The Instinct Diet

The Instict Diet
<em>The Instinct Diet</em> by Dr. Susan Roberts

The Instinct Diet is a fascinating book that will change the things you thought you knew about dieting. This book is truly unique in the wide world of diet books because it is based on science, it is versatile enough for anyone from vegetarians to omnivores, and it is easy. It even includes no-cook recipes. Anyone can follow this diet and be successful--for life!

About The Instinct Diet

The Instinct Diet was written by Dr. Susan Roberts, a dedicated weight-loss scientist. Dr. Roberts began a research program at Tufts University where she analyzed obesity as well as every component of weight loss including glycemic index, protein, carbohydrates, fiber and anything else she could think of.

Through this research she discovered five variables or "instincts" that have an effect on how we eat. Dr. Roberts learned that once a person begins to work with these basic eating instincts they can lose weight easily without feeling hungry or deprived. Her study volunteers were ecstatic about these findings and would talk about her "magic" diet program. Dr. Roberts' diet isn't magic, however. It is science, pure and simple.

An Interview with Dr. Susan Roberts

Dr. Susan Roberts
Dr. Susan Roberts

Recently, LoveToKnow was able to speak with Dr. Susan Roberts about her amazing book, The Instinct Diet. Here is what she had to say.

About Dr. Roberts and The Instinct Diet

LoveToKnow (LTK): Describe your background.

Susan Roberts (SR): I was the fattest kid in my school and always loved food. I worked as a sous chef and private chef through high school and college. Food has always fascinated me! When I went to college, I majored in nutrition and determined I would become a weight control researcher to try and make weight loss easier.

LTK: Why did you write The Instinct Diet?

SR: We had so many good studies coming out of my lab at Tufts University, and other weight loss scientists had other good things. None of it was out there in the media or popular diet books. I realized I could make weight loss easier, so people struggling to lose anything could be successful, people who manage already could manage better. I could make the whole thing more enjoyable and sustainable.

LTK: How is this diet different from all the other diets out there?

SR: Conceptually, it starts by understanding what pushes our buttons and makes us gain weight. Then using that same biology to make weight loss easier. So it is different in many ways from standard diets. Perhaps the key difference is that we go all out for hunger control to make you really satisfied. This is the key to easier weight loss, because if you are fully satisfied you can cut calories more and lose more weight. You don't plateau after a few days or weeks, so you can keep going to lose more weight totally. When you are not hungry, it is much easier to use some simple additional strategies we explain to cure cravings and other problems that prevent permanent weight control.

How the Diet Works

LTK: What are the five diet instincts and how can they help control weight permanently?

SR: The five instincts are as follows:

  1. Hunger - Unless we are satisfied, it is impossible to keep weight loss going for more than a while.
  2. Availability - We eat just because it's there. It is not for lack of willpower, but because the sight and smell of food has metabolic effects that make us literally hungry with the same metabolic signals as real food deprivation. We show you how to control this instinct in a few different ways, starting with what foods you keep at home but also some mental tricks to deal with unavoidable situations like buffets and parties.
  3. Calorie density - We love rich foods. Instinct shows you how to eat them but not overeat them, and still feel satisfied.
  4. Familiarity - We love things we know. Instinct is the first diet that gives you recipes and no-cook options for regular favorites that are more satisfying that usual foods, to help weight loss rather than hinder it.
  5. Variety - Variety increases food intake outside awareness. We help you understand the issue and how to rebalance variety in your life for instinctively easier weight control.

LTK: What are some realistic weight loss goal for this diet?

SR: People using the book are losing an average of 16 pounds in eight weeks and typically dropping two clothing sizes, without feeling hungry. They lose their cravings and love the food. This is realistic because it is the average, not the best result. Of course, there are diets out there that promise 30 pounds in a month, seven pounds in a week, but that is impossible (unless it is water weight you are losing, which is not fat). Instinct has, I think, the fastest fat loss of any popular diet, and is easier to stick with.

LTK: How do the stages in your diet work?

SR: Stage 1 is an easy introduction to get you started with just a few menu items (that you cook from recipes or buy in from a supermarket if you don't cook). It makes for an easy introduction.

Then two weeks later, when you are starting to miss Chinese food, Mexican food, pasta, hamburgers and other regular foods we bring them all back in Stage 2 (six weeks) so that you can keep going to lose more weight.

Who Can Follow The Instinct Diet

LTK: If someone follows this diet plan, will they have to make separate meals for themselves and their family or buy expensive, unusual foods?

