The Zone Diet

A diet is a change in eating habits. It must be followed with vigilance so as not to cause dietary deficiencies. This is why different diets exist according to each person’s needs.

The Zone diet is a low calorie diet that allows you to lose weight very quickly while eating 5 meals a day. This diet proposes to keep the secretion of insulin (hormone of the storage of lipids and carbohydrates) in the right zone, so that it does not store. Understand by this, in sufficient quantity for the good health of the body, but not too much so that it does not increase body fat. In practice, it all depends on the composition of the plate.

What is the Zone diet?

The Zone regime is better known as the “star regime”. It was developed by an American researcher, Barry Sears. The principle of the diet is based on:

  • on a diet comprising 5 meals a day: 3 main courses and 2 snacks ;
  • meals every 5 hours at the most;
  • on the balance and equivalence of nutrient intakes in a precise manner: 4 g of fat for 10 g of protein.

The Zone diet: the perfect plate

The Zone regime is mainly based on the very strict and precise composition of the base:

  • 30% protein (meat, fish or egg): this proportion is high since animal protein sources do not produce insulin secretion. In addition, they are used for muscle maintenance and are never stored as body fat.
  • 30% lipids (in the form of vegetable oils, ideally vegetable fats): the portion is below national recommendations. Lipids do not secrete insulin, but can be stored as body fat.
  • 40% low glycemic index carbohydrates (this is the little touch borrowed from the Montignac diet): carbohydrates are responsible for the secretion of insulin. When derived from legumes, whole grain cereals and their by-products, the high fibre content of these products limits insulin secretion.

The zone diet in practice

If you decide to follow The Zone diet, there are several rules to follow:

  • Respect an interval of 5 hours between the 3 main meals and even the 2 snacks.
  • It is necessary to have a food composition table (in order to know their protein, fat, carbohydrate content) and a scale to weigh the food.
  • Favouring good fats is essential: olive, rapeseed, flax or walnut oil, avocados, almonds, macadamia nuts, oily fish… which promote the intake of omega 3 and avoid excess omega 6 and saturated fats that are harmful to health.
  • Carbohydrates must have a low or moderate GI: they must be derived from legumes, whole grain cereals and derived products, fruits, vegetables.
  • Proteins from lean or fatty fish, lean meats, skinless poultry and 0% dairy products are to be preferred. It is also necessary to take into account in the diet the proportion of protein found in plants (legumes, cereals, vegetables).

For this regime to be fully effective, you need to be highly motivated and “right fit”. Indeed, you have to be methodical and love benchmarks. Otherwise, following this diet will quickly become a chore.

Benefits of The Zone Diet

The Zone diet has several advantages:

  • Weight loss is rapid (up to 1.5 kg per week);
  • there’s no feeling of hunger because protein is filling;
  • the risks of deficiencies are limited: all food groups are represented;
  • Keeping insulin in the right area has a positive impact on health, especially with regard to metabolic diseases, autoimmune diseases and certain cancers. In fact, Dr. Sears developed The Zone diet with the goal of maintaining good health.

Disadvantages of The Zone diet

The Zone regime also has disadvantages:

  • it’s hard to follow because:
    • you have to cook according to the equivalencies, which takes a lot of time;
    • you have to weigh the food, which can quickly become restrictive;
    • eating meals away from home is complicated.
  • it is not adapted to the nutritional needs of each individual and can cause dietary deficiencies ;
  • Excess proteins are constipating and put the body in a state of ketosis, which causes bad breath;
  • weight regain is inevitable at the end of the diet;
  • not suitable for diabetics, people with kidney, heart or liver disease, pregnant or breastfeeding women.

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