Z for Zone Diet

This New York Times bestselling book The Zone Diet was written by Dr. Barry Sears, a former research scientist at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Through his research, he developed a plan designed to control insulin, glucagon, and eicosanoids, the three primary hormones associated with weight control.

Specifics of the diet include eating in a 1-2-3 ratio: 1 gram fat to 2 grams protein to 3 grams carbohydrates. This equates to 30% of calories from fat, 30% from protein, and 40% from carbohydrates at each meal and snack. One third of the plate – about 3 ounces for women and 4 ounces for men – should be made up of protein, and the remaining two-thirds fruits and vegetables. Sears recommends a small amount of monounsaturated oil or other fat to round out each meal and snack.

He believes that eating this way for life has the power to turn on certain genes while turning off others. His approach may lead to increased energy, suppressed appetite, and weight loss.
Sears recommends a regular eating schedule to stabilize blood sugar levels – one should never let more than five waking hours pass without eating. It’s also important to include physical activity at least three days per week.

An example of a daily meal plan:

  • 7am: breakfast (should be eaten within 1 hour of waking)
  • 12pm: lunch (eaten no more than 5 hours later)
  • 5pm: mid-afternoon snack
  • 7pm: dinner (2-3 hours after snack)
  • 11pm: snack before bed to balance blood sugar levels


Foods to include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Lean protein
  • Beans and legumes
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Oils

Foods to avoid:

  • Processed foods
  • Refined grains
  • Refined sugar
  • Trans fats
  • High-sugar fruits and vegetables
  • Fruit juices


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