SR: No, good question! Instinct is designed so that everyone in the family can enjoy the Instinct foods. We have things like Chicken Parmesan in Stage 1. You can just add on things like pasta or white bread for family members who are not dieting.

LTK: Is this diet safe for people with health problems?

SR: Yes, the diet is very healthy and safe. Of course, nobody should start a diet without first consulting their physician, but The Instinct Diet is an extremely healthy diet and people using it are finding they are healthier, more energetic and losing symptoms like indigestion that have plagued them for years.

LTK: Is there anyone you would not recommend this diet for?

SR: Anyone with an eating disorder needs the individual help of a trained clinical psychologist, so I would not recommend The Instinct Diet in this case unless the psychologist wanted to supervise its use.

More About Weight Loss

LTK: What is the most important thing people should know about weight loss?

SR: About the most fat loss you can have is two to three pounds a week, but with the right diet you can keep that up and lose a lot of fat quickly. Just don't believe these bogus claims of really rapid weight loss because the human body just can't lose fat that fast. When they don't work, you feel like it is your fault and give up, when in fact it is just a false claim and you could never live up to its promise.

LTK: What else would you like to share?

SR: Weight loss really doesn't have to be that hard if you use the right plan, but using the right plan is the essential key. People who have failed a few times feel like it is their fault, but it really isn't. Plans that make you hungry or leave you unsatisfied should be thrown out the window!

Taste the Diet Yourself

The Instinct Diet satisfies because it offers delicious foods that everyone will love. Here are some examples of recipes for you to try.

Northern Italian Lasagna

This makes eight servings.


  • 8 ounces whole wheat lasagna pasta sheets
  • 2 1/2 cups meat sauce from John's Pasta Supper (on page 213 of the book)
  • 2 1/2 cups "I" Diet Béchamel Sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, preferably imported


  1. Have ready a 10 by 8 by 2 baking dish. Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Drain the pasta.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Starting with meat sauce, then pasta, then béchamel sauce, then more pasta, layer the ingredients until all have been used, finishing with a good layer of béchamel sauce. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.
  4. Bake the lasagna until the top is nicely browned, 40 to 50 minutes.

Vegetarian variation:

Tomato and broccoli lasagna--Substitute tomato sauce for the meat sauce. Arrange a layer of 2 cups of steamed broccoli on top of one of the layers of tomato sauce.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 250
Protein: 17.9 grams
Total fat: 7.6 grams
Saturated fat: 1.8 grams
Total carbohydrates: 32.2 grams
Dietary fiber: 3.4 grams

Rich Chili Soup

Makes 12 cups.


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 large red bell pepper cut into 3/4-inch squares
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 15-ounce can navy beans, no salt added, undrained
  • 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, no salt added, undrained
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned, canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic until lightly browned, about five minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse chicken under cold, running water, pat dry with paper towels and remove any visible fat. Cut the breast in half lengthwise, then cut in half crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.
  3. When the onion is starting to brown nicely, add the sliced chicken and bell pepper and cook until chicken turns white, a couple of minutes.
  4. Mix the cornstarch with a couple of tablespoons of the broth, then add this mixture to the pot along with the remaining broth, the undrained navy and kidney beans and the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, corn, chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt and black pepper.
  5. Stir the soup occasionally while it comes to a boil, then cover the pot and let simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the lime juice, if using, and taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or black pepper as needed. Serve the chili soup hot.

Vegetarian variation:

Omit chicken breast and add 8 ounces of white button mushrooms, sliced. Add them after the onion and garlic have cooked for five minutes and cook until lightly browned, about five minutes, before adding the bell pepper in Step 3. Use vegetable broth.

Nutritional information per 1-cup serving:

Calories: 163
Protein: 16.2 grams
Total fat: 3.7 grams
Saturated fat: 0.7 grams
Total carbohydrates: 16.8 grams
Dietary fiber: 7.0 grams

Bibb Salad

Makes two servings.


  • 1 teaspoon tub margarine
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms
  • 4 cups Bibb lettuce or any other greens of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 ounce thin Parmesan cheese shavings
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Melt margarine in a skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they're lightly browned, about five minutes.
  2. Rinse the lettuce under cold, running water and pat dry with paper towels. Toss the lettuce with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste, then mix in the warm, cooked mushrooms. Serve immediately.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 160
Protein: 8.9 grams
Total fat 11.4 grams
Saturated fat: 2.7 grams
Total carbohydrates: 8.9 grams
Dietary fiber: 3.6 grams

LoveToKnow would like to thank Dr. Susan Roberts for taking time to tell us about The Instinct Diet. For more information, you can visit her website at

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