macronutrient. The number of food blocks is based upon one’s height and waist and hip circumference. So, generally speaking, the larger you are, the more food blocks you will be allowed. So,, that is the Zone Diet in a nutshell, but is the diet worth it?

Certainly weight can be lost in the process, and it is certainly not as restrictive as South Beach or Atkins, but the sheer difficulty of finding foods that fit the food blocks and making other tedious adjustments ultimately makes the diet unappealing for most. To make matters worse, if one’s schedule doesn’t allow for such regimented cooking, then expect to pay an exorbitant amount for prepared meals. And if you do undertake the Zone Diet at home, then be prepared to accurately measure your ingredients and exclude a number of foods that most would find to be healthy, such as whole grains. This rigidity also makes it difficult for many to eat out. So, the fact that the Zone Diet is lower in calories than the typical American diet and thus obviously resulting in weight loss is still not enough incentive for many to stick with the unnecessarily challenging diet in the long run.

 

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