THE MEDITERRANEAN ZONE: Unleash the Power of the World's Healthiest Diet for Superior Weight Loss, Health, and Longevity, by Barry Sears. Ballantine Books/Zinc Ink, 243 pp., $27.
Many people have the wrong idea of the Mediterranean diet, writes biochemist Barry Sears, a researcher on the hormonal effects of food whose blockbuster bestseller "The Zone," published 20 years ago, and other books have sold more than 6 million copies. The diet's "key feature ... is not pasta but colorful carbohydrates rich in polyphenols" -- antioxidants that fight the inflammation that's making Americans fat, sick and old before their time.
THE SCOOP He says following the plan is easy: You need an eye, a hand and a watch. Eyeball one-third of your plate and fill it with a lean protein (the size of your palm), the other two-thirds with "colorful carbohydrates" -- mostly veggies. "If you have balanced your plate correctly, then for five hours after the meal, you will not be hungry because you have stabilized your blood sugar levels," he writes.
THE BOTTOM LINE Avoid grains and add "a dash" of fat, such as olive oil, guacamole or nuts. And he has recipes, too.