Increased satiety: The real secret to weight loss

Satiety is defined as lack of hunger. If you aren’t hungry, then cutting back calories is easy. Unfortunately, Americans seem to be hungrier than ever. This is not caused by a lack of willpower but due to hormonal imbalances in the hypothalamus that tell the brain to either seek more food or spend time on more productive activities. So the real question is not what is the best diet for weight loss, but what is the best diet for satiety?

the anti inflammatory diet has been clinically shown to burn fat faster than standard, recommended diets (1-3) as well as decreasing hunger compared to standard, recommended diets (4,5). But then whoever said that standard, recommended diets (like the USDA Food Pyramid) are good? A better comparison might be the anti inflammatory diet versus a Mediterranean diet.

I have often said that the anti inflammatory diet should be considered as the evolution of the Mediterranean diet because of its enhanced hormonal control. So where is the data for my contention?

The first randomized controlled research appeared in 2007 using patients with existing heart disease (6). In this study, while both groups lost weight, it was only the group on a Paleolithic diet that had any benefits in glucose reduction. So what’s a Paleolithic diet? In this study it was one that supplied 40 percent of the calories as low-glycemic-load carbohydrates, 28 percent of the calories as low-fat protein, and 28 percent from fat (the remaining calories came from alcohol, which didn’t exist in Paleolithic times). That sounds exactly like the anti inflammatory diet to me, so I will simply call it that. On the other hand, the Mediterranean diet was lower in protein (20 percent) and higher in carbohydrates (50 percent) as well as containing far more cereals and dairy products than the anti inflammatory diet.

The interesting thing that came out of this initial study was that patients on the anti inflammatory diet were apparently eating fewer calories, but with greater satiety. So they repeated the study again with another set of cardiovascular patients, except they measured leptin levels this time. The results were exactly the same (7), that is the anti inflammatory diet was more satiating per calorie, and there was also a greater reduction in leptin levels. This makes perfect sense since improved glycemic control seen in the first comparison study (6) would have been a consequence of reducing insulin resistance. The decrease in the leptin levels in the second study (7) would have been a consequence of the reduction of leptin resistance. The most likely cause of this hormone resistance would be the anti-inflammatory benefits of the anti inflammatory diet because it decreases cellular inflammation. It’s cellular inflammation that disrupts hormonal signaling efficiency and causes hormone resistance.

So here we have two randomized controlled studies (6,7) that indicate the superiority of the anti inflammatory diet compared to Mediterranean diet relative to reducing hormone resistance as well providing greater satiety with fewer calories, just as demonstrated in earlier studies when the anti inflammatory diet was compared to standard recommended diets (4,5). It is increased satiety that is ultimately how you lose weight and keep it off. The anti inflammatory diet appears the easiest way to reach that goal.


1. Layman DK, Boileau RA, Erickson DJ, Painter JE, Shiue H, Sather C, and Christou DD. “A reduced ratio of dietary carbohydrate to protein improves body composition and blood lipid profiles during weight loss in adult women.” J Nutr 133: 411-417 (2003)

2. Lasker DA, Evans EM, and Layman DK, “Moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-protein weight-loss diet reduces cardiovascular disease risk compared to high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet in obese adults. A randomized clinical trial.” Nutrition and Metabolism 5: 30 (2008)

3. Fontani G, Corradeschi F, Felici A, Alfatti F, Bugarini R, Fiaschi AI, Cerretani D, Montorfano G, Rizzo AM and Berra B. “Blood profiles, body fat and mood state in healthy subjects on different diets supplemented with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.” Eur J Clin Invest 35: 499-507 (2005)

4. Ludwig DS, Majzoub JA, Al-Zahrani A, Dallal GE, Blanco I, and Roberts SB. “High glycemic-index foods, overeating, and obesity.” Pediatrics 103:e26 (1999)

