The Zone diet was developed by Dr. Barry Sears. The diet is one that follows the 40/30/30 plan. That translates into forty percent carbohydrates, thirty percent fat, and thirty percent protein. Dr. Sears advocates a balanced meal plan in order to avoid certain diseases and lose weight.
The Zone diet talks about insulin production as a factor in weight loss. Eating foods that will raise the blood sugar and stimulate the production of insulin are not good for the body. Excess insulin will be stored as fat. The body is not encouraged to burn stored fat for energy with so much insulin in the bloodstream. Such increases in insulin are believed to aid in increased incidence of heart disease and diabetes in people.
The Zone diet is specific about the types of foods that help keep insulin in check. Carbohydrates like those found in fruits and vegetables are better than those found in anything made from white flour. Processed foods are a no-no since they contain plenty of empty calories that turn to fat in the body.
The traditional eating plan of three meals a day and two snacks are eaten on the Zone diet plan. The snacks are added to keep participants from experiencing hunger and overeating at the next meal. The snacks shouldn’t be high in sugar or they will defeat the purpose of maintaining steady blood sugar levels.
For the meals, a regular dinner size plate is divided into 40/30/30. The largest portion is carbohydrates and they are simple carbs like green vegetables, corn, cauliflower, and peppers. The size of the meat portion is about the size of the palm of the hand for a four ounce piece of chicken or steak. Excess fat needs to be trimmed before cooking.
Fats are included in the meal to slow the digestion and provide steady energy. Slower digestion means that dieters won’t feel hungry right away. The Zone diet recommends fats that are good for you like nuts and oils like canola and olive.
Foods that cause spikes in the blood sugar are avoided as much as possible. We know that candy, cakes, and other sweet treats can do this, but also more common foods. Breads, pasta noodles, and heavy starches will do the same thing. These foods are addictive and we often eat more than a serving size of them at any one time, without realizing it.
The Zone diet plan offers no special pre-packaged foods to buy so the plan is cost effective. The weekly grocery list is fine with a few simple changes to reflect healthier choices. The foods are ones that children are used to eating so there is no problem fixing Zone approved meals for everyone in the house. They may not even notice the changes in many cases.
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