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‘Enter the Zone’ and you’ll lose weight permanently, achieve peak physical performance, enhance mental productivity and delay the signs of ageing. At least that’s what Barry Sears, creator of The Zone Diet, tells us!
In the mid 1990’s, the Zone was all the rage with many celebs, including Jennifer Aniston and hubby Brad Pitt, all claiming to be fans of the plan. Before long, millions of people were following the Zone and the diet had become a household name. Now, even though newer diet plans such as the Atkins and South Beach Diets gain more column inches and their books currently head the New York Times Bestseller list, the Zone Diet continues to remain a popular choice for some.
What’s the theory?
The Zone Diet works on the theory that excess insulin, a hormone that helps control our blood sugar levels, makes us fat and keeps us fat. By closely regulating our blood sugar levels and therefore keeping our levels of insulin in a tight ‘zone’, the body burns fat more efficiently so that we lose weight.
To control blood sugar levels and consequently insulin levels, you need to get the perfect balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in every meal. Achieving this perfect balance effectively means following a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet that includes moderate amounts of fat. And if that sounds familiar, you’d be right! In fact, the Zone Diet is not too dissimilar to many of the other low-carb, high-protein diets that are currently in vogue, either in terms of the theory or the foods you can and can’t eat.
What does the Zone Diet involve?
If the theory sounds simple, the reality is far more complicated. First off, you’ll need plenty of patience, a head for science and the desire to learn more about ‘zoning’, either by looking at the Zone website or indulging in some bedtime reading, courtesy of creator Barry Sears.
The idea is that to reach ‘The Zone’, every meal and snack should provide 40 percent of calories from carbohydrate, 30 per cent from protein and 30 per cent from fat. This is what some Zone fans call the 40:30:30 ratio.
To help with this, ‘Zone Food Blocks’ have been developed, where each ‘block’ contains a standardised amount of carbohydrate, protein or fat. To lose weight, a certain number of blocks are allocated for each meal and snack.
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