Diabetes and the Zone Diet have become a popular topic lately. When you start the Zone Diet plan, you are said to be entering “the zone.” Woooo! Needless to say, the diet has a very active and strong camaraderie amongst participants.
They even do Zone Caribbean cruises. While maybe a bit over the top, this community can be helpful in answering your questions and achieving your diet goals.
The Zone Diet is the brainchild of Dr. Barry Sears, who originally designed the diet to help people with cardiovascular disease and those with diabetes. Dr. Sears believes that many health and weight issues are due to inflammation in our bodies, particularly at the cellular level. There are a number of factors that contribute to this, including our diet and its effect on our hormones, particularly insulin levels.
Let’s check out the diet review!
HOW DOES THE ZONE DIET WORK?
The diet has 5 Key Components.
- EATING: The Zone Diet Meal Plan divides your plate into “zones.” Lean proteins (fish, skinless chicken, egg whites, tofu) should take up 33% of what you eat. Select fruits and vegetables should take up the other 66%.The diet does not ban grains, but limits them, advocating fruits and vegetables as the primary source of carbohydrates. A “dash” of monounsaturated fat (olive oil, nuts, and avocados) is also recommended at each meal.
- OMEGA 3SUPPLEMENS: To maximize the diet and your health, Omega-3 supplements should be taken.
- POLYPHENALS:Polyphenals are phytochemicals that help fight inflammation. They are found naturally in fruits and vegetables, but Dr. Sears recommends additional supplementation.
- FITNESS: Moderate exercise 3-5 times a week is recommended.
- TARGETED SUPPLEMENTS: Dr. Sears advocates certain additional supplements in conjunction with the diet.
The entire 5 prong Zone Diet is aimed at reducing inflammation levels in your body that cause diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other ailments. The change in diet and increase in exercise, even though moderate, will cause natural and sustainable weight loss.
WHY THE DIABETES RELATION?
Three interlinked hormonal systems, including insulin, contribute to inflammation leading to multiple health complications, including diabetes. One aspect of this hormonal imbalance is insulin resistance, the primary cause of type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance causes a person to gain weight, leading to more insulin resistance, leading to more weight gain, and so on. By regulating the hormonal systems, the Zone diet seeks to reduce cellular inflammation, weight gain and ultimately reducing diabetes and other harmful health effects.
As stated above, moderate exercise 3-5 times a week is recommended.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY
There are no direct studies supporting the Zone Diet or its long term effects. Many researchers claim that the diet exaggerates the beneficial effects of the original research on hormones and inflammation. Others claim that the diet unwisely restricts carbohydrates from sources other than fruits and vegetables, such as whole grains.
Most critics give the diet a qualified approval, especially since it tends to support lean protein and lots of fruits and vegetables. Nonetheless, more whole grains are also recommended by critics.
The Zone diet is very flexible and easy to implement, as it does not overly rely on measuring your food or strict recipes. The cost can be a bit daunting, as the diet recommends multiple nutritional supplements.
I think it is less expensive and more effective to follow a whole food plant based diet.
At least one book is probably recommended to learn more about how diabetes and the Zone Diet are compatible and how the diet can be implemented. The Zone Diet markets a wide range of foods, supplements, and resources at its website.
Of course, you can join the Zone Diet and pay an on going fee for counseling, and advice. However, if you would rather learn more on your own or go it alone, check out these great books to get you started.
You can also check out our Zone Diet Meal Plan options on our planning page.
PREVENT DISEASE:ACHIEVE MAXIMUM PHYSIAL PERFORMANCE
This book is where you get started with the Zone Diet. It gives a great overview and explains all of the concepts.
Sometimes, you just want to see how something works for an entire week. This book gives a step by step look at the Zone Diet during an average week.
Another big problem with many diets is that you need three hours (or more!) a day to prepare all of the fancy meals. This book is a real help for those of us on the go who need to eat healthy and quick.