The Zone Diet is all about macro-nutrient ratios. There are three major macro-nutrients; they are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The idea is to ensure that every time you consume food you are consuming the correct ratio of carbohydrate to protein to fat. When this exact ratio is used the body responds by keeping insulin levels neutral, thereby preventing insulin spikes and crashes. Ever get that 3pm slump?
The Zone Diet makes use of a block system to make life simple for users who don’t want to count calories. Each macro-nutrient block of food is combined with the other two macro-nutrient blocks to make a perfectly “zoned” meal. Here is how the block system is broken down:
1 block of protein = 7 grams
1 block of carbohydrate = 9 grams
1 block of fat = *1.5 grams
To create a 3 block meal you would take 3 blocks of protein, 3 blocks of carbohydrate, and 3 blocks of fat and combine them together. An example could be 1 apple, 2 eggs, and 2 tablespoons of avocado.
Every person’s needs on The Zone Diet are different and are dependent on your size and activity level. Check out your daily block needs on The Zone Website Calculator.
The major difference with The Zone versus The Paleo Diet is that all foods are allowed on The Zone and every food is restricted to a certain amount based on how the food interacts with your blood glucose level (blood sugar). So while you may be able to eat any type of food, all foods are limited. An example is 1 block of carbohydrate is equal to 10 cups of spinach but only 1/3 of one piece of cake.
Learning how to combine macronutrient ratios properly and making zoned meals takes a little getting used to. At first, you will become very good friends with your measuring cups and food scale. But don’t despair, after a few weeks you are able to eyeball just about any zoned meal. A great rule of thumb is to keep your portions in a 40-30-30 rule. So 40% of your calories will come from carbohydrate, 30% from protein, and 30% from fat. If you don’t want to get fussy with your calorie counts then just look at your plate and cover 2/3 with carbohydrates, 1/3 with protein, and then sprinkle a fat source on top. Easy-peasy. If you are in a pickle and need a stat on a particular food, check out the Zone Block Quick Reference Guide and get back in the zone! Learn more.
Get the zone low down and check out Dr. Barry Sear’s The Zone Diet for more information.