In Nutrition, Videos

December 05, 2009

Video Article

Dr. Barry Sears has no problem with the Paleo Diet recommendation to only eat foods that were around 10,000 years ago. The creator of the Zone Diet takes issue only with the idea that you can eat unrestricted quantities of those foods.

“Ancient foods” are more compatible with our genes, but Dr. Sears contends that balancing fat, carbohydrates and protein is still critical to reducing inflammation and improving health. The strict Zone Diet is actually a Paleo-Zone plan that balances these macronutrients in high-quality foods and spreads calorie consumption out through a series of smaller meals. It turns out low food quality isn’t the only thing that can damage your health.

“The other way to raise inflammation is to consume too many calories at each meal,” Dr. Sears says. “So what is too many calories? Anything more than 500 calories. Maybe six, max.”

If Sears had to choose between weighing and measuring quantities of any food and eating unregulated quantities of Paleo foods, he would choose the former. The best approach is to actually combine the two.

“I think that the consistency of using the weigh-and-measure approach will give you far greater anti-inflammatory benefits than basically an unlimited, unrestricted Paleo Diet,” Sears says. “Now combine the two, well then basically it is truly synergistic.”

Video by Again Faster.

9min 31sec

Additional reading: Zone Meal Plans by Greg Glassman, published May 1, 2004.

Free Download


108 Comments on “Paleo vs. The Zone: Part 4 of the Conversation”


wrote …

I have found the Sears videos fascinating. Having said that you are NEVER going to convince me that crappy foods in zone portions are better than unrestricted paleo. I am astounded that he would honestly believe that.

The reality for me proves the exact opposite. So much so, that I would contend that a weighed and measured paleo has marginal advantages at best than unrestricted paleo. Along with the slight advantages come the disadvantages of making eating difficult and often not enjoyable. Unrestricted paleo makes eating extremely well easy and yum.


Chris Worden wrote …

Ya, stinks of hubris to me too.

Weighing and measuring wonder bread and cheese burgers versus eating as many salads and buffalo steaks as I want? Ridiculous.


Ronald Fielder wrote …

Here we go.
I used to eat Paleo/Zone, weighed and measured. It was not fun.
Now I eat unmeasured Paleo and have had more fun with my food and seen bigger gains in all domains.
My training patner also eats unmeasured Paleo and she has seen more positive changes including body composition changes, than ever she is able to sustain the diet much easier.
Just my experience.


wrote …

Fascinating and informative. The Dr. Barry Sears interviews alone are worth the Journal subscription price.

I can't believe anyone would believe a paleo diet (meaning the true diet of our far ancestors) was anything but restricted. It's my understanding that as recently as 60,000 years ago humans almost became extinct due to starvation. That's why there's so little genetic variation among humans alive today.


replied to comment from Mike Erickson


are you suggesting that our ancestors weighed and measured? I hope not, because that's what the discussion is about, weighing and measuring foods no matter what the quality is like versus eating whatever comes your way as long as its paleo. I suspect our ancestors were closer to the latter, would you agree?


are we not looking to improve from our ancestors in terms of human performance?


wrote …

Crossfit's endorsement lately of the Zone Diet has been so unrelenting, and there has so little presentation of alternate views by other presenters, that I don't trust Crossfit's motives any longer.

Under the nutrition category of Crossfit Journal, I count 31 of 45 entries (excluding radio episodes) exclusively about the Zone Diet. 15 of the last 19 Journal articles or videos have been about the Zone diet. This sounds to me more like group think than open source.

Interestingly, the athletes in their videos in the nutrition section don't exclusively say that they eat the Zone diet. They're more Paleo or mainstream.

Crossfit Journal please show some alternate views!


replied to comment from Tom Seryak

Tom of course we are. Can we stick with the discussion though, Crappy foods weighed and measured VS Paleo unrestricted. Tom what are your thoughts on the actual topic?


wrote …

I'm suggesting that unlimited quantities of food were not on the menu for our distant hunter-forager ancestors. Dr. Sears explanations make sense to me whether or not they appeal to you. Mostly vegetables, protein with every meal, no sugar, bread or pasta, take fish oil. This has worked very well for me. I do not weigh and measure beyond the simple "ball park" estimations recommended. I don't count calories or blocks, but I'm not an elite athlete, simply an old guy trying to feel good as long as possible. I won't argue with you but simply ask you to keep an open mind. Don't you think what actually works the best will come out in the wash? Eventually all the best performers will compare notes and will be doing almost the same thing. Eventually. But it would be meaningless if everyone STARTS OUT doing the same thing.


wrote …

I think Barry Sears is a little zone biased and it's rubbing off on the journal.


wrote …

It would be nice to have a paleo expert speak up, ummmmmmm didn't CF have one of those?? I guess i need to check out a free blog.


replied to comment from Mike Erickson

I think you've got a point with the black box approach. Like Coach G himself said, the cream will rise to the top. This IS an interesting journal video, seeing as HQ recently fired Robb Wolf from the nutrition certifications after a conflict at the black box summit. I would really like to see the video of that thing.


replied to comment from Scott Lush

I'm forced to agree with Scott here. What ever happened to; Meats and veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar in quantities promoting fat loss but sustaining energy and muscular development???? (or something awfully close to that) I seem to remember that being the whole enchilada back in the day: Fitness in 100 words, and all that jazz. I liked it the way it was; Let's go back to that.

Now, I get it; Sears is doing the nutrition certs now, and he and Coach go way back. But c'mon, you really can't just up and switch your entire baseline stance on nutrition, and expect people not to go "WTF??". And they have, and at exactly the moment when Sears says that he'd rather see people weigh and measure ding-dongs than eat un-restricted Paleo. And yeah, I get that he says combining the two methods is perfect- Right before the interviewer (Budding?) says "Yeah...Now in the REAL world..." and it leads to Sears essentially saying it doesn't work in today's world because of time constraints.

Like it or not, Sears represents Crossfit now, and sorry, but the nutrition picture beyond the block system sounds ridiculous, and pretty darn suspect.

Is there some way of clarifying this stance??


wrote …

Sad really. I don't see how Barry can believe that weighing and measuring ding dongs and McDonald's cheese burgers (which are in apparently good Zone proportions)can be better than eating paleo foods.

Here's the thing. Eating paleo foods keeps the macronutrient rations pretty decent. For instance, its really hard to eat a high carb paleo diet if you getting your carbs from vegetables. 1 block of carbs = 3 cups of spinach. So for a 5 block meal, you'd have to eat 15 cups of spinach!!!!!! The only thing its really easy to get more than zone proportions with is fat intake, and according to ObbRay OlfWay's Athlete's zone this is perfectly acceptable.


Russell Berger wrote …

I don't think anyone has said that the Paleo Diet doesn't work. Judging by the few posts on this thread already, it's obvious that our community gets results from it that far exceed the typical American diet. I think the unanswered question is why.

If the average person consumes a very high amount of CHO, low quantitites of protein, and insufficient omega-3 fatty acids, then putting them on a Paleo diet, by necessity, is going to change that macronutrient ratio to comparably zone-like balance. That being the case, it's hard to attribute the improvments of the zone diet to "quality" food, when the "quantity" has also changed.

The only way to truly test this would be to have our new client continue to eat the same number of calories and quantity of each macronutrient in Paleo foods and see what results they get. That will be a lot of broccli.

Some people are clearly going to benefit from cutting out foods that they are allergic to, wheat and dairy being obvious examples, but I think until it can be shown that the type of food is actually what benefits us, and not the drastic reduction in CHO and increase in protein and fat that the paleo diet necessitates, Barry Sears has a far stronger argument.

And while I know the Zone diet, just like a workout, must be scaled for everyone ( for example, I won't push it with clients that have a history of eating disorders) I think it's not only simple to follow but extremely reasonable for the general population.


replied to comment from Mike Erickson

Mike, obviosuly I need to spell this out for you

"Mostly vegetables, protein with every meal, no sugar, bread or pasta, take fish oil. This has worked very well for me"

No Sh*t, No one is disputing that. Raad my first post again. I say that paleo in zone quantities is good, if not better than normal paleo.

Here is the discussion we are having Mike, if you want to participate

"If Sears had to choose between weighing and measuring quantities of any food and eating unregulated quantities of Paleo foods, he would choose the former."

So Mike , are you agreeing that eating Mcdonalds in Zone portions is better for you than unrestricted paleo foods? Because that is what is being discussed.


replied to comment from Russell Berger

Russell, its not unanswered at all. The answer is paleo works because it is what humans have eaten for 99% of their existence.


