The Zone diet – everything we need to know

Content:

  • Why Diet Zone is gaining more and more popularity
  • How to choose the most suitable diet for us
  • Diet Zone – essence
  • Stages of the Zone
  • Nutrients and order of intake by Zone
  • How long should the Zone diet last?
  • Benefits of the Zone diet
  • Disadvantages of the Zone diet

The Zone diet is a nutritional regimen that is based on balancing hormones in the body through the correct choice and combination of foods. It was created by American scientist Dr. Barry Sears, who describes it as a state of well-being in which optimal health, physical fitness, and mental clarity are achieved.

The Zone diet aims to improve metabolism, reduce inflammation, stimulate the immune system and prevent or treat chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, cancer.

Why Diet Zone is gaining more and more popularity

There are many different diets that promise rapid and effective weight loss, increased energy, improved skin, mood and overall health. Some are high protein, some are high carb, some are low fat, some are vegetarian, some are paleo, some are keto, etc. Each of them has its supporters and critics, its advantages and disadvantages, its scientific evidence and controversies.

How to choose the most suitable diet for us

The Zone Diet differs from most other diets in that it does not focus solely on calories, macronutrients or food groups, but on the hormonal response that food causes in the body. It’s based on the idea that food is like a drug that can regulate levels of insulin, glucagon, and eicosanoids—three key hormones that control metabolism, inflammation, and the immune system. According to Dr. Sears, when these hormones are in balance, we are in “the zone” – a state where we feel good, have stable energy, a clear mind and a healthy body. When these hormones are out of balance, we go out of the “zone” and become susceptible to hunger, fatigue, stress, obesity and disease.

The Zone diet is gaining in popularity because it offers an easy and flexible way to eat that doesn’t require strict calorie counting or cutting out entire food groups. It is also supported by many scientific studies showing that it can improve various aspects of health such as cholesterol level, triglycerides, blood pressure, blood sugar, inflammatory markers, cognitive function. The Zone diet is also compatible with other dietary approaches such as vegetarianism, paleo , keto, etc., as long as the basic principles of hormone balancing are followed.

Diet Zone – essence

The essence of the Zone Diet is to eat foods that support hormonal balance in the body. This is achieved by following a few simple rules:

– Eat five times a day – three main meals and two intermediate snacks, with intervals of about 4-6 hours between them;

– Eat within an hour of waking up and do not skip meals;

– Eat balanced portions of carbohydrates, proteins and fats at each meal and breakfast, observing the 40:30:30 ratio (40% carbohydrates, 30% proteins and 30% fats);

– Choose low-fat proteins such as chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, soy. A serving size of protein should be about the size and thickness of your palm (about 85g for women and 130g for men);

– Choose carbohydrates with a low glycemic index such as vegetables, fruits, corn, rice, oats. Avoid carbohydrates with a high glycemic index such as sugar, white bread, potatoes, pasta;

– Choose fats high in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil, flaxseed, nuts, avocados, olives. Avoid fats high in saturated or trans fats such as butter, margarine, etc. The portion size of fat should be about one teaspoon (about 5 g);

– Drink enough water – about 8 glasses a day;

– Use special nutritional supplements such as fish oil , polyphenols and probiotics to support hormonal balance and prevent inflammation;

– Follow the eye-hand rule – if you are unsure of a portion size , use your eyes to estimate the amount of food that can fit in the palm of your hand and your hands to divide the food into three portions – one for protein, two for carbohydrates and a little for fat.

Stages of the Zone

The Zone diet is not divided into strict stages, but rather a permanent way of eating that must be followed throughout life. However, Dr. Sears suggests a few steps that can help make adjusting to the diet easier:

Step 1: Clear the fridge and kitchen cupboards of all foods that are high glycemic index carbohydrates such as sugar, white bread, potatoes, white flour pasta. Replace them with foods that have a low glycemic index such as vegetables, fruits, corn, rice, oats.

