DietTV's recommendations for people on
The Zone Diet
According to this plan, food is your ultimate medicine, better than any pill a doctor can prescribe. The key is managing insulin levels through a diet designed to keep them within a certain zone.read on (continued below)
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DietTV Eat Out Guide
What can I eat
DairyLow-fat milk and plain yogurt
Diet Specific ProductsBranded foods
FruitSuch as apples, apricots, berries, grapes, kiwi
VegetablesPlenty of fresh and cooked vegetables
WaterPlenty of water
Whole GrainsA wide variety of whole grains
What can I snack on
CheesePart-skim and low fat hard and soft cheeses
DipsGuacamole and hummus
EggsHard-boiled eggs (whites only)
FruitA wide variety of fresh, and no sugar added cooked and frozen fruits
Ice Cream & Sorbets100% fruit sorbet
Milk & Soy MilkLow fat milk
Nuts & Seeds
Powder SupplementsProtein powder
VegetablesA wide variety of fresh and cooked vegetables
Description (cont'd from above)
The Zone Diet Plan
According to the Zone Diet plan, food is your ultimate medicine, better than any pill a doctor can prescribe. The key is managing insulin levels through a diet designed to keep them within a certain zone. Once you enter the Zone, you will be in a "euphoric state" where maximum physical, mental, and psychological performance can be achieved. This state, in which your body and mind work at their ultimate best, can be reached by everyone and maintained for the rest of your life, according to creator Dr. Barry Sears. This "hormonally correct diet" claims lasting fat loss, greater health, peak athletic, mental, and emotional performance, as well as a longer lifespan.
The cardinal rule, on the Zone Diet, is to make sure that each meal and snack has the right combination of low-fat protein, "good" carbs, and a bit of fat. Meal timing is also essential to ensure adequate "medication" every four to six hours.
What Makes the Zone Diet plan different?
The idea of the Zone Diet is that each meal and snack has to be specifically balanced sets this plan apart. A conscious effort needs to be made to plan ahead to ensure the right combination of low-fat protein (such as fish or chicken breast), carbohydrates (such as fruits and vegetables), and "good" fats (such as olive oil and nuts) are ingested every time you eat. Meal timing is also unique and stems from the belief that food is like drugs and in order to remain in the Zone, you need to make sure that the body does not become deficient of the right foods.
What is the Zone Diet plan?
The main goal of the Zone Diet plan is to control the protein-to-carbohydrate ratio every time you eat. Once you have controlled this ratio for about five to seven days, the Zone will become immediately and constantly accessible. The dieter can choose from three methods to put together a balanced Zone meal.
The Hand-Eye Method relies on your hand and a plate, with no math or measuring necessary. You visually divide your plate into three sections. One third of your plate, on the Zone Diet plan, is for lean protein and the remaining two thirds are for favorable carbohydrates such as fruit and vegetables. Meats should be about the size and thickness of your palm. Once you have filled your plate with the required foods, add a touch of beneficial fat such as avocado or olive oil.
The Zone Counts Method offers a more exact method for calculating carbohydrates. Here, you add up your carbohydrates based on the Zone Counts values. Women can eat 15 Counts per meal, men 20 Counts per meal, and 5 Counts for snacks for either gender. A Zone Counts Index is available online or from the numerous books published by Dr. Barry Sears.
The Zone Diet Meal Planner can also be used if you have Internet access. Zone-balanced meals can be automatically planned for your wants and needs.
Hundreds of quick and easy recipes can be found and substitutions are easy to make if you are not happy with the one you were assigned.
The Zone Diet plan is divided into three stages:
- Stage One: Entering the Zone. This stage lasts for two weeks and allows you to learn the basic principles of the diet while beginning your initial weight loss. You will be drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer starches such as pasta and bread, eating smaller, more frequent meals, and eating small amounts of low-fat protein at every meal and snack.
- Stage Two: Eating in the Zone. This stage lasts for four weeks and fine-tunes your unique biochemistry. You will be figuring out how much protein is required at each meal and consuming that amount, balancing protein and carbohydrates at every meal, adding some extra "good fats" to every meal and snack, and timing your meals so you never go more than five hours without Zone-specific food.
- Stage Three: Living in the Zone. This stage is for the rest of your life and enables you to maintain health and wellness long term. You will be controlling silent inflammation, taking high doses of fish oils, beginning a moderate exercise program, and trying some relaxation techniques.
There are many resources available to help while on the Zone Diet plan. Books published by Dr. Barry Sears include The Top 100 Zone Foods and Zone-Perfect Meals in Minutes, along with others that are widely available. The Web site has member-submitted tips, recipes, and support communities. Other dietary tools include a weight tracker, diet journal, and body fat calculator. You can ask a dietitian questions either by posting online or by calling a toll-free number.
What are the weight loss expectations?
Actually, on the Zone Diet plan, it is called "fat loss," not weight loss. Up to ten pounds of fat loss should be seen in the first five weeks.
Is exercise promoted?
Dr. Sears stresses that exercise should be a part of any total health plan and even some mild activity can help your overall health. Food is the "primary pathway to enter the Zone, but exercise can help widen the path and make it easier to stay in the Zone for a long-term basis."
Dr. Sears believes that walking is the best exercise possible while on the Zone Diet plan. Jogging can also be done, but it won't work as well as walking since you want to work out at a lower maximum heart rate for a longer period of time to burn fat for energy.
Six hours of walking or three hours of jogging per week is recommended. Sports such as racquetball, swimming, basketball, and tennis might be more exciting than walking or jogging, but since they are not continuous, you will not get the full advantage.
Are supplements recommended?
Supplements alone are not sufficient to help you while on the Zone Diet plan. The most essential supplement is the omega-3 fish oil supplement to accelerate the rate of fat loss and "ward off future health problems." Dr. Sears recommends taking four capsules of his Zone-specific brand. Vitamins C, B, and E are also suggested, along with magnesium and calcium.