Talk to a Zone Specialist: 800-404-8171

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Excellent point on olive oil and fish oil vs. saturated fats that is found in the correction to the widely quoted article that led to the media report that saturated fats are good. The data demonstrate that saturated fats cause inflammation, whereas olive oil and fish oil have more anti-inflammatory fats.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The "low-fat" group mentioned in the article was essentially the Zone Diet, not a ketogenic diet like the ketogenic Atkins diet.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The secret is how to eat fewer calories without hunger and fatigue. That is the promise of anti-inflammatory nutrition. By reducing calorie intake, it is also better for the environment. 
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

It's not the fruits, but the polyphenols in the fruits that are important.  As to why, I explain this greater detail in my new book, “The Mediterranean Zone,” coming out in the fall.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Any dietary program that you start and lose weight on must be continued for life to maintain the weight loss.  From that perspective, any calorie-restricted diet will work.  However, the health benefits come from the reduction of inflammation. In that regard, you need to follow an anti-inflammatory diet for a lifetime.  The Zone Diet has been shown to be the most effective diet in reducing inflammation.  Unfortunately, this article forgot to look at that parameter.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

If my math is correct, the brain training involved a diet consisting of 50% low-glycemic-load carbohydrates with primarily vegetables, 25% protein, and 25% fat.  That sounds suspiciously similar to the Zone Diet.  Harvard Medical School demonstrated 15 years ago that the Zone Diet reprogramed the satiety response with one meal.  Not surprisingly the lead author of this study was also an author on that Harvard study 15 years ago. 
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Large amounts of caffeine and alcohol are usually a bad combination.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

I wish someone at the New York Times would actually read this study before writing about it.  At the 12-month time point the "low-carb" diet was essentially the Zone Diet.  The article title should have read "Effects of non-ketogeneic Zone Diet vs low-fat diet."
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

It's not the alcohol, but the polyphenols in the alcohol that have the health benefits.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Why not just follow an anti-inflammatory diet so you have more energy and less hunger?
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

A pasta salad is a swell idea, but only if it is using Zone Pasta consisting of a new type of patented pasta that suppresses hunger while retaining mental focus.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

This is explained in greater detail in my new book, “The Mediterranean Zone” that comes out in the fall.  The book also tells you how to rectify it.  Hint:  It's the polyphenols.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Good start with recommending fruits and vegetables to get polyphenols, but it only helps if they are balanced by low-fat protein and restriction of omega-6 and saturated fats.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The more water soluble the polyphenol, the more likely it can get into the blood to reach the brain.  Delphinidins (the maqui berry is the richest source) are the most water soluble of all polyphenols.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Soy milk sales are dropping because it doesn't taste as good as almond milk.  It still has a beany taste that is not going away.  For my choice, the best-tasting milk remains lactose-free 2% milk.  It also contains 8 times more protein than almond milk.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Not so fast.  The reason they call it breakfast is because you are "breaking an overnight fast".  The body is running on cortisol, and the glycogen stores in the liver are completely depleted by supplying the brain energy via release of stored glucose while you were sleeping.  Unless you think two cups of coffee rich in caffeine is a great breakfast, I would recommend that you make this the ideal time to refuel the body.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

One of the best ways to ensure a healthy gut is to increase your intake of polyphenols.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

It's not only the top 10 foods but how to balance them on your plate to get the maximum anti-inflammatory benefits.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

A Paleo diet only tells you what foods to avoid.  The Zone Diet provides a blueprint on how you should balance those foods to get the best hormonal results.  Not surprising, the leading academic scientists studying the Paleolithic diet reported in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2010 that their best estimate of the composition of the Paleolithic diet 15,000 years ago was essentially the PaleoZone with 40% of the carbohydrates coming from low-glycemic carbs, 30% from low-fat protein, and 30% from fat rich in omega-3 fatty acids.  That's the same balance that you find in the Zone Diet.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Not mentioned in the magazine article is that saturated fats are essentially "anti-brain" food since there is no stimulation of neuronal growth.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

I think my new book, “The Mediterranean Zone,” coming out in the fall gives a lot more practical advice on how to get the benefits of the "old" Mediterranean diet. 
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Stick with the polyphenols in extra-virgin olive oil and the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, but you need therapeutic amounts of both to reduce neuro-inflammation.  As far the MIT "brain drink," save your money and taste buds.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

