As women, feeling confident about our bodies helps us to feel confident in other areas of our lives. That is why reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is so important: Fitting into that little black dress may be fun, but owning that staff meeting on Monday or feeling energized enough to play with your children is even more rewarding. Getting to that level of confidence in our bodies can be difficult, though. Finding a diet that is easy to follow, effective in helping us lose weight, and healthy enough to keep our bodies strong is difficult among the dozens of fad diets clamoring for our attention. However, one diet to consider is the Zone Diet. While this diet requires a permanent change in how you eat, it may lower inflammation in your body and provide you with a well-rounded diet.
What is the Zone Diet?
The Zone Diet was created by biochemist Barry Spears. It is based on the belief that inflammation caused by poor eating habits is the root cause of almost every chronic disease. As a result, it is designed to reduce inflammation in the body and to return the body to what Dr. Sears refers to as the Zone: A measurable state in which the body is best able to fight inflammation and remain healthy.
The Zone diet does not consist of a temporary change in eating habits. Instead, it is a permanent lifestyle change. Its primary characteristics are a focus on eating certain foods in certain ratios at certain times of day. While is is relatively strict about when and what is consumed, it also provides a certain level of convenience and flexibility that many followers find to be more appealing than the restrictive nature of some other diets.
What is the Zone?
The Zone consists of three different measurements from the blood that indicate the body’s overall ability to fight inflammation. These measurements are the TG/HDL ratio, the AA/EPA ratio, and the HbA1c. These values measure the levels of insulin resistance, inflammation, and blood sugar in the body. Each of these measurements, according to Dr. Spears, are almost entirely determined by one’s diet, and he claims that the Zone Diet is the ideal way to get in the Zone.
According to Dr. Spears, the body must be within a specific range for each of these values in order top successfully fight inflammation. Following are the ranges that the body must fall in for each measurement:
TG/HDL Ratio: Less than 1
AA/EPA ratio: 1.5-3
What are the rules for the Zone Diet?
The Zone Diet is designed to be simple to follow. At its most basic, therefore, it consists of using your eyes, your hands, and a watch in order to achieve the right balance of foods that Dr. Spears recommends for achieving maximum health. Following are the most basic rules for the Zone diet:
- Look at your plate.
- Divide your plate into three equal sections.
- Fill one-third of your plate with a lean protein that fits into the palm of your hand and is no thicker than the palm of your hand.
- Fill the other two-thirds of your plate with colorful, non-starchy carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables
- Add a bit of fat
- Repeat every five hours.
Dr. Spears claims that if this system is followed, you can maintain your body in the Zone for five hours, until your next meal.
What kind of foods are allowed in the Zone diet?
One of the benefits of the Zone Diet is the fact that no foods are off-limits. As long as you create the correct ratios of protein, carbohydrates, and fat, you will, according to Dr. Spears, be reducing inflammation and losing weight.
However, the Zone Diet does encourage the consumption of some foods over other foods. For instance, this diet promotes the consumption of carbohdyrates that are low on the glycemic index. This index tells you how quickly the food is absorbed by your body and, therefore, how quickly it raises your blood sugar. Carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index will keep your blood sugar more stable over the long-term.
It also encourages the consumption of lots of fruits and vegetables instead of grains and starches. Breads, pastas, and other grains, as well as starchy vegetables and some fruits (such as bananas and raisins) are discouraged (though not completely forbidden).
What supplements does the Zone Diet offer?
While the Zone Diet can be followed successfully without the use of supplements, Dr. Sears has created a number of supplements to maximize the effects of the diet. These supplements fall into two categories: Omega 3 fatty acids and polyphenols.
Omega 3 fatty acids
These fatty acids are important for brain health and may help to encourage the development of hormones that fight inflammation. The OmegaRX supplements through Dr. Spears claim to offer you strong and pure fatty acids.
Polyphenols, which are found in fruits and vegetables, may help to improve gut health as well as lower inflammation. Supplements with polyphenols are offered by Dr. Spears to help you consume the high levels of polyphenols necessary to enjoy their health benefits.
What are the benefits of the Zone Diet?
There are many benefits that you may enjoy by following the Zone Diet. Following are a few of the major benefits this diet may provide:
- Fat and weight loss
- Improved well being
- Clarity of thought
- Slower aging
In addition, the Zone Diet has the advantage of being relatively easy to follow, because it allows for most foods to be consumed, and because it can be followed by almost anyone who has a dietary restriction (including vegetarians and vegans).
Is the Zone Diet effective?
The information regarding the effectiveness of the Zone Diet in helping you lose weight reveals that the weight loss this diet provides is about the same as that offered by other several other diets. However, studies show that following the Zone Diet does decrease inflammation in the body. In addition, the Zone Diet is generally considered safe by experts.
Eating well and exercising are the time tested methods of losing weight and improving your overall health. However, sometimes what a healthy diet looks like can vary from person to person. If inflammation in your body is a concern, the Zone Diet may help you to reduce that inflammation and related health problems. Its relatively well-rounded meals, along with its proven ability to reduce inflammation, make it a safe choice to try for losing weight and achieving better health.