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Among the diet plans that have been trending in recent years is the Zone Diet. This way of eating is generated towards reducing inflammation, slowing down aging, and keeping you properly satiated in between meals. And the lifestyle has been said to help with weight loss, body fat, improving mental clarity and overall wellness. We went straight to the source and asked Zone Diet Creator Dr. Barry Sears to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the Zone Diet. Want to go deeper? Check out his latest book, The Resolution Zone, which gives readers an overview on how to help reverse the damage done by past inflammation and promote the ability of the body to repair.

Contents

What is the Zone Diet?

The Zone Diet is an anti-inflammatory diet created by Dr. Sears, a dietary hormone response expert, in 1998. It involves structuring your meals to include a specific balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats, and can be combined with many other traditional dietary programs. The Zone Diet is considered a long-term eating plan, not a quick-fix diet.

“It’s going back to the original Greek root of the word diet, which means way of life,” Sears says.

Related: 26 Things to Know About the Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Why is it called the Zone Diet?

According to Sears, this specific way of eating is geared at keeping inflammation “in a zone” that’s not too high, but not too low. Sears explains that we need some level of inflammation to be able to fight off microbiome invasions and to allow any physical injuries sustained heal. But if we have too much, it begins to attack our body. “So keeping inflammation in that zone is really the key toward treating chronic disease,” he adds.

How does the Zone Diet work?

All you need to do the diet, per Sears, is “one hand, one eye, and one watch.” The first step is to visually balance your plate: one-third should contain a lean protein (no larger than the palm of your hand); two-thirds should be colorful fruits and vegetables (good carbs). Then, add add a dash of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat—ideally olive oil, “because it’s rich in polyphenols (antioxidant-rich micronutrients) that basically will add to the polyphenol mix of the diet,” Sears says. “It’s that simple!”

If you like tracking your foods in an app like MyFitnessPal that calculates nutrients, here are the numbers you are looking for: 40% of your calories coming from carbohydrates, a.k.a fruits and vegetables, 30% coming from protein and 30% from fat.

“At one meal, if you have 25 grams of protein, about half of that should be fat, monounsaturated fat, maybe 12 grams and maybe about 30 to 35 grams of carbohydrates, primarily non-starchy vegetables,” Sears says.

If you’re using carbohydrates as your fruits and vegetables, with the emphasis on vegetables, the number of calories you’re consuming is very low. “Those meals should be about the 400 calories, but there are very large meals in terms of size,” he says.

Sears says that the trendy concept of intermittent fasting is essentially a bookkeeping way of trying to reduce calories. But by doing the Zone Diet, you end up automatically reducing calories by balancing your plate “because it’s the hormones that those proteins and carbohydrates generate that keep you satiated so you aren’t hungry. And if you aren’t hungry, you eat less calories. If you eat less calories, you live longer,” Sears explains.

How do I know if the Zone Diet is working for me?

You look at your watch. “If you have no hunger five hours later, that meal was a hormonal winner for you,” says Sears.

What are the benefits of the Zone Diet?

Reduction in inflammation

“Why is that important? That’s the driver of chronic disease,” he says.

Longevity

“There was a recent study that demonstrated that if you eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day—that’s two kilograms of raw fruits and vegetables—that your likelihood of death decreases by about 31% decrease. Your likelihood of getting dying from cardiovascular disease decreases by 25% and dying of stroke also decreases by about 25%,” he says, adding that this is due to the polyphenols found inside these foods.

“Even though it’s a calorie-restricted program, it’s virtually impossible to eat all the food because on the Zone program, you’re eating about 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. That’s a lot of fruit. That’s a lot of vegetables. And so what your consuming for the average female is about maybe 1,200 calories per day and 1,500 for the average male,” he says. What you’re looking to do with your meals, says Sears, is to say, ‘I’m controlling the hormones so I can maintain enough adequate protein coming in so I can maintain my muscle mass. But basically balancing that protein with the right type of carbohydrates. So I don’t overproduce the hormone insulin.”

Related: Dr. Travis Stork Reveals His Battle With Chronic Pain—and Which Diet Helps

All these numbers sound complicated. Any tips to make the Zone Diet easier?

The secret, Sears says, is finding the low-fat protein, fruits and vegetables that you like to eat, and learning how to balance that plate. Then put together about 10 different meals, which you can rotate around. “People rarely eat more than 10 different meals at home. They’ll eat two different breakfasts, three different lunches and five different dinners. And if they go out to eat they might go to the same restaurants over and over again eating the same meals,” he says. So you don’t have to drive yourself crazy trying to perfect hundreds of recipes to make at home.

What foods can you eat on the Zone Diet?

Remembering that the proper balance is key, here are some good Zone Diet foods:

  • Tomatoes

  • Kale

  • Spinach

  • Arugula

  • Celery

  • Broccoli

  • Cauliflower

  • Carrots

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Cucumbers

  • Green Beans

  • Eggplant

  • Zucchini

  • Squash

  • Onions

  • Chicken

  • Shrimp

  • Tuna

  • Tofu

  • Eggs

  • Turkey

  • Salmon

  • Apples

  • Oranges

  • Avocados

  • Nuts

  • Olive oil

What foods should you limit on the Zone Diet?

High-glycemic carbohydrates. “They enter the bloodstream very quickly as glucose. And then will basically pump up insulin,” he says. “In terms of what we call ‘whole grains,’ whole grains are whole because they contain polyphenols. But the rate of entry of the carbohydrates in the blood is no different than a piece of Wonder bread,” he adds. So Sears says to keep the amount of starches that you eat to a maximum of around one serving per day. “We want about eight servings of vegetables, two servings of fruit, one at most and and ideally zero of the grains and starches.”

Light Bulb

Healthy Now Tip

Eat an apple to boost heart health. High-fiber foods can lower triglycerides, or fatty lipids found in your blood. Aim for 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day with picks like oatmeal, beans and pears. From Our Partners at the Cleveland Clinic

What are some Zone Diet meals?

Breakfast

Greek yogurt with some almonds as a healthy fat source. Another option is slow-cooked oatmeal and an egg white omelet. “You’re balancing protein to carbohydrate and then add some guacamole to the top of the egg white omelet.” Both of these should keep you full for five hours.

Lunch

A chicken Caesar salad. “You get the 25 grams of protein with the chicken breast and the salad. But the salad doesn’t have carbohydrates. So with that, you’d have another two to three servings of vegetables on the side.”

Dinner

Think three servings of non-starchy vegetables, things like broccoli, artichokes, asparagus, cauliflowers. And then for protein, salmon or chicken.

Can vegans and vegetarians do the Zone Diet?

Yes. Both groups eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. So, according to Sears, 2/3 of their plate is already completed. Vegetarians can add in eggs and dairy products for their protein sources and vegans can opt for a soybean protein product.

Can you do the Zone Diet and the keto diet?

No.This way of eating doesn’t place its focus on fruits and vegetables, Sears says, which he deems as being key for gut health. He also says people following a Ketogenic diet plan need to make sure that they are getting enough beneficial bacteria-feeding fiber, which can be tough to do. A Mediterranean diet is good pairing with the Zone diet.

What can you eat at a restaurant on the Zone Diet?

If you’re big on eating out, have a restaurant modify a dish until it works for you on this plan. People tend to go to the same 5 to 10 restaurants on repeat, which is a benefit to those doing this program. “They might have a menu with hundreds of meals, but you eat the same one every time. So you keep telling them to adjust the meal, take off some of the grains and starches, add some more vegetables until you find what’s the right meal for you at that restaurant.” Then you can keep including that into your weekly repertoire.

Check out 100+ foods you can eat on the Mediterranean diet.

I tried the diet that celebrities like Jennifer Aniston swore by — and it totally lived up to the hype

The Zone Diet is based on balanced portions of proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. Nasha Smith/INSIDER

  • The Zone Diet reduces diet-induced inflammation and improves mental and physical performance.
  • Your plate should consist of one-third lean protein, two-thirds low glycemic carbs and vegetables, and a dash of healthy fats.
  • Celebs like Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock have tried it.

There is a strong possibility that your favorite celeb has tried the Zone Diet. Stars like Jennifer Aniston, Madonna, Sandra Bullock, and Sarah Jessica Parker have tried the popular eating method to maintain their lean physiques.

Biochemist Dr. Barry Sears developed the diet to reduce inflammation caused by refined and processed foods. It also purports to help people lose weight, improve mental and physical performance, and lessen the risk of chronic disease.

So how exactly do you get into the zone? The Zone Diet is based on balanced portions of proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. One-third of your plate should be filled with lean proteins like skinless chicken, turkey, and fish. Two-thirds of the plate should consist of low-glycemic carbs and veggies. The final component is a dash of healthy fats like olive oil or avocado.

