15

votes

Is the food reward hypothesis backwards?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 09, 2012 at 10:12 AM

A study that's been mentioned a few places suggests that obesity is not caused by food being too rewarding and encouraging one to eat more, but rather by food eaten being not rewarding enough and hence requiring greater levels of consumption to maintain previous levels of enjoyment (like drug tolerance). They infer this from scanning subjects' brains and having them drink milkshakes. Those with the least dopamine activation tended to eat the most ice cream.

I find this hard to reconcile with my experience with food. This would suggest that if I want to eat more calories in a given day, I need to make my food tasteless and boring, while if I ate Michelin 3-star food everyday I would eat fewer calories. (It's true that this would explain why Americans are the fattest people in the world.)

Am I right or are they wrong?

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Those are not cheap shots. Those are, in reverse order, me being sarcastic, Melissa making a strawman argument, and Travis changing the subject (moving goalpost). Normal stuff!

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:49 PM

Excellent answer. I find food reward theory falls apart at the same place as many of these other theories - when we fail to distinguish real food from processed food.

E12d01c41ed41315112c753c752bd7e2

(50)

on March 10, 2012
at 10:45 AM

Cheap shots, come on...

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:16 AM

"Abusive ad hominem (also called personal abuse or personal attacks) usually involves insulting or belittling one's opponent in order to attack his claim or invalidate his argument, but can also involve pointing out true character flaws or actions that are irrelevant to the opponent's argument." -Wikipedia. Again, I wasn't doing this. I just thought your tone was a bit divisive/inflammatory. Keep doing whatever works best for you in both diet practice and discussion etiquette. I'm not sure it's too constructive to bash something so vehemently just because you don't relate to it, but have at it

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:55 AM

No, I believe you just echoed Plato. You're still on to something though, I'll give you that! I swear this thread has been like Philosophy 101 today.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:27 AM

To the point about 100% replacement to healthy food is required but keeping it tolerable is a challenge, consider this: Some people that have weight to lose and are determined to lose it, can't. Everyone they turn to for help has bad answers. Eventually your real "reward" is a freaking answer. What do I eat, what do i do, who do i believe? That's all you really want. Truth. Truth is its own reward. I just made that up. Someone take a note. DFH (c) 2012

C2ad96801ec1e22d2bf62475b6e52751

(1416)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:25 AM

I'm glad they call it the food reward hypothesis, because Richard Nikoley's OMG You Guys I've Eaten More Potatoes For a Week and I Feel AWESOME Diet is a little bulky for my tastes.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:18 AM

Travis for president! :)

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:23 AM

A lot of people swing back the other direction to carnivory with the resultant super-high satiety, but I don't think that's really necessary. Just composing meals/diets purely out of unrefined foods takes care of most of it.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:22 AM

That's why telling someone to simply eat less of these things is unacceptable. They need to be replaced with food 100% in the same way that drugs or alcohol need to be replaced with rewarding behaviors, not titrated down to the amounts that some people can tolerate. The replacement has to be satisfying, as Paleo is, or the gnawing cravings that come from attempted avoidance will become all-consuming. I think my asceticism has made these things so novel that I have a lot of trouble reining in my consumption should I start.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:21 AM

Melissa, thanks for elaborating, I just wanted more of an answer than a dismissal. To be truthful, I'm not offended by any of this. Just trying to keep an open discussion amongst all these sure-fire opinions. You have a strong reputation of being rather insightful and open to scientific discourse, which is great.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:12 AM

An ad hom is arguing the person, not the topic. It is not synonymous with personal attack. Invisible Caveman is kindly reminded that I am not the topic here, even though I am quite interesting if you must know, I remember one time.....

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:12 AM

I've never done hard drugs, but those kinds of experiences with "pseudo-foods" definitely made me feel like an addict.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:10 AM

2) I often found myself going through anti-McDonalds/fast-food periods over the years where I had sworn them off completely on sheer principle. "I'm not going to eat anything from such a horrible company that serves such complete crap". About 1 month before I discovered Paleo, I found myself in this mode again. After about 2 weeks, I caved at about 2am one evening. The whole time I was driving to the nearby McD's and as I sat in their parking lot scarfing down a Big Mac, double cheeseburger, fries, coke and hot fudge sundae, a single question kept barking in my mind: "Why am I doing this?"

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:08 AM

Keep your strawmans to yourself, please! I sense a REAL open minded audience here....