I would follow the Joslin Diabetes’ Center’s at Harvard Medical School dietary guidelines since they are essentially the Zone Diet.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Here's a better idea based on science.  Follow an anti-inflammatory diet to control blood glucose levels and take high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Nutrition "experts" are like politicians. They have their own perceived notions before the research is even conducted.  I like to take an objective clinical measurement (i.e. inflammation) and let the best dietary strategy win.  That's why I promote anti-inflammatory diets. 
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

A Paleo diet only restricts what types of foods you can eat.  To get the best hormonal response, you still have to balance those remaining foods according to Zone dietary principles.  Otherwise, you could end up with a PaleoAtkins or PaleoOrnish diet, neither of which is good for athletic performance.  If you want to go Paleo, then go PaleoZone.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Maybe if someone on Dr. Oz's staff reads “The Mediterranean Zone” when it comes out in the fall, then he might be able to discuss the Mediterranean diet in more scientific detail.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

If you want to lose excess fat and detox at the same time, simply follow an anti-inflammatory diet.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Sounds like shades of early 1990s when fat was the evil villain.  As usual, the rhetoric of the true believers greatly outstrips the supporting science.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

This is important for a person with celiac disease, but not for a person with "gluten sensitivity".  They would be better served by a label stating "low in FODMAPs", the fermentable carbohydrates that are the underlying cause of their sensitivity to gluten-containing products.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

It should be the case against excess glucose.  If you overload the system with glucose, especially coupled with excess omega-6 fatty acid consumption, you generate excess inflammation.  This has been the cornerstone of my Zone technology for the past 20 years.  The largest supply of glucose in the diet is grains and starches, not added sugar.  Keep them all to a minimum by eating primarily vegetables and fruits as your carbohydrate source.  Furthermore, the polyphenols in vegetables and fruits also eliminate any possible oxidative damage coming from either glucose or fructose. 
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Sugar is sugar, and marketing is marketing.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

What the government got wrong about nutrition was not funding well thought-out studies to answer important questions about hormonal responses of food and the inflammation induced by foods.  Until you have those answers, then Dr. Oz and PBS specials will dominate American thinking. 
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

I thought good copywriting was the foundation of selling anything, including restaurant meals.  Maybe that's why Denny's and McDonald's use great pictures instead of descriptive words.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

As usual, nutrition is a little more complex than a Harvard epidemiological analysis.  You have to maintain the protein-to-glycemic load of the diet to maintain the correct hormonal response as well as balance the levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fats to control inflammation.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Sugar water is still sugar water whatever the size of the can.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The article was doing pretty good until it started called medium-chain triglycerides and saturated fats as healthy fat.  They also cause inflammation by binding to toll-like receptors.  If want healthy fats, omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats are your primary choice.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Prebiotics like polyphenols are more clinically powerful.  In Europe, cocoa polyphenols have an extremely good case to achieve blood pressure reduction claim as long as you consume at least 400 mg. per day.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

I thought I made many of these points nearly 20 years when I wrote “The Zone.”  The idea is to learn from past, not to live in the past.  It's not paleo or vegan but hormonal control from an anti-inflammatory diet that leads to the control of the expression of your genes.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

There is a zone for carbohydrates.  Yes, in excess they are bad as they produce more insulin.  When they are greatly restricted, the levels of the hormone cortisol are increased. You are looking for the sweet spot between those two hormonal extremes.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The best way to maintain good gut health is to consume an anti-inflammatory diet rich in non-starchy vegetables.  The polyphenols in the vegetables will stimulate a better balance of microbes as well reduce a leaky gut.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The most consistent way to improve gut health is by increasing your consumption of polyphenols, which are powerful prebiotics.  That means eating a lot of vegetables just like your grandmother told you to do.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Rather than looking for super foods, you should be thinking of a super diet, one that reduces inflammation. 
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

I think I have been saying this for 20 years that you need a small hormonal control snack before bed to prevent nocturnal hypoglycemia.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

If you are cold, you activate your brown fat.  If you are hot, you don't feel like eating.  One of the better ways to save money and lose excess fat is not to be in a thermal comfort zone all year long.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

It is the potassium-to-sodium ratio that is more important than total sodium.  The best way to increase potassium is to eat more vegetables and fruits.  For diabetics, this lowering of the glycemic load of the diet is the best defense against heart disease.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The problem with probiotics is the biological gauntlet they have to face going from the mouth to the colon.  This is why fecal transplants of probiotics are so much more effective in disease treatment.   
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Nonetheless, these keep reappearing year after year indicating it is very simple to lose weight but very difficult to keep it from returning.  To be successful, you have to control inflammation in the fat cells on a lifetime basis.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