5. Agus MSD, Swain JF, Larson CL, Eckert E, and Ludwig DS. “Dietary composition and physiological adaptations to energy restriction.” Am J Clin Nutr 71: 901-907 (2000)

6. Lindberg S, Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Borgstrand E, Soffman J, Sjostrom K and Ahren B. “A Paleolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterrean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease.” Diabetologia 50: 1795-1807 (2007)

7. Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Erlanson-Albertsson, Ahren B, and Lindeber S. “A Paleolithic diet is more satiating per calorie than a Mediterrean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease.” Nutrition & Metabolism 7:85 (2010)

Nothing contained in this blog is intended to be instructional for medial diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical concern or issue, please consult your personal physician immediately.

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About Dr. Barry Sears

Dr. Barry Sears is a leading authority on the impact of the diet on hormonal response, genetic expression, and inflammation. A former research scientist at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Sears has dedicated his research efforts over the past 30 years to the study of lipids. He has published more than 30 scientific articles and holds 13 U.S. patents in the areas of intravenous drug delivery systems and hormonal regulation for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. He has also written 13 books, including the New York Times #1 best-seller "The Zone". These books have sold more than 5 million copies in the U.S. and have been translated into 22 different languages.

65 thoughts on “Increased satiety: The real secret to weight loss

  1. Pingback: Increased satiety: The real secret to weight loss | Dr. Barry … | Zone Diet | doing the zone diet you need supplementing

  2. Thank you Dr Barry! My husband and I have been on the zone for 4 years and love it! We both lost around 15lbs each and are full of energy! I just found out I am pregnant and want to stay on the zone for the whole pregnancy and after. Do you have any suggestions on what I should add or take away from your program? My doctor told me I am not eating enough carbs but I know this is not true as I am well balance in the zone! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Just stay with the anti inflammatory diet principles, but increase the total intake of protein, carbohydrates and fat by about 1 block per meal. This way you are getting more carbs, but also more protein that the growing child needs. In addition make sure you are adding extra omega-3 fatty acids.

  3. I’m sorry – but it is incorrect to call the paleolithic diet the zone diet. The only similarity in this study is the similar ratio of macro-nutrients, and omega 3 to omega 6 ratio.
    From Lindeberg’s study:
    “Patients in the Paleolithic group were recommended to eat lean meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, root vegetables and nuts, and to avoid grains, dairy foods and salt.”

    The Zone diet DOES NOT forbid these foods as does the paleo diet – herein lies the difference.

    I have put many Zone diet clients of mine onto a paleo diet, the results are far more spectacular on a grain, legume and dairy free diet, than on a similar, Zone balanced diet that includes grains, legumes and dairy.

    Dr Sears, I have been a fan of your work for a long time – it has changed the health of several family members. (Who incidentally have even better health with a Paleo / Zone diet) There is a clear distinction between paleolithic diets and the Zone diet and I ask that you not call the Zone diet a paleo diet unless it completely removes the pre-agricultural foods. I think it is immoral to do so.

