It seems like everywhere you look there is some new diet plan making miraculous promises of weight loss through pills, plans, and formulas. The zone diet is no exception. The zone diet was developed by Dr. Barry Sears in his book," Enter the Zone" which was on the bestseller lists for weeks. The zone promises high energy, weight loss, and no hunger to those willing to follow the simple set of zone rules. It sounds great you say, but does it really work?
What is the Zone?
The "zone" was first referred to by athletes as a period of maximum performance and energy levels. When things are clicking and every part of our body is working at its best, we say we are "in the zone." When we fall short we experience a loss of performance, more illness, and feel moody and restless. The zone diet helps individuals to stay in the zone, not just trying to hit or miss. Instead of experiencing periodic energy highs and lows, it regulates levels throughout the day, putting the body in a metabolic state of peak efficiency.
Much of this energy regulation is controlled by eicosanoids (http://www.coolrunning.com/sponsor/thezone/zone.htm#eicos). These are some of the most important chemical messengers in the body. However, since they perform their cell-to-cell communications very rapidly and in very small concentrations, they have often been overlooked by many researchers.
Eicosanoids are completely derived from dietary fat. In addition, they have opposing physiological functions, which can be either good or bad. The good eicosanoids accelerate the use of stored body fat, whereas the bad do the opposite. These levels of eicosanoids can be controlled by what we eat at each meal. For example, high levels of carbohydrates decrease the production of good eicosanoids and increase the production of bad eicosanoids. So to sumrnarize, the protein/carbohydrate balance in our diet controls the insulin/glucagon balance in our bodies which effects eicosanoid production. Barry Sears claims that by following the zone guidelines, our bodies are able to produce the optimal level of good eicosanoids and reduce the production of bad ones.
The Zone Guidelines: The Basics
Here are some of the zone guidelines:
Eat enough protein for your body's needs, no more, no less. This amount is determined by your amount of lean body mass ( http://www.Eicotech.com/calculator/default.html ) and your activity level.
At every meal eat protein and carbohydrates in the ratio of three parts protein to four parts carbohydrate.
As much as possible, eat carbohydrates with a low glycemic index (This list includes most fiuits and vegetables).
Eat sufficient amounts of fat to control the rate of digestion of the meal and to control hunger. Usually, this is about 30% of the calories in the meal.
Drink at least eight glasses of water or sugar-free decaffeinated beverages a day.
As much as possible, eat protein with low levels of saturated fat such as fish, chicken,...