This can be a bit tricky, so the hand-eye method has been touted as the simplest way to navigate measurements. Your protein should resemble the size and thickness of your palm. That would approximate one-third. The other two-thirds of carbs would essentially be two palmfuls. The five fingers on your hand also serve as a reminder to eat five meals a day.

The diet can be further broken down by the Zone block method, which personalizes the diet according to your body’s needs. A single Zone block contains 7 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbs, and 1.5 grams of healthy fats. Your number of blocks are dependent on weight, height, hip, and waist measurements. For example, the average woman needs 11 Zone blocks per day and the average male 14.

Foods to avoid include potato, pasta, bread, grapes, mangoes, carrots, peas, corn, processed foods, sweets, tea, and coffee.

I am well-known among my family and friends as a potato enthusiast and as a West Indian, bread is life. But as an Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) sufferer, I am always looking for ways to reduce inflammation so I was willing to give this a shot.

Here’s what happened when I gave the Zone Diet a shot for a week.

Day one was a success.

Oatmeal with fresh berries became a breakfast staple throughout the week. Nasha Smith/INSIDER

I love attempting wellness challenges so I was very enthusiastic to start my Monday with this new goal to strive for. For my first meal, I made my usual breakfast of oatmeal. Normally I would have paired this with a banana but that was not Zone-Diet-friendly. Instead, I added a bunch of blueberries, strawberries, and a sprinkle of coconut. I firmly believe in having a good breakfast to fuel me throughout the day and this was ideal as it was very filling.

I’m not a big snacker, but I managed to have some plain yogurt and a stick of sharp cheddar cheese around midday. At this point, I was so stuffed it would be well past 2 p.m. before I even considered lunch. I kept it simple with grilled chicken breast, a bit of brown rice, and a large green salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. So far, so good.

Two hours later it was time for another snack so I munched on some almonds and a tangerine. Dinner was more or less the same as lunch and my day of eating was finally done. I kept myself hydrated with water since tea was supposed to be kept to a minimum. Day one was a satisfying success.

Day two showed me that I wouldn’t go hungry on this diet.

Lunch consisted of salmon paired with brown rice. Nasha Smith/INSIDER

Breakfast was a repeat of the previous day’s oatmeal and berries. I added a bit of natural peanut butter to fulfill the healthy fat/protein requirement I had omitted yesterday. This time I completely missed out on the mid-morning snack because I was much too full and decided to listen to my body.

Lunch consisted of a salmon meal paired with brown rice since this was one of the only acceptable carbs. It was from a West Indian restaurant so it came accompanied by some beans and ripe plantains which in hindsight I realized might not be appropriate because it’s in the banana family. Oh well.

After missing the earlier snack I made an effort to have some cheese, peanuts, and a tangerine to make up. For dinner I just had some roasted vegetables and leftover chicken because my poor stomach protested anything heavier. I can’t believe I thought I might be hungry on this diet. I was kind of bummed I didn’t follow my plan to the letter, but it was still a pretty good day.

Day three also went off without a hitch.

Apple slices and peanut butter are a Zone-friendly snack. Nasha Smith/INSIDER

Yes, I had another bowl of oatmeal with berries. To be honest, I don’t get bored with food. I could eat the same meal for days quite happily. But on this day, I was a little salty because I couldn’t have any of the fresh brioche my aunt offered me. I also wouldn’t mind a cup of tea but I was doing fine with my water.

I decided to switch up my snack today with an old favorite. I paired some apple slices with peanut butter. At lunch my coworker laughed as I walked by with my faithful container of brown rice, chicken, and veggies. I wasn’t remotely hungry when mid-afternoon snack time rolled around but I still scarfed down a few almonds. I repeated my lunchtime routine for dinner and thought of the heaping bowl of mashed potatoes I would have at the end of the week.

Day four was full of more of the same.

Oven-roasted veggies were easy to pair with dinner. Nasha Smith/INSIDER

Another day, another bowl of oatmeal. This really has been my go-to breakfast for years now. I would occasionally alternate with other porridges like Cream of Wheat or cornmeal but I’m not sure if those would fit in the zone. And toast was out of the question. I opted for a coconut yogurt and strawberries for today’s snack. I realized I was lacking a healthy fat, but I figured I would just have extra avocado at lunch.

I managed to find another carb for lunch — come through sweet potato. As I ate this with my salad and chicken, I read a bit more to see if there was anything new I could incorporate into my meals. My vegetable intake was still not as high as it needed to be so I vowed to do something about that for dinner.

Later that afternoon, I coated some broccoli, Brussels sprouts, onions, and squash in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic before oven-roasting. The broccoli and brussel sprouts were for the rest of my family because these vegetables usually trigger my IBS but the squash was delicious paired with some stewed beef and the rest of my newly discovered sweet potato.

Day five saw me skipping dinner entirely.

Lunch consisted of leftover beef stew with quinoa, brown rice, and plantains. Nasha Smith/INSIDER

Still no shame in my oatmeal game. I contemplated having a mango to spice things up a bit that’s apparently too naturally sweet and not Zone-compliant. So more blueberries it is and a dollop of peanut butter. I wasn’t really in the mood for any more nuts or yogurt today so I just had half an avocado as my obligatory snack.

Lunch was another helping of rice but with a twist. I discovered Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice with garlic and it was truly life-changing. I am not sure how long this has been a thing but I am in love. Together with my leftover stewed beef and beloved fried plantains it was one of my best meals. I still wasn’t sure I could have plantain on the Zone Diet but I fried it in some olive oil, which is technically a healthy fat.

It was early evening by the time I got around to having my mid-afternoon snack. I caved and had some peanuts and a smoothie. I used almond milk, strawberries, and blueberries. I was so full that I decided to skip dinner altogether. I hated deviating from the plan but I reassured myself that at least I wasn’t eating badly.

On day six, I tried to mix up my breakfast and failed.

You’re supposed to avoid mango on the Zone Diet, but you can’t always avoid cravings. Nasha Smith/INSIDER

The night before I decided to take a break from my trusty oatmeal and make eggs for breakfast. Unfortunately, I woke up late so oatmeal it is. At least I tried. I enjoyed my smoothie from the previous day so I had it as a snack. This time I added a spoon of peanut butter.

I was full for the next three hours so I had a late lunch of leftover chicken, sweet potato, and sliced cucumber. I also decided to live dangerously and indulge in a bowl of mango chunks. That was it for the day. I wasn’t hungry and I didn’t want to force the issue.

Day seven would be the day I went hard on my diet.

I celebrated the end of my week with a glass of white wine. Nasha Smith/INSIDER

I woke up with renewed determination. This was it and I was prepared to go hard. I finally managed to make myself some scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Why didn’t I do that sooner? This was hands down the best meal I had the whole week. Some toast would have come in clutch but I could survive another few hours.

I skipped my mid-morning snack again and went straight into another package of quinoa and brown rice, grilled chicken, and salad. I followed that up with some plain yogurt topped with berry chunks. As I had grown accustomed to doing, I repeated lunch for dinner.

I celebrated the end of my week with a glass of white wine. There were conflicting reports on whether this was Zone-approved but I figured one glass wouldn’t kill me.

Ultimately, this diet was a little restrictive, but I always felt full and never bloated.

My biggest concern going into this was not feeling satisfied at the end of the day. This was never an issue at any point in the week. In fact, I felt like I was eating too much. But I knew that I was eating clean and not just consuming empty calories. Another plus was the effect on my stomach. I was less bloated and my stomach remained settled. Thanks to the steady diet of water, my skin had a healthy glow.

I felt a bit restricted so I wouldn’t be able to stick to this for the long haul. I have no interest in having processed foods, but I did miss having some of my favorite fruits like grapes and mangoes. It’s hard enough having to avoid cruciferous veggies because of IBS, so eliminating my other options like carrots and peas made it really tough. I also didn’t like having to throw random snacks together to ensure I met the protein, healthy fats, and carbs ratio.

This is the kind of diet that would work with extensive meal prep. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It helps save money and lessens the chances of reaching for unhealthy foods. But I like having options when eating. I also really love potato, pasta, and bread so I will continue to subscribe to everything in moderation.

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The Zone diet: All you need to know

The Zone diet prescribes a number of recipes.

Orzo is a type of pasta that is in the shape of barley grains.