    • The article in the British Journal of Nutrition by the leading academic experts in Paleolithic nutrition only emphasizes that the macronutrient and omega-3 recommendations that I have made for more than 15 years are extremely similar to their estimates of a Paleolithic diet. The hormonal responses to amino acids, glucose, and fatty acids has been very consistent for millions of years of evolution. The anti inflammatory diet is based on that consistency. A Paleolithic diet dramatically reduces the food choices available. In particular, these reduced food choices means that it is impossible to consume high glycemic carbohydrates (since none existed in Paleolithic times) or to ingest large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids (since they were a relatively rare food component in Paleolithic times). As I have consistently pointed out in my books for the past 15 years, when you consume high glycemic carbohydrates (that increase insulin levels) with omega-6 fatty acids, you get a deadly prescription for an increase in cellular inflammation that ultimately drives chronic disease. I feel that hormonal knowledge trumps intuitive eating. Once you know what the correct macronutrient balance is that controls hormonal responses, and therefore cellular inflammation, you can then begin making the correct food choices that allow you to manage that inflammation on lifetime basis. By systematically eliminating foods that are recent additions to the human diet over the past 10,000 years, will not alter the balance of macronutrients needed for optimal health. In that regard, the anti inflammatory diet and a Paleolithic diet are identical. I will agree with you that the PaleoZone diet will give excellent results because the restriction of food choices makes it more difficult to move out of the macronutrient balance consistent for optimal health. I should also point that in all of Lindeberg’s published research he also supplied recipes for his subjects so it was not exactly “intuitive eating”. Furthermore, in his 2007 Diabetologlia article when comparing a Paleolithic diet (with included recipes) versus a Mediterranean diet (with recipes) in subjects with existing heart disease, there was no statistically significant changes between groups in total body weight between the two groups. Nor was there any statistically significant change between both groups in the fasting glucose levels, HbA1c levels, total body fat, fasting insulin, fat mass, or lean body mass. However there was a statistically significance difference in their post-prandial glucose responses. I strongly suspect that if the Mediterranean groups had changed their macronutrient composition from 52% C, 20% P, and 25% F to 28% P, 40% C, and 27% F as found the Paleolithic group, then the changes in post-prandial glucose between the two groups would have also become non-significant. This would be a consequence of the lower consumption of carbohydrates. The more Paleolithic your food choices, the easier it is to follow the anti inflammatory diet.

  4. Julianne, main concept of Zone Diet 40-30-30 is paleo as B.Eaton pointed out in one study.

    Its true that Zone is not paleo, but you can transform Zone in a true Paleo with minor changes. I consider Zone inside Paleo nutrition universe.

  5. First and foremost a paleo diet is one that is hunter / gatherer / pre-agricultural. This is the primary difference from today’s standard diet. This cuts out gut irritating, auto-immune triggering and the most common allergenic foods. i.e grains, legumes and dairy. This is what gives the major health impact of the paleo diet. The ratio of PCF while important, is not the defining factor.
    The ratio of protein carbs and fats that has been estimated from paleo diet studies is a rough estimate and varies hugely. An average is 40-30-30. This tends to give a low glycemic load – another crucial aspect of paleo diets. However there are people like the Kitavans whose PCF ratio is very different, however have excellent health due to their food choices.

    Other factors which define paleo diets are:
    No modern day additives, preservatives, chemically altered fats etc
    Little sugar, low fructose.
    Ideal omega 6 to 3 balance
    Nutrient dense
    High in fibre (specifically from vegetables/fruit not grain)
    Better acid / alkaline balance
    Higher in potassium, lower in sodium

    You cannot call the Zone diet a type of paleo diet, it is not, it is only the Zone diet. (Unless one chose only paleo foods, or their modern day safe equivalent.)

    • The control of cellular inflammation is end point of the anti inflammatory diet. This is best measured by the AA/EPA in the blood. Other markers such as C-reactive protein simply measure downstream inflammation that is a consequence of an adverse effect of the AA/EPA ratio on the innate immune. Any diet that manages to keep that ratio between 1.5 and 3 is an ideal diet for long-term health. Obviously reducing the intake of any potential food that may cause an inflammatory response is an excellent idea for any diet. Furthermore, you should have some outline for the balance of the macronutrients for a diet otherwise you have a very slippery slope that essentially has no guidelines at all. If your diet is the best it can be, then your levels of cellular inflammation will tell. If your health is important, then you should be getting a test for cellular inflammation before you ever consider a cholesterol test. This way you aren’t guessing about your diet, you are testing.

  6. I understand the end point of the zone diet is a reduction in cellular inflammation. I followed it to the letter, and had good results, with excellent blood tests. The balance of macro-nutrients and portion control (with individual tweaking) of the zone works. I don’t dispute that.
    However, for me on the zone diet joint inflammation and menstrual issues and constipation were only controlled with large amounts of omega-3.
    When I read about the link between auto-immune issues and grains / neolithic foods (Cordain’s work), I did the experiment, and cut them out. It was the missing link. I need to take a fraction of the omega 3 I used to have to take, as I now have no joint issues whatsoever, no menstrual issues and no constipation now.

