I feel like a teenager again: it is time for my first book review of 2017 (well actually, probably the first book I’ve read in 10 years). My old teachers (hi mr Charles, mr Deceuninck, mr. Deblaere and jungfrau Bulcke) must be so proud. One of my 2 goals for 2017 (more on that here) was to read something every single day. We’re 20 days in and I just finished my first book on the Zone Diet by dr. Barry Sears.
What is the zone diet?
In short, the zone diet focusses on hormonal balances instead of the traditional approach of counting calories. By eating your proteins and carbohydrates in a 3 to 4 ratio, you optimize the release of good and bad “eicosanoids”, which regulate hormonal secretion. The key hormone here is insulin. By eating low-glycemic foods, you limit this secretion and get into a cascade of benefits, such as burning bodyfat, gaining muscle, and feeling like a bad-ass.
Every single meal has to be precisely weighed, so the balance is always there to improve hormonal secretion. This is done by using “blocks”, of which 1 block of carbohydrates represents 9 grams of carbohydrates, 1 block of protein represents 7 grams of protein and 1 block of fat represents 1.5 grams of fat. To give you an example: chicken has around 20 grams of protein per 100 gram. So if you are taking a 4-block meal, that is 28 grams of protein, which means around 140 grams of chicken. You then match that with 4 blocks = 36 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 blocks = 6 grams of fat.
The amount of blocks you can eat in a day are calculated based on your lean body mass and your activity level. If you are getting towards a very low bodyfat percentage however, you are allowed to double the fat intake.
My thoughts on the zone diet
- The zone diet focusses on the intake of quality foods such as tons of vegetables, lean meats, fish, nuts, fruits, … However, you are allowed to step outside this healthy club of foods, but you have to keep applying the block system. For example, you can eat chocolate, but you will also have to eat protein blocks and fat blocks to match that (good luck on that chicken+chocolate meal).
- If you are trying to lose some weight, this approach will definitely help, since you are eating adequate proteins and fibers to increase satiety, and not eating a lot of calories, yet still enough to not starve yourself.
- The book tries really hard to turn all of the ratio’s into something manageable by using the block system.
- You have to count and weigh everything you eat. Good luck with that.
- Everything has to be perfectly matched
- The zone diet is a very low-calorie diet. I calculated for myself, and I will probably eat under 2.000 calories a day (which is lower that the recommended daily intake for an adult woman). The logic in this is that you will get the extra calories from your fat reserves in your body, but since you are taking enough protein, you won’t lose any muscle.
- Some of the claims in the book are… overwhelming. No matter if you have aids, cancer, MS, arthritis, diabetes, … the zone diet will help you tremendously.
So… As you might have expected, I am going to give this a shot for a full week. P-J is going to try and reach the zone! More on that in a later post. Have a nice weekend!