Thanks for the letters, hope you don't mind me using them
for this FAQ
I'm already familiar with Enter The Zone and have been
practicing for 2 months now, with great results. I'm on the
zone mailing list and watch several newsgroups for the zone
discussions there. Your zone support group is the first
in-person zone support group I've heard of. Do you know of
others? or how to find out about such groups if they exist?
Our Low Carb group is small these days but boy is it fun! We
were 5 of us last night; 2 of us have been zoning for 6
months, 2 are reading the book and 1 guy got dragged along
with his girlfriend so he could help her plan meals. There
are about 10 active members, some show up less than others.
I have been asking for $5 or what ever to cover costs.
Usually folks are more than happy to cough that up.
We talked for the first hour about general concerns and I
guided the talk as much as possible into the concepts...GI
index, health reasons and block size, etc. Then we created a
bar recipe on the spot and cooked them in the microwave and
ate them! The newbies made faces because they weren't sweet
enough for their carbo-tastes but the zoners found them
delicious! Pretty wild to see that sweet tooth
There are no other live Zone groups that I know of. (Some
Environ distributors run "Introductory Lectures" but many
times they are simply a guise to sell bars.) There is ALOT
of interest in zone support groups judging by other eMail
I've received. I suggest that your create one in your area.
You are as qualified as anyone to do it, it's just a way to
In a way, this group is a "weight group" or "diet support
group" anyway because that is the main reason people are
interested in coming. That has been a little hard for me to
accept but I think that is my problem, what I have started
to do now is lecture more on the health reasons and deal
with the fat loss as a side benefit. We'll see if that
Maybe I'll hang a page on my site re starting groups and see
if there is interest. I have thought of a zone chat using
IRC...what do you think?
Yours from the Zone,
> I believe Sears called one fat block = 1.5 grams, yet the
info in this website states 3 grams fat per block. what's
According to the FAQ there is 1 block of hidden fat in each
protein block. When you read the nutrition info on food
packages does it include this in the fat reported?
Sears was trying to make things simple and just confused
people. A block of fat is 3gms. There is a 1/2 a block of
fat "buried" inside fatty meat or fish. That's all.
The hidden fat is considered to be 1.5gms per block of meat
protein. That is, if you're are eating meat or oily fish,
consider that there is an extra 1.5gms of fat/oil buried
inside the food and so don't add more than 1.5gms of extra
oils per block of protein.
I know that's confusing but think of it like this, if you
eat all prepared foods and add up everything on the labels,
you will know EXACTLY how much fat you are getting...there
is nothing hidden from the FDA's labels. So you always
figure in 3grs of fat per block of food. BUT, if you are
eating meat or fish, there are no labels on them. If there
were, you would see something like this...
Serving Size: 1oz.
So you would compensate by reducing extra fat by 1.5gms per
Just one thought, remember that fat is not the problem
here....Carbohydrates are. Concentrate on the C:P ratio and
don't worry so much of the fat level. I know that's hard to
do, we've been successfully brain washed to avoid fat in our
If you eat a little more fat (1.5gms), the worse that will
happen is that you will not lose body fat during that 5 hour
period. You will have enough calories from the extra fat
that you will not need to dip into your stored fat.
If your C:P ratio is correct, however, you will be in the
Zone and able to fend off the ill effects of high fat in
your diet. In fact, the high levels of glucagon and low
levels of insulin in the presence of excess fat will favor
the production of good eicosanoids! (Carbs effect Insulin
production, Protein effects Glucagon production and Fat
effects Eicosanoid production.)
Good luck! And keep on Zoning!
I am trying to follow this diet to control my hypoglycemia.
There are items on the diet that concern me (such as bread).
Is there specific information for someone who has severe
As you know, hypoglycemia involves periods of very low blood
sugar. It's usually caused by swings in your insulin level
coupled with insulin resistance that is in turn the result
of years of out of control insulin levels due most likely to
excessive carbohydrate intake. (Whew!).
Zoning is the perfect diet for you. You may need to eat
smaller meals more frequently than suggested in the plan
until you feel your insulin reactions are under control,
then you can play with eating larger meals and spread them
further apart until you are eating like "normal". The zone
effect will eventually stabilize your insulin response and
soon you will be able to eat bread without a large swing.
To start, avoid the high glycymic index foods like bread and
pasta and rice. If you have a web browser you can search for
the Diabetic page at http://www.cruzio.com/~mendosa/gi.html
for lists of favorable foods.
Hi David: I discovered the Zone stuff via the WWW yesterday
and I am quite excited about it. I have been a vegetarian
all my life. Although I have never had any weight problems,
I had discovered a few years ago that eating
carbohydrate-rich meals made me very sleepy. I modified my
diet to a zone type diet (although with a lower percentage
of protein) after some experimentation. I was very excited
to learn about the Zone diet after reading the stuff on the
web, since it seems to make a lot of sense to me (thanks to
my empirical study of myself). I cooked a set of Zone type
meals for today but the only means of getting the protein
high enough seems to be to add soy protein powder to my
meals (consisting of a lot of beans and legumes). Do you
have any vegetarian specific recommendation list or pointers
to related information ? Thanks.