    Many other clients have had the same reduction in health issues be removing these foods.
    The grain/ legume / dairy and it’s link with auto-immune / gut and other health issues is an important one in my observation and one that is underestimated.

    Given the number of clients, and my own family who have benefited from switching paleo foods (on top of the zone diet) I feel it is information a cannot neglect to give people right at the beginning.

    • I just like academic rigor when it comes to describing diets. From an academic viewpoint that are just four possible diets all based on the glycemic load of the diet assuming all contain the same number of calories. These diets are (1) a ketogenic, very low glycemic load diet (i.e. Atkins diet), (2) a non-ketogenic low glycemic load diet (i.e. an anti inflammatory diet), (3) a high glycemic diet (i.e. USDA Food Pyramid (i.e USDA diet rich in grains and low in protein) , and (4) a very high glycemic diet (i.e. Ornish diet very rich in grains and extremely low in fat and protein). The British Journal of Nutrition review article strongly suggests that the most likely diet practiced in Paleolithic times was a non-ketogenic low glycemic load diet in terms of macro-nutrient composition. Depending on which of the four diets one follows, the food ingredients used in those diets can be further defined as the following: (a) food ingredients only available 10,000 years ago (Paleolithic ingredients), (b) food ingredients only available 2,000 years ago (Mediterranean ingredients), and (c) food ingredients available today (Western ingredients). Obviously the further back in time you go, the more restrictive the food ingredients, but the less inflammatory their impact on our genes. I don’t believe it is germane to describe a Paleolithic diet or a Mediterranean diet because it provides no macro-nutrient definition upon which you can control clinical studies. On the other hand, it is correct to describe a diet using specified food ingredients. Therefore a PaleoZone diet should be considered an anti inflammatory diet using only food ingredients available 10,000 years ago. Likewise a Mediterranean anti inflammatory diet would be an anti inflammatory diet using only food ingredients available 2,000 years ago, and so on. Since the goal of the anti inflammatory diet is to reduce cellular inflammation, the best ingredients to accomplish that goal would be a Paleolithic ingredients, but consumed in the macro-nutrient balance prescribed by the anti inflammatory diet guidelines.

  7. Julianne,

    Zone diet is a foundation for the lowering of cell inflammation and that is major benefit of this knowledge. People can be allergic to grains and legumes, milk and nuts, citric acid which is in many fruits, fish and eggs. The list can go on… and include a lot of food from Paleo times as well.
    Zone give us the wide verity of option to create your own perfect diet.
    In Paleolithic times people ate each other and who knows what else they could find to get their macronutrients. If anything, Zone diet is superior to Paleo because it gives choice available and acceptable now for the healthy eating.
    BTW Zone doesn’t promote eating food additive, preservatives, chemically altered fats etc.

    Personally, I follow Zone for the last 15 year and consult clients for the past 7 years. All of this is fundamentally based on Zone.

    With Respect,


    • With respect, I too followed the Zone diet for 15 years. I am tertiary / graduate educated in health and nutrition. I was Zone Certified in the early days. I taught Zone eating for over 10 years (and still do). I am aware of the choice of foods and variety that the zone diet allows. For me and many of my clients taking out gut damaging agricultural foods makes more difference than sticking to zone ratios. Yes – there needs to be more research to back up the hundreds (thousands, if you count people such as Robb Wolf’s Clients) of anecdotes. All I am requesting is that we not ignore the profound benefits many people are getting health wise from a paleo approach. I wish I had known about the damaging effects of grains for myself some 15 years ago. The Zone diet was hit and miss for me depending on the amount of grains I was eating at the time. In my observation, many, if not most people are affected detrimentally by eating agricultural foods. All I suggest people do – is cut them out for a month and see if it makes a difference. If not – nothing is lost, but on the other hand a lot may be gained.