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:05 AM

Great thoughts! I know in my own experience, being smart about what I ate wasn't enough. I knew better, I just couldn't help myself many, many times. Two examples: 1) I used to wait until I had an empty house to order myself a whole pizza, eat half of it in 10 minutes or so, then come back two hours later and eat the rest. I did this depressingly way too often.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2012
at 11:59 PM

he thinks carb consumption increased, but it didn't.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2012
at 11:59 PM

IC, easily offended much? Everything is fight for you? Back to the subject, yes, I think it can be done every day by normal people, but then again, maybe I'm a little different then the norm. Most of my food does emulate a lot of the Michelin-type food.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:57 PM

Thanks for clarifying Travis, I got that too when I first read it, it's just been a little while. I think that's what a lot of us might lose sight of is how this stuff changes depending on individual needs, which, often change. If I'm 100 pounds overweight and I'm trying to correct that and restore my health, I might choose to eat differently than a fit,healthy person. I'm with DFH on that, whether he sees it or not. But eating to lose weight and just eating to be normal might not be the same.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:52 PM

Thanks for clarifying Travis, I got that too when I first read it, it's just been a little while.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:51 PM

Not talking about emulating, nor did I imply that it wasn't satisfying. Just questioning it for the long-term as it relates to the way most people eat in real-time. Geez! No one "emulates" being a hungry animal. That's what we are!

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:48 PM

Invisible: I don't think he's advocating constant asceticism. I took away from it that this is a technique for resetting habitual tendencies. The period of time would be whatever is necessary in order to overlay new habits.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2012
at 11:40 PM

Have you ever eaten at a Michelin-starred restaurant? You are definitely satisfied. That's why it's a "hack," not trying to emulate the wild.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:27 PM

Personally not a fan of the ascetic nature of what SG is positing either, but I did eat more potatoes over the last 8 days as my own experiment along the lines of Richard's. I've lost 2.5 pounds since the 29th compared to 4 pounds total for the month of Feb. Curious!

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:22 PM

Travis, I was wondering this myself and hadn't brought it up yet. The hedonist in me really likes your answer, Melissa. It got me thinking though...if one were hunt/gather/loving in the wild and had just scored a fresh kill after a time of marked hunger, are they really going to settle for half of a bite? We're talking about hungry animals (humans), right? If I have time to wait and someone labors to prepare something so exquisite and "rewarding", I'm not saying I'm not down. My instinct to eat to satiety is going to kick in at some point, though, and I'm not sure cute micro food will suffice.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:52 PM

DFH: What's your pet hypothesis for what *did* happen since 1980 or so?

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:48 PM

Natto's good, bro. Just had some last night and need to go to the Japanese market and restock. They look at me like I'm defective when I buy tons of the stuff at once. They may be right.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:44 PM

Actually, Melissa, I do have a legitimate question: How can these tiny portions satiate for long periods of time? A rich meal might slow gastric emptying via CCK and so on, but the most delicious, artfully-crafted bite of food is still just a bite.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:42 PM

Being an ascetic isn't all that bad...I rather enjoy it-wait, does that mean I failed or succeeded?

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:31 PM

The real argument is still with SAD, and that's where I will continue to devote my thoughts and attention. All this bickering in the "paleosphere" is flat-out ridiculous. The beautiful simplicity still matters most: eat real whole foods, avoid grains, limit vegetable oils, limit fructose. The rest of the details depends on the individual.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:25 PM

Who's stomping an hollering if not the LC anti-SG crowd who insists on building a fort around themselves? I've been fat for most of the last 12 years. I'm not clamoring for FR myself. I have no reason to. But I am open to new ideas, which is all I'm trying to encourage. That and as an aside to DFH I was obviously uneffectively attempting to call him out on his attitude in forums recently. Not "ad hom" as he keeps wanting to scream, since I'm not "attacking" him, but merely requesting the divisive know-it-all statements to be toned down a bit. None of us knows it all yet.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:19 PM

Ha! That's funny..

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 09, 2012
at 09:27 PM

@invisiblecaveman, if you haven't ever been in the same situation yourself, you just really don't know what it is like. I continually see thin and young people telling others how it must be, and it just is not true, no matter how much one stomps and hollers.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 09, 2012
at 09:23 PM

I can't believe I upvoted you :-)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2012
at 05:19 PM

deleted all comments that are back and forth namecalling.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 09, 2012
at 05:09 PM

I can tell you that for me (former 450lbs) eating junk food Vs eating plain white rice made no difference. I'd eat 10 cups of white rice or drink a gallon of milk. I felt hungry all the time and full meant stomach FULL. So I went on high reward, HFLC for a year and now that I brought carbs back I am more satiated. Now the tastier the thing the more I eat while plain thing taste fine and reduce my food desire. Just my experience.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 09, 2012
at 04:23 PM

Nice, I want to read this now! I am definitely in the pleasure-associated-with-really-good-food train car. I could not imagine just eating the same boring thing every day, it actually kind of grosses me out if I see people eating the same, monotonous meals. Food is my pleasure- I would rather spend my money very occasionally on fantastic food or spend hours making one truly fantastic meal then mass produce flavourless, boring items. Food is truly rewarding and a pleasurable experience- but that doesn't cause me to binge, the exact opposite in fact. I've never related to the FW theory.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 09, 2012
at 04:22 PM

The French ate a lot of highly processed foods, and fast food joints selling couscous, crepes and burgers (McDo and Quick) are very popular. There was not nearly as much snacking. French dry breakfast cereal like Jordans is the junkiest stuff I've ever eaten.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 09, 2012
at 04:16 PM

Glad someone else noticed FED. I lived in France for 15 months and lost about 25 lbs of American fat eating ad libitum. Two other important differences. Walking for transportation, due to proximity, expensive fuel and bad streets. And no leftovers to go in the fridge. The French generally cook enough to eat and no more, so while you're eating ad libitum your portions are controlled.

