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Zone Diet: Why You Should Zone in on This Fad

By Brandi Goodman

Zone Diet: Why You Should Zone in on This Fad

Considered one of many fad diets, the Zone Diet aims to ease inflammation in the body at any given time. Some people do not follow it long-term and instead utilize it as needed, such as during flare-ups. Because the Zone Diet prioritizes balanced meals and nutrition, it’s a fad worth zoning in on when you need it.

What Is the Zone Diet?

Dr. Barry Sears developed the Zone Diet and published a corresponding book in 1995 titled, Enter the Zone: A Dietary Road Map. This biochemist aimed to find ways to slow the aging process, prevent chronic disease, reduce inflammation, and promote weight loss through food choices. It encourages a strict ratio of carbs, protein, and fat. The percentage is 30 fat, 30 protein, and 40 carbs. Whole grains with a low glycemic index, vegetables, fruits, monounsaturated fats, and lean protein are all encouraged on this diet.

How Does the Zone Diet Differ From Other Popular Diets?

Many diets suggest certain options from the food groups, but they do not require a particular percentage of each to be consumed. They often encourage a plant-based diet and fewer processed items. While the Zone Diet does as well, it takes it a step further. You can’t just eat any amount of fruits and vegetables you want, but instead need to follow your percentages closely.

Practical Tips and Strategies to Implement the Zone Diet

To implement the Zone Diet with ease, be sure to stock up at the grocery store in advance. Look at meal plans and decide which foods from these plans you enjoy and want to have on your daily menu. This way, you’ll only have nutritious foods at home that are safe to eat. You can also purchase a special plate that separates into different sections and offers labels for where each type of food should go. This ensures you’re eating a worthwhile amount of each.

Also, change up your meals from one day to the next. Don’t eat an omelet every day for breakfast just because it was the first thing you saw on a meal plan. It can get boring eating the same foods day in and day out, so finding several options you enjoy can be a huge help in ensuring you don’t get burnt out on this diet.

Make sure you’re eating at least three full meals and two snacks per day. The goal is to eat healthy, not to eat less. Your stomach should be satisfied and not left growling, which makes it difficult to continue a diet plan for long.

Potential Benefits of the Zone Diet

Because the Zone Diet is known for its anti-inflammatory approach, one of the biggest health benefits is reducing the inflammation in your body. If you suffer from chronic inflammation, this diet can help you recover from tough flare-ups and feel better in the long run.

Impact on Insulin Sensitivity

The Zone Diet also helps balance the insulin to glucagon ratio. Glucagon is a hormone created by the pancreas to help regulate your blood sugar levels. When you eat too many carbs, you can spike your blood sugar levels. If you eat too much protein, you can spike your glucagon levels. You need to balance both to keep your levels in healthy ranges.

Weight Loss

You’ll also be focusing on consuming vital nutrients and eating fewer calories than you would if you continued to eat processed food. Since you’re getting a good balance of nutritional foods and reducing inflammation, you may find yourself losing weight and overall body fat.

Potential Drawbacks or Limitations of the Zone Diet

This is a strict diet that does not support the consumption of processed food whatsoever. You are also encouraged to limit dairy and should avoid any sugary foods or drinks. Even your fruits and vegetables have limitations. You should not eat starchy vegetables that can raise blood sugar. This means avoiding potatoes, corn, peas, and even carrots. High-sugar fruits such as grapes, pineapples, and bananas are also off the list, as are refined carbs such as pasta, tortillas, and white bread. No fast food or frozen meals should be on the menu, either.

You also need to choose monounsaturated fats and not just any form of fat. You can choose from olive oil, sesame oil, peanut oil, canola oil, and safflower oil. Skip the typical vegetable oil. Peanut butter, nuts, seeds, and avocados are also healthy sources of fats. Avoid foods with trans or saturated fats on the labels.

Recommended Macronutrient and Portion Sizes

People following the Zone Diet use one of two methods to measure out their portion sizes. You can either use the hand-eye method or tracking blocks. The hand-eye method is easiest and simply involves dividing your plate into thirds, ensuring one-third of it contains lean protein and the remaining two-thirds contain your carbs, which should include a fruit, vegetable, and whole grain. You can also look at your hand to remember that you should be eating five times per day, with never more than five hours between each meal or snack.

The block method is a little trickier to remember and portion out. However, you can utilize the Zone Body Fat calculator to figure out your required blocks based on your specific measurements. Most men need to eat 14 blocks per day, while women need to eat 11 blocks per day. This will vary from one individual to the next, however. Each meal contains between three to five blocks, and a snack equals one block. The macronutrients in one block are equal to:

  • 7 grams of protein
  • 9 grams of carbohydrates
  • 1.5 grams of fat

Follow provided charts on the Zone website to make this easier to manage. Having a food scale that measures in grams is also worthwhile to ensure you’re getting the appropriate portions.

What to Eat in a Day on the Zone Diet

Here are some examples of what you can eat in a given day on the Zone Diet.

Breakfast

For breakfast, enjoy an egg white omelet with vegetables included. Your veggies can be cooked in a light olive oil, which contains a small amount of fatty acids that are healthy to consume on this diet. Spinach, broccoli, peppers, and onions are good choices. Pair your omelet with a fruit cup to ensure you’re getting all of the carbs you need.

Oatmeal is another viable option. Make sure you’re making it from scratch and not grabbing the sugary premade packs from the store. Steel-cut oats work well. Top it with almonds and berries.

Lunch

For lunch, try beef and quinoa stuffed bell peppers. Mix in some other favorite veggies or enjoy them on the side, tossed in olive oil. A burrito bowl is also worthwhile. Include rice, bell peppers, tomatoes, avocado, and chicken.

Dinner

Lean meats, such as grilled chicken or salmon, make an excellent dinner selection. Combine it with a selection of healthy fats, such as avocado. Lay it on a bed of wild rice to get your carbs. Grilled chicken also goes well with a side salad and homemade sweet potato wedges.

Snacks

You should eat both an afternoon and evening snack. Cottage cheese with fruits and nuts is one option. Crackers topped with tuna and avocado are another. For something sweeter, make a smoothie packed with berries, almond butter, and protein powder.

Combine Diet and Chiropractic for Optimal Health

No matter which diet you follow, healthy eating is the most important component of optimal well-being. The things you put into your body can make a significant difference in your overall health and how you feel on a daily basis.

Combine a healthy diet with routine chiropractic care and you’ll be well on your way to improved wellness. Stop in at The Joint Chiropractic for an adjustment, along with additional tips to make the most of the life you’re living.

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