      • I think I made similar suggestions about 16 years ago. The more restrictive you make your food choices based on their introduction into the human diet, the less inflammatory impact will occur. However, you still want to maintain the Zone macronutrient balance to generate the best hormonal outcome from the more restrictive food choices.

        • With respect Dr. Sears; the main point of Paleo dieting: the elimination of gut irritating foods. It is the first thing, not the second, that is important if one is trying to stick to the regiment. You would probably not want someone to change the Zone ratios on you and say they were doing a Zone-Paleo diet by using ketogenic ratios and just measuring in blocks.

          This is very misleading to your readers as they may think that they are technically doing a Paleo diet while consuming a few things here or there. It seems to be that if one is not part of the 2% of the world population that can handle these gut irritants then they will suffer for it. It is not good to dance around that; you have your approach, and it may include the concepts, but it is not your main point. Make this clear to your readers.

  8. Pingback: On Diet Gurus and Fad Diets | Julianne's Paleo & Zone Nutrition Blog

  9. dr.
    i’ve been on the zone diet for 3 yrs. now.i’ve read all your book. i was a 4 block. i reached a plato.i re-calculated me numbers and got a 3 block.ever since then,i cant find my zone. a couple of my favorite meals are for dinner 3 oz. chicken, 2 small tomatoes,1 1/2 cups cucumber,1/4 hummus,and 3 mac.nuts. 2 hrs. after the meal i’m hungry,and not in the zone. i’ve play’d with the ammounts of the carbs. i went down in carbs. and up one fat. still not in the zone. being in the zone is what keeps me in the fight. my breakfast meal is the same way….1 cup of 1% milk, 1/2 cup “fake” egg,1/2 cup blueberries, and 3 mac. nuts.
    i work out 3 days a week and i’m not focused and tired all the time. i’m trying despritely to get back to the zone.
    how do i get a zone coach?

        • DR.
          i try’d to call the zone expert “linda Carey” at the above number. she no longer works there. anyone else i should call?

      • Hi Dr Sears

        Does age play a part in trying to get the energy back? I was on the Zone about 8 years ago and I remember that I felt bright and had lots of energy. I am now 57 and started the Zone again with about 10 kilos more than the last time. Could that be another reason the energy isnt there? I have been loosing weight and cms but just cant get that same energy as I had back then. I do go to bed a bit late (working on that) but still get 7 hours sleep but feel very tired upon waking. At the end of the evening I am exhausted.

          • Since starting the Zone again last November I have been taking 1 teaspoon a day of Omega 3 pure fish oil plus 1 polyphenol tablet. I weigh 205 lbs, height 5 ft 2 “. My last blood test was very good except the high reading of uric acid. Should I be taking a larger dose of the fish oil?

        • I notice when I let my omega 3 intake drop (forgot to take it basically) for a few weeks, I got tired, didn’t do well with late nights and was really fatigued and didn’t recover well after exercise. I started a tsp a day omegaRx + polyphenol and felt back to my usual energy levels literally within hours.

        • High uric acid could be related to fructose consumption – it would pay to try cutting out fruit, any other food that has fructose like the high fructose corn syrup, sugars, agave, etc

          • Last night after dinner I had 1.5 teaspoons of fish oil – .5 more than I normally take. I think I can actually feel a difference this morning. I will keep up with this dose and see how things go. I dont have a lot of fruit but when I do I have apples, blueberries, strawberries, peaches. I will be wary of the fructose etc in what I am having and see how that goes.

  10. Hello Dr. Sears,

    I am a huge fan of yours. I am wondering if you would share with me who your Book Publicist is? I am a self-help author in search of a good Book Publicist. Thank you for your help!