I have enjoyed being a vegetarian (O-L) for many years and
one of my biggest peeves about zoning is that I have been
tempted into eating more animal flesh now. But my true
desire is non-meat sources. In our zone group there have
been several harder-core vegies and so I have searched the
land over for these sources both for them and my self and
Setian comes in tubs like tofu and in powdered form to mix
with other stuff or by itself. We like to stir fry it in
olive oil and ginger and then stir fry a bunch of fresh
veges and serve with a little rice if you must. It is a
wheat protein that has had the starch washed out. Quite
Of course, TVP (texturized Vegi protein) is around and quite
cheap too. Just add to your beans and watch the protein
content soar. Tofu and other soy based items, got to go to a
health-type food store to find them.
There are some vegetarian web sites you can search for, no
problem. However, they are not zone related and so I have
found their info to be less helpful than you may think at
first. They are still eating at the bottom of the "food
pyramid". (zoners are one step higher--fruits and veges and
very few grains).
Being vegi in the zone takes a lot of work and it is a
little boring I'm afraid, but if you can add dairy, cheese
and eggs you can do it in style. I eat NF mozzarella cheese
(Precious brand even melts!), and soy cheeses, and I'm not
afraid of an egg a day if I want to since zoning is so
healthy for you you can do a few "bad" things and get away
Maybe I'll tack on a new page on my site re: vegetarians.
Thanks for the question, keep me posted if you come up with
Yours in health,
Are there any nutritionists in the Los Angeles/Santa monica
area who are really familiar with the Zone diet, who could
help me until I get better at it?
I doubt it, but you could post your inquiry on the
firstname.lastname@example.org list and see if there is a bold nutritionist
out there who is progressive. Most of them have bought the
food pyramid model lock, stock and barrel.
Would it be a good idea to be in the Zone and be on the
fen/fen regimen at the same time?
Well, if you must do fen/phen I think zoning at the same
time would be a great idea. Doing the drugs works but what
happens to people after the 3 months? They go back to old
eating habits. If you zone, you will change your eating
habits FOR LIFE and that is the real answer. We must give up
ore carbohydrate binge! Basta to Pasta! (How about cheating
for a day once in a while....I do it, just get right back on
the plan asap)
I have read on the internet that having fibromyalgia
interferes somehow with the blood sugar regulation in the
(revised answer) I'd like to see the URL on that info,
please send it to me. FM appears to respond to the lo-carb
approach most likely because of the beneficial hormonal
effects of low and steady insulin. For many years FM was
considered to be an immune system related disorder but
research recently has shown there are biochemical,
pathophysiological and immunological changes in the brain
and other body tissues.
In the past I had suggested that people with FM push their
metabolism into tilt by aerobic activity and current
literature suggests this is helpful. My belief was that by
changing the blood chemistry balance, the body would be
"shocked" back into homeostasis. This was just my own idea
and for folks who would not exercise I had suggested
sometimes to use fasting as a method to induce some ketosis
for that end. I find no mention of fasting as a method of
treatment in the literature so I don't suggest that approach
anymore however I now encourage lo-carb eating instead. I
believe that what I wanted to accomplish by fasting is
co-incidentally caused by the effect that fasting has on
insulin levels and not due to changing the blood pH levels.
Perhaps this is what your internet information is alluding
to also. FM may not "cause" carb metabolism problems but the
reverse may be more true.
There is a newsletter support group FM sufferers can
subscribe to and lots of Internet support too.
After reading the book in some depth, the one main obstacle
I encounter is in trying to "migrate" to the correct balance
in everything I eat. I need t get an idea on some tradeoffs
if the balance is not "ideal". For instance, is it better to
skip the fat component if the only fat available is mostly
I'd say no. Omitting or lowering fat in the plan will cause
problems for a few reasons. First, your body is very
sensitive to fat level in foods. When it is unusually low,
you shift into starvation mode where fat is conserved. You
hear this referred to as "lowering one's metabolism" and fat
loss in hard to do.
Secondly, you need fat to keep burning fat. It's seen as a
pilot light that starts the bat burner. I know that's dumb
sounding but "excess" fat in the diet will encourage the
body to burn fat as fuel.
Now, about saturated vs. unsaturated. You need some
saturated fat to live. If you do not eat it, the body will
just go ahead and make it for itself. So Sears says that if
you are zoning, your body is metabolizing fat efficiently
and can deal with a lot of extra toxins and extra saturated
fat too. Think of it as "unfavorable" fat and you
will make up for it at the next meal with "better"
How long of a time period do I have to ingest all the
correct portions of CPF ?
If you are a normal person, you can figure you have a one
hour window to do the right combinations. I have come home
from a party or restaurant and gone right to the protein
powder sometimes. Weird but it works for me. Some folks say
that eating too many carbos first throws them out faster
than they can correct in 30 minutes, but too much protein
first probably is OK to do.
Also, I have an slightly elevated cholesterol level ( last
checked 6/95 @ 230 ) In referring to my first questions, I
almost feel like staying away from the fat component unless
it consists of mostly unsaturated fats.