284213562569be43dfda0ad40914da6f

on March 09, 2012
at 04:10 PM

well dead poets do have the potential to cure modern literary-novelists of chronic adjectivitis so maybe not so far-fetched. harm reduction may have potential in addiction pathways that we understand better, like opiate-based pain medication and street drugs, but food is much more difficult. A crude parallel would be treating someone addicted to oxycontin as opposed to heroin--although the latter carries complications related to injection, it's a crude drug that seems less likely (and less efficient) to permanently upset dopamine regulation in the brain like the synthetic targeted oxy.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2012
at 04:04 PM

Yeah, on some level I think I'm so far off on the tail end of the pleasure-seeking spectrum that I'm as alienating to the middle as Stephan might be.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 04:02 PM

I know what ad hominem is, thanks. You might want to look up ad nauseam, though.

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:59 PM

The factors of FR are almost endless (and to make that even more difficult, they are determined by your subconscious). Just consider this: a co-worker comes up to you two hours after you ate lunch with 300 calories of food. If the food it chicken breast and broccoli, I will definitely say "I just ate lunch." But if it's half a muffin... Hopefully I won't say yes but realistically I might. But it's not just that a muffin tastes better, it might be the texture, or that it digests more easily, or that blueberry muffin remind me of my childhood. The influences are endless.

Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

(4400)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:59 PM

I loved JStanton's series, but I can't agree with "No matter how much you like a food (how much hedonic impact it has for you), if the food is satiating, at some point you will stop wanting more." I guess technically true, but while majority of paleos apparently can't overeat steak, there are plenty of us who eat Paleo but still overeat, or are tempted to. JStanton even discusses this in his series (e.g. one should eat mindfully), but I don't feel like we have quite the full picture. Maybe people who eat steak all have eating disorders? How does that fit in with food reward?

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:57 PM

Michelin-starred chefs to solve the obesity epidemic.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:53 PM

I know what ad hominem is, thanks.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:51 PM

Fine. See my answer to the post.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:51 PM

Dont worry about me and stick to the topic. I know how interesting I am and all, but I am not the topic. Google ad hominem.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2012
at 03:50 PM

Yes, I am 100% hedonist.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:50 PM

That is an interesting point about why Stephan has not convinced people. We each see things through our own experience, I am probably similar in that I could happily live on boiled potatoes and poached eggs most of the time without complaint.

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:48 PM

The moment you describe something you will indefinitely lose some amount of the whole truth. Describing FR is like trying to explain scientifically why you don't like raw broccoli. The way I think of food reward is this: You are sitting on a couch, watching TV and you just ate breakfast. There are a bunch of different foods in your kitchen (from raw broccoli to donuts). How much time goes by before you get up to get something to eat based on what is in the kitchen? Is it when there's room in your stomach or is it when you are about to starve to death?

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:47 PM

What is the opposite of an ascetic? A hedonist?

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:25 PM

Ad hom. Stop talking about me and stick to the topic.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:23 PM

That is a very good point. But still, "If you use food reward and palatability in a sentence, even if you stumble through it, you still sound smart..." I don't want to pick on the popular Mr Nikoley, but when he brought this up on Jimmy Moores show this week, it was all he could do to put reward and palatability in a sentence, then tell people to go read what it means on SG's site. It's so half baked, even the gurus can't explain it.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:19 PM

You're a real piece of work, my friend! If you had actually clicked on it, you'd see that it was a link to a page about how to be an asshole, which you obviously don't need help with. I never said word one about FR specifically, except that "I don't know" which is the most sound answer I think anyone with a shred of humility ought to be able to put forth. Good day to you, sir.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:19 PM

This one makes perfect sense. If people think they have an FR neural issue, fine. Just don't call it "FR theory of obesity" and stop talking about people not affected! That's what makes this topic suck ass. It just ends up "fat people have no control." if you can't control your food urges, fine. Mine are put away thank you. :)

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:13 PM

I've never once actually defended FR, have I? I just simply pointed out that it's a theory just like anything else. Nope, I don't really have an opinion either way on it, mainly because I haven't studied enough of it to even begin to form one yet. I just think your attitude stinks and someone should call you out on it. That's the only reason I've bothered engaging you.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:12 PM

I've never once actually defended FR, have I? I just simply pointed out that it's a theory just like anything else. Nope, I don't really have an opinion either way on it, mainly because I haven't studied enough of it to even begin to form one yet. I just think your attitude stinks and someone should call you out on it. That's the only reason I've bothered engaging you.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:12 PM