    • Actually my daughter (who was also the first Zone child) does most of my publicity primarily by giving information to journalists and other blogers looking for good story ideas on diet-related issues. I figure if you help others, then they might be willing to help you in the future.


    • Although pork is almost a national dish in Mexico, I prefer using grass-fed beef and chicken as preferred animal protein choices for Zone meals. The grass-fed animals will have lower levels of omega-6 fats and higher levels of omega-3 fats.

  12. Thank you so much for your work and these blogs. I found you and the Zone Diet many years ago. I was watching a Dr. Weil DVD and he mentioned The Zone as the ideal way to eat. Consumer Report magazine noted that people who follow The Zone get between 11 to 17 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. I was looking for a healthier way to eat that would last my entire life; the weight loss/fat loss was an added bonus. Thank you again.

  13. Dr. Sears,

    I have followed the Zone lifestyle for the past 6 years. Surprisingly, the one “missing” ingredient to my success with the Zone has been satiety! Or, at least my definition of it-lol! Sometimes I feel as if my responses are all backwards, and have never really been able to get a true handle on it. Therefore, I end up eating extra blocks to stay in the zone, or increasing fat to the point that it prevents me from losing bodyfat.

    Eating meals composed of low-glycemic veggies seems filling at the time of the meal, but I end up feeling hungry within a few hours. Sometimes adding some density to the meal helps, but truly I don’t feel as if it helps ENOUGH. My background is that I have been carb intolerant for years, so I know that I have to follow the Zone more rigidly and adjust my P/C ratio. Again, these adjustments do help, but I guess my point is that I don’t feel as if I am really hitting the mark. I have tried your zone 1-2-3 foods but that does not help at all.

    My omega-3 profiles are in a good range, my fasting insulins have been low. I do have a carb intolerance, but this is controlled (I credit the zone for being able to keep this condition from converting into diabetes).

    Do you have any suggestions on what else I can try?

    • My only suggestion is increase your EPA and DHA intake to further decrease the levels of AA. It is from AA that comes the inflammatory eicosanoids that are probably still disrupting the hormonal communication in the hypothalamus necessary for achieving a greater degree of satiety. Although I like to keep the AA levels of the isolated plasma phospholipids under 9%, in your case they should be closer to 8% of the total fatty acids. You have to be careful to know what type of blood sample is being used to measure the fatty acids as the results can be highly variable thereby giving you a false positive that you have an adequate range.

      One of the ways I keep my AA levels down is to eat a lot of egg white omelets.

      • Thanks for the reply. I had been taking high doses of fish oil, about 5 grams (have always taken OmegaRx, had switched to EicoRx for awhile but didn’t notice any difference and switched back to OmegaRx due to cost). My focus for now is to just work on further reduction of AA sources. And, YES–LOVE THOSE EGG WHITE OMELETS!


  14. Does the good doctor have anything to say about Zone Perfect bars? I feel I was really fooled and screwed with my limited knowledge of this zone thing. I started out great and lost 30 pounds, with some gaps where nothing happened (due to zone perfect bars with SOY as the protien). I know have studied and read about SOY being so difficult for the human digestive system. Then I adtually gained 15 pounds (was sick and all that) but I now will avoid soy products like I would avoid arsenic, and other poisons). Immediate good results by reverting to no grains at all and absolutely no soy

    • I have nothing to do with Zone Perfect bars. They are produced by Abbott Labs (the second largest drug company in the U.S.). I would never use the primary ingredients used in those bars because they are guaranteed to make you hungry in a few hours, and in your case sick as well. As Don King would say, “Only in America”.

  15. I have become a bit wary of soy protein as well. Dr Sears, can you give us your thoughts on the consumption of soy as it relates to the Zone, as well as overall health? How do you sift though all of the research? Also, I will take the time here to say that if any readers have trouble with headaches, constipation and mouth cankers, I have found those to be directly associated with artificial sweeteners (ALL of them!).

