Zone Diet: Non-Restrictive, All Balanced

The Zone Diet was popularized by a biochemist named Barry Sears in the books he wrote. It’s basic principle is to consume calories from carbohydrates, protein and fat in a balanced ratio without depriving one’s self from any of the three named.

The ratio is “40:30:30” of calories from carbohydrate, protein and fat, respectively. This formula has been debated by several bodies but a number of studies have already proven that this diet can actually produce significant weight loss at the same time build more muscle mass. The amount of fat loss by the people using this diet is even greater than some of the popular diets that greatly restrict fat and calorie intake that the Americans use today. Participants in these tests also report that this diet is easy to adopt since they need not suffer from hunger or fatigue.

Sears believes that the Zone denotes proper hormonal balance. With a harmonious balance of insulin and glucagon, both pancreatic hormones, specific anti-inflammatory chemicals are released into the body. These chemicals have the same effect as aspirin minus the gastric bleeding resulting from chewing dozens of it (the aspirin) like candy. The Zone, as the biochemist said, is brought about by the 40:30 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. He asserts that the natural anti-inflammatory chemicals produced are good for the heart and overall health.

The Zone Diet promotes caloric balance in the body. This way, the metabolism becomes more efficient without having to store the excess calories taken by the mouth as fat, making you gain weight. It is said that the human body cannot store and burn fat at the same time and Sears said that it takes time for the body to adjust from storing fat to burning them especially if there is a significant amount of insulin in the blood due to unbalanced eating habits. With the Zone diet, the insulin levels are maintained in a certain quantity to enable more efficient burning of fat.

He also believes that fat consumption is necessary to burn fat. He defended this reasoning by saying that the monounsaturated fats help give a feeling of fullness and thereby decrease the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed into the blood. This is accomplished by the lower insulin levels which mean lesser fats are stored and thus, shifting to fat burning becomes a lot faster.

In an unbalanced diet wherein high carbohydrates are taken in, the insulin levels are at their peak as a response to the phenomenon. In this case, a huge number of insulin will be transporting the energy derived from carbohydrates into the cells and those that are not used are stored to become fats. If the body needs energy, it cannot and will not burn fats due to the high levels of insulin. They will simply steal glucose (the energy) supposedly allotted as food for the brain. This causes a person to feel tired and unable to concentrate. By this time, the body would have already compensated by slowing the metabolism and giving the signal for hunger, restarting the high-insulin cycle all over again.


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