One of the first uses of biotechnology to remove lactose from milk was making cheese and yogurt.  Buying lactose-free milk does the same thing besides gaining greater quality to high-quality protein needed to maintain satiety.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

I think I articulated those same concepts 20 years ago in “The Zone.”  It's nice to see that my concepts are now in fashion.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Any ketogenic diet, including a high-fat, low-carbohydrate Paleolithic diet, can decrease T3 levels.  What you need is a balanced diet that can followed for a lifetime that decreases inflammation while stabilizing hormones, such as insulin and thyroid.  An anti-inflammatory diet is such a diet.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Not surprisingly diet and exercise are also shown to be better than drugs to treat diabetes.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The best way to improve your mood is to stabilize your blood-sugar levels.  There is no magic food to do that, but an anti-inflammatory diet balanced with high-quality protein and low-glycemic-load carbohydrates will do a remarkable job.  That's also how you treat diabetes.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Not surprisingly, the same is true for diabetes.  That's why if you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

It sounds like each of the nutritionists is quoting specific examples from my Zone books over the past 20 years.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

All good ideas except the healthy starch.  Stick with healthier non-starchy vegetables instead, and you will have even greater appetite control.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

I definitively believe than a strict anti-inflammatory diet will decrease not only breast cancer, but also heart disease.  That is one of the foundations of my newest book, “The Mediterranean Zone,” coming out in September.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Simple thinking leads to pathetic results.  You need some carbs for the brain.  Most credible medical researchers would state that is between 100-150 grams per day.  Less than that, cortisol levels will increase to break down muscle into glucose.  More than that, excess insulin is produced.  You need a zone of carbohydrates.  Maybe I will write a book on that subject.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

All good food choices if you keep them balanced when you eat them.  However, your best choice for reducing the risk of heart disease is following an anti-inflammatory diet.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

None of these are new condiments.  They are only useful if they are used with an anti-inflammatory meal that is part of an anti-inflammatory diet.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

I think I have a track record on calling for a significant reduction of grains and starches since 1995.  But replacing those carbohydrates with massive levels of fat (70% of calories), also makes no sense.  A balanced diet is essentially a balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat that generates consistent hormonal control.  Any time you see the word "high" or "low," then the diet is probably not balanced.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The best way to treat depression during and after pregnancy is to consume adequate levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

How about a little common sense? If you eat a high-fat diet, where is the excess fat going to go? It turns out it is going to be deposited in the liver if you believe Yale University. Also when the Atkins diet was compared in the Zone Diet in a highly controlled study published in the world premier nutritional research journal, the Zone Diet was shown to be superior in every regard except for increasing inflammation that the Atkins diet did an excellent job of in only six weeks.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The largest changes are in grains, and that translates into sugar.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

There is a big difference between association and causality because of the other lifestyle factors involved. On the other hand, reducing inflammation does make sense.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Just another risk for the growing globalization of our food supply.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

It's not surprising that athletes who eat more protein, fruits, and vegetables have greater microbe diversity than non-athletes. It'd nice to compare athletes and non-athletes who have similar diets to determine the impact of intense exercise on gut microbe populations.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Fructose belongs to a group of ingredients known as FODMAPs. These are poorly absorbed, but fermentable sugars. It is not the fructose per se, but the fermentation products of excess fructose that may cause the problem. It has been shown that high levels of polyphenols prevent such problems possibly by their interaction with gut bacteria.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Most of these facts were first stated in my book The Zone in 1995. The new key factor about protein that I didn't state 20 years ago is the effect of leucine on the activation of the gene transcription factor mTOR that is necessary for muscle syntheses.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Even if you're willing to consume 2 pounds of tomatoes per day, you only get a limited effect on vascular reactivity and no effect on blood pressure. Unfortunately, that aspect of the study was neglected in the story.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

I couldn't agree more with the conclusion. Glucose is glucose whatever the source, but combine high levels of glucose with high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, and then you have a real inflammation problem on your hands.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Sugar sweetened soda causes obesity because it is rich in glucose. However far more glucose is supplied in the American diet by bread, pasta, and rice. If you are going to tax soda, then you also tax the glucose content of bread, pasta, and rice.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

A far better ranking would be based on the levels of polyphenols found in each of those foods.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

I would stick with the food that has the highest levels of polyphenols -- unsweetened bakers chocolate.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

