Medical researcher and New York Times best-seller author, Dr. Barry Sears explains the simple dietary blueprint to optimise your health for a lifetime
Dr. Barry Sears, the scientist who created the Zone Diet, started his career 40 years ago working not on nutrition but on developing new drug delivery systems for anti-cancer drugs. But in 1982 when the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for basic discoveries on how a group of hormones affected inflammation in the body, this lead him to begin to look at food as a potentially powerful drug to control those same hormones.
He explains: “Food can be seen as a drug. Taken at the right dosage and at the right time, your diet can control the hormones that regulate inflammation in the body. The end result of controlling this inflammation in the body can help us manage a wide variety of chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and neurological diseases.”
Inflammation is becoming recognized as the central theme in medical research as the foundation to controlling such chronic diseases. However Dr Sears says “Inflammation isn’t always bad – our body needs some to fight off microbial infections – but with too much inflammation we begin to attack ourselves. And there’s a strong link between inflammation and the hormonal responses generated by the foods we eat. Chronic health problems like diabetes, heart disease and neurological diseases really have their roots in diet-induced inflammation.”
According to Dr. Sears, it is the most primitive part of our immune system that we share with plants. Which is key to controlling diet-induced
inflammation. That’s where food comes in. In his words: “What’s needed is an anti-inflammatory diet (i.e. the Zone diet), because you’re keeping inflammation ‘in the zone’).”
So what is an anti-inflammatory, aka. the Zone Diet? It’s all about balancing your proteins and your glycemic load to maintain your hormone levels from one meal to the next, says Dr. Sears. And all you need to achieve that goal is your hand, your eye and a watch…
At each meal, simply divide your plate into three equal sections. In the first section, put a portion of protein (such as chicken, fish or tofu) no larger or smaller than the size of the palm of your hand. In the other two section of the plate, fill it with colourful carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables). The reason they are colourful is because they contain chemicals known as polyphenols which in high enough levels are also anti-inflammatory agents. Finally you add a dash of fat that is low in both saturated and omega-6 fats. Olive oil would be an excellent choice.
If you’ve balanced your plate correctly, you won’t be hungry for the next five hours (that’s where the watch comes in!). The reason is that you controlling your blood sugar levels. If you can adopt this pattern for the long term, then you have a powerful “drug” to keep the hormones being generated by the food you eat in that therapeutic zone to help control inflammation for a lifetime.
“It’s really not a ‘diet’,” Dr Sears explains. “It’s really a blueprint for balancing your plate for the best hormonal outcome at a meal, and you can apply it to any dietary philosophy whether you’re vegetarian or vegan, or following the Paleo or Mediterranean diet.”
“Like polyphenols found in colourful fruits and vegetables, omega 3 fatty acids (found in fish and fish oils) must also be consumed at high enough concentrations to further control inflammation,” says Dr. Sears.
Find out more about Dr. Barry Sears, his work and if you want to find out more get in touch with UK Zone Diet Team call 0118 948 4034 or go to www.zone-lifestyle.co.uk.
6 issues for £19.99*
when you subscribe today
Exclusive prizes from our Heaven Skincare, Senspa, Green People and more...