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Wanting to keep your hormones in check to avoid mood and weight fluctuations? The Zone Diet could be the answer you’ve been looking for. This hormone-balancing diet is fantastic for providing yourself with a steady intake of food at the right ratios to keep your body in harmony and is especially popular amongst female athletes, such as bodybuilders.
What Is the Zone Diet?
The Zone diet was designed more than 30 years ago by Dr Barry Sears to reduce inflammation in the body. This hormone-balancing diet can help to improve your health, including assisting with joint pain and heart disease. The core idea is that it can help you to live both healthier and longer.
Each meal in this diet contains an exact balance of protein, carbs, and fats. However, it’s not about blindly eating those macros, but gaining nutrients from specific foods as not all proteins, carbs, or fats are created equal.
It’s gained popularity in recent years and has now been simplified, making it easy to maintain.
What Do You Eat On The Zone Diet?
Let’s start by talking about the protein. You work out your ideal intake based on your lean body weight. If you’re not sure what that is, you can get a body scan to find out how many pounds of lean weight you have. The calculation also takes into account your activity levels, meaning that someone with a sedentary lifestyle will be eating less than, say, an athlete or bodybuilder.
Discover how to calculate your protein intake on the Zone Diet website. Your intake is linked to calorie expenditure too, so if you have low lean body mass and you’re not active, then your total calorie intake is linked to that.
The Zone Diet counts food in blocks with a block of protein being 7 grams of protein. Carbohydrate blocks are 9 grams of carbs, not counting the fibre. Fat is 1.5g fat if you are using animal protein, or 3g if you are using a lean protein or protein powder. This all together adds up to roughly 100 calories.
As an example, if your calculation worked out to be 70g protein per day, then 70 divided by 7 means that you get 10 blocks of food per day. It’s recommended that you eat this across 5 meals – 3 larger and 2 smaller. You can fine-tune this according to your personal preference; many bodybuilders prefer 5 equal meals and do it that way instead, so it’s up to you how you allocate this. This structure allows for a consistent flow of nutrients into your body.
If you’re trying to get your protein in to have the right ratio with carbs and fats, then International Protein’s Protein Synergy is an ideal product to add into your diet. While it’s high in protein, it is low in both carbs and fat, making your ratio calculations much easier. Plus, it tastes amazing so it’s a great way to treat yourself while sticking to the Zone Diet.
Zone Diet to Control Hormones
It is this steady ratio of protein, carbs, and fats that make this an effective and easy to maintain a hormone-balancing diet. Taking in the same amount of these consistently allows your body to adjust and keep producing hormones at a constant rate rather than fluctuating all the time.
If you take carbohydrates out of your diet, for example, then your body would start working completely differently. Your metabolic pathways would all be adjusting continuously and create many different by-products and hormones. It only makes sense that by eating the same distribution of macronutrients all the time, your body will know what to expect and what to produce. This keeps your body in a harmonious state.
Many people have found that doing the Zone Diet has allowed them to come off medications for cholesterol, diabetes, and other metabolic issues involving an issue with glucose metabolism. If you have fatty liver, for instance, you can use this diet to try to reverse and eliminate it.
Women often experience more fluctuations in hormones than other people, because this is the body’s natural process. However, if you keep your macronutrients consistent, this can regulate your hormones and prevent mood swings and water retention. If you’re bodybuilding at a high level anyway, then this can suppress estrogen and help prevent mood swings and other fluctuations as well.
Sugar (or the lack of it!) is a large part of balancing hormones and preventing these fluctuations. That’s why any hormone-balancing diet will advise you to stay away from processed foods and sugars. And that’s exactly what the Zone Diet advises – it’s all about eating good foods, healthy fats and not just hitting calorie counts. The type of food is far more important than just meeting the criteria of fat or a protein.
Consider making healthy swaps such as eating fruit for a sugar hit instead of drinking fruit juice. The way the sugar is delivered to your body and how your body will respond to it in the form of fruit is completely different. Plus, it’s much easier to drink a lot of fruit juice as opposed to consuming that much sugar in fruit form. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to remove or limit your sugar intake. If you do consume sugar, there are better options to choose such as agave, brown rice syrup, and coconut sugar.
Thanks for reading this International Protein article about the Zone Diet. Please ask any questions you have about hormone balancing diets in our comments section below.