I wouldn't tinker with success if I were you. Stay on the
plan for a few months and then get tested again. If
cholesterol is still high then worry some more. Eating foods
high in cholesterol is usually not the problem with elevated
blood cholest., the body manufactures MORE cholest. than the
food component. I have a college that claims elevated
cholesterol is due to slow transit time in the colon. Eat
more fiber and water and the food passes fasted and the
colon doesn't have enough time to re-adsorb the stuff. Who
knows for sure. Sears seems to think it is an internal
problem and not from food. I agree.
I'm unsure of the activity factor to multiple by my lean
body mass (83.03 lbs). In an average week, I do three,
one-and-a-half hour combined aerobic and weight training
sessions. I also do an additonal 40 minute aerobic session.
As well, I'm a stay at home mother of a 4 year old so I
regularly bike, walk, mow the lawn etc. On top of this, I
would like to gain muscle mass. I understand this may mean I
should add an additional protein block immediately. I tried
Dr. Sears' 800 phone number but I live in New Brunswick,
Canada and the phone number is not accessible here.
Eades' explains it well. page 157 in Protein Power:
"4. Very Active. If you engage in vigorous physical activity
lasting an hour or more five or more times per week, your
lean mass requires 0.8 gram per pound."
You may even need 8.5 after all your running around. The
group says don't under-estimate your activity rate.
Secondly, my friends are having an on-going argument
regarding peanuts. In the book, Dr. Sears describes one
block of fat as 6 peanuts. Is this 6 shelled peanuts
(therefore making 12 individual peanuts) or 6 unshelled
nuts? We're just a little confused over this.
My guess is 6 full peanuts that come 2 per shell. (you could
eat the shells for more fiber...just kidding ;-> ) The
following is from the list server re peanuts...no help here
When Sears refers in the book to 6 peanuts making up a block
of fat, is he talking about peanut shells or the actual
little nuts? (i.e. are the contents of six peanut shells = 1
fat block OR six joined halves = 1 fat block(3 typical
shells = 1 block)) It makes a big difference in the amount
of peanuts you eat obviously...
My husband and I had this very discussion last night. My
argument is that if he had meant shells, he would have said
shells. When someone asks you if you'd like a peanut, you
most likely don't conjure up an image of a peanut shell, but
rather the peanut itself.
A peanut shell contains peanuts, usually two of them.
A peanut consists of 2 half shells, which together make
....what do you say class?!!!....one peanut. Yeaaaa!
Hi David, You mention Eades Protein Power as a suggestion to
help me metabolize fat better. Do you know off hand what the
protein source is? I have a very frustrating problem whereby
I am food sensitive to Soy & really need to stay away from
any product containing such. It's really ashame since all of
the Zone bars on the market use Soy for their protein
source. I would really like to have the option of using them
for ease & convenience.
Eades' is a low carbohydrate diet for limited time so you
will run into the same problems getting your non-soy based
protein as on the zone. Protein quantities are exactly the
same for both plans, Lean Body Mass times activity rate
(usually .8). The difference is carbo level...only 30 grams
per day!! until you reach fat% goal plus 20% then you go to
55gms per day until goal, then you just zone. It is quite
radical but it is a limited period. Now, mind you, I haven't
tried it yet so all I can give you is information, no
If you eat meat and fish products and cheese I don't see why
you are having problems finding protein sources. (you must
eat them because if you don't eat soy, there's nothing
left!!) Protein powers are made with milk-egg sources. You
may just have to make your own snack bars with these powders
and such. A friend and I are exploring these recipes if you
are interested, I'll share our research with you.
I was doing really great trying to follow the Zone there for
a few weeks. But, because of my hectic lifestyle, got stuck
on eating primarily fast food egg mcmuffins for breakfast,
chicken sandwiches for lunch & dinner, and 1% milk for
snacks there in between. Oh yeah, I did vary some of the
meals with cottage cheese & fruit. Needless to say, I got
extremely burned out from lack of diversity ... and, wasn't
benefiting from any macronutrients. I have since fallen back
to old eating habits & need to get myself motivated back to
Well, a lot of folks do eat the same stuff alot, I do too
but I think of my food sometimes as my "medicine" and take
it anyway. Maybe I'm easier the please with food esteticly
(sp) than you because I repeat meals alot, especially
breakfast and lunch. Dinner is usually more creative.
Egg McMuffins may be zoneful if you leave off one of the
buns, I fold over a hamburger after taking off the top bun.
>biggest problem (perhaps) is that I havn't taken the time
to really >read Dr. Sears' book, nor learn enough about the
principles/mechanics >of living this lifestyle. Being
organized and planning ahead are also >difficult for me,
but, I'm sure that if I'm going to make this work, I >had
better get this figured out as well! >
Well, the book does cost like $20 and it will help you get
motivated because he explains the health benefits in a way
that you can understand them. Eades' do too, and maybe even
better but wow, talk about deprivational! You really need
motivation for that one.
Good luck and keep me posted!
