> I've just finished reading two books by Dr. Barry Sears...one is called
> "Enter the Zone"...the other is an offshoot "A week in the zone'.
> It's a diet....
> Does anyone know anything about it?
Been doing the zone thing for 4 years. Heard about the Zone and "Protein
Power" (book by Michael R. Eades and Mary Dan Eades).
I hesitate to call it a "diet", at least in my case. It seems to me diets
are doomed to failure in that you go off them, and then probably lose the
benefits. I don't plan on going off of it, so I say I've changed the way I
eat, and hope to remain on this kick unless persuaded otherwise.
Some characterize it as a high protein, low carb diet, but that is not
accurate. The zone promotes a 40-30-30 ratio (carbs - protein - fat as %
of calories), so carbs constitute more of your meal than either protein or
fat; but you strive to consume low-glycemic index carbs, like vegtables,
and less concentrated, refined carbs, such as pasta, rice, potatoes, bread,
sugar. And not high-protein, adequate protein. They encourage you to
figure your lean body mass, and to eat protein adequate to sustain that.
>From that protein need you figure the other diet macros, carbs and fat,
trying to maintain 40-30-30 ratio.
By making lean protein the cornerstone of your meals, your body reduces its
output of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that prevents fat cells from
releasing their contents to burn for energy, and causes cells to store
additional fat. Protein, on the other hand,
stimulates the release of insulin’s opposite hormone, glucagon, which
signals the cells to release stored bodyfat.
If you find yourself losing fat while starting the zone, be aware that if
you get rid of water your body dumps salts in order to maintain a proper
ratio. I experienced the leg cramps the book warns about, and so I got
some "no salt" to replenish the potasium salts that the body dumps along
with the sodium.
I also got some ketone strips, as beginning the zone usually promotes mild
ketosis. Good idea to keep an eye on that.
My wife is a type 1 insulin dependent diabetic, and I had been aware in the
past of an argument that diabetics in particular could benefit from a low
complex-carb diet. As I understand it (and from my wife's experience),
complex carbs spike your blood sugar, and necessitate more insulin.
Figuring your insulin needs when you have to inject it rather than counting
on your body to release it as needed is tricky (your activity level needs
to be factored in). So if you are an injection dependent diabetic and you
eat a high carb meal, you have to inject more insulin to cover the carb
spike. If you don't figure it right, that much insulin could crash you.
Eating a Zone favorable, or lower glycemic meal, results in a much lower
elevation of the blood sugar. With a lower dose of insulin, the type 1
diabetic will have less chance of a hypoglycemic episode. A lower insulin
dosage also can slow the progression of atherosclerosis, as well as other
progressive diseases associated with insulin use--hypertension, obesity,
high total cholesterol and triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol.
The need for insulin drops dramatically after starting the Zone Diet. On
average, insulin requirements will drop by 50% in the first week! All
diabetics taking insulin should discuss the ZonePerfect Nutrition Program
with their physician so that a sliding scale for the insulin dosage can be
People taking oral diabetic medications may also need prompt dosage
adjustments by their physician. Watch out for the "shakes", irritability,
lightheadedness, anxiety, perspiration, and nausea—these may be symptoms of
hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels. If you do experience any of these
symptoms, immediately contact your physician. Adjustments may be needed in
your medication. Remember following a Zone-favorable diet, your blood sugar
will not rise as high. Therefore, you will require less insulin to maintain
a normal blood sugar level.
Pardon the digression, but living daily with the dramatic effects of
insulin makes you want to point these effects out.
I like the zone. I do miss the pasta. So if I find myself at a spagetti
dinner, I try to eat less pasta, more meatballs or whatever protein, more
salad. Try to pass on the bread and potatoes.
I usually eat eggs for breakfast; tuna salad (no bread) for lunch; fish or
chicken or meat with salad and veges for dinner. Avoid the sugar and
pastries. Pretty easy for me. Others don't like it as much, they miss the
The book predicted that the zone diet would dramatically lower my
triglycerides, raise my HDL, lower LDL and total cholesterol. It did all
three, but this is based on a very limited number of tests.
Good luck in the Zone.
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