IC, you lowered yourself to ad homs. I was about to ask if you could stop posting links and excuses and just tell us what FR means in the space allowed in a comments box. But never mind. You don't know. Everyone is still just going "Read this, I can't explain it, but it's right." You can keep your "blame the fat people" theories and attempt a fecal transplant with them. :)

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:07 PM

I strongly doubt anyone started out investigating FR because they were just looking for a way to point the finger at fat people.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:06 PM

Not upset at all, you're reading meaning into text on a computer (I suspect you do this quite a bit). I simply take issue with your attitude in a public forum. I don't care what your opinion is one way or the other, it's the way that you've been going about relating it. We all get that "you're offended" by something so abstract as the FRH and by extension, its investigators (SG, Richard, etc.) but there's no reason to be such an asshole about it. For further explanation, here's a "link" you might want to check out: http://www.yak.net/fqa/138.html

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:00 PM

Exactly what I was going to right, you beat me to it ;). Claiming that food reward is just an "obese persons problem" seems like a good excuse to blame each individual for actively perpetuating their own obesity- and I don't think adding another tool to discriminate against and de-humanize obese individuals is productive. Can FR theory maybe help explain SOME people's relationship to food, whether or not they are obese? Possibly!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:57 PM

Despite whether or not FR theory is scientifically sound (some say it isn't accurate, some say it is, back and forth with links etc), I think that DFH does have a point when he calls it "an excuse to point the finger at fat people". Though the application of FR could possibly be helpful to some individuals, it kind of tars every obese person, when FR could apply to both obese AND non-obese individuals equally. Focusing on it as solely an "obese persons problem" just ties into the stereotypes that obese people are unintelligent, unaware, out-of-control etc.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:47 PM

Can't get much worse when you spend your morning defending "blame the fat people!" :)

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:47 PM

Also note "Americans are the fattest people in the world"-technically not true, as a country America does not have the highest rate of obesity.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:45 PM

Why are you so upset that I see FR as an excuse to point the finger at fat people? I'm not the only one. I'm just taking the heat for it. BTW, the up clicks are way ahead of the downs right now, so I guess I'm not as crazy as you think. :) I'm not going to get all ad hom about your background, and you should avoid mine. I'm the last person you would expect to do what you did, and we can leave it at that.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:29 PM

Oh, and how cursory of you to dismiss FR theory as simply saying "fat people can't control themselves". So what is the final word, then? Fat people CAN control themselves? Is that true for all fat people? Even you admit to being subjective in your views on this.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:24 PM

I'm heading out for a bit, but feel free to keep up the deflective rebuttals. I can do this all day.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:21 PM

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Some folks are a bit more tactful than others when it comes to sharing them, though. And I'm sorry, but the language of "I think Paleo should be about..." makes you sound just like a dogmatic preacher telling everyone what he thinks the Bible and "being a Christian" should be all about. As a former minister in a past life, I think I'm at least moderately familiar with "dogmatic" viewpoints (or "critiques" in this case) when I come across them. They're often condescending, narrow-focused and shoved in everyone's face. Not always, but quite often.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:09 PM

Ah well, if only it were all about "up and down clicks". Apparently we can devolve even further into childish discussion.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:08 PM

You are missing the point IC. It's not about being dogmatic. It's about knowing better. My guess is that at least half the readers here came to Paleo to lose weight, and get the added benefit of better health after a lot of dead ends. FR is a long winded way to say that obese people did it to themselves. Call me over sensitive, but this is one ex-obese person that won't sit still and listen to it anymore. I think Paleo should be about looking back to our ancestry to learn what we can and do better with it, and we can do that without "fat people can't control themselves."

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:01 PM

I just think we're talking about a living, breathing, growing movement that must remain open to change and adaptation. When new ideas come into the picture, they must be examined and tested, not "rejected out of hand". It takes time and patience and open minds, not dogmatic "la la la" fingers-in-ears reactions.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:57 PM

When you say things like "if this happens" then "it's time to trade up" or "not everyone is taking the bait"- Huh? No one is trying to bait anyone! Seriously? And again with the weird things you say: "Paleo is digging a hole if it stays with this stuff". How is "Paleo" digging a hole? Because a few bloggers and/or people in general don't share the same opinions as you do about "Paleo", so the whole thing is ruined for you? Are you the only one on the planet? I don't mean offense.

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:53 PM

To clarify: It's not that the food is not satiating from a nutrition standpoint, but that it's not satiating in the way that one drink is not satiating for an alcoholic.

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:50 PM

I actually disagree with this post. The explanation is not that the food is not satiating inherently (as a result of poor nutrient quality) but rather that the body is not satisfied with any amount until physical comfort becomes an issue. Because when you eat these foods your body is not seeking nutrition, it's seeking a feeling. Think of smoking marijuana and imagine it's very enjoyable process, like eating a piece of cake. You take a small puff and you know the intention is to get high, but this doesn't quite do it, so you keep going and going until you're high.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:48 PM

Dylan- Funny. Far from it. If you only knew! Caveman-I know it is subjective. It was intended to be. I'm not the only one who it does not apply to. Based on the number of up and down clicks my rants are getting, I'm the majority and your view is the minority.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:45 PM

Inflammatory? That's a bit much. I do think Paleo is digging a hole if it stays with this stuff and I won't be around for it. If it keeps up until AHS 2012 you can have the ticket I bought already! :) You can NOT have a healthy discussion if your side of the argument is "Go read SG. I can't explain it, but it's true anyway." I'm discussing. Most people are just posting links.

