First of all, we must not be tricked by the word Diet. As I always say, the weight loss process generated by being in the Zone can be identified as a side effect, as the Zone Diet is a diet aimed to making feel body and mind at the best! And the slimming? Well, by not invading our body of insulin anymore, the game is done! You lose weight!
In all these years of Zone and discussions I found out that there is a lot of confusion about the definition of Carbohydrate, Protein and Fat, therefore, following, I will make some examples of foods that fall into these three macro-nutrients:
Let's take another step forward:
- Carbohydrates: fruit, vegetables, bread, pasta, sweets, legumes (yes, in the Zone Diet, legumes as well)
- Proteins: meat , fish, eggs, milk, cheese, soy
- Fats: oil, dried fruit, butter, lard
They provide 40% of the energy of a zone meal and Dr. Berry Sears' Zone Diet principles prefer taking those with a low glycemic index (GI) in order to keep insulin levels under control. Depending on its glycemic index, a carbohydrate is classified as:
- Favorable: Low Glycemic Carbohydrates like most of Fruits and Vegetables
- Less favorable: bananas, raisins and figs dried, carrots and fava beans as well as most of the pressed and extracted fall into this category
- Unfavorable: carbohydrates with high Glycemic Index like all foods derived from cereals (bread, pasta , sweets), rice, potatoes, sugar and industrial products fall into this category
Finally, the Glycemic Index (GI) is that indicator that measures the speed with which sugars deriving from carbohydrates are absorbed by the blood. Therefore a food with high GI (unfavorable) will imply a higher glycemic peak (in terms of insulin response) compared to a food with low GI (favorable). The fibers contained in a food help to slow down the absorption of sugars in the blood and, therefore, the reason why most of the fruit and vegetables have a low GI is explained.
They provide 30% of the energies of a Zone meal and the principles of the Zone Diet of Dr. Berry Sears prefer lean protein foods (fish, white meats such as chicken and turkey, beef, egg white), avoiding foods rich in saturated fats and arachidonic acid in order to avoid the formation of bad eicosanoids.
Protein foods can also be classified into:
- Favorable: fish, white meats, egg whites and low-fat goat cheeses
- Less favorable: lean pork, rabbit, cold cuts lean as raw ham, bresaola and carpaccio
- Unfavorable: sausages, egg yolk, red meat, fatty pork
They provide the remaining 30% of the energies of a Zone meal. According to the principles of Dr. Berry Sears' Zone Diet, it is a common belief that fats are the cause of fattening, and that therefore, by removing the fats, the weight loss process should magically begin. Now, I am not a doctor, therefore I limit myself to report some aspects reported by Barry Sears in his books (we suggest to read them to go in depth), but, in general, the principle on which the Zone diet is based on is avoid insulin swings. In fact, the Zone Diet is based on hormonal control obtained by putting Proteins and Carbohydrates (glucagon and insulin) in the right ratio. To maintain insulin in the Zone, the ratio between proteins and carbohydrates must be (at best) equal to 0.75. Fats do not affect the balance of regulatory hormones, but are essential for keeping the body in efficiency and for allowing fat-soluble vitamins to circulate and reach their destination, as well as slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates.
The fat classification is also shown below:
- Favorable: mainly fats obtained from vegetable foods (extra virgin olive oil or flax seeds) or fats derived from fish, rich in Omega3 (we recommend small-sized fish, such as sardines, rather than large ones, such as tuna and, therefore, fish that are at the bottom of the food chain, to reduce the intake of heavy metals such as mercury)
- Less favorable: fish at the top of the food chain
- Unfavorable: mainly fats from red meats, offal as well as saturated fats such as butter and lard, but also hydrogenated fats such as those contained in some margarines