A typical meal plan for a day could be:

Breakfast: Breakfast hash made with bacon and vegetables, or cocoa berry butter smoothie for vegetarians

Lunch: Zone PastaRX Orzo (a low-carb orzo) with chicken and green beans or curried spinach with tofu for a vegetarian option

Dinner: Almond chicken with vegetables or barbecue tempeh and vegetables for those who follow a vegetarian or plant-based diet

Snack: Blackberry shrimp salad or asparagus artichoke salad for a vegan option

For some of these recipes, people will need to purchase special ingredients, such as Zone PastaRx Orzo.

A diabetes meal plan aims to help a person manage blood sugar levels. Click here for a 7-day plan.

What can I eat?

Guidelines include eating three meals and two snacks every day. Each meal must have some protein, about the size of a small chicken breast, and each snack should also contain some protein.

People should balance their carbohydrate, fat, and protein intake in the following proportions:

  • One-third protein
  • Two-thirds carbohydrate
  • A dash of unsaturated fat

Sources of protein include:

  • poultry
  • fish
  • beef
  • low-fat dairy
  • pulses, such as beans and lentils
  • nuts and seeds
  • tofu
  • eggs

Why do we need protein, and what are some good sources? Find out here.

Sources of fat include:

  • nuts and nut butters, including peanut butter
  • olive oil
  • avocado

Learn more here about healthful and unhealthful fats.

Source of carbs include:

  • vegetables
  • legumes, such as beans, peas, and lentils
  • fruit

These provide starches, natural sugars, and fiber.

Learn more here about carbohydrates.

Recommended carb sources

The diet recommends including the following foods:

  • fruits and berries
  • non-starchy vegetables, such as spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, and green beans
  • pulses, for example, lentils and beans
  • oatmeal
  • barley

It recommends avoiding:

  • soft drinks
  • candies
  • baked goods
  • white or wheat bread
  • starchy vegetables, including potatoes, corn, squash, and peas
  • rice
  • pasta

Another option to reduce inflammation is the anti-inflammatory diet. Find out more about what to eat and what to avoid on this diet.

Recipe books and other resources are available for purchase online.

Food blocks

People who follow the diet will need to decide how many blocks of food they need each day. The blocks help a person obtain the right balance of nutrients for the diet.

One block is:

  • 7 grams (g) of protein
  • 9 g of carbohydrate, minus the fiber
  • 1.5 g of fat if a meal includes meat, or 3 g of fat if it is plant-based

The number of blocks a person needs will depend on various factors, such as their sex, activity levels, and whether they need to lose weight. An average female will need around 11 blocks and an average male around 14.

The diet website provides a body fat calculator to help people find out how many blocks they need.

Four pillars of the Zone diet

The Zone diet also has four pillars. Bringing these together can make the Zone part of a person’s way of life.

A person should:

Restrict calories without hunger or fatigue: If a person consumes more calories than they need, the body will convert this extra energy to fat, and excess fat can cause problems in the body. One way to do this is to avoid high-calorie, processed foods.

Manage inflammation levels in the body: Short-term inflammation is a natural reaction that is part of the body’s immune response. However, chronic inflammation can adversely impact health in many ways. Supporters of the diet say “you need some inflammation, but not too much.” Followers of the Zone diet may take supplements to help achieve suitable levels. However, the diet does not appear to specify precise levels of inflammation, and a person can only know how much is present by taking a blood test.

Use dietary polyphenols to activate genes to enhance wellbeing: This involves eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and possibly taking supplements.

Control inflammation that comes from gut microbes: Do this by consuming polyphenols, omega-3, and fermentable fiber.

Balancing these aspects should help a person achieve and maintain a healthy body and mind. A person should aim for a lifelong strategy rather than a short-term diet.

One way or another, you’ve probably heard of the Zone Diet.

Maybe it was through one of its celebrity followers; Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock, and Demi Moore have all been rumored to be fans. Maybe you overheard people talking about it at your local CrossFit box; the CrossFit Journal once wrote that the Zone Diet “closely models optimal nutrition.”

Either way, the Zone Diet was created by Barry Sears, Ph.D, formerly a research scientist at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to help people lose weight and lower their risk of chronic disease by reducing diet-induced inflammation.

According to Sears, “the zone” is a physiological state in which your body is primed to control inflammation. It’s determined by three clinical markers (all of which can be measured either by your doctor or through a test available on the diet’s website) that measure insulin and other inflammation-promoting hormones. By keeping your body in this zone, the Zone Diet results in losing one to two pounds per week—or that’s at least what its proponents claim.

The Zone Diet is often called a fad diet, despite its 30-year history and three New York Times best-selling books. This year, it tied with three other diets to be named the 22nd best overall diet (out of 40 diets) evaluated in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Diet Rankings of 2018—meaning it likely won’t hurt your health, but it might not be your best option.

(Speed up your progress towards your weight-loss goals with Women’s Health’s Look Better Naked DVD.)

What Does Inflammation Have to Do with Weight?

For one, research has linked elevated levels of inflammation-sensitive proteins in the body with future weight gain. One scientific review even called obesity a “state of low-grade, chronic inflammation.”

Essentially, inflammation is how your immune system protects your body from foreign substances, like when you have a wound. But foreign substances, like allergens, can also be found in the air and your food, and can sometimes cause an an inflammatory response in your body.

“Inflammation as it relates to weight regulation is a phenomenon where external stress predisposes the body to an increase in stress-related markers in the blood,” explains Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts. When the body has an increase in inflammatory markers, there is often an increase in fat tissue. That’s because chronic inflammation can cause your fat cells to retain those foreign substances, as well as fluid, eventually growing bigger and bigger.

The Zone Diet also puts an emphasis on managing insulin, a hormone that regulates the storage of fat, in your system. When your blood sugar spikes—after eating foods like refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and sugary foods—it causes counter-spikes in insulin, which can trigger inflammation.

Related: ​This Is The Diet Jessica Alba Used To Lose 11 Inches In 4 Months

What’s On the Menu?

So how do you get in “the zone”? It’s all about a balanced plate. The Zone Diet calls for strict ratios of macronutrients: 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat. By sticking to those ratios—and eating the Zone-recommended foods—you’ll keep your blood sugar and hormones in check to avoid inflammatory reactions.

To hit those ratios, protein-rich foods like egg whites, fish, poultry, lean beef, or low-fat dairy would need to take up about one-third of every meal’s plate. The rest would be colorful vegetables and a little fruit, trying to stay away from produce picks that are high in sugar, like bananas, carrots, grapes, and raisins, or starch, like potatoes and corn. Last but not least, each plate should include a little bit of monounsaturated fat from foods such as olive oil, avocado, or almonds.

Related: 7 Ways To Cook Eggs, Ranked In Order Of Weight-Loss Effectiveness

No foods are off-limits, although the diet does recommend staying away from carbs that are higher on the glycemic index, like pasta, bread, and potatoes, which can throw your blood sugar out of whack. It also prioritizes foods with polyphenols and antioxidants, both of which have anti-inflammatory compounds.

If you haven’t noticed, the Zone Diet is a version of a low-carb diet—without making you give up on them completely, says Reshmi Srinath, M.D., an assistant professor of at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. That can make adherence easier.

The Zone Diet does require calorie restriction, though—the recommendation is 1,200 calories a day for women. For most of us, that’s a pretty steep cut. And eating too few calories can actually backfire when it comes to your weight-loss goals; your body will eventually go into starvation mode and hold on to fat instead of burning it, which will slow down your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight.

Find out what 1,200 calories looks like on 3 popular diets:

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You also have to stick to a strict schedule: You’ll eat three meals and two snacks, and you should never go more than five hours without eating. That’s important because “when people eat frequent meals and snacks, they’re less likely to overeat later in the day and may have a lower likelihood of craving foods that are known to be worse for our health, liked processed, sweet, and salty foods,” all of which cause inflammation, says Stanford. Regular eating also keeps your blood sugar levels steady, which helps avoid an inflammatory response.

The science, though, is mixed on what Zone Diet results actually entail. One study found that after a year on the Zone Diet, dieters lost seven pounds—less than those who followed a low-fat diet but more than those who did Weight Watchers or followed the low-carb Atkins Diet.

But according to a more recent study, people on the Zone diet lost just 3.5 pounds after a year, less than people on a low-fat diet, Atkins, or a low-saturated-fat/moderate-carb diet. But if you do consume the suggested foods, you likely will decrease inflammation—whether that leads to weight loss depends on your individual body.

Related: The Ketogenic Diet Might Burn 10 Times More Fat Than The Standard American Diet

Should You Try It?

So the Zone Diet might help you lose weight, and there’s no real health risk to trying it. That said, you don’t necessarily have to follow the calorie guidelines or schedule to see similar Zone-Diet results.