Step 2: Learn to measure your portion size using your eyes and hands. Follow the 40:30:30 ratio at each meal and breakfast. Do not skip meals and eat five times a day.

Step 3: Add fish oil to your diet to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil helps regulate inflammation, improve brain function, and protect the cardiovascular system. The dosage of fish oil depends on each individual’s weight, health and goals, but around 2-4 grams per day is generally recommended.

Step 4: Add polyphenols to your diet to increase your antioxidant intake. Polyphenols are plant chemicals that have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-aging properties. They are found in foods such as green tea, red wine, cocoa, strawberries, blueberries. The dosage of polyphenols depends on each individual’s weight, health status, and goals, but around 200-300 milligrams per day is generally recommended.

Step 5: Add probiotics to your diet to improve gut and immune health. Probiotics are live microorganisms that help balance the good and bad bacteria in the gut. They are contained in foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles. The dose of probiotics depends on each individual’s weight, health and goals, but around 10-20 billion live cells per day is generally recommended.

Nutrients and order of intake by Zone

The order in which we take nutrients can have an impact on the hormonal response they cause in the body. According to Dr. Sears, the best order of nutrients is as follows:

First, eat protein – this will stimulate the secretion of glucagon , a hormone that increases blood sugar levels and helps burn fat.

Then eat carbohydrates – this will stimulate the secretion of insulin, a hormone that lowers blood sugar levels and promotes fat storage.

Finally, eat fat – this will delay the emptying of the stomach and prolong the feeling of satiety.

This order of intake of nutrients will help to achieve the hormonal balance that is necessary to get into the “zone” . It will prevent the excessive rise and fall of blood sugar, which can lead to hunger, fatigue, stress and fat accumulation.

How long should the Zone diet last?

Diet The Zone is not a temporary diet, but a permanent way of life. It’s not just about weight loss, it’s about improving health, fitness and mental clarity. According to Dr. Sears, the effects of the diet are felt immediately after the first meal, but to achieve full hormonal balancing, the diet must be followed for at least two weeks. After that, the diet should be continued without interruption in order to maintain the condition of the “zone” and avoid the negative consequences of hormonal imbalance.

Benefits of the Zone diet

The Zone Diet has many benefits that affect various aspects of health and well-being. Some of them are:

Weight loss – the diet helps reduce body fat, especially in the abdominal area, where the most inflammatory fat accumulates. This leads to an improvement in silhouette, self-esteem and health.

Boosting energy – diet The zone maintains a stable blood sugar level, which prevents energy fluctuations associated with hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. This leads to greater endurance, productivity and mood.

Improving brain function – the diet supports the synthesis of neurotransmitters that are responsible for brain activity, such as serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine. This leads to greater concentration, memory, creativity and mental clarity.

Reducing inflammation – diet regulates levels of eicosanoids, which are hormone-like substances that control the inflammatory process. This leads to a lower risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, cancer, arthritis.

Stimulation of the immune system – the diet supports the functioning of lymphocytes – cells that protect the body from infections and tumors. This leads to better resistance, faster wound healing and a lower risk of autoimmune diseases.

Disadvantages of the Zone diet

Diet Zone also has some disadvantages that must be taken into account. Some of them are:

Complexity – the diet requires some planning and calculation of portion sizes and ratios, which can be difficult and confusing for some people. It also requires adherence to a strict meal schedule, which can be inconvenient and incompatible with some social and professional circumstances.

Restrictions – the diet excludes or limits certain foods that are rich in carbohydrates with a high glycemic index such as sugar, white bread, potatoes, pasta. This can be difficult for some people who are used to or love these foods. It can also lead to a deficiency of certain vitamins, minerals and fiber that are contained in these foods.

Unwanted effects – the popular Zona diet can cause some unwanted effects, especially in the beginning, when the body adapts to the new way of eating. Some of them are headache, fatigue, upset stomach, constipation, gas. These effects usually disappear after a few days, but can be unpleasant and discouraging for some people.

 

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