cover of Zone Food Blocks: The Quick and Easy, Mix-and-Match Counter for Staying in the Zone

Zone Food Blocks: The Quick and Easy, Mix-and-Match Counter for Staying in the Zone

Author: Barry Sears
Avg. user rating: 2.47
List price: $19.00
Discounted price: $14.82
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Here's the follow-up to The Zone and Mastering the Zone. Author Barry Sears, Ph.D., has formulated a way for readers to follow his diet plan (30 percent fat, 40 percent each carbohydrates and protein) by breaking down foods into measurable units, la Weight Watchers. It's designed to make eating on the run--even if you're stopping at McDonald's--a Zone-friendly experience. But it's not exactly a piece of cake.

Anyone who hated word problems in math class may be slightly baffled by the necessary calculations for foods not listed in the charts. For example, if you want to convert a serving of cereal into Zone blocks, you need to look at the label and subtract the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrate; this gives the total of insulin-promoting carbohydrate. Divide this result by 10. (Although to be accurate, it should be divided by 9, as Sears has assigned 9 grams to each carbohydrate block; he says you may as well round up to 10, since that makes the math easier.) And there you get your Zone block. As long as your total blocks stay within the 40-30-30 ratio, you're in the Zone.

Even more confusing are the measurements for some of the "pre-calculated" foods in the charts. For example, 80 fluid ounces of Rice Dream Rice milk equals 39 carbohydrate blocks and 8 fat blocks. While it's unlikely anyone would guzzle down 10 servings at once, it is likely they'd have a hard time finding this product in the listings in the first place, as it's listed under "milk, nondairy," not "rice milk." Many of the other listings are equally frustrating. To get one carbohydrate block of Schweppes ginger ale, you need to drink 3.3 fluid ounces. If you're working with a 12-ounce can, you can do some rounding, but if you have a liter-sized bottle at home, you're going to need a good eye to get that third of an ounce in a measuring cup. It's also hard to believe someone would eat eight-tenths of a slice of Pepperidge Farm bread to get one carbohydrate block, or six-tenths of a teaspoon of Bernstein's Caesar salad dressing to get one fat block. Dieting shouldn't be this difficult.

Reader Reviews

"An excellent tool to stay in the Zone."

Rating: 4 stars
This book is a very helpful and easy-to-use guide that contains over 12,000 food entries converted into Zone Food Blocks.
Its introduction includes a synopsis of the Zone program and a few important facts about the program, all of which had been previously presented separately in other Zone books. Most importantly, the introduction explains how Dr. Sears modified food block protein, carbohydrate and fat contents from his previous books to reflect the real content in each serving, and to make it compatible with the results we get when we calculate blocks from food labels. (This modification doesn't affect the program or your meals as long as use in each meal or snack preparation either this book or the little food guide on the back of other books, all of whose items are included on Zone Food Blocks. You should not mix information from both.)
The main content of the book is divided into the common Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fat categories, and as a bonus includes two more sections: Fast Foods and Prepared Meals. Each food in each of the categories states the item's name (organized alphabetically for quick checkups), style, brand, serving size and protein, carbohydrate and fat block content. Tricky items are also cross-referenced; for example, oats appears under both 'cereal' and 'oats'. And the book has a very sturdy hardcover binding to make it resistant to the daily tear and wear that anyone on the Zone program will be likely to submit it too.
There are only two important down sides to this book, and hence I only give it four stars. First, it doesn't separate food in favorable and unfavorable groups and second, it's a bit pricey.
Buy this book if you don't have access to the Internet, only use your computer sparingly, or want to (like me) have all this information in an accessible, permanent, printed form. All the information it contains can be found in the Food Block databases of the and websites.

"Zone Food Blocks is the BEST Zone book out there"

Rating: 4 stars
Zone Food BLocks is the most helpful book Barry Sears has written so far. The layout of the book helps the most clueless people on what they should and should not eat and how much of it they should/shouldnt not eat. IF you are already sold on the Zone lifestyle then skip buyingthe other Zone Books and purchase this one. Like it says, "It's the Quick, Easy Guide to Staying in the Zone"

"Helpful tool--but wish it were smaller"

Rating: 4 stars
After reading Dr. Sears' other two books, I was glad to come across this reference guide for staying in The Zone. I admit some of the portion sizes are a bit goofy, but why not invest in a ... digital kitchen scale if you're serious about conquering The Zone? I like being precise with my food blocks and enjoy going thru this book, looking for specific foods and adding them to my self-created food block quick list that I keep up on my refrigerator. It's a little bit of obsessive work, but the end results are far worth it.
My only complaint is the size--I wish this book was published in a size compact enough to fit in a purse or briefcase.
Other than that, if you're serious about The Zone and have read Dr. Sears' other books, it's easy enough to figure out what are favorable and non-favorable carbs as so many people mentioned in other reviews. And when in doubt--stick with (most) fruits and veggies and you'll be fine.