    • In my book The Soy Zone I stated that soy protein has a lot benefits. These benefits would be a protein source low in omega-6 fatty acids, but rich in branched chain amino acids including leucine that is necessary to activate muscle protein syntheis. But at the time there are other components often associated with soy protein that have adverse metabolic effects. These include anti-nutrients such protease inhibitors and phytates that bind minerals. Most troublesome are isoflavones that can bind to the thyroid receptor thereby to sub-clinical hypothyroidism. The isoflavones can be dramatically reduced by ethanol extraction of the soy protein. The type of soybean protein that has been ethanol extracted is soy protein concentrates. Bottom line, the use of soy protein (free of isoflavones) in moderation can be useful player in reducing the amounts of omega-6 fatty acids in the diet. Of course the best way is to use a lot of egg white protein as it is a better source of protein and also contains no omega-6 fatty acids.

      • Dr Sears and other commenters,
        I’d be interested in your opinion on this article I just read about the evils of non-fermented soy products.
        Please read the entire article at the link provided before commenting.

        By Dr. Mercola

        In the early 1990′s, soy and soy products exploded onto the supermarket scene with promises of bountiful health benefits. This “new miracle food,” soy, was supposed to lower cholesterol, take the heat out of hot flashes, protect against breast and prostate cancer and offer a filling alternative to earth-loving vegetarians.

        The problem with these claims?

        Most of them are false.

        • As I pointed out in my book, The Soy Zone, much of the promises and problems with soy came from the over-hyping of phytoestrogens. I recommended that one should never consume more than 50 mg. per day of phytoestrogens. That’s about a glass of soy milk. On the other hand, soy protein low in phytoestrogens has many benefits such as a reduced insulin secretion, which contributes to a lowering of cholesterol levels. In other words, you shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. You have to understand the pro and cons of every nutrient to make intelligent decisions how to incorporate them into any diet.

    • Fruit has a moderate glycemic index; higher than vegetables, but lower than grains and starches. As a result, its impact on insulin is intermediate between vegetables and grains. The benefits of fruits is that they are a rich source of polyphenols, but also carry a lot of carbohydrates with those polyphenols. My rule of thumb is that berries are the best fruit choices. Women should consume about one serving per day and males about two. This is because women tend to be more sensitive to the glycemic effects of fruits than are men. In order to get adequate levels of polyphenols, this means consuming a lot of non-starchy vegetables or taking purified polyphenol supplements devoid of carbohydrates.

  16. Satiety can be helped by cutting out most processed grain (particularly flours) and substituting whole grains which are low GI, plus beans/lentils.
    My current breakfast is steamed whole barley + brown rice(with added psyllium + chia), a small tin of salmon, plus a herb and some chilli sauce. It is quick, because the whole grains can be cooked in a rice cooker, enough for a few days.

  17. Dr. Sears mentions when he categorizes food groups into favorable, less favorable and unfavorable foods that grains and Omega 6 oils are in the unfavorable groups. He does mention that these are the food groups that have the most potential to do damage. He mentions how in great detail. Obviously his readers are diverse, some that want more of their diets in terms of health, others less. It’s a free world and everybody makes their own, informed choices. Why exclude those that still want to make some changes, be it far less radical? All his books make all the points and it’s up to you the reader to decide how far you want to go, but you are certainly well informed.

  18. Dr Sears,

    If you do not have anything to do with ZonePerfect bars which are sold on your website, are any or all of the food products sold on this website bad for those of us following a zone diet? I was under the assumption all of the products listed on this website were recommended by you as being zone friendly. Thank you for your reply. I have read all of your books and am fascinated by your research. I have become incredibly healthier and lost weight due to your dedication to studyinng hormonal control and cellular inflammation.

  19. Update, perhaps to answer my own question, I googled “zoneperfect bar” and compared it to the bars sold on your website and indeed they are quite different and very deceiving! I’m glad I read this blog and found out there are differences despite the same “zone” name. I’m glad I only shop on your website. Your foods are fabulous when I’m in a pinch for time. Otherwise, I enjoy cooking zone meals from scratch. Thanks again!