“I think the concept of macronutrient balance is something that anyone can incorporate into their diet,” says Srinath. “The benefit of using the three ratios is that it focuses on portions and the idea that you’re getting your energy, your fuel, from the carbs and the proteins, with fats on the side.”

However, for some, the strict focus on macronutrients could backfire. “In order to meet the 30-40-30 ratio, people may end up restricting foods that are high in fiber, calcium, vitamin D, and potassium,” says Stanford—and those are important nutrients, too. Meanwhile, just because you hit your macro goals, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are hitting them with healthy foods.

So, if you decide to follow those ratios (which she actually recommends when working with people who have diabetes), it’s best to first chat with a registered dietitian to make sure that you aren’t accidentally cutting necessary nutrients or overeating unhealthy foods that just happen to fit your macros.

Ashley Mateo Ashley Mateo is a writer, editor, and UESCA-certified running coach who has contributed to Runner’s World, Bicycling, Women’s Health, Health, Shape, Self, and more.

The Zone Diet remains one of the most misunderstood concepts in nutrition. It is not a weight loss program any more than the Mediterranean diet is a weight loss program. It is a dietary roadmap developed for three distinct purposes: (1) the control of hormonal responses generated by the diet, (2) the reduction of inflammation, and (3) the altering of gene expression, and in particular the silencing of inflammatory genes. The Zone Diet is ultimately based on an understanding of the fundamental nature of inflammatory responses that are deeply embedded in our genes and how the balance of nutrients in the diet can either turn on or turn off those inflammatory responses.

Zone Diet as a Blueprint for Dietary Ingredientssize>
The best way to understand the Zone Diet is that it represents a blueprint for putting together food ingredients to generate the best possible hormonal responses to control inflammation. This is why terminology is so important when trying to describe diets. Often the word “diet” is used incorrectly if it only describes food ingredients without also instructing a person how to balance those same food ingredients. Examples of this would include the Paleolithic diet or the Mediterranean diet. Each only describes the types of ingredients that might be used, but neither one provides any detail about the actual balance of ingredients that will result in the optimal hormonal balance.

For example, a Paleolithic diet simply means using ingredients available in Paleolithic times. This means fish, beef, and eggs as protein sources, fruits and vegetables as carbohydrate sources, and nuts as a fat source. These represent a rather restrictive group of food ingredients, even though they have the least inflammatory impact on our bodies compared to more recent food ingredients, such as grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and refined vegetable oils. But how to balance those ingredients to achieve the best hormonal response is never addressed in popular books on this subject. It is somehow left to intuition. That’s a very tricky proposition. For example, do you balance those Paleolithic ingredients in such way to generate a PaleoAtkins diet — rich in protein and fat but very low in carbohydrates? Or how about a PaleoOrnish diet rich in fruits and vegetables, but very low in protein and fat? However, if you follow the Zone Diet blueprint, you end up with the PaleoZone diet with a balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. Each of these diets will generate vastly different hormonal responses even though you are “eating clean” using Paleolithic food ingredients.

Not having a dietary blueprint for meal construction is similar to building a house without a blueprint after the lumber and bricks have been delivered to the construction site. You will probably get some type of shelter, but it would have been a lot better house if you had used a blueprint from the beginning.

Virtually all the popular books describing Paleolithic diets never give any blueprints for balancing of Paleolithic ingredients. They assume your body will somehow “know”. Fortunately, the top academic researchers in Paleolithic nutrition finally put together a “blueprint” for their best estimate of the macronutrient balance for the Paleolithic diet, which was published in a 2010 article in the British Journal of Nutrition. Their estimates were that the Paleolithic diet consisted of 40% of the calories as carbohydrates, 30% as protein, and 30% as fat. That’s virtually identical to the dietary blueprint that I described in The Zone 15 years earlier. Furthermore, they estimated that the Paleolithic diet should contain about 6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day just as I had recommended in The OmegaRx Zone eight years earlier.

Maybe I made a couple of lucky guesses years earlier, or just maybe the existing science at the time I made my dietary recommendations was compelling enough for me to take a strong position where others were strangely silent.

Mechanics of the Zone Dietsize>
Trying to construct meals on dietary percentages is useless because of the perceived complexity. Actually all you need is one hand and one eye. You can approximate a 40/30/30 balance simply by dividing the plate at every meal into three equal sections. On one-third of the plate you put some low-fat Paleolithic source of protein (egg whites, fish, chicken, etc.) that is no larger or thicker than the palm of your hand. This amount of protein is about 4 ounces and contains about 30 grams of high-quality protein. You fill the other two-thirds of the plate with Paleolithic carbohydrates (primarily vegetables and limited fruits). You could finish it with some Paleolithic fat (nuts) or go Mediterranean and add a dash of olive oil. This very simple method will provide pretty close to a 40/30/30 balance of calories every time. What’s your indicator that such a macronutrient balance is generating the correct hormonal response? It is your lack of hunger for the next four to five hours. This lack of hunger means that you have stabilized blood sugar levels with the right balance of protein and carbohydrate.

Seems simple enough, and it is. The only hard part is the doing the best you can every meal for the rest of your life, assuming you believe that hormonal control is important. Studies from Harvard Medical School in 1999 indicated that even the best hormonal balance from a meal could only be maintained for about five hours. This means you should be eating this Zone macronutrient balance every five hours to maintain the hormonal benefits throughout the day. Functionally this means eating three meals and two snacks every day, making sure that there is never more than five hours between a Zone meal and/or a Zone snack. This is easier than it initially seems. Simply eat your first Zone meal within an hour of waking. If that is 7 a.m., you should eat a Zone lunch no later than noon. Most people have dinner later than 5 p.m., meaning the late afternoon is ideal for a small, balanced Zone snack because most people eat dinner at 7 or 8p.m. Of course, that should also be a Zone dinner. Finally before you go to bed, eat another small balanced Zone snack to keep the brain fueled throughout the night.

Role of fish oil to reduce inflammationsize>
The Zone Diet is designed to reduce inflammation, which can be further enhanced by supplying adequate levels of high-purity fish oil rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. The amount I recommend to the average person is about 2.5 grams per day increasing to 5 grams per day for active individuals and still increasing more to 7.5 grams per day for elite athletes. The more intense the exercise, the more that inflammation in the body is induced by that exercise.

What Dr. Melinda Ratini Says:

Does It Work?

There is no specific research to prove that eating a certain ratio of protein, carbs, and fats is going to rev up your metabolism and increase weight loss. But it is a proven fact that eating a calorie-restricted diet, such as The Zone Diet, can help you lose weight. The claim that the weight loss will be all fat and not muscle or water, however, may not be as true.

The Zone Diet sets a realistic and healthy weight loss goal of 1 to 1.5 pounds a week. Most health experts also recommend this proven strategy for a sure and steady weight loss. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in their guidelines recommend that a good weight loss program should aim for a loss of 1 to 2 pounds each week.

There is also a lot of proof that adding in behavioral techniques, such as The Zone Diet’s tools and journals, is likely to help you lose weight and keep it off.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?

If you have high blood pressure or heart disease and were told to watch your salt, The Zone Diet’s emphasis on fresh ingredients and the shunning of prepared foods will likely fit well into your diet.

The Zone Diet also has fitness recommendations that closely follow those of the American Heart Association. Just let your doctor know before increasing your activity level, especially if you are out of shape or have medical problems.

Weight loss and exercise are key players in helping to prevent diabetes. If you already have diabetes, check with your doctor to be sure you don’t need to tweak your diabetes treatment plan before cutting out the calories and ramping up the exercise.

Though the ratios of protein, fat, and carbs in The Zone Diet are within the ranges recommended by the Institute of Medicine, the diet may be too high in protein if you have kidney disease or certain other health problems. You may also have to check cholesterol and fat levels closely if you have high cholesterol.

The Final Word

The Zone Diet promises that by balancing your nutrients, you will be able to lose weight and avoid hunger. However, the plan’s calorie restrictions and healthy food choices, rather than any intricate food balancing, may be at the heart of any weight loss.

You are likely to do best in The Zone if you love to pick out and prepare fresh vegetables and lean protein. But it will be a struggle if you love your white flour carbs and sweets. And though you can get tips for restaurant dining, it may be tough to stay in The Zone if you prefer to eat out a lot.

You can keep costs to a minimum by cooking your own meals, but there is the option of buying prepared meals from The Zone’s web site if you prefer.

The Ultimate Zone Diet Food List

The Zone Diet Food Pyramid

The Zone Diet has been around awhile, but it’s seen renewed interest with the growth of CrossFit. Greg Glassman, CrossFit’s founder, has brought renewed focus on a diet that’s said to be part Paleo and part empirical science. The Zone Diet combines the high-quality food sources prescribed by Paleo, and adds an element of controlling your macros and total consumption. Arguably, its one of the top diets for CrossFit athletes.