There's less science around fructose than you think. Carefully controlled studies have indicated when comparing isocaloric levels of fructose and glucose, there is no difference on weight gain, but that fructose does lower insulin levels relative to glucose. It's excess insulin (caused by insulin resistance) that makes you fat and keeps you fat. The best way to increase insulin resistance is to follow a diet rich in grains and starches (both devoid of fructose) coupled with intakes of omega-6 fatty acids.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

A surprisingly well-presented statement comparing fish oil reality to krill oil hype.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Food sensitivities cause inflammation and that sets off a complex chain reaction of metabolic events that leads to obesity and diabetes.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Omega-3 fatty acids are effective, but you need to take a therapeutic dosage.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The bad news is that you are probably fatter than you think. It's the per-cent body fat that counts; not the weight.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Sour grapes when the research data impedes on your preconceived notions.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

I wish it were that simple. Maybe a little macro-nutrient balance would also help.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

No one seems to want to pay for good education or good nutrition in schools.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

One of the primary causes of the activation of the FTO gene is increased cellular inflammation as we age.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

That's the price you pay for cheap food. However, I'd be far more concerned about excess omega-6 fatty acids in the diet because of their impact on increasing inflammation compared to GMO materials.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

It never ceases to amaze me how clever the food industry is and how gullible the buying public is.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Cheaper food also means more inflammatory food.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Polyphenols and omega-3 fatty acids can be true super foods if you take a therapeutic dosage of them and don't have a lot of sugar at the same time. The ironic aspect of POM is it's primarily sugar as one 8 oz. serving contains 36 grams of total carbohydrates and 31 grams of sugar. Coke Classic almost looks good in comparison with only 26 grams of sugar in 8 oz.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

A good general article, but the reality is that you need 50-100 times the volume of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids like alpha linoleic acid (ALA) to get the same benefits, compared with a much smaller amount of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Even with better imaging, you still have to have a treatment for preventing the progression of multiple sclerosis. High- dose fish oil is a good starting point.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Many food dyes are based on a salicylate-type of chemical structures that can alter inflammatory responses.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Somewhat simplistic thinking. All carbohydrates are composed of some combination of glucose and fructose with a little extra galactose. The ratio of glucose to fructose has remained constant for the past 90 years. The problem is when you add excess omega-6 fatty acids to the mixture to increase inflammation.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The problem will only become worse as the levels of omega-3 fatty acids continue to drop in children.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

You should also get used to its co-morbidities such as heart disease and diabetes.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

An interesting hypothesis but very costly to determine and to correct.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

I would be more concerned about bread, pasta, and rice swimming in omega-6 fatty acids than a conventional apple.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The diet of the Inuit today is very different than it was 40 years ago. The Japanese are second largest consumers of fish, have a nationalized health system with excellent records, and their rates of CHD mortality is 7 times lower than Americans, even through their total cholesterol levels are virtually the same. I didn't see any mention of this fact in the article.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

A far safer way to reduce inflammatory damage to the myelin is the use of high-dose fish oil to reduce neuroinflammation inside the brain.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

It still comes down to calorie restriction, satiety, and decreasing insulin resistance. You will do a much more effective job in doing that by following the Joslin Diabetes Center guidelines, which are really those of the Zone Diet. Essentially lower the glycemic load of the diet by eating lots of non-starchy vegetables, balance with adequate amounts of low-fat fat and use only monounsaturated fat. The difference between the Zone Diet and the Joslin Diabetes Center guidelines is that I also recommend supplemental omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols to reduce inflammation. I will give them some time to catch up.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Both endurance and strength exercise programs are important if you want to live an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Four of the five foods are great choices. However, I would drop the quinoa and add more vegetables.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

Really it's the polyphenols. Coffee is the primary source of polyphenols for most Americans. To get the real benefits, you need about 1 gram of polyphenols per day. A typical cup of coffee supplies about 100 mg.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

High-dose fish oil will do the same as it also increases dopamine levels.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

All of these benefits are a consequence of increased polyphenol consumption.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The basic refrain for statins is "when diet and exercise don't work." Diet and exercise always work. You just need the right diet (anti-inflammatory) and the right exercise.

Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

A better knowledge of protein, especially the role of mTOR and muscle synthesis, would benefit in this article.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The same thing happens to addicted mice.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

When The Mediterranean Zone appears in September, the real science behind the Mediterranean diet will be explained.
Doctor Barry Sears

Dr. Sears Comments:

The increase in "healthy" omega-6 fatty acids is the underlying reason for the acceleration of chronic disease including Alzheimer's.