I have hypoglycemia and am supposed to eat every 2 hrs. How
does this effect my zone diet when I'm only supposed to eat
5 times a day? Should I should take the entire day's supply
of meals and divide it between the number of meals I'm
supposed to eat? Please advise. >
have figured this out by now but here goes:
An IV drip would be the best...low dose, zone balanced food,
would keep insulin at bay. It really doesn't matter how many
meals you eat in a day, but perhaps keep them to one block
minimum and at least one hour apart. The more frequently you
eat the smoother your insulin response.
How do you tell if you are eating too much protein? Thanks.
Too much protein and you will be pushed out of the zone
effect. You will probably just get hungry before 4 hours
since the excess protein will inhibit your fat metabolism.
You know what the ratios are, divide protein by carbos. .6
is the lowest you should go and 1.0 is the highest. If you
err, err to the high side, that is more protein. I believe
that there is more wiggle room on the high side, I feel I
can go up slightly above 1.0 if I want but I never stray
down into the .5 range. I know that's courting disaster. But
the closer I get to .75 the better things go, I continue to
drop excess fat and feel no hunger.
I hope that answers your question, if you need a more
biochemical oriented explanation, I'll get them for you if
Bill wrote: David - what do you think of the Zone bars in
combination with or in lieu of the Zone diet? My trainer has
recommended them (he also sells them). Thanks Bill
I use the bars occasionally at work when I haven't planned
my day right and don't have "real food" for my 4pm snack. I
LOVE them and I could get very hooked on them if I wasn't so
cheap. Actually I like to eat regular food better for snacks
and like to be like a chemist combining carbo foods and
protein foods and a dab of fat here and there to get it
right. Maybe I'm the exception in that regard.
I sell the bars at my office. Just have a bunch of boxes
open and sell them 2 for 5$ for anyone who wants to try
them. I talk to everyone who wants to about the diet. One of
the folks who sublets from us bought a box last week, he's
not overweight but finds the bars give him a steady energy
that he can't get from normal snacks. He used to go to the
deli across the street and get a candy bar or soda so he
really is excited about the bars and now we chat a lot about
zone combination since he has felt the effect with the bars.
It really depends upon your lifestyle if the bars work for
you. My sister uses them daily as does my mother for those
times when you just cant eat or get stuck somewhere without
zone food. Most people just can't afford them.
I believe that they are so perfectly balanced and Barry has
honed the ingrediances so well over the years that if you
want the maximum effect on the diet you probably should use
them, especially for pre-workouts. I do a slight carbo load
before my aerobics class but I'm still experimenting with
the bars in this regard.
You might try asking Russel Swan about the bars, I think he
works out a lot too. His URL is:
Hi. I'm confused...
I understand that I should eat a zone
favorable snack before and after my workouts. But I need to
eat so many food blocks a day, let's say 4 blocks, 3 times a
day and two 1 block snacks. So how do I figure those workout
snacks into this equation? Do I sutract from lunch or
dinner, or does my workout need these two snacks for energy
Thanks in advance.
You are correct to eat a zone snack before and after a good
workout. The fact that you are working out at a higher level
should push up your activity factor and automatically adjust
for the larger number of blocks of food. For example, me.
I’m 182lbs @.85lbm%=154.7lbm. At an activity factor of .7 I
need 15.4 blocks per day. If I workout everyday, my activity
factor goes up to .8 which increases my blocks needed to
17.6! Just the two I need before and after my workouts.
If you find that you are losing more than 1.5 lbs of fat per
week, that is too fast and probably you are losing LBM too.
You would need to increase the number of total blocks in
If you care “hitting the wall” during your workouts, you may
also need more food before, or even add some extra carbs
too. Consider also drinking your pre/post snacks so the
nutrients are more easily assimilable.
Take a look at Jerry Connelly’s www sites at The Training
Good luck and keep on Zoning!
First, let me thank you for the wonderful site
on the zone diet. I am a vegetarian (milk is fine, no eggs)
and was wondering if anyone has successfully followed the
zone diet. Or is there any good recipies which adhere to the
Zone diet principles which should also be vegan.
Thanks so much for the note.
Since starting the zone I do eat some chicken but to tell
the truth, I would rather eat vegetarian. We eat ALOT of soy
products. (Have you seen the Green Giant Garden Burgers yet
in the frozen section?). I also live on cottage cheese and
mozzarella. We eat fish too but avoid red meat. It is not
easy but we do it.
I don’t have any real novel ideas for you, I’m sorry to say.
But we do it and you can too. It depends how strict a vegi
you are. If you do not eat anything with a face, you have to
avoid fish and that is a great source of protein.
We discovered Setian, a wheat gluten product that can be
stir fried with vegies. Also TVP (texturized vegetable
protein) is a terrific food item to add to beans and rice or
any soup. Mix in some cheese and you’re there! I also use a
protein drink every morning.
The Vegetarian Web page is geared for Non-Zoners and I was
disappointed with it. But check it out. I think I have a
link to it on my zone page.
The zone program is very new. Low carbo diets are not very
well accepted in the “real-fat world” so this is why there
is not much data out there. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!! You
can create a web page for vegetarian zoners!!! There is a
great need. Then let me and others know you did it and
cyberspace will be a better place because of you!!! I will
promote your web site. Let me know! In fact, if you want,
you can do some research, compose the page like you want it
and send it to me and I'll hang it on my site with your name
on it. (I think I'll eventually put one on the site anyway
but you know how it goes, who has all that time???)