I understand the explaination. I don't think you understand my concern. Until you rule out all other possibilities, which hasn't happened until you differentiate between benefits derived from changes quality and benefitis derived from changes in quanitity, that explaination is a great guess, but not conclusive.


wrote …

Watching and listening to interviews of top Games competitors, I heard very few say they were using Zone this year. What's with the huge push towards the Zone? What happened to open source? Doing whatever works best? 3000 calories for olympic level athletes? Which events are these athletes preparing for? Cant imagine them making much progress for very long if their sport and training load was very high...


wrote …


Remember that what Games competitors and what the rest of us may have for goals may be vastly different. I know for a fact that Jeremy Thiel uses supplements (this isn't a judgement, merely a statement of fact, as it is something that we have discussed together). Now, find for me in either diet where supplements fit in outside of a couple of basic ones (fish oil for example). The bottom line is that CrossFit is hoping to have the greatest effect on the largest amount of the population for a very long time frame, as long as possible. It is with this in mind, this quest for uber health, that Coach Glassman has likely chosen to go with The Zone. Now, in case we all forget, eating the prescribed Paleo diet, would likely look very very similar to a Zone blocked meal with a larger (doubled, tripled and more in some cases) fat portion than what has been classically recommended by the books. That increased fat amount however has been long recommended by CrossFit as well. Go ahead, try it... Eat a decent sized steak (be generous, call it 8-10 oz) and then go nuts on the fruits and veggies, hopefully leaning more on the veggies. Throw in the oils and nuts, and I am betting that you will land close to your block prescription. Has anyone ever tried consuming 10 cups of cooked broccoli? You want to talk about "all you can eat..." If you have read and took the time to understand both diets and the way that they were intended by their respective creators, you will see that they are so strikingly similar that the arguments and all of the hate that has been spewed the last couple of weeks is really just semantic BS.


wrote …

I haven't watched the video yet but the first paragraph of the summary above is disappointing to me. The bit about the unrestricted quantities of paleo foods comes off as a strawman: most of the literature I've read on the Paleo Diet (which much of the real world experiences of friends corroborates) indicates that eating Paleo/eating 'meats and veggies...etc' installs the very portion and caloric control that the Zone prescribes by virtue of the satiety that a diet based in lean meats, fibrous veggies, and healthy fats provides.


wrote …

OK try this for me,
Choose which one makes more sense, in all aspects, not just nutrition

Quantity trumps Quality
Quality trumps Quantity

I for one choose Quality over quantity in all aspects. Now there is no way you will ever convince me that crappy food in the right quantity trumps quality food in whatever quantity. There is more to the equation than simply 30/40/30 controls insulin and reduces inflammation. Autoimmune issues anyone?


wrote …

Across the board everyone agrees that controlling insulin is the goal. If these insulin raises cause inflammation then that would lead to less than ideal performance. If we all agree with these statements then how can 'all you can eat' paleo be good for performance since it causes higher than ideal insulin spikes, with increased inflammation. Hard to do? 12oz steak, with organic OJ, a baggie of cashews. Its not that hard to go overboard on Paleo.

If I replace that with ding dongs and McDonalds and maybe some supplements to maintain my vitamin levels and fish oil but keeping it all with my block prescription therefore maintaining a happy insulin level and keeping my inflammation under control wouldn't I have increased performance?

With the best obviously being paleo foods with a block prescription.

Bottom line there is not a perfect answer we all have different make-up.

Also I think you guys are being hatters only because you refuse to believe you can eat controlled shit and still perform well. Shouldn't you want to believe that? Its a great excuse. We all want the best scores we can get but come on. Stay healthy and don't sweat the small stuff.

No one is discounting Robb and embracing Dr. Sears we are all heading toward the same goal.


My thoughts are that quality is better than quantity alone, quality plus quantity is best, but not necessarily at 40/30/30. This doesn't seem like common sense that every human being should eat these ratios at all times. So, I suppose I disagree for the most part with Dr. Sears. We can argue about this all day, but until one of Dr. Sears' strict zone/paleo athletes (does he have any) wins the CrossFit Games where's the proof? I don't really recall any of the top CrossFit Games competitors stating that he/she eats strict zone/paleo. I also think that you are angry, but I'm not sure why.


wrote …

I've done Zone(strict and semi-strict). You notice in The Zone and Mastering the Zone, Sears still allows for legumes, grain(slow cooked oatmeal), and low fat dairy under the "favorable" choices. I've also done strict paleo. No grain or grain based products, no legumes, and no dairy. The no sugar angle is pretty much a given. I didn't see a drastic change in bodyfat % or performance until I went strict paleo for 31 days. Dropped approximately 13lbs, almost 1% bodyfat, my workout times got faster, and PRs went up. I have the journals to prove this. The first paleo book by Cordain doesn't allow starchy tubers. The second, Paleo for Athletes, does in certain time frames for post workout. Although it appears to be baised towards endurance athletes though. This is closer the "World Class Fitness in 100 Words" blurb. Read the books, play around with the numbers, and find out what works best for you. I'm not gonna weigh and measure cheeseburgers, but if I want to have one on cheat day, it's on. I'm also not going to eat a 12oz steak because "The Paleo Diet" says I can. That's just stupid. If you ask me, Mark Sisson looks more like a CrossFitter than Sears or Cordain. Let's not be sheep. "The mind is like a parachute. It only works when it's open".


wrote …

Id still like to know how serious training for any actual olympic level sport can be supported on 3000 calories?


wrote …


replied to comment from Jerome Edwards

Jerome, Exactly what I was thinking about Mark Sisson! Him and Sears are probably close in age (?), and assuming both follow the diets they endorse, who seems more fit according to CrossFit's definition across broad time, modal and age domains?


wrote …

After watching that, I don't think Tony Budding was expecting Sears to say that. Sears kept taking Paleo to the extreme, and Budding is obviously saying that people don't actually do that...interesting.

Another thing that is interesting is that, according to what people have said about the black box summit thing, both Robb Wolf and OPT said that changing the quality of their food led to greater results in their athletes than being more strict on portions. That was based on hundreds if not thousands of hours of observation (I think that is what they said).

I wonder if Sears has ever tested what someone does in the real world with the zone vs. the real world with paleo. If he hasn't tested it and has no evidence, I don't think he can really make those claims that eating ding dongs and chicken breast in the right proportions is better than what the average person following paleo would do. Not to mention, when you eat paleo, you get satisfied quickly. Isn't paleo basically "eat to live not live to eat". Just like our ancestors...If that is true, then the average person following the zone isn't eating 5 pound steaks and chugging OJ. They are eating until satisfied.

But honestly, if Sears wants to go around making claims like that, he needs proof or he is no better than Ancel Keys and all his buddies at the American Heart Associate who tell us to eat cheerios for the good of our hearts. They have no data and push that on everyone. If Sears wants to make claims that garbage in the right proportions is better than paleo, cite your study (because OPT and Wolf both recorded and measured their athletes' performances on those 2 diets and it doesn't look good for Sears).

Plus after you write a book saying that 40/30/30 is the golden are kind of stuck preaching that because you really can't change your mind after the book has sold millions of copies haha.


replied to comment from Ryan DeBell

40/30/30 was used as the one size fits all golden ratio until workout performance starts to suffer. Then the recomendation is to add monounsaturated fat to the diet. If that's the case then your 40/30/30 ratio is out the window with the addition of more fat blocks. Great observation Ryan.


replied to comment from Jerome Edwards

And what about the rest of my arguments? I don't see the need to be sarcastic either. Comment boards are for debating, not taunting people because we like what we think and it makes us feel big.


wrote …

Wait, haha after reading what you said, I am not sure if you are making fun of what I said or agreeing. Please clarify.


replied to comment from Tom Seryak
I'd say we'd be doing good if we could even approach our ancestors. Forget ever moving beyond them.


wrote …

Dr. Sears point is that over consumption in itself (regardless of what you consume) is a cause of inflammation and disease. I had no trouble finding many articles supporting this hypothesis. Google "overeating and inflammation". So yes, I do agree, moderate zone proportions of MacDonalds is healthier than over consumption of whatever it is you're eating.


Julianne Taylor wrote …

I have worked as a Zone diet nutritionist for the last 10 years or so, and have followed it for longer. It worked well for me as it controlled my weight (i.e. portion control works for me) It also controls my blood sugar, and together with fish oil decreased a raft of health issues.

HOWEVER - About 7 months ago I started working with CrossFit clients and as a result researched and then added Paleo choices into the mix for myself. For me this was the icing on the cake, the annoying auto immune issues completely resolved as opposed 80% on the Zone.

As a small older female - I need the Zone portion control (50kg and work out 2 x week) It works.
For auto-immune issues - I need quality and I need to be dairy, legume, grain, soy, nightshade and possibly egg free (experimenting with the last two).

I do wish we would get away from paleo vs zone and fully embrace the best of both worlds, and I would love to see a range of trials completed to see how the inclusion of each can be studied / evolved to reach eating plan guidelines which give maximum performance AND health. As everyone is different - I envisage there would be a range of variations (as in guidlines rather than strict rules) to suit different metabolisms, ages, sizes, health problems, exercise loads, and individual goals.

(With regards to protein, personally I don't think huge portions of protein are healthy, as they create an unfavourable acid / alkaline balance - NOT recommeded by Cordain. Better to get the protein you need but not excess and add extra calories in the form of healthy fats)

With regards to grains, a researcher (Dr Rodney Ford, gastorenerologist) whom I respect says his studies and blood tests show without doubt that 1 in 10 are sensitive to gluten, and have health problems as a result. We cannot ignore this fact.
To say to these 1 in 10 (mostly undiagnosed in my experience) that eating a bread roll with a piece of chicken is better that eating a less balanced meat and veggie meal is just plain detrimental.

No one person has all the answers, as a nutritionist I have learnt an enourmous amount from a large range of sources (including a traditional University degree in Nutrition / nursing). I'm still learning and will continue to evolve my ideas as I come across new research plus anecdotal stories. We have to embrace all research that is of benefit, not take an either / or approach.



wrote …

In case anyone wants to see how footspeed was calculated, etc., here is the academic paper that the article i mentioned cited.


wrote …

Wasn't being sarcastic at all. I agree with the points you made. I don't believe you can weigh and measure chips and beef jerky, or over indulge with paleo foods and get performance gains. After all isn't that what we're after. We keep trying to fool ourselves into thinking there's a shortcut to being able to eat whatever we want and still make gains in the fitness realm. Bottom line is, you must eat as clean as possible in portions that will support your activity but not increase bodyfat. Will those portions always be 40/30/30? Unless you are putting everything on the kitchen scale, absolutely not. Daily activities change and we should eat thinking about what we'll be doing in the coming hours. Meal planning takes thought, but I refuse to get OCD about my food because it takes away the enjoyment of the meals for me. Palm size portions of protein. The rest ideally is fruit and veggies. This is just my personal opinion though. I will eat meat, veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Notice no mention of grain or dairy.


replied to comment from Jerome Edwards

Glad we agree. Sorry for the confusion about whether or not we were trying to say the same thing!

