What Foods Can You Eat on The Zone Diet?

What Should I Eat?

First and Foremost, while what you eat in The Zone is very important, there is no “list” of foods that you can and cannot eat in The Zone. Each food is a judgement based on important criteria.

Not only the Zone, but many nutrition resources advocate balanced nutrition. The body seems to run optimally on a balance of 40% of your calories coming from carbohydrates, 30% from proteins and 30% from fats. This also means each and every time you eat, each meal should be made up of this ratio.

Once you have established and understand this ratio, you should then look at the kinds and quality of these three macronutrients (carbs, protein and fats).

Simply put, each one plays an essential role in how your body functions and how your body responds.

Carbohydrates break down into glucose and fuel your body by entering your bloodstream and supplying your cells with needed energy. Insulin facilitates this process.

Protein supplies the body with amino acids, which repair and build muscles.

Fats break down into essential fatty acids, which facilitate the function of eicosanoids (super hormones). They also provide a stored energy source the body can pull from in time of need.

The quality and balance of these macronutrients is what keeps your body running in optimum condition.

Let’s look at carbohydrates first:

Low glycemic carbohydrates provide fiber, which aids in keeping the intestines working properly, which in turn can prevent certain colon cancers and other intestinal disease. They breakdown slower into glucose and release glucose steadily over a period of time. Higher glycemic foods break down more rapidly and release the glucose in a “rush”.

Now let’s look at proteins:

Proteins can come from both plant and animal sources. Animal sources contain saturated fats, which, when eaten in excess have been found to contribute to a number of diseases, including heart disease and stroke. Proteins provide amino acids which are the building blocks of muscle. There are 8 essential amino acids and 12 non-essential amino acids which the body uses. In order for the body to run optimally you must provide these amino acids by eating proteins. Eating lean meats and trimming fats from meats provides a good source of amino acids while cutting down on saturated fats.

Finally let’s talk about fats:

Fats come in many forms and each plays a role in nutrition: Saturated fats from animal sources and palm and coconut oil. Unsaturated fats come from plant sources. There are monounsaturated fats (Omega-9) and polyunsaturated fats (Omega-6 and Omega-3). Omega-3 can be found in cold water fatty fish like salmon (who eat the Omega-3 rich plankton), some range fed animals (who eat the grasses) and flax seed. There are also manmade or man-altered fats called trans fats and fake fats. These are chemically altered oils like hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils and margarines and products like Olestra, which are very unhealthy and should be avoided at all costs.

Each and every time we put something into our mouth, we set into motion a very complex sequence of actions and reactions which can either benefit or harm our bodies.

Each person is unique and reacts and responds differently to what they are exposed to in their environment.

The Zone diet, or balanced nutrition, provides a correct balance of the three macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats). It is not a deprivation diet. You COULD theoretically choose a 40-30-30 combination of nutrients from any source and still obtain this balance. However, in order to keep your body in prime condition, you should keep these essential things in mind:

  • Eat quality not quantity. The saying “Garbage in-garbage out” does not only apply to computer applications!
  • Eat LOW glycemic carbohydrates. These provide a slow release of glucose into the bloodstream and a minimal insulin response. They also are an excellent source of fiber.
  • Eat quality lean meat and tap into the excellent benefits derived from soy products.
  • Eat Omega-9 oils which include avocado, olives and olive oils, and nuts as your primary source of fats added to your diet. Supplement with Omega-3 oils in the form of Fish oil supplements and also eating wild, cold water fatty fish. Limit your intake of Omega-6 oils, which include vegetable oils. Avoid ANY partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated oils and margarine.

Some additional tips I can give you would be:

  • Read labels carefully.
  • Practice perimeter shopping when in the grocery store. (Go around the outer edges of the store, staying away from the middle aisles).
  • Ask many questions and keep asking until you are satisfied and understand that which you question.
  • Listen to what your body is telling you, keep a journal on what you eat and how you feel and make adjustments as necessary.

In summary, the bottom line is, no one can make you do something, they can only advise. It is up to you to make the final decision as to how and what you will eat. The success of following the balanced nutrition lifestyle lies solely in your hands.

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One Response to What Foods Can You Eat on The Zone Diet?

  1. I’m on the right track!I just need more informed

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