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:40 PM

DFH is clearly a republican.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:38 PM

The "paradoxically" healthy French eat stereotypically "high-reward" foods as part of their overall food culture. They serve it in smaller portions, take longer to eat it, pay closer attention to internal satiety signals, and have cultural taboos against "going for seconds". They also tend to eat better quality food and pay more money for it (as a percentage of income) than we do. My own personal experience is that that modern food processing (highly refined grains, sugars, oils, MSG, artificial flavors, etc.) and the go-go-go life is more to blame for overeating/obesity vs. "food reward".

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:31 PM

"Am I right or are they wrong?" -Seems like you've already answered your own question.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:28 PM

"As a former big person that never got big due to not being satisfied" -How does one even qualify a statement like this? Completely subjective and not useful for anyone other than the person making the claim. You confirm this by your next sentence: "To me, it's completely wrong and explains nothing". There it is. "TO ME". Well, what about TO EVERYONE ELSE?

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:25 PM

"As a former big person that never got big due to not being satisfied" -How does one even quantify a statement like this? Completely subjective and not useful for anyone other than the person making the claim.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:21 PM

It is a theory just like countless others. To constantly dismiss it as a "trendy mind exercise" and "call BS" because it doesn't fit your own experience is fine, but the inflammatory statements are getting a bit tiring. It's "time to trade up" because you just don't like Stephan Guyenet and all his crazy FR talk? You said in another post that you feel insulted. Why? Did he call you up and insult you directly? Your rants about this make you sound like a bit of an ass. Where's the healthy, open-minded discussion? And please do tell me, what does actually "explain the real world"? All ears here.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:15 PM

BTW-I think its good to repeat this from JS- "None of these motivations override biochemistry or endocrinology, including cellular metabolism." maybe this is why FR gets me so pizzed off. I already know I was dealing with endo issues, and I'm not the only one!

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:13 PM

I see your point, I really do. As a former big person that never got big due to not being satisfied, I have to reject this explanation out of hand. To me, it's completely wrong and explains nothing. I wasn't food crazy or focused on satiety or "nom nom I want that" when I was big and I'm not now. I just want to know what is right, and my brain goes along. All I really wanted when I was big was a freaking answer because nothing was working. All this really comes down to is a geeky way of saying fat people can't control themselves and it pizzes me off big time.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 09, 2012
at 12:43 PM

I think you miss the point that JS is making which is: It's not so much about taste as whether or not the food satisfies hunger. To your point about the obesity epidemic, you could easily use FR theory to explain this. The food became less satisfying because of the lack of fat, especially saturated fat, and so people consumed more. I tend to want to approach it from a biochemical angle as well, but it doesn't seem to invalidate the FRH.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 12:12 PM

So we are all food zombies controlled by how food tastes and not what we know about the food based on experience or research? I agree it's interesting, but you basically confirmed that it is half baked, at least as a hypothesis that can actually be used for something other than a blog topic! I will stick with using my brain and not my taste buds.

8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5

(2433)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:18 AM

A hearty +1 from me

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12 Answers

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28
00c8eb3f6e6a1884216044ca29cf868a

on March 09, 2012
at 11:55 AM

FRH isn't backwards, but it's very, very incomplete -- and therefore fails to answer some basic conundrums, like "I like bacon-wrapped filet mignon more than Pringles, but I can't stop eating Pringles. Why not?" and "If palatability makes us fat, then food in the USA must have suddenly become palatable right around the Reagan inauguration. But junk food wasn't invented in 1980, fast food wasn't either...and fast food doesn't taste very good anyway. What's going on here?"

There is ample existing science on the reward system and its application to food, and it is clear on several points:

  • The taste of food is only one component of reward (and not the most important part: see "Food Reward In The Absence Of Taste Receptor Signaling")
  • Hedonic impact ("liking") and incentive salience ("wanting") are distinct neurological and biochemical phenomena. It's possible to want things we don't particularly like, and like things we don't want right now. Furthermore, they're subjective and learned behaviors (how many non-Japanese people like natto?)
  • Liking and wanting indeed cause us to eat -- but what's even more important in determining consumption is "What makes us stop eating?" Those motivations are satiation and satiety, which are also distinct biochemical and neurological phenomena.
  • Incentive salience isn't a magical property -- it's a product of the other motivations.
  • None of these motivations override biochemistry or endocrinology, including cellular metabolism.
  • If you want to explore the science in detail, I've done so in my well-known series "Why Are We Hungry?"

