What is the Zone?
The Zone is a lifestyle, not a diet. On the Zone you do not count calories as in Weight Watchers or Dr. Bernsteins. You simply control a hormone in your body called insulin. How do you control insulin? The answer is by treating food as a drug. One of the side effects that you will experience by keeping insulin levels in a tight Zone is a state of wellness, as well as loss of excess body fat.
The Zone diet sets your body up to BURN FAT as a primary source of fuel while you retain your LEAN BODY MASS. Insulin is released by the pancreas after you eat carbohydrates, and while it assures that your cells receive the necessary blood sugar, it also inhibits fat burning, converts almost half of your dietary carbohydrate directly into fat and causes hunger. The Zone diet moderates the insulin response by limiting the intake of refined sugars and keeping all other carbohydrates to about 40% of the diet.
The concept of the Zone diet is simple - every time you eat it must be in the correct ratio of protein to carbohydrate to fats. That starting ratio? 40/30/30 - 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, 30% fat. The maximum control of insulin occurs for most people when this ratio is met.
The calorie restriction is not in the way of protein or fats in the Zone. It is accomplished by eating less starches, breads, bagels, pasta and grains (the “white” food) called high glycemic carbohydrates which enter the blood stream like white sugar and raise insulin levels. More emphasis is placed on eating fruits and vegetables (called low glycemic carbohydrates) which enter the blood stream at a slower rate and do not spike insulin levels.
The benefits of maintaining insulin in the Zone are almost immediate because your blood sugar is also automatically stabilized. As a result you feel less hungry, you are more mentally alert and more energized throughout the day. Carb cravings become a thing of the past.