  20. I have been zoning for three years and paleo zone for almost two years. I have also been CrossFitting for three years and have had great success in my performance and body composition up until this past year. i was originally on 12 blocks and CF-ing 3x week adding cf Endurance 2xweek and then just active recovery like walking, hiking etc… I leaned out especially after eliminating all grains, dairy,legumes,sugar. I was able to keep my training up for a few months and then began to “fall off” as I call it. I became lethargic, irritable and coould not get enough to eat, waking in the night etc..I tried adding more fat but it didnt help, I added one extra block of protein for muscle building and it didnt help either. Pretty soon I found myself rebound eating and unable to generally function during my workouts which I began missing until I ended up sleeping, eating too much and desperatley trying to get back to good. Thgat buzz i used to have from what my husband and i called “zoning hard” in my brain stopped and i had no energy or pep. This trend lasted thru the Spring last year and I finally at the advice of a friend tried free eating or just paleo eating, she was convinced i had driven myself into overtraining by not eating enough ( 12 blocks of lean proteins, all lo density veg, and fats). I tried dropping my blocks ( very hard to do!) and just intuitivley eating. I gained weight. My energy levels went up but I couldnt resolve the body fat. I went back to my zone blocks trying different mac ratios and nothing has gotten me back there, I cant even stay consistant on my zone rx now, 12 blocks leaves me hungry immediatley, 13 does ok and 14 doesnt allow me to lean back out. I have made a full recovery in my training and pr all the time. Im strong and hoping to compete next year but I cannot lean out. I can see muscle definition thru my body but it is puncuated by obvious fat deposits, which I had no sign of last year at this time. I believe in the zone, I coach people thru the zone all the time, I am well versed in all the rules but cannot coach myself back to lean. Its the last part of the puzzle here and Im downright sick of trying to figure this out. Any advice would be appreciated. I sleep well, my food quality is spot on and i WAM like a champ. I do my best to keep Cortisol in line, i take Fish Oil, eat grass fed, take magnesium and all the info I am gathering ( Robb Wolf, Whole9, etc…) is pointing to the zone not providing adequate nutrition for people like me with my training schedule. Throw me a bone here doc, please!

    • You are finding out by experimentation the levels of protein (and therefore total calories that is necessary to prevent excess accumulation of fat in spite of intense training. This is why you just can’t ignore the hormonal impact of excess calories by just eating “clean”. I would also recommend more fish oil to reduce the levels of that cellular inflammation induced by the CrossFit training. The reduction in cellular inflammation will also reduce insulin resistance in the adipose tissue making it easier to access stored fat for energy.

    • You may want to increase the starch in your diet. I notice a lot of people doing paleo only have non starch veggies, this often gives very little usable carbohydrates / glucose. My observation is that people just don’t feel good on only non starch carbs. Your body needs around 100grams of glucose a day or more. Try adding in starchy carbs at each meal like sweet potato.

  21. February 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm
    i try’d to call the zone expert “linda Carey” at the above number. she no longer works there. anyone else i should call?

  22. Dr. Sears said, “Satiety (feeling satisfied) is defined as lack of hunger. If you aren’t hungry, then cutting back calories is easy. Unfortunately, Americans seem to be hungrier than ever. This is not caused by a lack of willpower but due to hormonal imbalances in the hypothalamus that tell the brain to either seek more food or spend time on more productive activities.” unquote

    So Dr. Sears is saying eating more than 1 potato chip is not caused by lack of will power.
    I understand Dr. Sears as saying it is a hormonal imbalance in the hypothalamus that makes a person want to eat more than 1 potato chip and not be satisfied with eating just 1.
    After all these years, I finally understand.

  23. Pingback: Satiety: the Weight Loss Secret «

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