10Oct

The Zone diet is the creation of biochemist Bob Sears who proposes that focussing on how food affects hormones is an important factor in staying healthy. Food choices can manage hormones to stay at the right level necessary for optimal health, a situation Bob Sears describes as the Zone.

Getting in the Zone involves switching to foods tending to reduce inflammation in the body, a move expected to reduce the risk of many chronic health conditions and diseases. Sticking to the Zone diet plan promises to lower body fat, maintain better health indicators, slow down aging and experience better physical and mental performance. Publications offering information on the Zone diet include The Zone, A Week in the Zone and Mediterranean Zone.

 

The process of the Zone Diet Plan

The Zone diet plan recommends meals should comprise 40% carbohydrates, 30% proteins and 30% fats. The diet limits calorie intake but encourages more meals with a normal Zone menu having five or six mealtimes.

The diet uses what is called the hand-eye method which uses the hand to indicate several things. Five fingers are supposed to remind of the number of mealtimes and the guideline of eating every five hours. The eyes are used to determine the right portions of food on the plate which should be two-thirds carbohydrates and a third protein.

The carbohydrate sources that the Zone Menu recommended include whole grains, fruits, legumes and vegetables. Lean meats including non-fatty red meat, skinless poultry and fish are preferred while healthy fats are encouraged. Foods to avoid include sugary drinks, processed or refined food products, starchy vegetables and caffeine products. Exercise is not a part of the plan but is recommended.

 

Pros

  • It is inexpensive and allows most major food groups.
  • There are plenty of materials available for support.
  • It may help in weight loss.

Cons

  • Portioning and calorie counting can be tedious and time-consuming.
  • Some health benefit claims are not supported scientifically.

Who should do this diet

The Zone is designed as a long term lifestyle change to prevent or better manage common chronic diseases and conditions. It can be a good fit for those living or at risk of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

Diet plan ideas

Day 1

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with turkey bacon, vegetables and fruit.

Lunch:  Grilled chicken and egg salad with fruit.

Dinner: Grilled salmon, lettuce and sweet potatoes.

Day 2

Breakfast: Tomato and Spinach Frittata

Lunch: Tuna and Egg Salad

Dinner: Turkey Sausages, Fried Eggs and Asparagus

Day 3

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with turkey bacon and fruit.

Lunch: Grilled chicken and egg salad with fruit.

Dinner: Grilled salmon, lettuce and sweet potatoes.