The diet “Zone” is an authoring of the American specialist Barry Sears. He proposed it at the end of the 90 of the last century in the acclaimed book “Welcome to the Zone.” To date, this food system has found its fans among the famous Hollywood actors: Demi Moore, Courtney Love, Cindy Crawford and Brad Pitt have been seen for “using” the zone diet scheme. But not only world-famous stars want to look wonderful and feel healthy and full of energy, therefore the “Zone” diet system is widespread and popular among women and men around the world.
The main principle of the diet is that the daily diet should consist of 40% carbohydrates, and 30% are fats and proteins. Thus, the body “is placed in a favorable zone”, and in this case, it itself begins to burn excess body fat. Sounds intriguing? It is worth considering the mechanism of action of the diet in more detail.
How the Zone diet works
The founder of the zonal nutrition system, Dr. Sears, argues that the phrase “Eat more and you will never get fat” is not an absurdity, but a scheme that works for the human body.
The diet is based on the constant maintenance of the level of insulin in the blood at the optimal level, without sharp drops and rises. Deviations in both directions can cause overweight or serious illness. So, increased insulin contributes to the development of hypoglycemia, a violation of glucose synthesis processes. The result is increased fatigue, irritability, memory impairment and concentration. Slow fat absorption in this case is the cause of the appearance of excess weight.
Constantly reduced insulin is a direct road to diabetes, which is characterized by disorders in the pancreas and the endocrine system as a whole. In addition, his constant companion is a feeling of hunger, because of which you have to constantly reach for the supplement. The proportional ratio 40 / 30 / 30 helps to maintain normal blood insulin levels and receive enough nutrients for normal body function during 4-5 hours after eating.
Who is suitable for a zonal diet
The author of the diet himself calls it a full-fledged diet, which you can adhere to constantly. For those who just need to urgently lose weight, this option is unlikely to work. But the desire to achieve and maintain an optimal level of weight and physical fitness on an ongoing basis, without loss of muscle mass, without sudden jumps on the scales – an occasion to get acquainted with the principles and diet system “Zone” closer.
What you can eat during the diet
All products are divided into allowed and prohibited. Since this food system involves the rejection of sugar and harmful polyunsaturated fats, the list of taboos significantly exceeds the list of allowed foods. Sweet carbonated drinks, alcohol, caffeine, sweet juices, processed and animal fats, bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, flour products, instant cereals – all this is prohibited, and eating fruits that are high in sugar (bananas, plums, raisins, grapes) is limited.
As for the products that can be consumed during the diet, these are: red cabbage, white cabbage, Brussels sprouts, dill, cucumbers, leeks, green and onions, sorrel, asparagus, spinach, bell pepper, arugula, artichokes, parsley and leaf salads , tomatoes, citrus fruits and pomegranates.
From fats, olive oil and fish oil are allowed.
Foods with protein content suitable for diet:
- lean fish;
- a hen;
- low-fat cheeses.
Features and nuances of the diet – how to achieve better results
The most important thing when observing the zonal diet is to keep the proportions 40 / 30 / 30. To do this, you have to arm yourself with scales and tables of the chemical composition of food. Dr. Sears himself says that the determination of the required amount of each of the nutrients begins with protein, and fats and carbohydrates are already calculated from it.
The combination of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in a predetermined proportion should be in every meal. An example of a suitable serving is the following combination: if you divide the plate into three equal parts, then one of them takes a piece of chicken the size of a palm, the other two-thirds are fruits and vegetables, that is, carbohydrates. One teaspoon of olive oil – the necessary amount of fat for such a serving.
The diet involves five meals a day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks (afternoon snack and a meal before bedtime). The intervals between meals should not be more than 5 hours, and breakfast should be no later than one hour after waking up. At the same time, physical education is desirable – a few easy exercises, but daily.
The total calorie content of the diet usually does not exceed 1600-1700 kcal – this factor depends on the available weight and intensity of physical activity.
Two liters of water without gas per day is a necessary condition of the diet “Zone”.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a zonal diet?
Thanks to such a nutrition system, you can gradually lose 500-700 g per week, while the muscle tissue of the body is strengthened, its tone is increased. Reviews of those who adhere to the diet “Zone” also speak of increasing immunity, reducing fatigue and improving mental and physical performance, as well as slowing down skin aging.
In this case, this method of losing weight has some drawbacks. Although it can not be called strict, however, any violations and the use of prohibited products worsen the result.
In addition, protein abuse affects the functioning of the kidneys, and the absence of coarse dietary fiber in the diet can cause constipation. The consequence of this may be the appearance of acne.
The amount of carbohydrates in this diet is not enough for athletes, so intense and heavy exercise with such a diet is not combined.
As for the ratio of 40 / 30 / 30, nutritionists have not yet come to a consensus on this matter. Some experts point out that the fat in the diet should really be 30%, but carbohydrates and proteins – 55% and 15%, respectively.
The high protein content creates an additional load on the body associated with its splitting, which, if it is maintained for a long time, can cause gallstone disease, hypertension, and osteoporosis.
As for the reviews of doctors about the zonal diet – some advise you to remove the last meal before bedtime, so as not to create an additional burden on the heart. Others argue that dieting will only work if you exercise.
The inconvenience can be caused by the constant need to calculate the amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Obtaining preliminary consultation of a dietitian about the permissibility of a diet in a particular case is an important and necessary moment before entering the diet according to the “Zone” system.
Simplified diet scheme “Zone” – how it works
A popular example of a zonal diet is designed for 10-14 days and allows you to lose 1-2 extra pounds in the first week. Five meals a day and a sufficient amount of fluid – this must be remembered every day. The diet includes fruit and vegetable salads, meat dishes (baked, boiled and fried), raisins, low-fat cottage cheese, kefir and sour cream, steam vegetables and some other useful goodies. Despite the limited list of allowed foods, the diet menu is quite varied and leaves no chance to go hungry during the day. The main thing is to remember the proportion of 40 / 30 / 30.
The diet “Zone” is controversial from the very moment of its development and presentation to the general public. She has fans who adhere to this diet for years, and there are opponents who say that you can put your body in order with it for two to three weeks or more. Its main advantages are a relatively balanced diet and a fairly diverse menu. As for the shortcomings and contraindications, the dietitian will be able to most accurately answer the question of whether this type of diet food is suitable for a particular person.