The goal of this diet is weight loss by achieving proper hormone balance and keeping your blood sugar stable.
This diet was created by a biochemist, Barry Spears. On The Zone Diet you must keep proper hormone balance and keep your blood sugar stable. Be sure they stay “in the zone”. This means they are not too high or low. You can do this by eating the right proportions at every meal: 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat. Our bodies need this exact balance of nutrients to stay healthy. Not only will you lose weight following these percentages, but your body will work at peak performance.
- No food is off limits, but many are encouraged, such as the following carbs, proteins and fats:
- Examples of good carbs are those low on the glycemic index (GI) such as: vegetables (not corn and carrots), fruits (not bananas and raisins), and oatmeal and barley. Definitely stay away from breads, pastas, potatoes and cereals.
- Examples of good proteins are: skinless chicken, turkey, fish, egg whites, low-fat dairy, tofu, and soy meat substitutes. Don’t eat processed meats like hotdogs or deli meats.
- Examples of good fats include: olive oil and vegetable oils, avocados, nuts and seeds. Stay away from saturated fats (fatty pieces of meat, lard, butter, egg yolks, processed foods) and trans fats (found in microwave popcorn, chips, crackers, commercially made sweets (cookies, cakes, donuts, and pastries), commercially fried foods (french fries, onion rings, fried chicken wings, chicken nuggets, and breaded fish) and margarine or vegetable shortening.
- Eat 5 times a day. 3 meals (every 5 hours) and 2 snacks in between. Each meal should have 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat.
- Breakfast should be eaten within 1 hour of waking up.
- Daily calories 1,200 for women (1,500 for men).
Exercise isn’t required, but it is encouraged for weight maintenance rather than weight loss. At least 2.5 hours of cardio and 1 hour of strength training per week is recommended. Walking, biking, swimming or running are great cardio options.
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- Eating this way could lead to weight loss and many other health changes, such as bringing down cholesterol levels, for the better.
- Eating every 5 hours helps keep your blood sugar down and reduces hunger pangs.
- You can also purchase Zone Diet specific food, created by Barry Sears himself, to help you with this diet.
- There has been limited research done to show this diet really helps with weight loss effectively.
- Trying to fit exactly 40% carbs/30% protein/30% fat into each meal can become daunting for many.