Is it 1.5 grams or 3 grams per fat block?
The answer to this commonly asked question is 3 grams.
Then why does Barry Sears state in his book that it is 1.5 grams? Consider the following:
The most basic concept of any 40-30-30 nutrition plan is pretty simple: Eat foods (or combinations thereof) that provide a proper balance
of protein to carbohydrates to fat. It's easy to think about but quite a different thing to sit down with a list of ingredients and work out the proper balance gram by gram on your calculator. I'm sure that Barry Sears knew this and if he was going to convey the Zone technology to the masses he was going to have to come up with something easier.
So Sears took foods and divided them into three categories, proteins, fats and carbohydrates depending (naturally) on what was most prevalent in that particular food. Then he "portioned out" each food in each category such that one could choose a portion (or "block") from each group and by combining those three parts, be assured of a zone compliant ratio for the meal or snack that this created.
This was the answer which made it possible for so many people to get started with the Zone. But even though the correct ratio of protein to carbohydrates to fat is 7 grams to 9 grams to 3 grams, Sears created blocks of 7, 9 and 1.5 respectively. Why?
In a perfect (40-30-30) world all foods would fall neatly into one of those categories by not having significant quantities of the opposing macronutrients. That is, proteins would have no significant fat or carbohydrate content, fats would have no real protein or carbohydrate content and so on. Reality sets in though and its greatest victim is the protein category. Most protein sources have no significant carbohydrate content but they do have about 1.5 grams of fat. That's half of the 3 gram fat part of the Zone ratio and that is significant. If Sears had utilized a 3 gram fat block (even though the ratio calls for that in theory) then when it was combined with a protein block the result would be 4.5 grams of fat each time blocks were matched up. By using a 1.5 gram fat block, this matching process yields 3 grams of fat which is desired.
That's all just fine if you want to eat using Sears' food charts. Some of us don't because:
- Many foods do not fit very neatly into any specific category and this introduces errors into the ratio (though usually rather minimal).
- Many foods are not in those charts.
Lots of people ask me which method they should use when using ZoneBuddy.
ZoneBuddy was created to provide a flexible, easy and precise way to incorporate foods into the diet. In order to do this it is necessary to give ALL the macronutrient information about any particular food and use the 7:9:3 ratio (actually, ZoneBuddy already assumes that).
This means that when you put hamburger in there, you will be putting in a value for fat. The program takes care of all the details and reports your ratio.
You may return to the Zone Diet page.