Guest Post: Combining the Paleo and Zone Diet

Combining the Paleo and Zone Diet

I have become a strong supporter of the paleo diet over the past few months. Many people I know have felt much better after becoming paleos. After hearing some of their experiences, I decided to give it a shot myself. I have already started to notice the results from my new diet. However, you may be able to modify the diet to make it even better. My brother in law told me about a diet he and my sister are trying known as the “zone diet.” There are a couple key elements to the zone diet. One of them is consuming a carefully balanced ratio of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. If you follow the zone diet, 40% of your calories will be from carbohydrates, while the other 60% will come equally from fats and proteins.

As late as 2008, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggested that 10-30% of our daily calorie intake come from proteins (the average is about 15%). At the same time, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion advocated people eat up to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates. New research has shown we were eating far too many carbs.
The zone diet was created by Dr. Barry Sears, a biochemist living near Long Beach. Sears states that consuming a balanced ratio of calories from carbs, fats and proteins helps maintain a proper hormonal balance.

Sears and a number of other advocates of the zone diet cite a number of benefits it provides:

  • Your body doesn’t store calories as fat. Therefore, they are used more efficiently.
  • Researchers have found that people on the zone diet eat higher levels of necessary vitamins and other nutrients.
  • The diet is believed to reduce the risks of developing heart disease and can lower blood pressure.
  • Evidence suggests that people following the zone diet are at a lower risk of developing diabetes.
  • The zone diet could possibly reduce the risks of developing cancer.

Many athletes have combined the paleo and zone diet to improve their endurance. I personally haven’t tried the zone diet. I can only go by what other people have said. Many Crossfit trainers have said they feel more energetic, more alert and overall healthier since they have combined the two diets.

One of the things that has holding me back is implementing the right portion control. Sticking to a pure paleo diet can be a challenge in and of itself. Implementing the strict portion control requirements on top of that can be too much of a burden to many people. However, some people said they were actually gaining weight when they were on a pure paleo regime. They started to lose more weight and feel better when they started doing the paleo diet on top of that.

As with any diet, you should consult with a nutritionist or physician before starting the zone-paleo diet. Although the diet has become pretty popular (especially among Crossfit trainers like my brother in law) it may not be for everyone. Some people like me are more glucose tolerant than others. You will need to consider your individual needs and experiment with what works for you. That being said, this sounds like a great diet to try out. Have any of you tried doing the paleo zone diet? What have your experiences been? We would all love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

About the author:

Adam Schlaeber is the cofounder of the Great Paleo Diet Cookbook blog. He shares a number of paleo recipes from excellent paleo chefs and discusses the benefits of primal living in the modern world.