We won’t get into the details, but just as a reminder – here are the Zone Diet Basics:

  • Count Calories in “Blocks”
  • Eat 5 Small Meals
  • Eat Real Foods
  • Avoid High Glycemic Carbohydrates and Sugars

When it comes to what foods to eat on the Zone Diet, we’ve got it covered!

The Zone Diet breaks food into 5 major groups:

1. Vegetables 2. Fruits 3. Low-Fat Protein 4. Monounsaturated Fats 5. Grains & Starches

Check out the list below for a comprehensive overview of the best foods.

1. Vegetables

Colors of the Rainbow

The Zone Diet’s primary goal is to reduce inflammation. The best way to accomplish this is foods that do not submit your body to blood sugar spikes. The below is a list of vegetables that fit this criterion.

  • Alfafa Sprouts
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Bell Peppers
  • Black Beans
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chickpeas
  • Collard Greens
  • Cucumber
  • Egg Plant
  • Green Beans
  • Iceburg or Romaine Lettuce
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Kale
  • Kidney Beans
  • Leeks
  • Lentils
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Radishes
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Yellow Squash
  • Zucchini

2. Fruits

Fresh Fruits

Similar to vegetables, the Zone Diet seeks to provide individuals with foods that will control inflammation and blood sugar spikes. All fruits are without a doubt “natural”, but some contain more sugar than others. Rely on the below list for good sources of fiber, good carbohydrates, and vitamins.

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Kiwis
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerine
  • Unsweetened Applesauce

3. Low-Fat Protein

Zone Diet Low-Fat Proteins

While the Zone Diet doesn’t limit fat intake, it seeks to promote high -quality fats and proteins. Many industrial meats and dairy products contain high amounts of saturated fat and inflammatory omega-6 fats. Stick with quality protein, seafood, and low-fat dairy to minimize exposure to unhealthy fats.

  • Grass-fed Beef
  • Chicken Breast
  • Lean Bacon
  • Turkey Bacon
  • Turkey Breast
  • Ground Turkey
  • Most Seafood; i.e. Tuna, Salmon, Scallops, Shrimp, etc.
  • Egg Whites
  • Low-fat Cheese
  • Low-fat Cottage Cheese
  • Low-fat Greek Yogurt
  • Low-Fat Milk
  • Low-Fat Yogurt
  • Soybean Products

4. Monounsaturated Fats

Healthy Fats

Monounsaturated fats are ideal for optimal health. They reduce bad cholesterol levels and provide antioxidants to help grow and maintain your body’s cells. Contrary to some saturated fats and Omega-6 fats, they serve as healthy building blocks to the human body.

  • Almond Butter
  • Almond Oil
  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Canola Oil
  • Cashes
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Olive Oil
  • Olives
  • Peanuts
  • Peanut Butter
  • Walnuts

5. Grains & Starches

Keeping it Simple

The list for grains is quite short. The primary concern – these foods just don’t have the same mineral and vitamin content of vegetable and fruit alternatives. The Zone Diet advocates for vegetarian-based carbohydrates first and foremost. The below grains are still acceptable, and while most other grains are “questionable”.

  • Barley
  • Oatmeal

Wrap Up

The above mentioned foods represent the highest quality foods that fit the Zone Diet. With many diets, there are foods that fall in between “good” and “bad”. For additional information on these questionable foods, check out the official Zone Diet website.

If you’re an athlete or just trying to brainstorm some new Zone Diet recipes; the above list is a great starting point.

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“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” — Virginia Woolf

I’m currently researching the Zone diet to learn more patterns and practices for health, fitness, and vitality.

This post is a list of the Top 100 Zone Foods.

This list is organized by carbohydrates, proteins, fats, spices and condiments.

Each item includes a note on what portion equates to a Zone Food Block.

After the list, I summarize important points about Zone Food Blocks.

Using Food to Improve How You Think and Feel

The main way to use the list is to become familiar with high-quality foods and the relative portions. This way you can make more effective food choices when you want to improve how you think and feel.

This list is based on the book, The Top 100 Zone Foods: The Zone Food Science Ranking System, by Dr. Barry Sears.

Zone Food Blocks

According to Dr. Sears, each Zone meal consists of Protein Blocks, Carbohydrate Blocks, and Fat Blocks:

  1. Protein Block. One Protein Block contains 7 grams of protein. The average male needs four Protein Blocks and the average woman needs three Protein blocks.
  2. Carbohydrate Block. One Carbohydrate Block contains 9 grams of carbohydrates. 3 Carbohydrate Blocks would contain 27 carbohydrates. 4 Carbohydrate Blocks would contain 36 carbohydrates.
  3. Fat Block. One Fat Block contains 3 grams of fat. 3 Fat Blocks would contain 9 grams of fat. 4 Fat Blocks would contain 12 grams of fat.

Keys to the Zone Blocks

The keys to the Zone Blocks:

  • The number of Protein Blocks you need depends on whether you are a man or a woman.
  • Eat the same number of Carbohydrate Blocks at every meal as Protein Blocks.
  • Eat the same number of Fat Blocks at every meal as Protein Blocks.

The Average Woman Zone Food Blocks

According to Dr. Sears, a typical woman needs the following blocks for a Zone meal:

  • 3 Protein Blocks. The average woman will need three Protein Blocks for each meal (21 grams of protein.) That translates into about 3 ounces of high-quality protein.
  • 3 Carbohydrate Blocks. The average woman will need three Carbohydrate blocks for each meal (27 grams of carbohydrates.)
  • 3 Fat Blocks. The average woman will need three Fat Blocks (9 grams of fat.)

A typical Zone meal for a woman would contain about 9 grams of fat, 21 grams of protein, and 27 grams of carbohydrates.

The Average Male Zone Food Blocks

According to Dr. Sears, a typical man needs the following blocks for a Zone meal:

  • 4 Protein Blocks. The average man will need four Protein Blocks for each meal (28 grams of protein.) That translates into about 4 ounces of high-quality protein.
  • 4 Carbohydrate Blocks. The average man will need four Carbohydrate Blocks for each meal (36 grams of carbohydrates.)
  • 4 Fat Blocks. The average man will need four Fat Blocks for each meal (12 grams of fat.)

The typical Zone meal for a man would contain about 12 grams of fat, 28 grams of protein, and 36 grams of carbohydrates.

Alphabetical List of The Top 100 Zone Foods

According to Dr. Sears, here is an alphabetical list of the Top 100 Zone Foods:

Alfalfa Sprouts – Almonds – Apples – Apricots – Artichokes – Asparagus – Avocados – Barley – Basil – Beef Tenderloin (Well-trimmed) – Black Beans – Blackberries – Blueberries – Bok Choy – Broccoli – Brussels Sprouts – Cabbage – Canola Oil – Cashews – Cauliflower – Celery – Cherries – Chicken Breast (Skinless) – Chickpeas – Chili Peppers – Cinnamon – Cod – Cottage Cheese (Low-Fat) – Crabmeat – Cucumber – Curry – Eggplant – Egg Whites – Emu – Fennel – Garlic – Ginger – Grapefruit – Grapes – Green Beans – Haddock – Kale – Kidney Beans – Kiwi – Kohlrabi – Leeks – Lemons – Lentils – Lettuce – Lobster – Macadamia Nuts – Mackerel – Milk (Skim) – Miso – Mushrooms – Mustard Greens – Navy Beans – Nectarines – Oats (Slow-Cooked) – Okra – Olive Oil – Onions – Oranges – Parsley – Peaches – Peanuts – Pears – Plums – Pork Tenderloin – Protein Powder – Radishes – Raspberries – Red Bell Peppers – Salmon – Salsa – Sardines – Scallops – Sea Bass – Sesame Seeds – Shrimp – Soybeans (Boiled) – Soybean Hamburger Crumbles – Soybean Imitation Meat Products – Soy Cheese – Soy Milk – Spinach – Strawberries – Swiss Chard – Tangerines – Tempeh – Tofu – Tomatoes – Trout – Tuna – Turkey Breast (Skinless) – Turnip Greens – Wine – Yellow Squash – Yogurt – Zucchini

The Best Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats

The list is organized by carbohydrates, proteins, fats, spices and condiments. Each item includes a note on what portion equates to a Zone Food Block. After the list, I summarize important points about Zone Food Blocks. The main way to use the list is to become familiar with high-quality foods and the relative portions.

