Barry Sears, an American biochemist, advocates the Zone Diet in many of his books as a balanced ratio of consuming carbohydrates, proteins and fats. His theory is one that promotes overall well-being and stable blood sugar levels; ultimately designed to avoid heart attacks at an early age. His most recent publications have also publicized the use of fish oils and Omega-3 fatty acids to avoid inflammation within the body.
Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are three of the main sources of nutrition for the body and the Zone Diet focuses upon ensuring they have an evenly distributed intake into the body. Carbohydrates are used to fuel the body as the primary sources, protein is used to build and recover the body and fats are used to both insulate the body and provide additional sources of fuel when the body requires it.
The Zone Diet is focuses upon balance. A split of “40:30:30” in the intake of Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats in that order is essential for the body. While many diets advocate reducing fat intake or cutting out carbs, Sears believed that doing this would create a hormonal unbalance in the body that would hinder the overall goal of the diet and long term health. All of these nutritional groups are designed to be consumed; it is simply a matter of balance and moderation. Sears uses an example of eating a spoon of sugar. Most people know this is bad for you and probably wouldn’t eat it. However, by reducing fats and proteins, you are in effect increasing the ratio of carbs in your diet.
The diet has claimed to be beneficial to many as it generally does not alter what you eat on a day by day basis. It simply alters the proportions of food and how you eat it. Very little is ‘off limits’ within the diet, however, the 40:30:30 ratio is to be adhered to at every meal and every snack that is eaten which is typically a big change for most people. The only foods that are off limits are highly processed ones that are typically found in many frozen foods and or fast-foods. The access to a wide range of foods is beneficial to many as they can eat what they would normally do but change the way they eat them.
The Zone Diet is focused heavily on hormone balance. Eating certain food groups causes the release of certain hormones for the body to effectively take them into the various systems. Having too high of a proportion of one or the other has an effect on other areas which is why the need for balance is stressed so much. Reducing fats in the diet is not advised as this increases the ratio of carbs causing insulin to be released which will ultimately lead to increased body fat.
The diet is one of moderation and balance. The access to various food groups is appealing to many but can be difficult to keep to the 40:30:30 ratio. The diet stresses overall health and long term well-being as opposed to focusing on weight loss as an example.