I tried weighing and measuring once for a few weeks and it was OCD. I am trying paleo + milk and my portions seem to end up being near the zone, but less carbs for sure. I am definitely not eating steak until I am stuffed beyond belief (like how Sears portrays the average person who follows paleo...)


wrote …



What drew me to Crossfit was this culture of testing all ideas in pursuit of TRUE HEALTH. As you've said the "Cream will rise to the top".

Why have you abandoned this?

If you truly believe in the Zone than challenge it. Bring in another idea like Mark Sisson and the Primal Blueprint. This feels like an infomercial for the Zone on the journal now, and it is scary.

I know you realize that Crossfit has attracted a lot of individuals with nutritional science backgrounds that were excited to see this open forum for trial and error of theories in regards to the effects of diet on both health and performance.

We don't all believe the Zone is the answer and wish you would explore other ideas.

For example: We are being given article after article about the importance of Omega 3 Fatty Acids and their availability in Fish Oils. However, we have no mention of the fact that Grass Fed Cattle contains saturated fats that are equally rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and CLA. These saturated fats also reduce inflammation and promote health.

I personally, like our Native American Ancestors, fuel up with Pemmican (Grass Fed Beef Tallow, Jerky, dried berries) before a WOD and can tell you it is like Rocket Fuel!!

What would Crossfit be if we only had Rippetoe and didn't allow Burgner? I've learned from both and it has been invaluable.

Please reconsider the direction you are going.


wrote …

If the question is about Zoning with low-quality foods vs. unrestricted but good quality foods, we need to be more specific.

Does unrestricted mean eat till you're satisfied? Then I imagine Paleo would be better.

But unrestricted could also mean I'm going to eat as much lean ground beef and veggies and almonds as I possibly can for the sole purpose of proving that a Zoned cheeseburger is better for me. I think I could manage that.

Remember, Cordain recommends to eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full. If we do that with good foods, we will not overeat. And as Russell said, whether the benefit comes more from changes in quality or quantity, we don't know. (Although, Russell, even if quantity were the main source of the benefit, I still doubt that moving it further toward Zone perfection while taking away quantity would be a good thing...but that's only a conjecture.)

In the end, if you Zone, you'll almost certainly pay attention to quality. If you go Paleo, you'll necessarily improve you're quantity.

Just find what works for you.

My experience: I Zoned obsessively for a year and a half, but now I eat Paleo in spirit with one 24-hour fast per week. I'm relieved to be through with W&M and will probably not go back. I don't know how that's affected performance, however, because at the same time I started with Paleo, I started specializing in weightlifting.


replied to comment from CHRIS DOZOIS

Ruining CrossFit?

Rippetoe has taken a left turn and put down the 'Cool aide" if you have not heard. Notice no more certs...

The CrossFit I know is very scientific. Numbers and results. Yes I agree challenge to see what works best... But thats the beauty of Zone it has qualities to be very measurable. Same reason we do what we do. It is measured performance. If your blocks result is 'A' and your desired results are 'B' then you can accurately adjust. Kind of the same reason why we time Fran right? Do it again if your time is higher something is wrong with your training etc. You can adjust. If you don't keep a workout log you have no data to base anything off of. If you are eating paleo un restricted you can be lacking something and never know what. You can be getting too much of something and never know what. And for a comment on someone else not you- yes the average person will eat about a pound of steak and guzzle the OJ, with of course a paleo salad.

So CrossFit, Zone, Pose running all very scientific ideologies.

All the functional movements are great... but you cant just randomly mix match and program your training because you will have shitty training.

Paleo is the equal to functional movements. As Shitty food is equal to shitty movements. Will you be in shape to your best ability if you just pick one of these? No
If you use shitty movements with accurate results I say you would probably be ok but no where near ideal. (I know plenty of guys who still do the curls for the girls mixed with their crossfit and are in crazy shape)
But if you use the functional movements with the right programing then you will see ideal results. ie paleo with accuracy


wrote …

I agree with Chris, I feel like we're being given a sales pitch rather than exploring ways to make us better. It goes from education to sales pitch when you only preach one side of an issue and won't even approach other angles or allow that side to be challanged. If it truly is best it will hold up to challange like any good idea or philosophy just has Crossfit has. And even if some holes are punched in it (which will happen in close examination to almost any idea or philosophy) doesn't mean that the whole theory is to be thrown out or that it is no longer valid, it just means we truly see ways to improve.

Crossfit has blown up to this point because of it's open format and it's ability to change and adapt without being defensive when ways to improve have been found.

It's getting a little rediculous, it's starting to feel like Crossfit is a fitness program that was designed to sell "The Zone" to the world. PLEASE GET PAST IT, highlight the benefits of The Zone and then explore what else can benefit the community.


wrote …

Robb Wolf, are you listening to Dr. Sears? Did he really say he would measure "Ding Dongs and chicken breasets" rather than eat a steak?! Has this guy ever done a 400 pound deadlift or a 250 pound clean?! CrossFitters are you listening to this guy? Please tell me that Dr. Sears is not CrossFit's nutrition guy! Very disappointing to see the way that CrossFit has gone with nutrition information.


wrote …

sorry guys, I don't quite get it how you can ask for a more open minded stance while on the other side you are getting so emotional when someone has a different opinion regarding nutrition. The journal is running this series with Dr. Sears over a couple of weeks, does this mean they don't care about paleo? Why should you expect to get a "non biased" opionion from someone who has developed their own approach? Take it with a grain of salt and move on.

Regarding the quality vs quantity discussion, you should be aware that you can push the quality issue also too far quite easily. While following this board, you can easily read a lot of posts of people talking about organic vs GM food without any scientific backup or even simple common sense. So please, if you are happy with your own nutrition choice and this isn't the one endorsed in this series, just stick to it. But don't expect to get reassured in YOUR personal choice via this journal on a weekly basis.


Adam Kayce wrote …

I have to laugh when people say, "oh, the cream will rise to the top..." and then ignore the results of the CF Games competitors. Are you waiting until a whole new crop of elite competitors comes through the door that eats your way before saying that "someday" has arrived?

I do agree that people are getting their knickers up in knots way more than is necessary, but come on, folks, the evidence is clear. You've gotta eat the good stuff and not pig out. That's about it.

(As to my personal data, I weighed/measured strictly for four months and saw no change. But when I did 30 days of strict Paleo, focusing on quality, I dropped bodyfat and PR'd everything. Sound familiar?)


wrote …

Dr Sears seems to be taking a step back from the OCD weighing and measuring as well. The Zone book discussed the eyeball method of eating that should give you semi-acurate portions. Do this with quality foods and you've got Paleo/Strict Zone according to Sears' recent conversations. In his webcast and recent talks he states, "All you need is one hand and one eye". One hand to know what size your portion size should be, and one eye to load the other 2/3 of your plate with fruit, veggies, and fat. Sounds like paleo huh? He has also stated on several occassion that a "strict" Zone is paleo. However, the book, The Zone, still allows under "favorable" choices legumes, grain, and dairy. This is NOT paleo. So why are we still pinging over this paleo vs zone issue. It's clear that there is contradiction going on here. Look up World Class Fitness in 100 Words and stick to that if you can't decide what's what and you should be ok for now. Coach Glassman gave us a good recipe for success in the beginning without the weighing and measuring, and without stuffing ourselves with paleo foods. "Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat."....Greg Glassman


wrote …

A few key facts that many of you seem to be missing:

Barry recommends Paleo food choices and has forever.

Barry recommends 40-30-30 as the starting point from which you tweak, not the guaranteed destination point for everyone. He says there is a bell-shaped curve based on genetics, with 40-30-30 at the highest point of the curve.

Weighing and measuring gives you accuracy and precision from which to tweak (just like the stopwatch does in CrossFit).

Barry's primary premise is that INFLAMMATION is the biggest problem in terms of both health and performance. Reducing inflammation via nutrition is what he is promoting. His premise, which has been widely studied, is that you HAVE to eat moderate quantities of protein, carbs, and fat to minimize inflammation. He also says that Paleo foods are ideal choices, but even they can cause inflammation in excess quantities. He does not say that you have to weigh and measure every meal. He says that you must moderate your intake.

Dr Sears provided a short list of references for those interested in evaluating the studies:
1. Sears B. The Anti-Inflammation Zone. Regan Books. New York, NY (2005)
2. Sears B. Toxic Fat. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN (2008)
3. Heilbronn LK, and Campbell LV. “Adipose tissue macrophages, low-grade inflammation and insulin resistance in human obesity.” Curr Pharm Des 14: 1225-1230 (2008)
4. Kahn S, Hull RL, and Utzschneider KM. “Mechanisms linking obesity to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.” Nature 444:840-846 (2007)
5. Shoelson SE, Lee J, and Goldfine AB. “Inflammation and insulin resistance.” J Clin Invest 116:1793-1801, (2006)
6. Lee YH and Pratley RE. “The evolving role of inflammation in obesity and the metabolic syndrome.” Curr Diab Rep 5:70-75 (2005)
7. Yudkin JS. “Inflammation, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome.” Horm Metab Res 39:707-709 (2007)
8. Hotamisligil GS. “Inflammation and metabolic disorders.” Nature 444: 860-867 (2006)

The purpose of the CrossFit Journal is "to provide a venue for contributing coaches, trainers, athletes, and researchers to ponder, study, debate, and define fitness, and thus collectively advance the art and science of optimizing human performance." (From the Start Here page). Please don't mistake information presented in this spirit for dogma. The debate is often more valuable than the original presentation.


wrote …


CF has been recommending the zone for as long as I can remember (for those that think CF is just now pushing the zone, check the date on the first zone article in the CFJ). It has been said a few times that observations of CF athletes showed that performance either stagnated or did not increase at the same rate unless or until the zone was implemented. This is good useful and relevant data obtained from direct observation and coaching experience. Can you tell us if the observations were only of zone vs. non-zone SAD, or zone vs. unlimited paleo? Stated more explicitly: were your direct observations in line with Dr. Sears' assertions for your athletes?