Keep Zoning!!! David
Please send a reference, if you can, for software that helps
with menu planning on the Zone diet. Thanks.
Dear Vivian (?),
Here are a smattering of software info that I pulled
together for you from the zone list. If you use Netscape to
view it, you will get clickable web sites.
A freeware teaser program and a $40 full
The price is $39.
There is no printed manual. The registered version functions
the same as the shareware version except for a larger food
database. If you don't think the shareware version is any
good, you should not pay for the registered version because
you will be disappointed.
You can download it from
ftp://ftp.coast.net/SimTel/win3/food/ngzdmp44.zip . Instead
of occasionally finding a Zone-favorable dish/recipe, you
can use the program to identify which foods in the large
database are zf, and which combinations are zf. Definitely
worth a look.
Ted has a GREAT zone block calculator and textlists to help
pick foods but it isn't a menu planner like nutrigenie.
eMail him at:
Ted Wendler for
more info. $40 I think.
Zone Buddy: a spreadsheet program, free
NutriSoft, which has a Zone Diet meal
planning software. Don't know the URL, try to search for it.
A good nutritional software program (The Food Processor by
ESHA Research) Can analyze not only macronutrients but
micronutrients and essential fatty acids. No URL.
MasterCook does nutritional analysis. You can look up
information for an ingredient or a recipe. You can add
information for additional ingredients. No URL
Cooking Light version at Costco for $29.99. No URL
"Lifeform" program from Fitnesoft(WWW site with Demo
available. The retail version comes with 11,000 foods in the
database and you can add your own from the nutritional
labels. This program is the best I've seen and is as easy to
use as any program. I read where someone referred to as the
quicken of nutritional software. The lowest cost I found was
on the internet for around $40. No URL.
david, A friend and I are new to the Zone plan this week. So
far we are very pleased with the way we feel and how
satisfied we are after we eat our meals, which sometimes at
first glance look small.
I would like to know more about you. You said you have been
zoning (?) for 6 months. you also said that you have a
support group who started onthe plan primarily to lose
weight. Have they been successful? Is there anythin that
makes you an expert on the Zone other than having done it
and read the book?
Please write back. We feel a little lost here although we
are keeping the faith. Also write if you know of other
support groups in NY or NJ.
Andrea and family,
Welcome to the Zone. Well, I have been a Chiropractor for 16
years and have read a lot about nutrition and biochemistry
is a favorite of mine.
I like to eat healthily but I still have fun too. The Zone
has been one of the best things that has happened to me. I
will eat like this for the rest of my life, thank you very
much. I have almost reached the 170’s. This means I have
lost almost 35lbs of fat since November!
I just had my blood drawn this morning to see if my
cholesterol has lowered from 269 where it was a few years
ago. I can’t wait to see my doctor’s face.
I am in the writing stage of a lecture I will give in a few
weeks to a local massage school here in San Diego so I am
firming up my knowledge of the effects of insulin on fat
metabolism which is the heart of the Zone. If that marks me
as an expert than I am but I do not have studies in
chemistry above the organic chem. level and a few post
graduate courses in biochemistry.
You said that you feel that your meals look small. The
question is “how do you feel”. It’s real important that you
never feel deprived on this diet. For example, usually when
I eat a meal, I could keep on eating until I burst. I don’t
know when to stop. So I have to let my higher consciousness
tell me that I probably have eaten my 4 or 5 blocks of food
and should stop. I usually put on my plate what appears to
be 3 blocks of food so that I can have a second helping of 1
or 2 depending upon how good it tasted. Then I wait for a
half an hour. If my tummy does not feel full (and I mean a
little uncomfortably full) then I figure that I didn’t eat
enough. The next check in time is 4 hours later. If I feel
hungry, I hit the ridge for a snack. If I’m not hungry, then
I wait until my appastate goes off. If I can go 5 hours
before feeling hunger, I know I ate IN THE ZONE at the last
meal and probably just the right amount of food. Don't skimp
Does that sound crazy to you? Well maybe it does to someone
who has just started and is a little skeptical but I think
it beats the way I was eating before: slug down a bunch of
pasta or rice and a few vegetables with a little cheese
melted on top, watch TV for a while and then take a nap.
What I like about this form of eating is that I have some
focus and control over how I feel.
After your second week of zoning you will find that the
portions are much larger than you thought they were at the
start. You will find you can eat less at a sitting if you
want because you know that you can always snack whenever you
get hungry. That fear that “oh know, this is all I can eat
until my next meal” goes away. Just eat if you’re hungry.
But eat zonefully.
Yesterday I created a zone snack that I love. 1 cup low fat
ricotta cheese, 1 cup Dannon vanilla yogurt lite, 2 cups
water, 2 packages no fat Jello instant fudge pudding. This
is zoneful (.66 - a little on the low side) and delicious! I
had some ricotta left over so I tried something else: equal
parts ricotta and the yogurt and I crumbled in a few graham
crackers. It makes a zoneful cheese cake-like filling.
