In the ZONE.

The Zone diet is the second diet we shall discuss in this series of common diets. Created by Barry Sears in 1995 after losing his family member to a cardiovascular disease.

The main concept of a zone diet is to stick to a specific ration of Carbs:Protein:fats of 40:30:30. The carbs consumed in the diet have a low glycemic index. The proteins are lean and the fat monounsaturated. The amount of carb being used depends on the person’s daily requirement, however the proportion remains the same.

How it Works?

While the diet has no phases to follow it is more designed towards a permanent lifestyle change, with two basic ways of following this diet; hand-eye method which then progresses to zone food blocks.

The hand-eye method, makes the use of your hand to determine your portion sizes. For eg., your five fingers remind you to eat five times a day and not to skip meals for five hours straight. Meanwhile, you use your eye to estimate portions on your plate. To design a Zone-friendly plate, you divide your plate into thirds.

  • One-third of your plate should have a source of lean protein, roughly the size and thickness of your palm.
  • Two-thirds of your plate should be filled with carbs with a low glycemic index. (high fibre)
  • Add a dash of monounsaturated fat to your plate, such as olive oil, avocado or almonds.

The hand-eye method is designed to be a simple way for a beginner to follow the Zone Diet. It is also flexible and allows you to eat out at restaurants while on the Zone Diet, by using your hand and eyes as tools to choose options that fit Zone recommendations.

The Zone Food Block method allows you to personalize the Zone Diet to your body by calculating your macros for the day. The number of Zone blocks you should eat per day depends on your weight, and other body measures. Each zone black contains one block each of carb (9gm), protein(7gm) and fat (1.5gm). A main meal consists of 3-5 Zone blocks whereas a snack will contain 1 zone block, making sure you stick to the prescribed proportion of the macros.

While the zone diet does seem like a balanced diet pattern, there are a few drawbacks associated with it. In addition, a dietitians consult on the same becomes crucial in order to calculate your specific macro amounts.

In Part 2 of the “In the Zone” we shall look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of this diet.

Published by Shiza Khan

A masters degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, and a penchant for health foods. It's not about dieting or losing weight. It's about choosing better foods and building a healthier lifestyle! Join me in this mission.

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