A few other points based on the posts so far. First what makes you guys think organic oj is paleo? Grok had a juicer? Try eating enough oranges in one sitting to make a tall glass of oj and then tell me how easy it is to overdo it. It’s only easy to overdo it when you step outside of true paleo (e.g. eating nuts or fruit grown in Paleolithic times is far different from the ones you buy at Ralph’s)

Second, unmeasured paleo does NOT naturally lead to zone ratios, at least based on the limited number of people I know doing paleo. There are generally, far fewer carbs, slightly more protein and much higher fat. It would have been more accurate to say that unmeasured paleo is closer to the zone than the SAD.


wrote …

Here's my take on the ding-dongs. I think Sear's ultimate point when he made the comment about eating bad food in balanced proportions was to highlight that over- eating, even if it is quality food, leads to inflammation which is "bad". Whether or not it's worse than eating balanced crappy meals is academic, because he's not suggesting actually doing that and nobody would take the time to measure crappy food. That's absurd. Go back and listen to it.


wrote …

People by nature don't like restriction. Here is where discipline comes into play. An unrestricted paleo diet WILL cause inflammation IF you over indulge. There have been many people to still get fat eating food that is "good for them". People on the go eat faster and by the time your body signals you that you're full it's too late. I can see how measuring could take care of this problem. Chptr 9 of The Zone does touch on evolutionary nutrition. I think most people missed it because they go straight for their block prescription or the recipe section. I agree w/ Tony on the fact that the debate is often more valuable than the original presentation. Read the books and don't just rely on the journals to guide you. Research it for yourself. There are certain aspects of the paleo diet that I don't agree with as well such as the restriction of legumes and allowing nuts. If legumes aren't allowed because of the lectins, I would think that nuts would be out too. Nutrition is not an exact science. There is no one size fits all prescription. Based on your goals, you tweak your nutrition accourdingly.


replied to comment from Tony Budding


I think what everyone's issue is is that it appears to some that the Zone IS being presented as Dogma. After all, Sears is teaching some (all?) of the current Crossfit Nutrition certs, which means his stuff is, technically, Crossfit's approved stance on the topic. So you can perhaps see why perhaps some people are freaking, especially considering this all comes so recently after the....ummmm.... 'unpleasantness'. From the outside looking in, it can quite easily be construed that Crossfit is abandoning the "Open Source" stance that's made it so versatile and effective, at least for nutrition.

So, I went back and re-watched the video, then watched it again, then slept on it. And it occurs to me that perhaps we've overlooked something;

Sears isn't actually suggesting that he prefers that ATHLETES eat Ding Dongs and other garbage in proper measurements, rather than eating unmeasured Paleo, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies and the like, right?? Surely, the editing of the clip perhaps gave that impression, but the remark was meant to be applied to the general public, NOT to SERIOUS ATHLETES. RIGHT?? After all, Sears' book is a pattern of nutrition sold to the general "average American" public that's been adopted into high-performance athletics. Dr. Sears was simply generalizing, right??

Because, surely, Crossfit, after years of "Meats and Veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar" wouldn't now be trying to sell/recommend its athletes "Ding-Dongs and Chicken, in proper quantities", right??

Hell, I'm certain there's no way Crossfit HQ would let anyone representing anything remotely connected to the Crossfit brand to utter the word "Ding-Dong" with regards to athletic nutrition unless it had "is not suitable for human consumption" after it, right?

Perhaps that clarification from your end might help clear things up a tad. Everyone here realizes that Paleo + Zone is the optimal way to operate for performance, and that moderating one's food intake is key to lowering inflammation and general health, but I think its the lower ends of the triangle/spectrum- priorities on quality of food as it relates to ATHLETES- and the answers that have been provided in relation to it that are causing the confusion. Crossfit has for years preached quality of food first above all else, so having the dude now teaching the Nutrition certs come out with "When in doubt, quantity first, all else be damned"- especially when that dude isn't an athlete- is a bit of a startle to a lot of folks here.

Please, clarify this for us- I'm sure it will go a long way towards ending any confusion.


wrote …

When I first started CrossFit I was a live and die Zoner but I got sick of measuring things out, switched to paleo, and actually gained a few pounds in lean mass over the next few months(grant it I still had good protioned out meals because of my experience with the Zone). I never experienced gains with the Zone like I did with Paleo and it was because I was not as concerned with portion size.

My biggest concern is the Zone's total disregard of other diets that have good portioned meals and the same good food choices of Paleo, but consists of intermittent fasting. If you eat once a day then you are going to be consuming more than 500 calories in one meal(that meal usaully goes over about a 4hr period). One of the biggest boasts of an IF diet is that it kills inflamation. I followed an IF diet for as long as I could but being in the military made it to difficult to follow. While I was on that diet however, I had more energy and felt better than I ever have and I still keep elements of IF in my diet today.

My diet today is Zone/Paleo/IF. My performance is better than it has ever been. If you live and die by the Zone I believe that you are limiting yourself with the ideas that you can't have meals over 500 calories, 5 meals a day gives you the best hormonal balance, and that your digestive tract was meant to work 16 hrs a day.


wrote …

The real reason that this video bothers me is because there are people who do not a thing about nutrition. If our CrossFit community says eat something (anything)if its available in the "real world" but weigh it, they will do that. I think that inflammation is bad in our body, but I think that we have to be responsible enough to tell people, "eat smart, do not over eat, eat paleo food, and don't eat processed foods at any cost."

We need to hear from successful athletes and ask them how they have eaten for decades,i.e. powerlifters, bodybuilders, football players, track athletes, gymnasts, etc. I would rather take advice from someone who has been there and done that, than listen to an ex volleyball player from Indiana University who hasn't lifted a weight over 100 pounds in the last twenty years. Lets help our community and keep our athletes strong and informed, not just sell the zone!


wrote …

This entire thread is proof that we need a second view on nutrition. The assumptions being made about a Paleo diet are very broad, and you're using these generalizations to try and support the Zone approach.

The first thing you need to define is which Paleo Diet are we talking about?

There are a number of diets that identify themselves as Paleolithic Diets. For example:

Raw Paelo: This ideology is based strictly around our Paleolithic hunter gather ancestors and only allows the consumption of raw foods. This includes organ and muscle tissue (They eat raw meat). They allow no cooked or processed foods as they believe cooking and processing destroys the micronutrient foundation of the food. This isn't a small contingency either. This diet is supported by Vilhajalmur Stefansson, Weston A. Price, and Aajonus Vonderplanitz. This is the Who is Who of the Paleolithic diet.

I've tried this diet and I can assure you that there is NO OVER EATING. You simply can't believe how sated you feel after eating raw organ meats, vegetables, and nuts.

The Paleo Diet: This is Dr. Loren Cordain's version of the Paleo diet, and this is the most commonly talked about version of a hunter gather diet. It promotes lean meats, nutrient dense vegetables, nuts, and seeds (this is just a generalization). However, having been to lectures with Dr. Cordain I can tell you that since his book he has expanded his ideas to include saturated animal fats originating from grass fed animals.

This diet doesn't say eat as much as you want. It says to eat when your hungry, and to continue until you are comfortable. They also acknowledge that times have changed and we have access to foods in ways we did not before. BTW...It's the followers of Paleo that distort the facts. Dr. Cordain would never say Orange Juice is something our Paleolithic ancestors drank. As a matter of fact they don't promote juices.

The Primal Blueprint: This is Mark Sissons concept which is truly just pulling together all the ideas behind Paleo into a very digestible platform. This is a very high fat, medium/high protein, low carb approach to eating whole nutrient dense foods. It stresses quality of food over measured quantities. It does have restrictions on consumption which primarily pertains to carbohydrates.

An underlying theme that is true of all these Paleo approaches is that they forbid grains. There is an enormous amount of data that supports the theory that grains are at the heart of our health epidemic.

When Dr. Sears says he would, "Eat junk food before eating a steak", is he referring to genetically altered, antibiotic ridden, mass produced grain fed cattle? Or is he talking about free range, organic, GRASS FED ONLY cattle?

The first would be rich in Omega 6 fatty acids, hormones, and antibiotics (I would agree with Dr. Sears in this case). The second rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and CLA (Give me this steak often).

I'm not trying to take away from the Zone. I invite us to keep talking about it in comparison to other approaches.


I'd like to see more conversation of Paleo concepts and the effects they have when utilized in a Zone type of format. This would be a focus on quality and measured quantities.

For those of you that have complained that some of us are getting too upset I would say look back in the history within the CFJ. There has been an overwhelming amount of Zone information and very little to the contrary.

I would just love to see some discussion of other concepts that are being utilized by those in our Crossfit Community. I think given the chance we could learn a lot from one another as we have in every other aspect of Crossfit.


wrote …

I'm a bit confused by your post. Where does Dr. Sears say he recommends Ding Dongs and Chicken? He recommends we all eat only food that was around 10,000 years ago, and in moderate quantities. Everything else is for those folks who are not disciplined enough to do so. Maybe it's not all contained in this one 9min video, or even in this one interview series. But it's certainly in his live presentation (

On the one line of quantity over quality, I was pushing him to make an absolute statement. It is not where he starts nor where he lives. The point is about inflammation, and his position is that the quantity of food consumed affects inflammation more than the quality of it.

Really, much of this debate is ludicrous. The great majority of people in the world aren't close to strict Zone or strict Paleo or even strict anything. Most people eat terribly. The main concept here is that the ideal for limiting inflammation is Paleo-Zone. But very few people are willing to eat a highly disciplined diet of any kind. Dr. Sears is making secondary recommendations for folks with less discipline. I wish more of the conversation would be in support of the good instead of splitting hairs over some theoretical "perfect."


wrote …

Because there is no tone on the internet I feel that I should clarify that mine is a sincere question of CFHQ’s experience with its athletes, not a snarky challenge.