I run a zone/diet support group at my office every other
week on Monday night. Most of the folks (10-12 in all right
now who float in and out) want to lose weight and some are
into the health benefits. We are exploring Eades’ Protein
Power for a few of them who are extremely insulin resistant.
PP is a true DIET. I tried it a few days and went right back
to the zone. It’s all protein and vegetables, only 30 grams
of carbos per day. I just don't want to subject myself to
Zone groups are fun. Most of the members are our friends,
some are my patients and some co-workers. We have two
children zoning too. What I suggest is that you start your
own group. Just invite the people who you know who are
interested and you will be surprised how quick everyone
becomes an expert. We make zone snacks almost every time and
swap ideas and recipes. It really helps. Just about everyone
who has followed the plan has lost fat or dress sizes. My
mother hasn’t lost weight but she is very happy zoning
because she never is hungry anymore. Yesterday she said that
she’s ready to cut down her blocks so she can lose some fat.
Sorry for the long letter, please let me know how you are
doing as you go along. I will answer any question you have
if I can.
Yours from the Zone,
Dave, What is the time frame for fat loss. Would it be safe
to say that I should be looking long term and not instant
loss. Do you have any secrects to this diet. Gary
Glucagon causes water loss in the body so at
the start of the diet your insulin is under control for the
first time in a long while and there is usually a water loss
and rapid weight drop of 5 lbs or so. After about 10 days
the system settles down and you begin to see real fat loss.
The loss, if you are normal, is steady thereafter at about
1-2 lbs per week. My loss was linear for the first 5 months
and began to slow down when I reached ideal weight.
Secrets!!! Cool question. I think the secrets depend on what
you are trying to accomplish but I’ll guess you want fat
loss so.. I think one secret is, when you start and are
highly motivated, go ahead and let yourself feel a little
hunger now and then. It will speed up the fat loss even
though it is said that you shouldn’t ever feel hunger. I did
it as long as I could stand it and secretly enjoyed the
knowledge that I know I was burning extra fat during that
time period (hours). (I’m weird)
Now I look for slow weight loss with no hunger and long
periods between eating. I found that I had to get away from
my fear of eating fat to do this. I eat alot more fat now
and find I can go sometimes 5 hours between hunger pangs.
The secret is to eat smaller, frequent meals to iron out the
The secret (for me) is to drink soy protein drinks in the
morning and when I come home from a carbo binge at a
restaurant or party.
The secret is after I have snacked on triscuits, I eat a
The secret is, exercise 2 days a week and sweat.
The secret is, beer is bad, white wine and hard stuff is ok.
The secret is, carbohydrates are bad, protein is good.
The secret is, don’t eat sweets- you will begin to crave
The secret is to forgive yourself when you screw up.
The secret is positive thoughts, believe in yourself when
detractors say stupid things like “you look emaciated, I
think you should have more meat on your bones.” They are not
used to seeing people at ideal fat percentages.
The secret is, you can loss fat and keep it off forever if
you want, it all you choice in the foods you eat every day,
every time the dinner bell sounds.
Good luck and PLEASE write back in a few weeks,
thanks again for all your help and concern. If their are any
publications I could be referring to besides Sears' book
please let me know. Andrea
Eades Protein Power is a good read and explains the low carb
approach very well. You can skim it too. I wouldn't suggest
trying to follow the plan, it is very restrictive and I
found that I had cravings and felt deprived.
There are several low-carb newsgroups on the net too you
could check out. Kinda interesting to read what people say
who have been doing this for a while.
I see very little mention in the Zone info of the problems
inherent to combining food sources..... That is - carbos
break down best in an alkaline environment (intestines) and
fat/protein are best digested in an acid
environment(stomach). Combining carbos with fats/protein
during a meal as seen in many Zone recipes can cause
problems with absorption of nutrients from either, as the
digestive environments actually combat each other. Has there
been any Zone research done on recipes that better separate
food sources to limit digestion/absorption problems? Thx,
Food combining kind of goes out the window in the zone. One
of the requirements is to eat carbos and protein and fat at
the same meal so that the mass of food slows down the rapid
carbo uptake thus blunting the insulin rise.
I do not see why one couldn't simply eat the proteins and
fats first, wait a short period of time for the stomach acid
to begin it's job and then eat the carbo foods. Actually I
think that sequence has been suggested for years, if I
recall correctly. I do this as much as I can because I
beleive that eating the carbs first and waiting too long is
courting disaster and so I don't chance it. I don't like
waiting more than 15minutes before adding protein and fat.
That happens quite rarely. For example, I usually drink a
protein drink in the AM when I'm blurry eyed and in a few
minutes eat my oatmeal. It works for me.
No research that I'm aware of regarding the zone effect but
you could contact Sears directly by phone and ask.
