The Zone Diet was developed by Dr. Barry Sears more than 30 years ago to reduce diet-induced inflammation. This diet promises to shed excess pounds, dramatically reduce risk of chronic disease, and improve mental and physical performance. In other words, the Zone diet proclaims fat burning without feeling hungry, by balancing the fat, carbs, and protein in your diet. The expected weight loss ranges between 1 to 1.5 pounds weekly after an initial weight loss of 3 to 4 pounds a week. But the plan pledges that the weight you lose will be all fat, not muscle or water. On the Zone diet, you get three meals and two snacks a day. Each is a mix of low-fat protein, like skinless chicken, turkey, or fish; carbs (mostly fruits and veggies); and a small amount of “good” fat, like olive oil, almonds, and avocado. RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU Carb-lovers may find the Zone plan challenging. It promotes bread, pasta, grains, and other starches as condiments rather than as main or even side dishes. Fatty red meat and egg yolks fall into the Zone’s “bad fats”. Every meal on the Zone has the same proportions: 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carb, meaning a palm-sized portion of protein, two-thirds of the plate filled with non-starchy fruits and vegetables, and a dash of monounsaturated fat like olive oil or almonds. The diet also recommends “moderate but consistent exercise” – 30 minutes or more of aerobic exercise every day. With an emphasis on fresh ingredients rather than high-sodium processed foods, maintaining a low-salt diet while on the Zone shouldn’t be a challenge. Limitations There is no specific research to prove that eating a certain ratio of protein, carbs, and fats is going to rev up your metabolism and increase weight loss. But it proves that eating a calorie-restricted diet, such as The Zone Diet, can help you lose weight. The claim that the weight loss will be all fat and not muscle or water, however, may not be as true. zone diet_4 Though the ratios of protein, fat and carbs in The Zone Diet are within the ranges recommended by the Institute of Medicine, the diet may be too high in protein for people suffering from kidney disease. You may also have to check cholesterol and fat levels closely if you have high cholesterol. The Zone Diet requires that you simply balance your plate at every meal and snack with these nutrients:Protein – 1/3rd of your plate: lean protein, about the size and thickness of your palm. This includes egg whites, fish, poultry, lean beef or low-fat dairy… • Carbohydrates – 2/3 of your plate, add colorful vegetables and a little fruit. Fruits and vegetables to avoid are those that are high in sugar (bananas, carrots, grapes, raisins) or starchy (e.g. potatoes, corn). • Fat – Add a little bit of monounsaturated fat. This could include olive oil, avocado or almonds. Many stars like Sandra Bullock, Demi Moore and Sarah Jessica Parker followed the Zone Diet to help them get and keep their famous figures. The Zone Diet works on the theory that excess insulin, the hormone that helps control our blood sugar levels, makes us fat and keeps us fat. By closely regulating our blood sugar levels and therefore keeping our levels of insulin in a tight ‘zone’, the body burns fat more efficiently so that we lose weight. To control blood sugar levels and consequently insulin levels, you need to get the perfect balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in every meal. Achieving this perfect balance effectively means following a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet that includes moderate amounts of fat. While most nutrition experts agree with the advice to eat less fat, especially saturates, and to fill up on fruit and veg, most remain sceptical about the theory that weight loss is due to regulating insulin levels. Any weight loss that occurs is due to taking in fewer calories than the body uses up – cutting out most high-calorie sugary and starchy foods and replacing them with low-calorie vegetables and fruit. The Zone diet is unquestionably hard work and might turn mealtimes into a chore rather than a pleasure – with the whole process of using the Zone book and a set of measuring scales and spoons, and eliminating nutritious whole grain foods. There are far easier and more pleasurable ways to lower your calorie intake like healthy eating with smaller portion sizes! Connect here with WatchFit Expert Jessica Faissal

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