To return to your question, the problem isn't eating "rewarding" food: it's eating food that does not satiate (or, later, produce satiety). No matter how much you like a food (how much hedonic impact it has for you), if the food is satiating, at some point you will stop wanting more (its incentive salience will drop to zero). However, even if you don't like a food very much (it has low hedonic impact for you), if the food is not satiating, there's nothing to stop you from continuing to eat (its incentive salience doesn't drop). "There's always room for dessert", because dessert does not satiate (being mostly empty sugar calories).

So no, you're not wrong, and neither are they. You're just working from an incomplete mental model.

Does this help?

JS

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:12 AM

An ad hom is arguing the person, not the topic. It is not synonymous with personal attack. Invisible Caveman is kindly reminded that I am not the topic here, even though I am quite interesting if you must know, I remember one time.....

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:15 PM

BTW-I think its good to repeat this from JS- "None of these motivations override biochemistry or endocrinology, including cellular metabolism." maybe this is why FR gets me so pizzed off. I already know I was dealing with endo issues, and I'm not the only one!

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:53 PM

To clarify: It's not that the food is not satiating from a nutrition standpoint, but that it's not satiating in the way that one drink is not satiating for an alcoholic.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:28 PM

"As a former big person that never got big due to not being satisfied" -How does one even qualify a statement like this? Completely subjective and not useful for anyone other than the person making the claim. You confirm this by your next sentence: "To me, it's completely wrong and explains nothing". There it is. "TO ME". Well, what about TO EVERYONE ELSE?

Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

(4400)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:59 PM

I loved JStanton's series, but I can't agree with "No matter how much you like a food (how much hedonic impact it has for you), if the food is satiating, at some point you will stop wanting more." I guess technically true, but while majority of paleos apparently can't overeat steak, there are plenty of us who eat Paleo but still overeat, or are tempted to. JStanton even discusses this in his series (e.g. one should eat mindfully), but I don't feel like we have quite the full picture. Maybe people who eat steak all have eating disorders? How does that fit in with food reward?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 09, 2012
at 12:43 PM

I think you miss the point that JS is making which is: It's not so much about taste as whether or not the food satisfies hunger. To your point about the obesity epidemic, you could easily use FR theory to explain this. The food became less satisfying because of the lack of fat, especially saturated fat, and so people consumed more. I tend to want to approach it from a biochemical angle as well, but it doesn't seem to invalidate the FRH.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:09 PM

Ah well, if only it were all about "up and down clicks". Apparently we can devolve even further into childish discussion.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 12:12 PM

So we are all food zombies controlled by how food tastes and not what we know about the food based on experience or research? I agree it's interesting, but you basically confirmed that it is half baked, at least as a hypothesis that can actually be used for something other than a blog topic! I will stick with using my brain and not my taste buds.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:51 PM

Dont worry about me and stick to the topic. I know how interesting I am and all, but I am not the topic. Google ad hominem.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 09, 2012
at 09:27 PM

@invisiblecaveman, if you haven't ever been in the same situation yourself, you just really don't know what it is like. I continually see thin and young people telling others how it must be, and it just is not true, no matter how much one stomps and hollers.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 04:02 PM

I know what ad hominem is, thanks. You might want to look up ad nauseam, though.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:47 PM

Can't get much worse when you spend your morning defending "blame the fat people!" :)

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:50 PM

I actually disagree with this post. The explanation is not that the food is not satiating inherently (as a result of poor nutrient quality) but rather that the body is not satisfied with any amount until physical comfort becomes an issue. Because when you eat these foods your body is not seeking nutrition, it's seeking a feeling. Think of smoking marijuana and imagine it's very enjoyable process, like eating a piece of cake. You take a small puff and you know the intention is to get high, but this doesn't quite do it, so you keep going and going until you're high.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:53 PM

I know what ad hominem is, thanks.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 09, 2012
at 05:09 PM

I can tell you that for me (former 450lbs) eating junk food Vs eating plain white rice made no difference. I'd eat 10 cups of white rice or drink a gallon of milk. I felt hungry all the time and full meant stomach FULL. So I went on high reward, HFLC for a year and now that I brought carbs back I am more satiated. Now the tastier the thing the more I eat while plain thing taste fine and reduce my food desire. Just my experience.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:25 PM

Who's stomping an hollering if not the LC anti-SG crowd who insists on building a fort around themselves? I've been fat for most of the last 12 years. I'm not clamoring for FR myself. I have no reason to. But I am open to new ideas, which is all I'm trying to encourage. That and as an aside to DFH I was obviously uneffectively attempting to call him out on his attitude in forums recently. Not "ad hom" as he keeps wanting to scream, since I'm not "attacking" him, but merely requesting the divisive know-it-all statements to be toned down a bit. None of us knows it all yet.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:48 PM

Dylan- Funny. Far from it. If you only knew! Caveman-I know it is subjective. It was intended to be. I'm not the only one who it does not apply to. Based on the number of up and down clicks my rants are getting, I'm the majority and your view is the minority.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:12 PM

