Updated: May 4, 2020
The Zone Diet Introduction
A lot of the modern world are seemingly obsessed with their weight. As a result, there are countless diets out there designed to help us burn fat and get into better shape. Whilst it is true that weight loss basically boils down to calories in vs calories out, it pays to eat the right foods, in the right quantities, at the right time. That’s where the Zone Diet proves to be so effective. This diet protocol is nothing new and it isn't anything ground-breaking or revolutionary. What it is however, is a diet protocol that is proven to work by keeping things basic and straight to the point. It doesn’t promise that you can eat a certain food and burn fat in your sleep, nor does it promise to help you burn 10 pounds a week. What it does, is promote healthy and balanced weight loss, as well as optimal health.
What Is The Zone Diet?
The Zone Diet is an eating protocol created with fat loss in mind. It requires followers of the diet to monitor their macros and adjust their eating habits accordingly. The diet recommends that followers consume 40% of their calories from carbohydrates, 30% from fats, and 30% of their calories from protein. It is worth noting that carbs must have low glycaemic indexes, so complex carbs are ideal. This is because complex carbs with low GIs gradually digest and breakdown over a prolonged period, helping to keep you feeling full for longer. Protein sources should be lean, and fats should be almost entirely healthy, which is essentially monounsaturated fats.
Examples of complex carbohydrates to include in your diet:
Apples, berries and bananas
Broccoli, leafy greens and carrots
Example of lean proteins to include in your diet:
Turkey and chicken breast.
Examples of Healthy Fats to include in your diet:
Fatty fish (sardines, salmon and mackerel, amongst others.)
What Are Zone Diet Macros?
You may see the word 'macros' get thrown around a lot when reading up about the Zone Diet. Macros is short for macronutrients, which are essentially all food that is consumed to provide energy for the human body. Macros can be consumed via 3 different sources, which are fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
Fats are critical in a persons diet as they improve brain function, can speed up metabolism and help in nutrient absorption. Fats have got quite a bad reputation but don't be fooled, they are well needed for a balanced diet. In terms of calories, they provide he body with 9 calories per gram.
Carbohydrates are another macronutrient. A majority of carbs are broken down into glucose and rather used immediately for glucose or stored as glycogen. In most diets carbohydrates are the biggest source of macronutrients, generally taking up around 40-60% of your calorie in-take. Different to fats, they provided 4 calories per gram.
Finally we have proteins, which also provide 4 calories per gram. Proteins have endless positives but the in-take amount will vary depending on your own set goal and lifestyle. Proteins are key to keeping a healthy immune system, muscle repair and growth, as well as the aiding the bodies ability to build hormones.
What Can You Eat On The Zone Diet?
Followers of the diet will be allowed 3 zone meals per day, along with 1 zone snack. This is especially beneficial because it means that you don’t starve yourself or deprive yourself of nutrients, like you would with other fad diets. Instead, you work out your basal metabolic rate via useful online tools and calculators, you then work out how many calories per day you need, before aiming for your specific macronutrient targets. As an example, a typical meal could include something like: grilled chicken breast, half a baked sweet potato, and a serving of veggies, along with a drizzle of olive oil for your healthy fats. As for the online tool to find your basal metabolic rate, i would suggest searching it on Google and using any of the links to the calculators provided, you can't go far wrong.
How About Carbohydrates?
The Zone Diet is not a low carbohydrate diet. Carbs are encouraged on the diet but they should largely come from complex carbs in the form of whole grains, starchy fruits and veggies. 30% of your daily macros coming from carbs isn’t a huge amount, so if you’re used to large servings of carbohydrates, you may struggle. Rather than having carbs as mains, or even as your side dishes, the Zone Diet instead encourages followers to think of carbohydrates as condiments.
Why It Works
The Zone Diet works because it simply encourages good nutrition from healthy food sources. Rather than fad diets and other potentially dangerous means of weight loss, the diet instead encourages people to eat healthy balanced meals, along with a snack if they feel hungry. It promotes weight loss in a healthy and sustainable manner so it works very well.
My Own Experience
The Zone Diet is something that is widely used across the CrossFit community. It is used by many of the top athletes and is seen as the best diets for getting the best overall performances when competing in CrossFit. Due to this, I have used the Zone Diet myself and i'm actually following a zone diet for my training right now.
Due to the amount of training and physical exercise that I complete on a day to day basis, I usually consume around 3000-3500 calories per day. When using a Zone Diet I roughly follow the stats that I provided above, however I consume around 20% of my calories through fat, 45% carbohydrates and 35% through protein. This is simply due to the meals that I like and how it fits in with my own workout regime. The fats I mainly consume will be through peanut butter, chia seeds, eggs and fish.
The Zone Diet has worked so well for myself and I will continue to use it for the foreseeable future.
Zone Diet Review
Seriously, this is a fantastic diet and can work for most people. The beauty of it, is that it can be tailored to suit your own goals, whether that be weight loss or even strength training. It's quite simple to follow, however in the beginning it may take some time to get your portion control right but it's definitely worth being patient with. Another point to mention is that it can be used in conjunction with another diet, such as intermittent fasting. Simply follow an intermittent fasting plan and on your set meals follow the Zone Diet, it's really that easy.
I hope if you try this diet it works out for and i thank you for reading this article.
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