I do have to make one sarcastic comment, however; asking a person whose sales of books and nutritional products of his dietary approach is better than a competing one is like asking the CEO of Ford what type of truck you should have on your worksite. I’m not saying it’s not true nor cannot be empirically proven; I’m just saying there might be a bit of a bias there.

And Chirs—my hat is off to you for eating RAW ORGAN MEATS. You sir, are far stronger than I can ever hope to be.


wrote …

Why do I keep thinking of things after I post?

Tony--I'm surprised by your comment that this debate is ludicrous. Was this video posted on the CFJ site for the ‘vast majority of people’ that you reference, or was it posted for the elite athletes and those working toward becoming elite athletes who visit this site? Are the people involved in this debate CF'ers who are generally concerned about diet and concerned with maximizing performance? I can tell that my friends who don't work out and are included in the 'vast majority of people' will never see this video, nor participate in this debate. Even if I send it to them.


replied to comment from KYLE MARSATON

The purpose of this series of videos is to expose viewers to a set of ideas about nutrition. Dr Sears has what I consider a very compelling scientific argument about the relationship between nutrition and inflammation, and between inflammation and health and performance.

The reason that much of the debate is ludicrous is because folks are dwelling on extremes like ding dongs, and your statement about not trusting Dr Sears because he sells books and food. Do a little research (or even just watch part 1 of this series). The books and food are a result of the above-described relationships, not the cause.

Diet is an incredibly emotional topic, much like religion. Discipline and diet are often confused. I would like to see the debate addressed on two main fronts: scientific data on the relationships among diet, inflammation, health and performance on the one hand, and the practice of adhering to a particular diet in the real world for both you and your clients (if you are a trainer). The most "perfect" diet in the world is useless if no one can stay on it.


wrote …

The fact that Sears believes that quantity of food is more important than QUALITY in regards to controlling inflammation just reinforces to me why I do not follow or refer the zone. If this was the case then the traditional Inuit would have shown signs of degenerative disease with a diet most entirely derived by animal products. Also the Kitava ate a diet much higher in CHO (60%) than a 40/30/30 yet from the best observations available at the time, Lindeberg and his peers could not find any diseases of western civilization either. And why on earth would Sears disagree with "42 ways to skin the zone"? Is it the fact that Wolf mastered the art of tinkering better than that of the creator? I think Sears has done some MARVELOUS work, but he completely misses the boat on PWO nutrition, soy & buffing up baked goods with wheat gluten protein, so they can be "zone ratios."


wrote …

I think I agree with Tony here. The extremes are being looked at in a ridiculous way. If you want to look at the extremes of both, it is like saying eat ding dongs with the zone or eat 100 bananas in a day with paleo. Neither are the optimal choice for either system.

HOWEVER, one thing to consider is what people do after reading these diet books. There is a long (but very interesting) video ( about how people actually eat when they think they are following a diet...the ones considered in this video are zone, atkins, and super low fat. This isn't testing the diet, but testing what people are doing when they think they are doing the diet. It is actually quite interesting and a good, constructive challenge of all three diets. I suggest watching it if you have time.

But ding dongs + chicken or 100 bananas until i can't eat them anymore...i don't know which one is better. Comparing ding dongs + chicken to perfect paleo though isn't a fair comparison and isn't what sears is saying.

My personal opinion is that weighing and measuring is an eating disorder on its own and that you should eat paleo but have zone in the back of your mind (and milk and peanut butter :D )


replied to comment from Brian Mackey

I think you have hit the nail on the head Brian. Coach Glassman has said repeatedly that Crossfit isn't about health or exercise science per say; it is about advancing the technology of human performance. This advancement of technology requires a huge emphasis on observable and measurable data.

Now in the end it is kind of irrelevant what Barry Sears thinks about one rhetorical question. I say rhetorical because it is largely impractical to eat the hypothetical unrestricted zone that he is discussing. I have done both Zone only, Paleo only, and strict Zone/Paleo. I think that my performance is best on the latter two, which I think agrees with much of what has been said in this discussion forum.

But the idea that Crossfit has sold out to the Zone is unfair. In order to truly advance performance technology, food has to be measurable and repeatable. That Robb Wolf or OPT say quality had more of an effect on their athletes doesn't do a lot to advance performance technology. What is good quality is a debate where the data is still not all in. You could argue over food quality or movement quality. What is better a thruster or a deadlift? It doesn't matter as long as you can measure, repeat, and observe the performance of that athlete. The proof will be in the pudding only if you can actually measure. Therefore, Zone or ZonePaleo is, in my opinion, more in line with the long term open source goals of Crossfit.


Craig Cooper wrote …

I'd like to see the data on all the elite athletes that Sears has trained eating no more than 45g of Protein/500-600kcal in a single meal.

Where does Dr. Barry train? How can he possibly expect to relate to CrossFitters at a nutrition cert if he has no personal experience with the program?

At least CrossFit Inc. is offering full refunds to anyone who paid for Robb Wolf.


wrote …

Well Tony I didn't get the religious zeal for diet from the comments above. I mainly see people posting what did and did not work for them. So what about my comments make you think I haven't done a 'little research' on the topic? Or was this just intended to be condescending? My posts were: asking your experience; making the assertions that OJ and hybridized nuts and fruit were not available 10,000 years ago; and that Dr. Sears has personal financial gain from the zone diet and therefore might have a bias. What research am I lacking that would have changed these comments? Or was you comment just meant to be an insult?

May I be a bit condescending in return? Perhaps if you had fully read my comment, you would have noted that I did not say that Dr. Sears was wrong, nor that he could not be trusted (in fact I explicitly stated that he may be right). I said that he has a bias based on a financial interest that must be considered and that your question comparing his approach to a potential competitor was therefore a bit silly.


Daniel Kallen wrote …


Thank you for your clarifications. And I agree that we should refocus... As you said, "The purpose of this series of videos is to expose viewers to a set of ideas about nutrition."

Many comments are focused on attacking Sears/Zone and are specious and unconstructive.

Don't get me wrong, I recommend Paleo for my athletes first. Why? Because, as you said, it doesn't matter what the theory is if you can't get anyone to actually follow it. I have found that clients are more often successful eliminating "bad" foods than attempting Zone portioning as a first step toward better nutrition.

Let me emphasize "As a first step..." The goal, of course, is to have them "in the right place and at the right time" -- have them eat good quality foods and in portions that improve performance. In my limited experience, though, clients can more easily understand Paleo (it seems more intuitive) and can more easily implement it in small, achievable stages. These "small wins" lead to gains in performance, appearance, and overall health that encourage further nutritional modifications, eventually leading to some degree of WAM and experimentation with portion control.

As you say, if you can't get them started on that path, then the diet you promote is essentially worthless to them. For us, Paleo is the gateway to the Zone. Where did I get this approach? Yeah, Robb's Nutrition cert.

In my opinion, Robb's nutrition expertise has made (and I sincerely hope will continue to make) great contributions to our pursuit of fitness. I think he's made terrific contributions to our community. But this in no way detracts from Dr. Sears. It may be a rabbinical stance, but I think they are, essentially, both right.

It is supremely unfair to knock Dr. Sears because he is an author. Robb is not only writing a book, but also has a financial interest in Paleo Brands. Cordain... yeah, him, too. In what Bizarro world does authorship discredited the author's views? Let's get past this.

Like others commenting here, I also have some difficulty relating to Dr. Sears because he is clearly not personally involved in fitness. But, perhpas like a deaf Beethoven, Dr. Sears can create a nutritional plan for fitness that he, himself, cannot "hear." Or maybe he should get into a box and "walk the walk." Regardless, for our purposes, let's deal with the substance of what is actually being said.

No one is promoting Ding Dongs.

We are a community of athletes and trainers in pursuit of improving human performance. Let's focus on observation and data, and on what does and does not work.

What works for you and for your athletes? Are good quality foods in Zone proportions really working less well than unrestricted Paleo? How would you know unless you WAM your "unrestricted" Paleo, just to see if the portions are NOT "in the Zone"?

Seems to me, from all the comments here, that "unrestricted Paleo" basically ends up in near-Zone proportions... Has anyone tested Paleo in proportions radically different from Zone?


wrote …

Sorry Kyle,
I didn't mean to be condescending, and I did miss your first post. If you truly didn't mean to discredit Dr. Sears because he sells books and food, then I misunderstood. Everyone has a bias, and their opinions should be considered just that. This is part, though, of my earlier "ludicrous" statement. In a five part interview oriented toward the science of nutrition, significant attention is placed on bias and motive rather than the concepts being discussed.

What do you know about Dr. Sears and his motivations and biases? I have only met him twice, but here are a few things I took away from those meetings. He wasn't interested in nutrition originally, but rather in saving his own life through medication. When he discovered that everything he was looking for could be achieved through nutrition, he abandoned a good career to pursue it.

Second, the man has dedicated his life to the science of nutrition, reading pretty much every article written connecting nutrition and health, particularly inflammation. He has initiated and supported many university level studies testing his propositions.

Third, he has been dealing with compliance issues forever. Very few people are committed enough to eat a disciplined diet. Ironically, CrossFit probably has a much higher population of disciplined eaters. Most of Dr. Sears later work has been to make compliance easier.

Does any of this make him "right"? Of course not. But I do think that the accusation of bias because he has a product to sell at that point in the discussion is unfairly discounting the integrity of 20 years of dedicated work.

