The Zone is a state of optimal health!
The Zone is a state of optimal health achieved by treating food as a wonder drug. The Zone is based on the hormonal response to food, rather than the caloric response to food.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, instructed us 2,500 years ago to “let food be your medicine, and let medicine be your food”.
If food is used properly, one will experience:
- Permanent loss of excess body fat;
- Greater energy and performance (both mental and physical);
- Reduced risk of chronic disease, ie heart disease, diabetes and cancer; and
- Greater longevity.
A single meal can alter insulin levels by 50%. Insulin control can be accomplished by keeping one’s protein to carb ratio within a range of .5 to 1.0. The ideal ratio for most people in the Zone is .75. What does this mean? It means for every 3 grams of protein, one needs 4 grams of carbohydrates.
The benefits of maintaining insulin in the Zone lifestyle are almost immediate because blood sugar is also automatically stabilized. As a result one will feel:
- Less hungry
- More mentally alert
- More energy throughout the day
- Carb cravings will become a thing of the past
The Zone is a physiological state where three major hormone systems in our body are maintained within ranges consistent with optimal health. Those three major hormones that are controlled with food and pharmaceutical grade fish oil are:
The following foods affect the three major hormone systems in our body:
- Carbohydrates stimulate insulin
- Protein affects glucagon
- Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids affect eicosanoids
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a storage hormone and it pushes glucose (sugar) into our cells. Insulin has a key role of keeping the blood sugar in our blood at a certain level being not too high or not too low.
Insulin supplies our brain with a constant supply of sugar as that is the brain's preferred fuel. The brain cannot go more than three or four minutes without an adequate supply of sugar or it will start to shut down. However, a small amount of sugar (ie one tablespoon) will last the brain approximately four to six hours.
Insulin also supplies our muscles with blood sugar, but again they do not require a huge amount.
The excess sugars in our body, under the influence of insulin, are stored in the liver. However, the liver can only store about six tablespoons of sugar at any time. Over and above that, if the body has too much sugar, the liver (under the influence of insulin) will create FAT. Once the fat has been created insulin then opens up the fat cells and pushes the fat in for storage.
Did you know the average North American stores the equivalent of 1,700 pancakes in his or her cells as energy? The hormone responsible for all this storage is insulin. The main reason that North Americans are so fat is because of the current high carbohydrate, low fat diet.
What is Glucagon?
Glucagon is the sister hormone of insulin and really does the opposite of everything insulin does.
Insulin pushes energy into our cells for storage while glucagon helps release that stored energy. One of the major things that we like glucagon to release is FAT. Thus if one eats correctly in the Zone, glucagon levels will go up and our fat cells will start releasing stored energy. The muscles will then use the fat for fuel.
Only foods containing large amount of protein can stimulate glucagon secretion; whereas insulin requires carbohydrates for secretion.
The Zone strives for a balance between insulin and glucagon hormones. In other words we want both hormones to work together in a balanced setting ie either one not too high or not too low.
What are Eicosanoids?
Eicosanoids are super hormones that control all of the body's hormonal systems ie cardiovascular system, immune system, central nervous system, reproductive system and so on.