Good Zoning, David
Dr. Brown, I recently started eating in The Zone and your
page has been very helpful. However, I don't feel I've quite
reached The Zone. I have been calculating my portions very
carefully, but still seem to get hungry within a couple of
hours after a meal. Where do I go from here? Do I add more
fat, lessen carbs, add carbs, add protein or what? My main
goal (along with more energy) is fat loss and I am afraid of
adding too much fat even if it is monounsaturated. I'd
appreciate some suggestions on how to figure out what my
body needs to reach The Zone and eliminate this constant
hunger. I read some suggestions by Sears on this matter, but
it mostly confused me. Thanks so much. Carol P.S. Also, I
thought that alot of fat-free products had extra sugar in
them which I would think would enter the bloodstream too
fast thus causing that awful cycle...in a handout from Sears
he recommends some fat-free dressing on a salad. What do you
think? Are fat-free dressings and other similiar products ok
or is it better to go with the low-fat or regular version?
Dear Carol, Thanks. I’m glad you have found my pages
helpful, now let’s see if I can help you here. The answer is
most likely that you are still “fat phobic”. You simply MUST
give that up, it just is not true that eating fat makes you
fat. The fat is the secret to lasting more than a few hours
before feeling hungry.
Are you feeling tired or sleepy after 2 hours post eating?
If so, you may be eating too may carbos at your last meal.
You missed the zone and spiked insulin, dropped blood sugar
in two hours and zonked.
If you are just hungry, it is probably just not enough fat.
Fat does not spike insulin, only incorrect carb/protein
ratios. (low pro-high carb.).
If you are perfectly balanced, try adding an extra block of
food at your meal, even if you go over your total daily
allotment. As you ease into the diet and the dust settles
you can start cutting back. Be good to yourself. Remember,
as long as you are eating the correct balance of food, you
can eat up to 5 blocks at one meal. That’s alot of food and
it will last you a long time. Just forget about fat loss for
now and concentrate on correct hormone balance (which is the
REAL reason to Zone, fat loss is a by-poroduct).
Fat loss will come but you must get in the zone first. If
you are way overweight, you are probably very insulin
resistant and it will take a few weeks for your cells to get
used to normal insulin stimulation. They will eventually
calm down, begin to react normally, and start converting fat
Start mild exercise to stimulate your circulation. Drink
lots of water to help the process. Maybe eat closer to the
.9 side of the ratio, that is, try higher protein levels and
smaller carbs. (7gms pro for every 8 grms Carb) but stay at
3 grams of fat.
It will work, David
My family is vegetarian. we were wondering about protein
sources. which are the best? protein powders, spirulina,
etc. we have all gained weight since becoming vegan. we need
to loose weight because there are diabetics on both sides of
the family. thanks, sheryl
When I was a vegi I ate tofu a lot but I ate eggs and milk
products too so protein is not too problematical. Have you
tried seitan or TVP? These can be added to any meal in
various ways. Boy, if you can see your way to eating fish,
you would have it made. But I know, they have a face.
All protein powders are great in my book (all are equal in
their effect too). Some folks hate them because they make
them feel like they are on a diet but I really enjoy the big
"hit" they provide. I look at this diet as providing a
constant series of choices for me. I decide just how I am
going to "spend" my carbohydrate allotment at each meal. Of
course the protein level sets this for me too so I like PP
since it is so concentrated that I can always get enough
carbos to satisfy me.
I think I have read that there are added benifits when
eating soy products so maybe soy protein is better for you
than egg or milk type. I don't think you can eat enough
spirulina to make a meal out of it but if you like that
stuff, try it. It is very good for you, full of enzymes.
You are doing the right thing if you are pre-diabetic
following the Zone. It is a sensible diet, one you can stay
with for life. My triglycerides dropped from 238 in 1994 to
63 last week! Cholest/hdl from 7.0 to 3.6!!! This diet
works, no doubt.
Stay with it and drop me a note if you are having any
I had read that protein drinks (so easy! I like chocolate
whey......) are not recommended because of the large surface
area they have in the stomach, being liquid. This makes
absorption less reliably slow maybe.......and that solid
proteins are better....... But in the AM I just can't manage
anything too solid and my whey shake is always the preferred
choice for breakfast. Have you heard anything about protein
drinks to tha effect?
I'm sure that digestion is enhanced with liquids due to
increased surface area but don't forget you always eat carbo
foods and fats with the drinks so those foods will slow down
the stomach emptying time too. PP drinks are very successful
for me and most people so I don't think the small nuance of
slightly increased uptake will effect the zone.
Of course the insulin spike is what you are trying to
control by combining foods properly. Protein has very little
effect on insulin anyway so if it did get up taken rapidly,
not much would happen anyway. It is the carbohydrate in the
presence of very little protein that causes the most insulin
release. Eades' book Protein Power has a very good
explanation of all this stuff if Sears' book wasn't clear to
I drink them all and use them anytime I'm in trouble; I have
rushed home after a high carbo meal at a restaurant and
gobbled up a Pro drink. I know it may be a little late but I
also know that my stomach is still full of food from the
dinner so at least I can zone the contents of my stomach.
Pretty weird thinking, huh?
ps. The following is from zone listserver...