Now that that is off my chest, you were asking about my experience. First off, I don't have a stake in the game. I don't know if orange juice is considered Paleo or not. I have not done formal tests of the Zone vs Paleo. I do have some opinions about nutrition:

1. The relationship between health, performance and nutrition is complex, and for every single positive correlation, I can find counter examples.
2. Hyperinsulinemia and inflammation must be avoided.
3. We see great gains and elite performance from a large spectrum of diets and food choices, and we've see mediocre gains and performance from other athletes on the same diets and food choices (hence the conclusion that the relationship is complex).
4. The Zone offers the most precise and accurate system, and thus is an ideal place to start for anyone REALLY interested in making gains in health and performance.
5. I have no issue with tweaking Dr Sears' standard Zone prescriptions (and nor does he).
6. I have no faith that the evolution argument has any relevance beyond offering suggestions for experiments.
7. I think quality of life is more important than performance except for those who want/need elite performance above all else.
8. From everything I've seen, work capacity across broad time and modal domains sustained throughout life is the gold standard for quality of life, which is how I think of health; gains here trump everything else.
9. The mental/emotional component of health, fitness, performance, and quality of life is both enormous and almost impossible to talk about meaningfully or quantifiably; there is a substantial impact of nutrition on the mental/emotional component.
10. I think there is great danger in missing the forest for the trees in so many of these topics. The great majority of folks fail and thrive because of macro issues, not micro issues. I think indulging in micro debates when we are not sure that the macro is dialed in well is a mistake.

In summary, I think we should modify our recommendations based on a client's life circumstances, and the more dialed in you get, particularly with elite athletes, the more the diet becomes personalized and less relevant to others.


Having met Dr Sears personally I completely concur with what you say. He is an enourmously dedicated scientist exploring the relationship between food and health. He has made a huge difference for millions (including my own family in a profound way). Who of us can say we have contributed the same? I've been using and teaching Zone principals for the last 10 years. In my work I see average and sick people and the difference this diet makes touches and astounds me.

I agree with Tony to make it work best for people I've found that for many it needs tweaking, here are some of my experiences:

1. As Tony (and Dr Sears would say also) the 30:40:30 ratio is a place to start, there are many who need to go lower on carbs, (which are replaced with fat) and stick to only low GI veggies and moderate fruit because they have metabolic insulin related issues. A very few people do need slightly higher carbs.

2. Most people do just fine using the eye hand method, and if they listen to their body they will find the best ratio/ food choice - as long as they stick to best choice Zone / Paleo foods. If you try to listen to your body with poor food choices it won't work. However there are those, especially those who don't do a lot of exercise, post menopausal women for example, who need the accuracy of measuring, at least at the beginning.

3. There are many people with problems including IBS, gut issues, health problems, auto-immune issues etc who must add strict paleo to the mix to have optimum health. Without cutting non paleo foods, they will get nerve, cell and gut damage and increased inflammation. So I would add that controlling auto-immune and gut issues through paleo food choices is an integral part of inflammation control. This is an area that Cordain puts a lot of stress on, but Sears doesn't to my knowledge.

4. Athletes need to tweak to find what works best for them to get an ideal combination of health, performance and body composition.

5. Supplements of omega 3 and vitamin D are necessary for almost everyone. Sears puts stress on Omega 3 but little on Vitamin D. I think both are absolutely critical. Too many people are very vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D effects muscle strength, without optimal levels you won't reach your strength potential, and risk numerous health problems.

6. Nobody I know who starts doing strict Zone balance stays with where they began. Each person ends up tweaking, or becomes more relaxed over time, but sticks to what they find works best for them.


wrote …

To use a pun, let me "weigh in" here:

I have done Zone (with non-quality foods) as well as Paleo. I am currently doing Paleo in Zone proportions and I believe that it is the optimal way. I do not weigh and measure. I use my eyeballs, since I've been doing it for quite a while, and I can figure it out pretty well.

I think that the Zone ratios are a good baseline to give your clients, along with the push for them to use quality foods. You can definitely overeat on a paleo diet. If you are out there eating good quality food, using the 2/3 plate for vegetables, 1/3 for meat, and some nuts, which is basically the zone prescription with paleo foods, you would be doing pretty well.

This is only my opinion, and I of course do not have science to back it up. The only thing that I have as back up is how I personally feel, my body fat, and my body composition.


wrote …

Also, something that I have forgotten to mention:

Just as recording your times, weights, and how you felt in your logbook for your workouts will help you tweak things you do should the workout come up in the future, the precise measurement of your blocks in a log will most certainly help you tweak and change things in regards to your nutrition.

If you don't record your food intake in some form or fashion, it would be very hard to fix faults because you won't be able to look back and find any.


wrote …

There is much wisdom is what Tony, Julianne and Paul write.

It's easy to get lost in micro stuff and lose sight of the macro "big picture." The religious parallel would be obsessing over ritual and forgetting such important stuff as: "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

I met a very accomplished college S&C coach who teaches at CrossFit's Olympic weightlifting certs. He said his toughest challenge was getting his athletes to eat right. He said he spent a lot of time and effort getting his athletes to eat protein, carbs, and fat at each of five daily meals. When pressed for the proportions he advocated, he just laughed. He said that just getting his athletes to eliminate junk and eat five daily meals that contain each contain carbs, protein and fat was a tremendous improvement.

My takeaway: don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Here's my own experience. I weighed and measured for a month. Then I used the eyeball method. I almost completely eliminated starchy carbs from my diet. And sugar and low quality junk food are gone forever. But I eat more calories and more fat than a strict zone advocates. I have also been known to indulge in "forbidden fruit" within two hours of a workout. And it's hard to reconcile my fondness for beer and scotch with any diet plan! So I have been known to stray from the path of righteousness.

The results? I dropped from 186 pounds to 173 pounds -- and have kept the weight off for more than two years. Two or three times a year, I do a week of strict zone by purchasing my meals from a meal service.

But when people ask: "do you use zone or paleo?" I never know how to answer the question. Life is complicated, and no one has a monopoly on truth or virtue. I can only suggest people look at the big picture, experiment, and discover what works for them. But I think suggestions that either The Zone or Paleo are completely mistaken are misguided.

And I continue to think the Zone is a useful starting point in your diet journey.


wrote …

Well said, Tony.


wrote …

There is much wisdom is what Tony, Julianne and Paul write.

It's easy to get lost in micro stuff and lose sight of the macro "big picture." The religious parallel would be obsessing over ritual and forgetting such important stuff as: "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

I met a very accomplished college S&C coach who teaches at CrossFit's Olympic weightlifting certs. He said his toughest challenge was getting his athletes to eat right. He said he spent a lot of time and effort getting his athletes to eat protein, carbs, and fat at each of five daily meals. When pressed for the proportions he advocated, he just laughed. He said that just getting his athletes to eliminate junk and eat five daily meals that contain each contain carbs, protein and fat was a tremendous improvement.

My takeaway: don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Here's my own experience. I weighed and measured for a month. Then I used the eyeball method. I almost completely eliminated starchy carbs from my diet. And sugar and low quality junk food are gone forever. But I eat more calories and more fat than a strict zone advocates. I have also been known to indulge in "forbidden fruit" within two hours of a workout. And it's hard to reconcile my fondness for beer and scotch with any diet plan! So I have been known to stray from the path of righteousness.

The results? I dropped from 186 pounds to 173 pounds -- and have kept the weight off for more than two years. Two or three times a year, I do a week of strict zone by purchasing my meals from a meal service.

But when people ask: "do you use zone or paleo?" I never know how to answer the question. Life is complicated, and no one has a monopoly on truth or virtue. I can only suggest people look at the big picture, experiment, and discover what works for them. But I think suggestions that either The Zone or Paleo are completely mistaken are misguided.

And I continue to think the Zone is a useful starting point in your diet journey.


replied to comment from Mike Erickson

I have to agree with mike on this point.They have done studies in the past on this and it seems people that eat less tend to live longer then those that eat more so matter what food there eating but giving the choice why would you not want to put quality food etc in your system. I do not follow a set diet my self but make shore everything I put in my body is the best quality I can afford


Jason Seib wrote …

And there went my last "block" of respect for Barry Sears. Just kidding, it was gone ages ago. Anyone who thinks that 40% carbs is good for anyone (especially for inflammation) doesn't often visit pubmed. It's actually OK do get your own education instead of regurgitating the same nutrition bullshit over and over again just so you can get back to Fran.


replied to comment from Tony Budding

That was all extremely well put. I was particularly impressed by your sixth point "I have no faith that the evolution argument has any relevance beyond offering suggestions for experiments." I think it is worthy of more elaboration.

Paleo diet is one thing, but as I read more Crossfitter blogs I notice an almost religious adherence to evolutionary logic in nutrition. The diet has many strengths, but the logic is flawed. It goes like this "Basically anything that our ancestor's didn't eat can't be good for us and everything they did eat is good for us."

I have a Bachelor's degree in Biology and know a little bit about evolution. The only way we could be sure that what our Paleolithic ancestors were truly "adapted to" is if there was a huge selective pressure against anyone straying from the diet. Meaning, if you ate anything different, you would make way less kids. This is clearly not the case as some of the highest reproductive rates in the world are in modern countries subsisting off of a largely rice based diet.

It might make sense on the face of things to say "humans ate virtually no grains 10,000 years ago but now we eat grains as a staple, and I think this might be causing problems." Science seems to have shown this to have some truth to it, although it shows little evidence that eliminating grains has value over just limiting them. We have to remember that just because some of the things evolutionary nutritionists say are true doesn't mean their logic is what made it true. Scientific experiment is the only way of arriving at categorical truth. And even if grains or milk or legumes are bad for you in certain amounts (I have seen no convincing data for the last two, but just for illustration sake), we have to remember that dose determines the poison.


wrote …

“And that is Barry Sear's lecture on why Paleo Sucks"
Just joking around.

I know a kind of debate is being produced from this but I don’t think its one in which people are using full research.

