The Zone diet is a nutritional program developed by Barry Sears Ph.D. that is designed to balance calorie intake from carbohydrate, fat and protein in a ratio of 40 – 30 – 30. By balancing calorie intake in this way, the body is able to regulate levels of the hormone insulin, keeping it in a controlled zone and promoting a healthy weight.
The Zone diet believes that eating too many fat-free carbohydrates or too many calories in one meal can increase insulin levels, thereby increasing fat storage. By maintaining proper insulin levels through a balanced ratio of carbohydrate, fat and protein, the body is able to burn excess body fat.
The Zone program has four key areas for successful weight loss:
Key #1: Keep Insulin in the Zone
The program states that eating the proper ratio of low-density carbohydrates, dietary fat, and protein, can control insulin production. Eating a diet heavy in carbohydrate causes the body to produce more insulin. Since your body has a limited capacity to store carbohydrates, insulin turns the excess carbohydrates into fat. Dietary fat on the other hand, does not stimulate insulin secretion. That’s why maintaining a proper ratio of fat in the diet helps keep insulin in the proper zone. Maintaining your insulin level in this way makes it possible to burn excess body fat and enjoy increased energy, improved mental focus, and increased vitality.
Key #2: Change in Dietary Fat Composition
According to the program, dietary fat significantly slows down your body's absorption of food and signals your brain when to stop eating. The specific type of fat that plays a critical role in a person’s health is called monosaturated fat. To get and stay in the zone, you need to eat these kinds of dietary fats found in olive oil, guacamole, almonds, and macadamia nuts.
Key #3: Omega-3 Fish Oils
The Zone program encourages dieters to increase their intake of Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils. Current research strongly suggests a wide range of overall health benefits for blood pressure, asthma attacks, joint inflammation, osteoporosis, coronary atherosclerosis and of excessive clotting of the blood. The Zone program offers a supply of Omega-3 oil supplements to help dieters achieve optimal levels.
Key #4: Exercise
Exercise is the fourth element of the Zone nutrition program. Exercise lowers insulin levels and burns calories. It usually takes about 30 minutes of continuous exercise to maximize the insulin lowering benefits. The Zone program recommends taking Zone nutrition bars before and after you exercise.
(Source: www.zoneperfect.com, www.drsears.com)