Does not the amount of chewing rather than the degree to
which the food is processed determine its surface area, so
if foods with the same fiber content are all chewed to the
same liquid consistancy, would they not end up being
absorbed at the same rate regardless of their state prior to
Answer: Great observation. Chewing has been recomended since
grandma's apple pie was on the stove cooking. Chewing does
help break the foods apart and expose more active sites for
breakdown in the stomach and more importantly in the small
intestine where all the absorption goes on. But likewise,
the chewing breaks down the food much like a canonball beaks
down a brick building: eventhough the building is down and
bricks everywhere, the bricks, in many cases, are still
bricks and therefore suseptible to the same digestive
processes. It isn't until the bricks become grains of sand
that the real efficiency comes in.
Some questions: (all these are from Cindy) How serious are
you about avoiding the "bad foods" - like whole grain
breads, pasta, rice etc.? I think if I could have those
things it would make this a reasonable diet. I love pasta
with pesto, and homemade pizza once a week. I have a bread
machine - which I have weaned myself from already except on
rare occasions. I do beleive that bread is a real downer for
me and many people. But is it reasonable to think you could
have one slice per day? If so, then should you not have
pasta in that day?
I now think in these terms: Instead of eating cooked
vegetables on top of my rice or pasta, I eat pasta or rice
on top of my vegetables. A Simple Twist of Food. I have
found Vogel Bread which has only 6 gms of C per slice. I now
have a sandwich whenever I want to. Just be sure you have
protein and fat with your bread and that it doesn’t exceed 5
blocks per meal.
You mention protein drinks in the morning. Could you tell me
what exactly you have in the morning with your protein drink
and what kind of drink is it?
I use two kinds of PP. One is high protein and nocarb (24P,
1c) and the other is like 17P with 9C. I mix them like 2:1
so until the P:C ratio gives me about 4 blocks of P and 1 B
of C. This lets me eat up to 3 blocks of carb foods and fat
to get to zone. I con’t give you actual scoops because yours
will be different. You just have to sit down and do some
figuring and then write it on your can and refer to it until
you just “know it”.
I like soy protein because I read that it is the best for
your body, but any PP is OK. It’s all protein.
Is there a source of vegetarian/vegan recipes for the Zone
diet? I am usually very creative, but would love to see some
to get me started.
I am working with vegetarian in my group to add a kitchen on
my web site. Look for it on the menus page. It’s Cooking
Do you take any supplements? I currently take Evening
Primrose Oil capsules - 135 mg GLA per day. According to
Sears, I should take 50 - 100 times more EPA in supplement
form, if I am taking GLA supplements. I bought some fish
body oil caps at GNC, but can't tell if they are of the
If they say “Cholesterol Free” they are distilled. I take an
EPA tablet per day and some Super Blue Green Algae because
it is a good source of GLA and eat oatmeal. I take a multi
min and vit from Bronson. I take stuff for my prostate when
I remember. I drink 1 oz of liquid mineral toddy from
Soaring Eagle. I gobble a few calcium tabs and chew vit C
during the day.
What do you think of total body detoxification programs that
include a few days of fasting beginning with easy to digest
fruits and veggies - raw and juices etc. I was about to
begin such a program before I read the Zone book. I am now
really perplexed as to whether to follow this 3 week
detoxification program or not. It certainly does not come
close to meeting the Zone requirements. Three weeks is a
long time. It just sounded wonderful - to totally rid your
system of all toxins. Maybe it would be a good starting
point and them launch into the Zone???????
By all means, fast. But fasting is not zoning. they have to
be done separately.
One thing that makes me wonder about Sears is that he does
not seem to be concerned with where the macronutrients come
from - organic produce - organic sources for meat and
protein etc. He dosen't mention quality of the food. I also
am shocked that he advocates fast food as if it were just as
acceptable as health food. He only lightly indicates that it
is for emergencies etc. I would really wonder how healthy a
person is that is eating the "typical American diet" of fast
food even though they were staying in the Zone????
I think Sears is trying to be as realistic as possible to
meat the needs of “average Americans”. If you told a typical
red blooded American male that he can’t ever have a Big Mac
again, he’d burn the book and forget the plan. The more you
do this diet, the healthier choices you will make. You will
start buying organic instead of commercial fresh foods. You
will buy hormone free meats. Because you are eating less you
are spending less and can afford to pay a little more for
the food you eat.
There is another thing. Your body is more efficient on the
diet. You use the food you eat more effectively, like a well
tuned carburetor. You are making better hormones and so you
can deal better with toxins in the diet than before.
I have a nutrition program that calculates everything (Eat
Smart, Think Smart - which btw is a philosophy itself that I
have followed for years). Would it be acceptable to just
count my grams of CPFs in each meal and forget about those
blocks - as long as I divide my requirements up between 3
meals and 2 snacks?
You mention letting yourself get hungry - why do you do this
when Sears says that you should eat only when you are not
hungry. I thought I understood that letting yourself get
hungry throws you out of the Zone?????
(I understand that feeling hunger means you are out of the
zone but)I like to experience my stomach growling
occasionally just to remind myself what real hunger feels
like. When I mentioned that in my FAQ I said “don’t let
anyone know this but...” I was just joking a little. But a
small amount of hunger is OK before a meal.