The Smart Person's Diet?

The Smart Person's Diet?

Food & Drink

The Smart Person's Diet?


By Cari Martens

‘Intellectuals and wonks have finally found their version of the Atkins diet.’ So says Hannah Seligson, whose blog appeared on The Daily Beast. The new diet is called The Instinct Diet and is explained in The Instinct Diet: Use Your Five Food Instincts to Lose Weight and Keep it Off, the new diet book written by Dr. Susan Roberts, professor of nutrition and psychiatry at Tufts University.

Both of Dr. Roberts’ areas of expertise come into play in this diet, which tries to retrain dieters’ brains and get them to crave nutritious, lower-calorie foods instead of the fatty or sugary foods most of us go for.

It may be this intellectual/psychological element that has drawn so much enthusiasm from the high-IQ set. Harvard professor and best-selling author Joseph Finder is quoted by Seligson: ‘I’m a sweets fanatic,’ he says, ‘but I don’t crave them anymore because I’m reprogrammed.”

Instinct Diet creator Roberts has spent the last 20 years researching weight loss, ‘trying to find ways to make it work for real people in the real world,’ she says. She grew up a chubby kid and was once 55 pounds overweight after a difficult pregnancy. She’s now been weight-stable for 15 years. Prior to her research work, Dr. Roberts was a chef in a French bistro and a private chef, so she certainly offers a unique set of credentials, including a love of good food.

Five Natural Instincts

In her book, Dr. Roberts explains how we eat in response to five natural instincts—hunger, availability, caloric density, familiarity, and variety—and that these instincts have been compromised by changes in the kinds, amounts and constancy of foods in the modern world. How we adjust to these changes affects how well we’re able to avoid excess weight gain.

One of the chief tenets of Dr. Roberts’ program is hunger control. She recommends certain foods that will help you feel more satisfied, such as high fiber foods (cereals, legumes, green vegetables), high protein foods (chicken breast, white fish, tofu), as well as what she calls high volume foods and foods with low glycemic index carbs.

We’ll have to wait and see if the Instinct Diet gains the kind of notoriety enjoyed by Atkins and South Beach. The smart money, apparently, says it just might.

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