I've never once actually defended FR, have I? I just simply pointed out that it's a theory just like anything else. Nope, I don't really have an opinion either way on it, mainly because I haven't studied enough of it to even begin to form one yet. I just think your attitude stinks and someone should call you out on it. That's the only reason I've bothered engaging you.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:13 PM

I see your point, I really do. As a former big person that never got big due to not being satisfied, I have to reject this explanation out of hand. To me, it's completely wrong and explains nothing. I wasn't food crazy or focused on satiety or "nom nom I want that" when I was big and I'm not now. I just want to know what is right, and my brain goes along. All I really wanted when I was big was a freaking answer because nothing was working. All this really comes down to is a geeky way of saying fat people can't control themselves and it pizzes me off big time.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:13 PM

I've never once actually defended FR, have I? I just simply pointed out that it's a theory just like anything else. Nope, I don't really have an opinion either way on it, mainly because I haven't studied enough of it to even begin to form one yet. I just think your attitude stinks and someone should call you out on it. That's the only reason I've bothered engaging you.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:25 PM

"As a former big person that never got big due to not being satisfied" -How does one even quantify a statement like this? Completely subjective and not useful for anyone other than the person making the claim.

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:40 PM

DFH is clearly a republican.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:48 PM

Natto's good, bro. Just had some last night and need to go to the Japanese market and restock. They look at me like I'm defective when I buy tons of the stuff at once. They may be right.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:31 PM

The real argument is still with SAD, and that's where I will continue to devote my thoughts and attention. All this bickering in the "paleosphere" is flat-out ridiculous. The beautiful simplicity still matters most: eat real whole foods, avoid grains, limit vegetable oils, limit fructose. The rest of the details depends on the individual.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:16 AM

"Abusive ad hominem (also called personal abuse or personal attacks) usually involves insulting or belittling one's opponent in order to attack his claim or invalidate his argument, but can also involve pointing out true character flaws or actions that are irrelevant to the opponent's argument." -Wikipedia. Again, I wasn't doing this. I just thought your tone was a bit divisive/inflammatory. Keep doing whatever works best for you in both diet practice and discussion etiquette. I'm not sure it's too constructive to bash something so vehemently just because you don't relate to it, but have at it

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:49 PM

Excellent answer. I find food reward theory falls apart at the same place as many of these other theories - when we fail to distinguish real food from processed food.

15
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2012
at 03:12 PM

Let me recommend The Compass of Pleasure, even though I'm not even done with it. It is a fantastic book that ties together all kinds of addictive behaviors, behaviors which have haunted my family for generations. A central tenet of the book is that addicts DON'T get more pleasure from the things they do, they want things more and enjoy them less. I think the confusion here is mistaking pleasure, which is a subjective experience, with reward, which is an animal compulsion buried deep in primitive parts of the brain. It ties together the other addictions I've been studying- sex, gambling, and alcoholism. To suggest that any kind of addict just "does it to themselves" is a testament to our history of puritanism. NO, there is NO WAY for someone to will themselves to fix that part of the brain. Telling people to stop drinking, eating, or sexing doesn't work AT ALL.

Fixing it requires acknowledging it as a disease caused by faulty brain wiring. Fixing it requires not more self-control, but more hacking to trick your brain into behaving and more nourishing to heal your brain.

Seth Roberts wrote a long time ago that he lost a lot of weight when he was in Europe eating novel food all the time. I personally find it impossible to overeat at the Michelin-starred restaurants. It hits my buttons in terms of pleasure, but doesn't trigger a compulsive reward reaction. That is the real talent of those chefs that I have come to appreciate. They are working with tiny amounts of extremely expensive ingredients and have to cook in a way that makes guests satisfied with tiny truffles, a sliver of abalone, or a dot of foie gras creme. In that way, these chefs are absolute geniuses and I've learned SO much from studying their craft in terms of how to blend pleasure and satiation. They are the opposite of food scientists who work for industrial companies who simply want to design foods that hit the compulsive reward system. Here is a perfect example from a chef who I think is a real rising star: a tiny little liver mousse, about the size of a quarter. It's so beautiful and complex and pleasurable to eat. And most importantly- satisfying (which is crucial since god knows how long that took her to assemble).

The mistake Stephan makes is to think that it's easier than it actually is because he is a neurotypical. You wouldn't tell an alcoholic to meditate and just try to drink weak alcohol. That is why Stephan has failed to convince people. Seth Robert's stuff is a bit more convincing, but I guess more people don't know about it because it relies so heavily on self-experimentation? I find Stephan's philosophy on food somewhat alienating personally because I find it ascetic and I'm the opposite of an ascetic.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:47 PM

What is the opposite of an ascetic? A hedonist?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2012
at 04:04 PM

Yeah, on some level I think I'm so far off on the tail end of the pleasure-seeking spectrum that I'm as alienating to the middle as Stephan might be.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 09, 2012
at 04:23 PM