Having been to a Wolf Lecture he did in fact talk about performance increase with paleo and to push it further "dialing it in" and getting to a weighed a measured point BUT he did also talk about un-weighed and measured for improvement and as far as I could remember ALWAYS said "tinker with it" and find what works best for you. (From his blog posting: My main focus for the talk was a food quality approach using “Paleo” concepts. I shared some case histories and then opened the floor for questions. Russell asked “when would I introduce the Zone in my practice?” and I said I tend not to. We have produced top tier athletes without the hassle of weighing and measuring. This did not satisfy him and he probed for how I would know what ratio athletes need for their best running and would it not be better to emulate a Zone approach. I gave him 2 concrete examples of top tier athletes who WERE eating the Zone, switched to un-weighed, unmeasured Paleo (a significant shift in food quality which decreases inflammation in many ways) who IMPROVED performance significantly by dropping the Zone. I said IF an athlete ceases to make progress I will weigh and measure food to see where to go next, but if a simple, intuitive approach is working, why mess with it? Russell and Dave are visibly agitated by this point. Russell was marshalling for another salvo when James Fitzgerald (the only other person in attendance besides myself who has logged thousands of hours working with people on their food) offered support for my position.))

Even Cordain in "Paleo for Athletes" discusses using high carb portions (pre/post wods) for improvement and also touches on "how much" which is close (No???) to saying weighed/measured. So I don’t know why Russell said that in his post (Russell no attack, I completely respect you as an athlete/trainer)

Personally I have never seen anyone weigh or measure crappy food. If you do then you pretty much have an eating disorder. Most people (real world) who get around crappy food use it as a cheat meal. I would almost guarantee that if you weighed crappy food often (throughout the week) inflammation/insulin spikes would be pretty bad (if you are going to agree against it’s probably because of a personal opinion of your own experimentation. As is most of this really)

A common complaint of the zone is TOO MANY CARBS! Wolf offered a counter (a very effective counter) to this problem. Also in his lectures he instructed everyone to go and read CFJ article 21 which is.......The Zone. He mainly said it wasn’t the end all be all of nutrition which I think most would agree. That ratio is only able to be sustained for a short while. Eventually tweaks for improvement within the ration would have to be made and possibly "quality" would have to be adjusted. IE if you are not leaning out as desired you may have to cut dairy/cut grains/cut condiments/ stop eating fracking ho ho's etc etc. I.e. if you wanted to gain weight increases in the pro/fat/carb ratios might be needed.

As far as I know Wolf always talked about getting them to get good quality food and then dialing it in or tinkering. As a trainer both in a globo and CF gym I find this to be way more acceptable/applicable to new clients. 1st question most people have is HOW MANY CALORIES? or HOW MUCH PROTEIN? When I originally told soccer moms/police officers/students "we are going to stick to this ratio and weigh and measure food" I pretty much got "F*k you buddy" looks. They then used this as a way to weigh and measure crappy food and go nuts.

Since we are bringing up personal experience as well my inflammation is way more controllable with paleo than zone+weigh and measure crappy foods. Crappy foods (some) even in little quantity cause problems for me.

Also this video (to my knowledge) was recorded prior to the BBS extravaganza so I think it’s unfair to lay into Tony about this also he (to my knowledge) as always remained neutral between Wolf/sears/crossfit.

Also Cordain was also contacted to replace Wolf (as stated by wolf so im not really saying this as fact (so let me add: to my knowledge) so CF isn’t SOO bias as we think they are.

Also for Zone bars to be so high in sugar what the F is sears talking about controlling insulin if he can’t control his own products?

Also: Think the title should be changed to Sear's take ON paleo not Us VS Them. Pseudo science VS One mans science Paleo VS zone. I don’t think it’s a competition (although what the hell isn’t in CF). It really shouldn’t be about 1 vs. the other when they both have been field tested to improve performance and fitness (Forging elite FITNESS remember??) It then comes down to: which works best for me? (I think).

Also: I’m pretty sure (for whatever reasons) Wolf is going to be unable to throw opinion into this so I pulled some pretty interesting comments from him and his blog concerning the subject matter at hand:

You are entitled to your opinion. As am I as to the disagreement about Paleo “vs.” Zone that is all a conflict of Greg Glassman’s creation borne of an inability to evolve the program. This is very similar to why Rip was run off the island.

One would think that Sears would be the ultimate authority on the Zone but when he was asked if my tweaks on the Zone (deleting carbs, adding fat) would work he gave an emphatic “NO”. Apparently he did not check with Pat Sherwood or the other several thousand people who have modified the Zone along my guidelines. Here is a link to Pat’s experience it is comment #29. If you take the time to read that Pat not only improved all his performance metrics, he ADDED 10 LBS OF MUSCLE AND LOST FAT. With a modification on the Zone that Barry Sears says “DOES NOT WORK”. When Dave Csstro and I were “talking” after my nutrition talk I said Barry Sears had no idea how to optimize the Zone for Crossfit. Dave said I was the “better man for the job” and that Sears did not really understand CF. We have thousands of data points showing a superior approach to the Zone and it is ignored.


replied to comment from Aaron Wilson

Paleo isn't really unrestricted. At the begining portion of THE PALEO DIET, the estimated ration of macronutrients is very close to the Zone.


wrote …

Paleo isn't really unrestricted. At the begining couple of chapters of THE PALEO DIET, the estimated ratio of macronutrients is very close to the Zone.

For myself, I have received faster gains on a weigh & measure zone/paleo. Dr Sears reccomends high quality foods in the 4 books of his I bought & read. I tried the 2 cheeseburger 4 block meal from McD's, but like the saying goes: garbace in, garbage out.

I think that skimming the carbs and increasing fat doesn't provide enough fiber for me and, therefore, leaves me hungry.

Be your own experiment.


replied to comment from Jonathan Schuster

well said


wrote …

Bah, Does Barry even follow his own advice? He seems very full of it to me but I guess CF is officially a sponsorship of The Zone, makes for a great marketing ploy. The reality is that most people don't care to or want to weigh and measure their foods for the rest of their lives and doing so just shows how overly obsessive they are over food. Eating a perfect ratio for elite performance meaning 6 meals spread throughout the day because the body can only process "this" much protein? Yeah, how much more OCD can you seriously get?

People don't care about "Elite Performance", "Crossfit+ Zone" will not get you there it will only make you look like some anorexic ocd fool that worries to much about a perfect carb/pro/fat ratio and how much faster you can drop your fran time rather then more important things.

Real people are better off eating in moderation, eating clean foods and actually training towards a goal because the average person only cares about loosing a few pounds to look good for the beach, to fit into some bridal gown, or whatever. Yeah good luck CF, your "priorities" are really showing.


Barry Sears would probably be dead from a heart attack if he hadn't followed his own advice - have you bothered to read any of his books?

My father too if he had not switched from the recommended high carb diet he was instructed to eat following bypass surgery to the Zone.

Have you saved any lives recently?

Sorry but I get a bit tired of Sears bashing, he may not have the perfect answer, and the blocks or ratio may not work for everyone, but he has changed many lives for the better.


wrote …

The majority of these comments are ridiculous to me

DO I want Quality or Quanitity? "Yes." as Coach G would say...

This is like you all want to argue just to argue...

Start with whichever is easiest for you, if you want to fix Quality first, DO IT! If you want to fix Quantity first, DO IT!...if you are so inclined to strive to fix both Quality and Quantity...DO IT!

Good Lord, this bickering over nothing is pointless and you're starting to scare the straights...lay-off it already.

Here's the bottom line...fixing your Quantity will make you healthier...Fixing your Quality will make you healthier...The American diet is in such disarray that arguing over this is akin to eating icing with no cake, get over yourselves.



replied to comment from Aushion Chatman

Thanks for that Aushion. I think it has been said by many that you must do what works for you. I agree that this debate is getting a little old. If you can weigh and measure crap food and get gains from it, more power to ya, but document it to be sure. If certain foods need to be eliminated from your diet for you to get gain and cut out auto-immune issues, do it and document the results...........DOCUMENT THE RESULTS!!!


But Barry Sears is wrong and desperately clinging to his old views to not have to admit that his many books (I'm sure you can get "The Zone for Retired Bus Drivers Over 80" if you look around) are crap carb perscriptions. He knows that the hormonal response to the foods we eat will always be more important than the quantity of food we eat and that there has never been any basis to the "eat less, move more" perscription for weight loss. Try to find some hard data to back up the "calorie is a calorie" concept. Here, I'll get you started: JAMA, AJCN, JACN, BJM, and of course PubMed.

I know, I know, he didn't say we should eat garbage. But he did say that weighing and measuring food is more important than food quality and he's wrong. A 72 ounce steak at every meal, without carbs, cannot make you fat nor can it elevate inflammation. Glycation and inflammation are greatly reduced on ketogenic diets, and therefore reduced relatively on low carb diets. There is substancial data backing this up in cancer research. 40% is carbs is not low carb and not even a human diet.

The referance he makes to longevity is probably regarding the animal studies in which they can exptend life span by reducing calories, often time by as much as 40% of total calories. They have known this for years and nobody wants to live like those miserable little lethargic mice. This has jack to do with macro nutrient ratios, but Berry would like you to think that it does.

