What is the 40-30-30 Diet?

The 40-30-30 diet, also known as the Zone Diet, is a type of diet where you draw your calories in a ratio of 40% from carbohydrates, 30% from protein and 30% from fat. This diet plan was first popularized in a book by a man named Barry Sears, an eminent biochemist.

Dietary Sources

You may be wondering what types of foods supply proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Proteins can be found in legumes, or beans, cheeses and meats. Carbohydrates are mostly found in breads and cereals. Fats can be found in all types of foods, but most dietary fat can be found in red meats, milks, cheese and some types of fruits and legumes. The breakdown of calories per given unit of protein, carbohydrates and fat are as follows:

  • Every gram of carbohydrates contains four calories.
  • Every gram of protein also contains four calories.
  • Fat contains nine calories per gram.

A Typical 40-30-30 Daily Menu

Your first step is determining what your body needs daily to maintain your current weight. This can be determined by using a basal metabolic rate calculator. Your basal metabolic rate is how many calories your body burns if you were to be at rest all day. So, if your basal metabolic rate is 2,000 calories per day, you would need to consume 40% of that, or 800 calories daily of carbohydrates. You would need to consume 600 calories per day of protein and fats. This could break down into a slice of whole wheat toast, with some butter and natural jam with a grapefruit for breakfast.

At lunch, you could have a salad with half a can of tuna, some low fat or fat free mayonnaise and diced pickles. For a midday snack, you could have some carrots, celery and/or fresh broccoli. For dinner, enjoy a helping of rice pilaf, a boneless and skinless chicken breast and some steamed vegetables. Use a calorie calculator to determine the size of your meal portions.

If you have calories left over at the end of the day, try some low carbohydrate (also known as diabetic) candy. With a little imagination and the calorie counter, you can very easily follow this diet and not allow the diet to become monotonous.

Things to Remember on This Diet

When following this type of diet, keep in mind there are some foods, especially fish, that can almost quite literally give you a “free pass” when it comes to calories. Since almost every food item contains protein, fat and carbohydrates, you will need to keep all of this in mind when planning your daily menus. However, some seafood, like tuna, is an exception to this rule. Tuna is completely free of carbohydrates and has only 12 fat calories. Tuna is also very low in both cholesterol and sodium. What this means is that tuna can be eaten without having to use complex formulas to see where it impinges on your ability to consume foods from the other food groups.

With curtailing carbohydrate intake all the diet rage recently, it’s quite surprising to discover that adherents of this diet plan have, for the most part, reported very favorable results. As with all diet regimens, check with your medical practitioner before starting this diet plan.


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