Slow-Carbing The Zone

The Zone      Barry Sears, Ph.D.

The first thing I came upon when I began researching for this article was The Zone website — and I went right to their SHOP to see if there was anything there I might like to get.  Well.  My goodness, they have every bread product known to man for sale. They claim to be low carb, but it’s not MY idea of low carb. Go take a look. It’s amazing…   Maybe once I get to my normal weight I can eat stuff like this, but I think I’d just stick to Ezekiel Bread. I know it’s super healthy for a grain product. But I have to admit — this stuff looks good!

But I digress…  One place the Zone heartily agrees with low carb/slow carb thinking is acknowledgement that a high refined carbohydrate diet is the underlying cause of modern disease. This is good. Dr. Sears also explains the effect of insulin and glucagon in the same way this has been described in recent books I’ve read. Also good.

The central instruction of this diet is to make certain that each and every meal (or snack) is 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carbohydrates.  The obvious suggestion I’d have to slow-carb this diet would be to increase your protein and fats and have all your carbs be from low carb vegetables, and a small amount of fruit — always low GI.

The Zone allows whole grains and most fruits — which is the area where I’d be careful if you are in weight-loss mode. For carbs, I’d stick to lots of green vegetables and traditional salad vegetables and stay away from corn and carrots for the weight-loss duration.  And I think not eating grains while losing weight is much more effective. I can cry tears of joy over a good slice of bread, but now’s not the time…

The diet also limits fats in type and amount in ways that I don’t think are necessary as long as you are staying slow/low carb. It also limits the types of dairy to lowfat/no-fat. On a slow carb diet this is not necessary — AND — we actually need to stay away from low fat dairy options. It’s the fat that counteracts the effects of the carbs in dairy on insulin levels. I stay away from everything except full fat cottage cheese and cream in my coffee — and a slice of full fat cheese for a snack now and then.

Sears also allows full fat ice cream (1/2 cup — why bother?) and I don’t think this is a good idea either. Except if you are doing Tim Ferriss’ version of Slow Carb and have your “cheat day” in place. THEN — enjoy — a whole cup!

Overall, I think dividing your plate into two sections — protein and vegetables and then using fats on both the protein and the vegetables is the way to go for most meals.  Have a big steak smothered in sauteed mushrooms and a big pile of green beans cooked in bacon fat.  Or a salad with full-fat dressing (watch for sugar!) And enjoy…

You can buy the book here:

The Zone: A Dietary Road Map to Lose Weight Permanently : Reset Your Genetic Code : Prevent Disease : Achieve Maximum Physical Performance


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