Bottom line, I don't care if Barry Sears likes the Paleo diet, but the Zone is crap. Ryan DeBell posted this before but just in case you missed it:

This study shows comparisons between the Zone, Dean Ornish's low fat diet, the LEARN Diet (basically the food pyramid), and Atkins. The subjects were given each book and guided by a dietician to see what happens to people in the real world. Barry Sears said it wasn't fair that people weren't forced to do his diet exactly. I say it wasn't fair that they got a dietician to guide them when most people wouldn't. If you've got an hour and sixteen minutes watch the Zone get almost identical results to the food pyramid and the Ornish diet.


wrote …

Links was also previously posted on the mainsite page 11/30/2009.


replied to comment from Justin Smith

Wow! Very interesting study. A lot to think about there. It doesn't debunk the Zone, but some great info that makes me further believe a moderate Paleo full of veggies is an awesome way to go.


replied to comment from Kenneth Cenna

Amazing, interesting, and brief. Thanks Kenneth.


replied to comment from Tony Budding

Great call. Amen. Ditto. Crossfit and the Zone are leagues ahead of anything else and the umbrella is big enough for WHATEVER works. Because the community sees the power of this movement, because it is in such contrast to normal "fitness", we have a tendency to become dogmatic, and thus dramatic and defensive, about crap. Having experienced this with religion I am happy to see CF using its resources bringing forth incredible information that I can further study and tweak in accordance with other studies and personal experience, and not being dogmatic about things.


Julianne Taylor wrote …

A 72 oz steak would make me fat.

The study was interesting in that in the end the people doing the Atkins diet acutally ended up closer to the Zone carb/ protein ratio. And those doing the Zone had way more carbs than a true Zone ratio.
This is why restricting carbs to paleo choices makes getting less insulin stimulating carbs so much easier. People seem to gravitate to higher carbs without realising and dont end up getting the results.

In my experience most people need lower carbs than the 40% calories, especially females who want to lose weight. probably becaseu they are hihg insulin secreters.

Lots of smaller females who want to lose weight do better in my experience with portion control as well.


wrote …

Dr. Lon Kilgore reminded me of an article he wrote a couple years ago about the nutrient requirements of athletes. Some might find it relevant.


wrote …

Dr. Barry Sears was saying consuming too many calories at a meal will increase inflamation and we should eat 5-6 meals a day spaced 4-6 hrs appart. What happenes if your day only allows 4 meals? Should you space your meals out 2-3 hrs? Wouldn'y that have a negative affect on your insulin levels because the meals are so close together?


wrote …

An elite Olympic athlete only needs 3,000 calories per day? Seriously? Maybe Olympic curlers.

And the response to the two extremes of eating weighed and measured ding dongs vs. the four pound steak, was really surprising. My four year old would answer that question correctly, and tell me I was silly if I thought otherwise.

I am very grateful for all of the work Dr. Sears has put forth over the years, and began following a zone diet well over a decade ago. Even when I wasn't "zoning" I still kept an eye on portion sizes and ratios, and it has served me well...

But... to hear the man say these things is somewhat offensive to common sense.


wrote …

Barry Sears said people would be better off zoning with the modern diet than eating paleo diet without zoning. He actually said zoning with Ding Dongs is better than the paleo diet without zoning.

Just are you kidding me?


wrote …

Sweet i love ding dongs!!


replied to comment from Julianne Taylor

Thank You Julianne. Well put (to Jason S.)


wrote …

First I am not a nutritionist nor a biochemist but...

Following a zone diet a person would be able to eat about 1/2 ounce of a ding dong. I think that the point of excess amounts of protein and the total restriction of carbohydrates is the main point that Dr. Sears is railing against.

Although the reaction of protein and carbohydrates are different in the body towards insulin spikes (storage hormone of glucose) it does not mean that the body will not process protein and lipid and store their energy in fat cells in the human body. The zone diet promotes the acquisition of carbohydrates from plant sources and simple grains.

The body will convert excess protein and lipids into glucose: Gluconeogenesis is the generation of glucose from non-carbohydrate carbon substrates such as lactate, glycerol, and glucogenic amino acids. Therefore if a human eats an "unrestricted diet" and which only consists of protein and fat their body is going to convert it into glucose when glucose drops in the blood both to sustain Basal Metabolism and by strenuous work... ('cori cycle' and other metabolic paths).

Although it's dorky I would like to see a good presentation of how Crossfit reacts with anaerobic/aerobic metabolism; see how it affects: ATP, adaptations to muscle glycogen storage, and to mitochondria throughput which were mentioned in the video.


wrote …

I've enjoyed reading the comments eating my perfectly balanced Carl's Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger...mmmmm....

Actually, I've recently switched from an attempt at zone for a while, a long while, to strict Paleo. I do allow for a cheat meal Friday night with a cheat dessert, but other than than, I'm in the Paleo "zone"! I've cut-out grains and dairy and have drastically increased my vegetable intake. I never weighed and measured much, quite frankly, since I don't have the time or desire. I work full-time, have five kids, coach competitive soccer, shuttle kids to various sports, and try to find time for myself to train. The real world for me.

With Paleo, just having completed the first two weeks I've lost nearly 10 pounds, cut out caffeine, and generally feel much better and stable throughout the day. I eat larger meals and have lost the desire for any carb snack. I'm amazed at the difference in such a short time. Plus, the wife and kids are on board, and to my amazement, all, I mean all of them, are perfectly fine with the change. They have noticed a difference in energy levels throughout the day as well.


wrote …

Lots of people have wasted lots of time on this one. I've very much enjoyed seeing the article through the prism of "me" and "CrossFit" in the comments. I'm taken back to the commentary Dr. Spears made in the first installment of his lecture series, "We're all experts on food because we all eat three times a day." (paraphrasing).


wrote …

Sears has obvoiusly never read Cordains Paleo. If you follow the Paleo diet as writen in "The Paleo Diet", you are still balancing out the macro nutriants, it just is not as stict at the Zone's "weighing and measuring". Nowere in the Zone book does it say that it is ok to do out and eat a 4 pound steak or full rack of ribs. . . by themselves :)


wrote …

interesting assessment of the zone diet


wrote …

No matter how you cut it, everyone on here has a biased for whatever works for them or whatever they agree with from what they have been reading or hearing. The truth is the majority on here don't have degrees in nutritional science and your just regular people that are into being fit.
I've done both diets and seen great results on both diets. Sure you can measure and eat a cheeseburger but its not a recommended zone food. He just saying if your gonna eat it that measuring it out so you don't put down 3k in calories in one session and your aware of what your eating holding you as a person more responsible and in charge of your diet.
It just sounds to me that everyone is getting all butt hurt over food. Its not crossfit that is going south by picking zone or paleo. Its the average person who brings negativity to the table thats bringing crossfit and its quality information down. How about just doing what works for you and just stay in your lane. Across the board, every crossfitter isn't trying to win the Games or be the greatest athlete on the planet. Some people just want to be fit and healthy throughout the course of their life or enhance job or hobby performance. If Robb Wolf and Barry want to throw up the Manos de fuegos over whats better, thats there lane to do so, but not every other douche canoe whose been doing CF for year or two.


John, I wholeheartedly agree. Everyone is parsing every word from Dr. Sears and Tony Budding to advance the current Paleo vs Zone/ HQ vs Robb Wolf/ Empire vs Alliance flare-up. First I want to get my clients on any type of clean or weighed and measured diet and off of McDonald's. That's where I'm going to spend my energy.


replied to comment from Kenneth Cenna

This is tangential, but based on the anthropological study linked to, the fastest running speed was in fact 20 km/hr (not 37 km/hr). The "manthropologist" seems to pull these numbers out of thin air; one is world class and the other is nothing special.


wrote …

More practical to weigh and measure than to restrict certain foods?? You lost me. Ask a parent of any number of children who barely finds time to do any training if it is more practical.

What an incredible lack of objectivity.


wrote …

Great conversation thread as we all plod forward though the fog. A couple of points.

Coach is a relentless advocate of the scientific process. "Empirically Tested, clinically driven."

That's the friction point. We all acknowledge that diet is the most important variable to achieving high athletic capability and fitness. When it comes to nutritional impacts on health, there are very few hypotheses that ever make the transition through the peer reviewed, empirically driven scientific process to become proven facts. Many long-held beliefs have turned out to have no basis whatsoever. (Read "Good Calories Bad Calories by Taubes) Folks will attack the "Zone" by saying that it has never been proven. Little has been "proven." I am usually suspicious of anyone trying to sell me a product but I trust Sear more than most based only on his background as a scientist. It may seem intuitive that unlimited paleo would work since our bodies adapted to the diet out of necessity. On the other hand, life 13,000 years ago before the domestication of crops and animals was tenuous, short and brutish. Unlimited paleo food in the hunter gatherer age also meant going without any food at all much of the time. Starving through the winter hoping you made it til Spring. It most certainly was not unlimited paleo 2-3X per day. Additionally, it was the domestication of grains and access to abundant protein through the domesticated livestock that ultimately led us all to a much the much "better" life most all of us now enjoy. At the end of the day, we have enough observations to make some good intuitive judgements. Paleo and Zone have much in common and seem better than most POS diets that come out each year while the general public grows collectively fatter and sicker. I personally like Clarance Bass' approach but also have much success with the Paleo Zone

John Mc 45YO/178/6'0"


replied to comment from Russell Berger

Crossfit Vancouver did it with their group. check it out. loved the gym jones artile by the way.


wrote …

I am working to hold a Nutrition Class for my unit. Does anyone have some suggestions on who I could go to for a proper Nutrition class. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Glenn Hyzak
Level 1 CrossFit Certified
US Coast Guard
Maritime Safety & Security Team Los Angeles/Long Beach (91103)
Terminal Island BLDG 52, San Pedro, CA 90731
Work e-mail:
Facebook Page:!/pages/San-Pedro-CA/Terminal-Island-Elite-Fitness/262257889804


wrote …

Rich Froning Jr. eats what the hell ever he wants. Including donuts. End of argument.



wrote …

I love this whole series.... forgive me if this has been answered already but I haven't come across one...

I understand the reason for cutting back calories and restricting calories per meal.

But what about the argument that if you eat below the caloric requirements of your body's BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), then your body will go into "survival mode" and store fat anyway.

Thanks for any input. Again thank you for this series of videos and the Crossfit Journal itself.

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