That’s right, if you control them….
Here is a quick insight on a few main hormones that the Zone Diet can help regulate when you make it a part of your daily liefstyle.
Insulin, cortisol and eicosanoids.
Insulin regulates our blood sugar. Our blood sugar raises with an excess amount of carbohydrates, or straight up sugar.
Eating carbs will increases our insulin circulating in an effort to control our blood sugar. Eating lots of carbohydrates can cause too much insulin, driving the amount of blood sugar down too low, leaving you left with no energy and feeling lousy! Also, too much insulin stops the body from using stored fat for energy, therefore making it almost impossible for you to burn excess body fat. The carbohydrates that are known for this yoyo effect and barrier to burning body fat are your typical starchy carbs (those listed as your unfavorable carbs).
Your main source of energy should be from your fruits and vegetables. The Zone recommends no more than 25% of your total carbs in a meal be from the unfavorable carb list, don’t go long periods of time without eating and always eat a zone meal within an hour of awakening in the morning.
The Zone Diet is designed to keep your blood sugar and insulin levels in a therapeutic range, not too high and not too low. Most importantly, they will stay consistent (hence, you should eat 6-7 times a day). It also supports eicosanoids, which come from a diet balanced with lean proteins and healthy fatty acids. Eicosanoids play a key role in decreasing inflammation and muscle repair.
There are a few other things that can make your insulin levels peak. STRESS! Emotional stress and physical stress. This happens because of the hormone, cortisol. Cortisol helps regulate our inflammation caused by damaging free radicals released during a stressful event, including exercise. When your insulin raises, so does your cortisol levels. Now, cortisol is helpful, but not when our cortisol levels stay elevated for long periods of time. It can cause an increase in body fat and fail at regulating inflammation, which means we don’t recover efficiently.
Overall, this regulated level of hormones and response will help your progression in your fitness goals and performance in the gym!!
Now, here is a trick!!
Do you know about that time window of pre/post meal workout that is always talked about? Exercise takes our body out of its “normal” state, causing stress, and in order for our body to help regulate its healthy state, it raises its cortisol levels. Remember, with cortisol, comes insulin. Insulin is a vehicle for nutrients. That is how it regulates our blood sugar. So it picks up our glucose and amino’s and transports it to the skeletal muscle for use and to build muscle (protein synthesis). Eating a healthy snack around this window of opportunity will optimize your workout, helping your progression in your fitness and performance goals.
Stay focused, stay dedicated, trust the process, and get in the Zone!!!