Category Top Items
Carbohydrates
  • Cauliflower. 4 cups of cauliflower = 1 Carbohydrate Block
  • Blackberries. 3/4 cup of blackberries = 1 Carbohydrate Block
  • Blueberries. 1/2 cup of blueberries = 1 Carbohydrate Block
  • Broccoli. 3 cups of cooked broccoli = 1 Carbohydrate Block
  • Kale. 2 cups of cooked kale = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Lettuce. 10 cups of shredded lettuce = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Mustard Greens. 4 cups of mustard greens = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Raspberries. 1 cup of raspberries = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Spinach. 3 and 1/2 cups of cooked spinach = 1 Carbohydrate Block
  • Strawberries. 1 cup of strawberries = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Swiss Chard. 2 and 1/2 cups of cooked Swiss chard = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Kohlrabi. 1 cup of cooked kohlrabi = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Turnip Greens. 4 cups of cooked turnip greens = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Apricots. 3 apricots = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Artichokes. 4 artichokes or 1 cup of artichoke hearts = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Asparagus. 12 asparagus spears = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Bok Choy. 3 cups of cooked bok choy = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Barley. 1/2 tablespoon of dry barley = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Red Bell Peppers. 2 red peppers = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Black Beans. 1/4 cup of black beans = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Cabbage. 3 cups of cooked cabbage = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Eggplant. 1 and 1/2 cups of cooked eggplant = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Fennel. 3/4 cup of raw fennel = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Grapefruit. 1/2 grapefruit = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Green Beans. 1 and 1/2 cups of cooked green beans = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Brussels Sprouts. 1 and 1/2 cups of cooked Brussels sprouts = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Kiwi. 1 kiwi = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Lentils. 1/4 cup of cooked lentils = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Nectarines. 1/2 nectarine = 1 Zone Block.
  • Oats (Slow-Cooked). 1/3 cup of cooked oatmeal = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Okra. 1 cup of cooked okra = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Oranges. 1/2 orange = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Plums. 1 plum = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Radishes. 4 cups of radishes = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Tomatoes. 2 tomatoes = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Wine. 4 ounces of wine = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Apples. 1/2 apple = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Celery. 2 cups of sliced celery = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Chickpeas. 1/4 cup of cooked chickpeas = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Cucumbers. 1 and 1/2 cucumbers = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Cherries. 8 cherries = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Yellow Squash. 2 cups of cooked yellow squash = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Grapes. 1/2 cup of grapes = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Kidney Beans. 1/2 cup of cooked kidney beans = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Leeks. 1 cup of cooked leeks = 1 Carbohydrate Block
  • Mushrooms. 2 cups of cooked mushrooms = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Navy Beans. 1/4 cup of cooked navy beans = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Onions. 1/2 cup of cooked or 1/ and 1/2 cups of chopped raw onions = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Peaches. 1 peach = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Pears. 1/2 pear = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Tangerines. 1 tangerine = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Zucchini. 2 cups of cooked zucchini = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
Proteins
  • Haddock. 1 and 1/2 ounces of haddock = 1 Protein Block.
  • Cod. 1 and 1/2 ounces of cod = 1 Protein Block.
  • Crabmeat. 1 and 1/2 ounces of crabmeat = 1 Zone Block.
  • Egg Whites (or Egg Substitute). 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup of egg substitute = 1 Protein Block.
  • Lobster. 1 and 1/2 ounces of lobster = 1 Protein Block.
  • Mackerel. 1 and 1/2 ounces of mackerel = 1 Protein Block.
  • Milk (Skim). 8 ounces of skim milk = 1 Protein Block.
  • Protein Powder. 7 grams of protein powder = 1 Protein Block.
  • Salmon. 1 and 1/2 ounces of salmon = 1 Protein Block.
  • Sardines. 1 and 1/2 ounces of sardines = 1 Protein Block.
  • Scallops. 1 and 1/2 ounces of scallops = 1 Protein Block.
  • Sea Bass. 1 and 1/2 ounces of sea bass = 1 Protein Block.
  • Soybean Hamburger Crumbles. 1/3 cup of soy hamburger crumbles = 1 Protein Block.
  • Tuna. 1 ounce of tuna steak or 1 and 1/2 ounces of canned tuna = 1 Protein Block.
  • Turkey Breast, Skinless. 1 ounce of skinless turkey breast = 1 Protein Block.
  • Emu. 1 ounce of emu = 1 Zone Block.
  • Chicken Breast, Skinless. 1 ounce of skinless chicken breast = 1 Protein Block.
  • Cottage Cheese (Low Fat). 1/4th cup of low-fat cottage cheese = 1 Protein Block.
  • Shrimp. 1 and 1/2 ounces of shrimp = 1 Protein Block.
  • Soybean Imitation Meat Products. 3/4th soy hamburger patty, 1 soy sausage patty, or 3 slices of soy deli meats = 1 Protein Block.
  • Soy Cheese. 1 ounce of soy cheese = 1 Protein Block.
  • Tempeh. 1 and 1/2 ounces of tempeh = 1 Zone Block.
  • Tofu. 3 ounces of extra-firm tofu, 4 Protein of firm tofu, or 6 ounces of soft tofu = 1 Protein Block.
  • Trout. 1 and 1/2 ounces of trout = 1 Zone Block.
  • Yogurt. 6 ounces of yogurt = 1 Protein Block.
  • Soy Milk. 8 ounces of soy milk = 1 Protein Block.
  • Beef Tenderloin, Well-Trimmed. 1 ounce of well-trimmed beef tenderloin = 1 Protein Block.
  • Pork Tenderloin, Well-Trimmed. 1 ounce of well-trimmed pork tenderloin = 1 Protein Block.
  • Soybeans (Boiled). 1/3rd cup of cooked soybeans = 1 Protein Block.
Fats
  • Macadamia Nuts. 1 macadamia nut = 1 Fat Block.
  • Olive Oil. 2/3 teaspoon of olive oil = 1 Fat Block.
  • Almonds. 3 almonds = 1 Fat Block.
  • Avocados. 1 tablespoon = 1 Zone Block.
  • Canola Oil. 2/3 teaspoon of canola oil = 1 Fat Block.
  • Cashews. 3 cashews = 1 Fat Block.
  • Peanuts. 6 peanuts = 1 Fat Block.
Spices and Condiments
  • Garlic.
  • Basil.
  • Alfalfa Sprouts. 10 cups of alfalfa sprouts = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Chili peppers.
  • Cinnamon.
  • Curry Powder.
  • Ginger.
  • Lemons.
  • Miso. Caveat – If you have salt-sensitive high blood pressure, you’re better off avoiding miso and using natto, a similar soybean paste that has virtually no sodium.
  • Parsley.
  • Salsa.
  • Sesame Seeds.

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The Zone Can Help You Reach Your Weight Loss Goals

Dr. Sears has spent more than 40 years researching how the foods we eat impact our hormones and the expression of our genes. See how the Zone can help you finally get that scale to budge!

WHAT IS THE ZONE DIET®?

The Zone Diet® was developed by Dr. Barry Sears more than 30 years ago to reduce diet-induced inflammation, The Zone Diet® will help you shed excess pounds and improve your mental and physical performance while living a more fulfilling life. The Zone Diet® is a life-long dietary program based on strong science to reduce diet-induced inflammation.

Dr. Sears’ Newest Book, The Resolution Zone Is Now Available!

WHAT IS THE ZONE?

The Zone™ is a real physiological state in your body that can be measured in clinical tests. If you are in the Zone, you have optimized your ability to control diet-induced inflammation. This inflammation is the reason you gain weight, become sick, and age faster.

There are three clinical markers that define if you are in the Zone. If all three clinical markers are within their ideal values, you are in the Zone. Otherwise, you are not.

Clinical Marker Ideal Value What It Indicates How to Test Yourself
TG/HDL ratio
From your diet.
< 1 Level of insulin resistance in the liver. Typically included with normal blood work within your cholesterol panel. Ask your doctor.
AA/EPA ratio
From your diet & fish oil.
1.5-3 Level of diet-induced Inflammation in the body. Take the Zone Labs Cellular Inflammation Test.
HbA1c
From your diet & polyphenols.
5% Level of Advanced Glycoslated Endproducts (AGE) tied to your blood glucose. To measure your level of blood sugar over a three-month period, ask your doctor.

Based on these values, less than 1% of Americans are able to manage diet-induced inflammation and fall within the parameters of the Zone. In the Zone, you will live a longer and better life because you are controlling diet-induced inflammation. That is the secret to maintaining wellness.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING IN THE ZONE?

