Zone Diet: Developed by Dr. Barry Sears in the 90’s, and is based on the idea that you should eat carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in specific ratios (40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat) at every meal with the food being broken down into “blocks”. So what the Zone diet focuses on is hormonal balance, mostly of insulin which keeps you from storing excess sugars as fat. In addition, your body will release the fat you have stored as adipose tissue for energy. The Zone diet does not restrict certain foods as long as the 40/30/30 ratio is maintained. However the proteins, carbs, and fats are broken down into best, fair, and poor choices. With the “blocks” it is important to remember that 7g of protein is 1 block of protein, 9g of carbs is 1 block of carbs, and 1.5g of fat is 1 block of fat. This equation doesn’t change only the amount of “blocks” you can have at any given meal could be changed to suit your nutritional needs. For example if you are a large male you might need 5 blocks of protein at every meal, so if 1oz of chicken breast equals 1 block of protein then you would need 5oz of chicken breast for 5 blocks of protein for that meal. It is also worth it to note that skinless chicken breast would be categorized as a best choice protein.
Paleo Diet: The paleo diet isn’t so much a diet as you might think in terms of don’t eat this, but eat this instead or only eat this much of something. It is more of a state of mind and a way of thinking, it’s based on the idea that you only eat natural foods to help achieve optimum health. Based on the idea that the human body evolved, thrived, for more than 2 million years with the food found in nature: meat, fish, vegetables, wild fruits, eggs, nuts and seeds. It was a diet high in animal fats and proteins and low in carbohydrates. Things have changed dramatically in the way we eat now since the time of the agricultural revolution and unfortunately not for the best. We have gotten away from “foods found in nature” and we eat more processed foods. Studies have shown strong connections between diets based on processed grains and sugars and diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, auto-immune diseases osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. None of which our ancestors suffered from. The Paleo diet does not have strict portion for any of the macronutrients, although a high-protein, high-fat, low-carb prescription is most commonly used.
Alone the Paleo and Zone diets are good. Together, they are great. A Paleo Zone diet gives you all the benefits of eating clean, natural, foods plus the chemistry and science behind eating carbs, proteins, and fats in specific portions. So you limit yourself to the foods on the Paleo diet while following the Zone diets 40/30/30 recommendation. The synergy created by combining the 2 diets is perfect because with the Zone diet you get the break down of “blocks” and ratios to help find that hormonal balance and the Paleo diet is gonna give you that “best choice” list of food to eat. Since everything is to be natural and clean. We at AMRAP encourage our members to follow a Zone diet with Paleo foods for obvious reasons, find what works best for you and get going!