This diet, originated by Dr. Barry Sears, is based on a balance between carbohydrates, protein and fats, eliminating cravings for any of these nutrients through deprivation. The foundation of the Zone Diet is that by controlling your diet with balance, you can stabilize your blood sugar and insulin which helps your body burn fat more effectively. Stable blood sugar also helps control hunger and helps the body function at an optimal level without the “swings” that excess sugar can cause. Lowered insulin also means that the body won’t store as much fat.
A 40-30-30 diet system is used where participants eat 40% of their calories from favorable carbohydrates, 30% from low-fat proteins, and 30% from unsaturated fat items. Portion size control is one of the keys to succeeding on this diet.
The diet plan is low in calories (800-1200) and protein should be eaten at every meal and snack. Carbohydrate intake should be twice that of protein.
WEIGHT REDUCTION STRATEGY
The Zone program is more than just a diet. It is a well-rounded approach to nutrition and fitness. There are four keys to the Zone Nutrition Program:
1. The Zone Diet (40-30-30)
2. Using monounsaturated fats
3. Omega-3 fish oil supplements
Individuals first figure out how many calories their body needs based on lean body mass and physical activity level. From there, calories are balanced as follows:
- 40% complex carbohydrates – starches, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fruits.
- 30% low-fat protein – poultry, fish, seafood, lean meat, tofu, whey, and low-fat cottage cheese.
- 30% unsaturated fat – oils, nuts, and seeds.
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