The Zone Diet Plan, created by Dr. Barry Sears, aims to be a way of life. It focuses on creating a hormonal and genetic balance that will encourage weight control and optimal functioning of the body. The Zone Diet Plan arranges its five main components into the Zone Wellness Pyramid. The idea is that each component provides the foundation for the rest of the components, beginning with eating habits and working up to supplements.
The base of the Zone Wellness Pyramid is eating. The Zone Diet Plan focuses on balancing the types of foods and nutrients consumed during meals and snacks. The plan includes proteins, carbohydrates and fat, all of which are an integral part of achieving the hormonal balance needed for a healthy body. The premise of the Zone Diet Plan is to consume all of these things in moderation rather than limit or exclude any one type of food. The general guideline is to fill a third of the plate with a lean protein, such as fish of egg whites. The remaining two-thirds of the plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. A small amount of monounsaturated fat, such as olive oil or avocado, should be added to the plate. The Zone Diet Plan assigns Zone food blocks to the various foods to give a more detailed idea of the foods to eat at each meal.
The second tier on the Zone Wellness Pyramid is reserved for omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and play a large role in the Zone Diet Plan. EPA and DHA are the two main omega-3 fatty acids that work to reduce inflammation in the body. According to the Zone Diet Plan, this reduction in inflammation can improve heart, brain, joints and immune functionality.
The third section of the Zone Wellness Pyramid is for polyphenols. Polyphenols are another component to the Zone Diet Plan aimed at reducing inflammation in the body. Polyphenols give fruits and vegetables their rich colors. They are known to activate the enzyme that restores ATP levels in cells, which is the energy source for the cells. Polyphenols also provide anti-oxidants to the body. Because of the benefits of polyphenols, fruits and vegetables are a large component of the Zone Diet Plan.
Exercise holds the fourth position in the Zone Wellness Pyramid. The Zone Diet recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 6 days a week. The Zone Diet Plan focuses on exercises that work with the diet to reduce inflammation in the body, which helps repair muscle damage and strengthens muscles.
The top position in the Zone Wellness Pyramid is for supplements. The Zone Diet Plan includes these supplements to complement the other components of the program. The idea of the supplements in the Zone Diet Plan is that they will only be beneficial coupled with the other principles. The components close to the base of the Zone Wellness Pyramid must be in place before the higher elements, such as supplements, can be effective.