Benefits of being in the Zone include:

  • Losing excess body fat at the fastest possible rate
  • Maintaining wellness for a longer period of time
  • Performing better
  • Thinking faster

Controlling diet-induced inflammation is a life-long effort. It is inflammation that disrupts the hormonal communication in our cells that prevents us from reaching peak performance. Making the dietary changes to reach the Zone and stay there may initially appear difficult, but are well worth the effort.

At Zone Labs, we provide the dietary products, continuing education, and personal consultation to make getting into the Zone easier.

HOW THE ZONE DIET WORKS

The Zone Diet requires that you simply balance your plate at every meal and snack with these nutrients:

  • Protein – 1/3rd of your plate, add some lean protein, about the size and thickness of your palm. This could include egg whites, fish, poultry, lean beef or low-fat dairy.
  • Carbohydrates – 2/3rds of your plate, add a lot colorful vegetables and a little fruit. Fruits and vegetables to avoid are those that are high in sugar (e.g., bananas, raisins) or starchy (e.g., potatoes, corn).
  • Fat – Add a little bit of monounsaturated fat. This could include olive oil, avocado, or almonds.

Learn the science behind the Zone Dietary Balance, or visit the Zone Food Block Guide.

ZONE FOOD PYRAMID

By restricting grains and starches and maximizing fruits and vegetables, those on the Zone diet will observe dramatic hormonal and anti-inflammatory benefits. If you balance your plate according to the Zone Diet blueprint, you end up with a Zone Food Pyramid that looks like the following:

The Zone Food Pyramid helps assure an optimal protein-to-glycemic load balance for improved hormonal control. Furthermore, it assures you have ample polyphenol levels in your diet. Polyphenol intake is important in controlling the bacteria composition of our digestive system, as well as activating anti-inflammatory and anti-aging genes.

Learn the science about the Zone Food Pyramid Biochemical Impact.

ZONE DIET ANTI-INFLAMMATORY SUPPLEMENTS

As powerful as the Zone Diet® is, it is just one of three parts of the complete Zone Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition Program required to manage diet-induced inflammation for a lifetime.

Zone Diet® benefits can be enhanced with anti-inflammatory supplements. The two most powerful are ultra-refined omega-3 fatty acids, such as OmegaRx®2 Fish Oil, and purified polyphenol supplements, such as MaquiRx®. Collectively, these three distinct dietary components provide what is required to stay in the Zone.

  1. The Zone Diet® – Controls hormonal balance to reduce the generation of diet-induced inflammation. Consider replacing your daily pasta with Zone PastaRx Fusilli or Orzo, as it provides superior hunger control with 15 grams of protein per serving.
  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Increase the resolution of diet-induced inflammation with OmegaRx Fish Oil. Check your AA/EPA ratio with the Zone Blood Kit.
    AA/EPA Ratio Cellular Inflammation Future Wellness
    1.5 to 3.0 Low Excellent
    3.1 to 6.0 Moderate Good
    6.1 to 15 Elevated Moderate
    Greater than 15 High Poor
  1. Polyphenols – Control gut biology and slow the aging process with MaquiRx or other Zone polyphenol supplements.

Each of the three components of the Zone program is powerful in its own right, but working together, they provide a powerful dietary roadmap to get you to the Zone where diet-induced inflammation can be controlled throughout your life.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Combining the Zone Diet® with anti-inflammatory supplements provides the basis for the Zone Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition Program, which takes you back to the beginning of modern medicine when Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”

We finally have the breakthroughs in molecular biology to understand the power of those words and the importance of being in the Zone. The Zone Diet® makes it possible with the least effort on your part.

Losing excess body fat, maintaining wellness, improving athletic performance, or slowing the rate of aging are dependent on your ability to reduce diet-induced inflammation. We understand that changing your diet can be difficult. At Zone Labs, we provide you the products, continuing dietary education, and personal support that makes dietary change possible for you.

BE EVEN MORE PRECISE

Want to have an even stronger connection to the Zone?

  • Make your own meals – When cooking, consult the Zone Food Block Guide, or access hundreds of Zone Recipes.
  • Determine how much protein you need to maintain your muscle mass – use our Body Fat Calculator. Then spread the recommended amount of protein you need throughout the day, balancing it with the correct amount of colorful carbohydrates.
  • Use our Insulin Resistance Quiz to determine your extent of insulin resistance, and receive clinically-based dietary recommendations that may help reduce your levels of insulin resistance.

GETTING STARTED

Always start with the Zone Diet® as your dietary foundation. Then use our recommended food and supplement products to get even better results to optimize your health and nutrition.

Zone Diet: The Zone diet is a weight loss plan based upon the idea that the right ratio of carbohydrates to proteins and fats can control levels of insulin in the bloodstream. Too much of the hormone, according to the diet’s developer Barry Sears, PhD, can increase fat storage and inflammation in the body.

In his book The Zone, Sears writes that metabolism can be best regulated with a diet of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. This idea is now widely known as the 40-30-30 plan. The diet does not prohibit any foods, but severely restricts those high in fat and carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables are the preferred source of carbohydrates in the Zone diet. Protein is limited to low-fat portions that are no bigger and no thicker than the palm of the hand. Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, almonds, macadamia nuts, and avocados are recommended.

The American Heart Association (AHA) classifies the Zone as a high-protein diet and has issued an official recommendation warning against such programs. The AHA statement says high-protein diets have not been proven effective for long-term weight loss and could actually be hazardous to health because they restrict intake of essential vitamins and minerals . On the other hand, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) rates The Zone more moderately and suggests that it is closer to dieticians’ recommendations than some other high-protein diets.

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QUESTION

Weight loss occurs in the belly before anywhere else. See Answer

Jennifer Aniston and The Zone diet: How she remains slim

Jennifer Aniston follows a diet called The Zone. This name comes from the title of a best-seller, Enter The Zone , that zone is where we feel alert, fresh, full of energy.

The book’s author, Barry Sears, is a former researcher in bio-technology from MIT. He reported many successes, celebrities and athletes who through this scheme have kept an eternally youthful silhouette.

Principle and scientific

The idea is to consume 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carbohydrates. This prevents diseases related to excess of fat and give the required shape for sports activities.

This is not far from what advocates a classic, the food pyramid. But the proportions are different and the author does not ask that you consume fewer calories, but their nature changes.
Quick carbohydrates are mainly avoided, and it joined the principle of low glycemic index. What is peculiar here is that the author want not diet seen as an amount of calories, but rather as a means to control certain hormones.

It gives a scientific basis to this diet, but there is a lack of concrete studies on the subject.
Insulin helps to regulate fat storage. Another hormone, glucagon, regulates the release of glucose in excess in the liver. The purpose of the scheme is to balance the activity of these two hormones and this is based on what we eat.

Putting the diet into effect

A small amount of protein in the afternoon and another at late evening. Thus we define a meal with a serving of foods rich in protein (the size of the palm), followed by fruits and vegetables. Simple.

Carbohydrates, but not just any. Twice as slow carbohydrate foods: lentils, beans, fruits, the amount of protein.

A lesser amount of least slow carbohydrates: rice, pasta, bread, fruits such as bananas and cooked vegetables like carrots. There is no need to mention that simple sugars should be avoided.

Dairy products are consumed in very small quantities and must be low-fat, no sugar intake.

The scheme does not prohibit pastries or ice cream. They have the advantage of reducing the rate of carbohydrate absoption by the body. However, the amount should be very limited and they must be occasional. They contain bad cholesterol.

Conclusion

The Zone diet recommends the more protein and fat than does the food pyramid. It also advises the foods with high glycemic index.

Although the diet does not ask to reduce the number of calories, Jennifer Aniston takes a maximum of 1700 calories per day and this certainly contributes to her silhouette, as far as The Zone.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest added The Zone in the list of acceptable diets. It gives little credit to the scientific evidence but considers that the scheme is valid and has the advantage of being easy to follow.
Another consideration is that the regime plays down the importance of fiber that help eradicate hunger.

The website of Dr Sears explains his theories.

See also

  • Megan Fox and her bad advice.

This story, originally published in May of 2017, really touches on all that is fun and good about Nostalgia Month. We get to look back on one of the mid to late ’90s brightest star’s Jennifer Anniston, whilst also looking back on some great content from Man Repeller. Please enjoy Harling’s deep dive into the life and mind of Jenny A. – Nora

I’m about to be the first writer in the history of magazine journalism to refer to Jennifer Aniston as “an enigma,” but, well… JENNIFER ANISTON IS AN ENIGMA.

