Zone food is ordinary food you can buy in the supermarket or at a restaurant. At ProZone we show you how to make the most favourable choices and how to eat them in a balance to access all the benefits of Zone Nutrition.
Zone Nutrition is simply choosing to restrict foods that we know will cause us to store excess body fat and upset the delicate balance of hormones that are responsible for our health and wellbeing. There is no secret about these foods, they are the foods that cause a spike of sugar in our bloodstream.
They are the high carbohydrate dense starches and grains and the more refined they are the more harm they cause. When we avoid or reduce white bread, pasta and other flour products, refined breakfast cereals, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes and kumara and replace them with lower density carbohydrates, a little lean protein and healthy fats we will certainly notice the benefits within days.
Fortunately and surprisingly to many people new to the Zone this leaves a wide variety of interesting and tasty food choices. It is further suprising to many people that when they stop eating their old favourite foods that are causing weight and health problems they do not miss them and they quickly develop new favourite fresh healthy food choices.
The traditional food mix
A low-fat diet too high in carbohydrates puts too much sugar into the bloodstream. This excess sugar can be turned into body fat. A burst of excess blood sugar can result in roller coaster blood sugar levels that create hunger and food cravings.
The so-called “Healthy” or traditional food Pyramid recommends that our calorie intake should be made up of about 50 to 55% carbohydrate, 20 to 25% protein and anything up to 30% fat. However many people notice immediate benefits from reducing carbohydrate intake a little from this. Also, unfortunately the carbohydrates recommended by the “Healthy” Pyramid for the most daily servings are dense and/or refined ones such as breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, rice and other starches. Small servings of these foods contain a lot of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are actually a form of sugar and will appear in our bloodstream as sugar whether we eat them as white refined sugar or starches such as flour products etc.
The irony is that refined starchy foods like pasta and breakfast cereals deliver a higher load of blood sugar than white sugar. The reason for this is that the sugar in most starches is glucose. Glucose is blood sugar so starches are an instant burst of blood sugar. White sugar is 50% glucose (blood sugar) and 50% fructose (fruit sugar). Fructose needs to be converted by the liver into glucose so its effect on blood sugar levels is much slower.
The Zone 40/30/30 balance
The Zone recommends a calorie balance made up of 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 30% fat. 40% carbohydrate is sufficient to avoid release of excess insulin but is also sufficient to avoid going into ketosis (the basis of some of the unpleasant side effects of the Atkins diet).
We do not count calories in the Zone; we are far more interested in the hormonal balancing effects of food. The inclusion of protein and fat with every meal also allows us to comfortably decrease carbohydrate to a healthy level because fat and protein make us feel satisfied for longer than just carbohydrate.
Adequate protein is essential to health and healthy body function. ProZone can show you how to select from a wide variety of mostly good protein sources but recommend restricting egg yolks, fatty meat and offal as these are rich in arachidonic acid, the building block for bad eicosanoids.
Good carbohydrates are most vegetables, especially green leafy ones (not starchy ones) and fruit in moderation. Some low-fat dairy products and soy milk can also be optional sources of favourable carbohydrate as well as protein. We believe that wide and varied choices are the basis of a healthy and interesting diet. There are in fact a lot more Zone favourable than unfavourable foods. We show our clients the most favourable grain foods and packaged products to choose and how to incorporate some of the less favourable carbohydrates into balanced meals.
There are a number of reasons why we eat fat at every meal. Fat slows down the absorption into the blood of sugars from carbohydrates, this is important for insulin response control. Fat in our diet also helps make food tasty and interesting and by stimulating the release of a hormone that sends a message to our brain that we feel satisfied after a Zone meal or snack. Also, some important vitamins are fat soluble so we need fat for their absorption.
The best dietary fat choice is monounsaturated fat found in most nuts, olives and olive oil, canola oil and avocado and avocado oil. These fats have been shown to be important to our health in scientific studies. The Zone recommends restricting rich sources of Omega-6 fats such as vegetable oils e.g. sunflower and soy oil as these can disturb the delicate balance of our hormones. We also recommend restricting saturated fats as these can push up insulin levels. Also avoid the least favourable fats – trans fats (hydrogenated oils) found in high-fat commercial baked products, snack chips, some oils used to cook fast food and some crackers. Research is showing that these altered fats push up “bad” LDL cholesterol and damage blood vessels, increasing risk of heart attack and strokes. There is also evidence that they have the effect of impairing memory and mental ability.
The missing fat
Omega 3 is the only fat that our body doesn’t produce. Fish oil or oil from krill is the best source of these fats. We recommend high dose omega-3 from high dose, ultra refined fish oil. We also recommend krill oil for its highly available omega-3 fatty acids and very powerful antioxidants. These are the only supplements that we routinely recommend in conjunction with eating a healthy balanced diet in the Zone.
It is recognised from a large number of scientific studies that supplementing with the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA from fish oil is highly beneficial from before birth and throughout life into old age. You can take a combination fo fish oil and krill or just take either one. We can guide you as to a recommended dosage.
We sell only the top quality See Yourself Well (SYW) brand from Canada with high concentrations of EPA and DHA and a five star International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) rating. This certification guarantees the safety of SYW fish oil and krill with the highest quality of purity, strength and oxidation rating. Visit ProZone’s shop to view the fish oils available.
Olive oil has been known for centuries to be healthy fat. This is partly because it is high in monounsaturated fat and low in omega-6 and saturated fats. The real health bonus of extra virgin olive oil is hydroxytyrosol. Hydroxytyrosol inhibits enzymes that produce inflammatory hormones. Unfortunately very few olive oils contain any or significant levels of hydroxytyrosol so just using extra virgin olive oil is no guarantee of getting this very healthy benefit. Dr Sears gives a simple test to check an olive oil for hydroxytyrosol – put a teaspoon of olive oil on your tongue, it should taste fresh and fruity (Sears also says “buttery”), not bland and oily or worse still an unpleasant oxidised taste. Roll the oil slowly to the back of your throat and if it contains hydroxytyrosol you will sense a pepper-like taste there. The anti-inflammatory effects of hydroxytyrosol are very powerful protection against inflammation based disease including cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and Alzheimer’s etc.
The good news is that New Zealand produces some of the best olive oil in the world. One that we recommend is gold medal award winning Kapiti extra virgin olive oil. It passes the pepper taste test for hydroxytyrosol and it tastes absolutely delicious. We pour it onto everything from our morning porridge, smoothies etc, through the day to our evening meal cooked vegetables and other dishes for healthy balancing fat. It adds a wonderful richness and flavour. You have not tasted olive oil until you have tasted an olive oil of this quality. It is not cheap compared to most imported Italian olive oils but you get what you pay for and at this price internationally for the quality it is very inexpensive.