Burning Runner: 13 Rules of the Zone Diet

By T.J. Murphy

I’m in Day 2 of following the basic protocols involved in following the Zone Diet, as prescribed by Dr. Barry Sears. So far, I like it. It seems to me to be a balanced diet—and my personal experience thus far is that by following the frequency he recommends for meals, I have not had one of my usual 4pm attacks of hunger. It’s three meals per day with two snacks, and quite honestly,  there’s nothing exotic about it. Zone-friendly foods and Zone meals, as they’re referred to in his books, seem to me to be within the realm of common sense. The big difference between the Zone Diet and what’s commonly recommended? The Zone Diet hinges on getting an adequate amount of protein in each meal or snack, combined with a balancing amount of carbohydrates and fats in such a ratio that your hormones, primarily insulin and glucagon, are in check.  Ideally you seek out lean sources of high quality protein and when it comes to carbs go for fruits and vegetables and try and steer clear the starchy or processed variety.

The following is extracted from the back cover of Dr. Sears’ book, “Mastering the Zone,” a brief look at the of the rules of the Zone Diet. By putting the first four into play Sears says that you will stop gaining body fat, add the second four rules and he says you’ll start losing body fat. The final five rules, according to Sears, will help you achieve a state of superior health.

1. Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day.

2. Eat more fruit and vegetables, and less pasta, breads, grains and starches during the day.

3. Eat more frequent meals with fewer calories.

4. Eat small amounts of low-fat protein at every meal and snack.

5. Determine how much protein you require per day and consume that amount.

6. Use the eyeball method he teaches to control your ratio of protein to carbohydrate at every meal.

7. Add some extra monosaturated fat to every meal.

8. Drink 8 ounces of water 30 minutes before a meal.

9. Make sure most of your carbs come from fruits and vegetables, and use grains, starches, pasta and bread as condiments. Try to keep grains, starches, pasta and bread to no more than 25% of the total carbs consumed at a meal.

10. Never let more than five hours go by without eating a Zone meal or snack.

11. Always eat a Zone breakfast within one hour of rising.

12. Always have a Zone snack before you go to bed.

13. Always have a Zone snack thirty minutes before you exercise.

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