When I volunteered to attempt a Jennifer Aniston Diet, which, in Man Repeller-speak, refers to the practice of living, eating, sleeping and breathing like Jennifer Aniston for an allotted period of time, I went into it feeling pretty cocky. This isn’t my first time at the celebrity diet rodeo, after all. I’ve done Amy, Ellen, Anna, Hillary and Gwyneth. Adopting the lifestyle of yet another A-lister with nice highlights would be easier than riding a bike with training wheels, a memory-foam butt cushion and a basket filled with organic fruit snacks, right? Wrong.

I innocently kicked off the process the same way I always do, by purchasing my subject’s favorite foods and beverages. In Jen’s case, this meant Ezekiel bread, avocados, chicken burgers, oatmeal (which she sometimes cooks with an egg white for “extra protein” — a trick relayed to her by none other than husband/protein aficionado Justin Theroux) and Smartwater. Lots and lots of Smartwater.

Jen is an ambassador for Smartwater, meaning Smartwater pays her a likely exorbitant sum to star in all its ad campaigns and make statements like, “I drink three to four 23-ounce bottles of Smartwater a day.” I am an ambassador for Smartwater in the sense that I often pay what is definitively an exorbitant price for one 23-ounce bottle that I promptly guzzle and then keep at my desk to refill with plebeian tap from the sink. In other news, apparently margaritas and guacamole are Jen’s so-called indulgences, which is great because my roommate’s birthday dinner took place at a Mexican restaurant in the midst of this exercise, and I made sure to indulge accordingly.

In addition to Smartwater, Jen is also ambassador for the beauty company Aveeno, so I picked up a bottle of its Nourishing Coconut Skin Relief Body Wash at my local teen hangout, also popularly known as Duane Reade. After soaping up in the shower, I sniffed my armpit and contemplated whether I was smelling what Justin Theroux smells when he climbs into bed and nuzzles his gelled locks against Jen’s perfect left nipple.

Now is the point in this article where I discuss Jennifer Aniston’s nipples — because they are indeed perfect and worthy of their own chapter. You may skip this section if you choose, especially if you’re my dad, in which case you most definitely should.

I think I’ve waited my whole life to wax poetic about Jennifer Aniston’s nipples. Okay, that’s an exaggeration: I’ve waited 10 years, which is the amount of time since I first watched Friends and became acquainted with their iconic protrusion. Jen’s nipples were the real star of that popular sitcom, if you ask me. At the very least, I would have preferred Monica to marry them instead of Chandler, but that’s a diatribe for another time.

The nipples make many an appearance throughout the show — in tank tops, slip dresses, you name it. They were and continue to be phenomenon — with actual Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and YouTube montages devoted to them — so I couldn’t, in good conscience, complete a Jennifer Aniston Diet without paying proper homage.

Conveniently, I happen to work alongside a bonafide fake-nipple expert. No, not Samantha Jones, silly goose — Amelia Christina Diamond. She’s taken a plastic pair around the block more than a few times in her day and very generously agreed to loan me some for my own journalistic research.

I donned the fake nipples underneath a white, ribbed tank top — a Jennifer wardrobe staple (don’t worry, I will fully unpack her outfit proclivities in a minute, but right now it’s Nipple Time). I’ve got to admit, they looked pretty good. They certainly felt good — like my own set of lighthouses guiding ships upon the horizon. I took them for an outing to my local coffee shop, where I dared myself to say, “It’s kind of nippy out, isn’t it? I think I’ll do a hot coffee instead of iced.” Don’t worry, dad, I chickened out.

I was very excited to tackle Jennifer’s signature style because it is markedly different from my own. While my inner style monologue frequently seems to be an echo chamber of, Can I add three necklaces to that? And maybe some popsicle-red shoes?, Jen’s is a toast to laid-back, California cool. It is the definition of “easy dressing”: stick-straight hair, blue jeans, plain James Perse T-shirts and tank tops, aviator sunglasses and little black dresses galore.

When I put on a white tank top and jeans and nothing else besides my vigorously straightened blonde locks, I felt more naked than when I’m at the doctor’s office. I snuck on a pair of “un-Jen” yellow slippers as a compromise. Such a Phoebe move.

The naked feeling only intensified that night, when I donned a stretchy, form-fitting, one-shoulder LBD from American Apparel in an attempt to channel Jen’s look from the recent Leftovers premiere. I bought the dress at the beginning of my freshman year of college after deciding I needed more “going out” clothes, as one does. It hasn’t seen daylight (or night light) in half a decade and frankly I’m shocked it is still in my possession because holy Hollywood did it feel weird upon my 25-year-old self. It was just so…adhesive? On the flipside, I felt extremely comfortable repping Jen’s Friends-era style in a recently acquired pair of baggy overalls.

At this point I was nipples-deep in my research, and a weird sensation began to creep over me. I usually feel a deep kinship with my chosen subject — a bond forged by shared experiences and the kind of intimacy only an egg-white-laced bowl of oatmeal can engender. With Jennifer, though, the deeper I dug, the more puzzled I felt. As I read interviews, watched late-night talk-show clips, took Buzzfeed personality quizzes and perused Getty archives, she certainly seemed easy to understand. Funny! Blonde! Loves avocados! America’s sweetheart! But…well…take a look at some quotes I flagged from a few of her interviews (Warning: Material intended for mature audiences. Viewer discretion advised)…

“I wouldn’t change my childhood, I wouldn’t change my heartaches, I wouldn’t change my successes. I wouldn’t change any of it, because I really love who I am, and am continuing to become.” — Vanity Fair, 2005

“I don’t know if I ever really get mad in real life.” — Vogue, 2008

“Laughter is one of the great keys to staying youthful.” — Harper’s Bazaar, 2016

“The most challenging thing right now is trying to find what it is that makes my heart sing” — Marie Claire, 2016

DO YOU HAVE CHILLS? I’m getting them all over again just typing this. Her answers are epically perfect — the real-life manifestation of an inspirational quote board on Pinterest — and you don’t even realize it until you read them boom boom boom right after the other and your hands start to get kind of clammy. I was ultimately forced to ask myself a troubling question, a question that made my blood run cold and my Ryan Seacrest-shaped tattoo throb like Harry Potter’s lightning bolt: Do we have any idea who Jennifer Aniston really is??

Just listen to what she says about her exes:

“I have nothing but absolute admiration for , and…I’m proud of him! I think he’s really done some amazing things.” — Vogue, 2008

“There was no malicious intent. I deeply, deeply care about ; we talk, we adore one another. And that’s where it is.” — Vogue, 2008

I mean…????? Jen is either the Messiah or she’s playing us all like a grand piano.

I’m a little terrified, but I’m also in awe. Jennifer Aniston is an enigma — an onion, if you will — and I have only just begun to peel away the top layer. I should probably stop until I find a better knife.

In the meantime, if Smartwater is reading this:

If you liked this escapade, you’ll probably like the Amy Schumer Diet, Hillary Clinton Diet and Gwyneth Paltrow Diet. If celebrity stalking isn’t your cup of tea or cappuccino, how about an iced coffee?

Photos by Edith Young; iPhone photos via Harling Ross.

Try Jennifer Aniston Zone diet tolost 4 kilograms

Try Jennifer Aniston Zone diet to lost 4 kilograms
The famous American actress Jennifer Aniston has lost about four kilograms of weight in a short period, after following the “Zone Diet ” which was created by Dr. Barry Sezer, leader in the hormonal impact of food research and the role of diet in treatment of cancer , nervous system , the heart and the second type of diabetes .

Jennifer Aniston Zone diet

Jennifer Aniston Zone diet

The star was committed to balance of some important nutrients, as “carbohydrates” and “proteins” and fat, according to the rates of the following: 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 30% fat in the list of their food, for the purpose of control appetite and burning fat .

The “Zone Diet” is very effective in reducing the weight properly, as it seems as a health plan for the long term, thanks to contain between 1200 and 1500 calories, spread over 5 meals during the day. In the same context, the excessive intake of fat-free “carbohydrates”, the body secrete extra amounts of “insulin” that is capable of generating a strong desire to eat large amounts of sugars and starches! And is the perfect way to balance the “insulin” blood in the combination of “proteins” and “carbohydrate” at each meal.

Jennifer Aniston Zone diet

It has been identified the imposed quantities of “proteins” based on the body’s needs, according to ” Zone” diet, as follows: an protein unit consisting of 7 grams of lean meat , and the unit of the “carbohydrate” preferably contain 9 grams of fruit and vegetables.
This also the “Zone diet”defines eat a certain percentage of fat such as olive oil and corn oil. The intake a unit containing gram and a half gram of the fat and the unit of the “protein” lead to slow down the process of absorption “carbohydrates” in the body and to maintain insulin balance , which urges the body to burn stored fat for needed energy .

In the zone diet

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