Nice, I want to read this now! I am definitely in the pleasure-associated-with-really-good-food train car. I could not imagine just eating the same boring thing every day, it actually kind of grosses me out if I see people eating the same, monotonous meals. Food is my pleasure- I would rather spend my money very occasionally on fantastic food or spend hours making one truly fantastic meal then mass produce flavourless, boring items. Food is truly rewarding and a pleasurable experience- but that doesn't cause me to binge, the exact opposite in fact. I've never related to the FW theory.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:57 PM

Thanks for clarifying Travis, I got that too when I first read it, it's just been a little while. I think that's what a lot of us might lose sight of is how this stuff changes depending on individual needs, which, often change. If I'm 100 pounds overweight and I'm trying to correct that and restore my health, I might choose to eat differently than a fit,healthy person. I'm with DFH on that, whether he sees it or not. But eating to lose weight and just eating to be normal might not be the same.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:48 PM

Invisible: I don't think he's advocating constant asceticism. I took away from it that this is a technique for resetting habitual tendencies. The period of time would be whatever is necessary in order to overlay new habits.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:50 PM

That is an interesting point about why Stephan has not convinced people. We each see things through our own experience, I am probably similar in that I could happily live on boiled potatoes and poached eggs most of the time without complaint.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:22 PM

Travis, I was wondering this myself and hadn't brought it up yet. The hedonist in me really likes your answer, Melissa. It got me thinking though...if one were hunt/gather/loving in the wild and had just scored a fresh kill after a time of marked hunger, are they really going to settle for half of a bite? We're talking about hungry animals (humans), right? If I have time to wait and someone labors to prepare something so exquisite and "rewarding", I'm not saying I'm not down. My instinct to eat to satiety is going to kick in at some point, though, and I'm not sure cute micro food will suffice.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:57 PM

Michelin-starred chefs to solve the obesity epidemic.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:52 PM

Thanks for clarifying Travis, I got that too when I first read it, it's just been a little while.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2012
at 03:50 PM

Yes, I am 100% hedonist.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2012
at 11:40 PM

Have you ever eaten at a Michelin-starred restaurant? You are definitely satisfied. That's why it's a "hack," not trying to emulate the wild.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:42 PM

Being an ascetic isn't all that bad...I rather enjoy it-wait, does that mean I failed or succeeded?

284213562569be43dfda0ad40914da6f

on March 09, 2012
at 04:10 PM

well dead poets do have the potential to cure modern literary-novelists of chronic adjectivitis so maybe not so far-fetched. harm reduction may have potential in addiction pathways that we understand better, like opiate-based pain medication and street drugs, but food is much more difficult. A crude parallel would be treating someone addicted to oxycontin as opposed to heroin--although the latter carries complications related to injection, it's a crude drug that seems less likely (and less efficient) to permanently upset dopamine regulation in the brain like the synthetic targeted oxy.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:51 PM

Not talking about emulating, nor did I imply that it wasn't satisfying. Just questioning it for the long-term as it relates to the way most people eat in real-time. Geez! No one "emulates" being a hungry animal. That's what we are!

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:44 PM

Actually, Melissa, I do have a legitimate question: How can these tiny portions satiate for long periods of time? A rich meal might slow gastric emptying via CCK and so on, but the most delicious, artfully-crafted bite of food is still just a bite.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2012
at 11:59 PM

IC, easily offended much? Everything is fight for you? Back to the subject, yes, I think it can be done every day by normal people, but then again, maybe I'm a little different then the norm. Most of my food does emulate a lot of the Michelin-type food.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:27 PM

Personally not a fan of the ascetic nature of what SG is positing either, but I did eat more potatoes over the last 8 days as my own experiment along the lines of Richard's. I've lost 2.5 pounds since the 29th compared to 4 pounds total for the month of Feb. Curious!

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:21 AM

Melissa, thanks for elaborating, I just wanted more of an answer than a dismissal. To be truthful, I'm not offended by any of this. Just trying to keep an open discussion amongst all these sure-fire opinions. You have a strong reputation of being rather insightful and open to scientific discourse, which is great.

12
E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:37 AM

Food reward hypothesis- "If you use food reward and palatability in a sentence, even if you stumble through it, you still sound smart and people like it."

See Nikoley. :)

This stuff is semi- interesting, but it does not connect the dots or explain the real world. Obesity and T2 diabetes increased since 1980 when food was changed by suppliers to remove fat and add things to make it more palatable (I used the word). Then people were hammered with anti fat propaganda. Now, here we are. Do we blame the people eating that modified food because they want the reward (I used the other word!), or because they believed the propaganda, or because they bought what was in the store?

Is there anyone else out there that looks at food based on what you know it contains and you make choices based on what you know, as best you can, what is good for you?

The last time I called BS on this, I got 16 downs and 23 ups. Food reward is a trendy mind exercise, but not everyone is taking the bait. People who are not buying it are a bit apprehensive to speak up because they don't want to get shouted down.

Also, it needs a better explanation than "You don't understand it, go to SG's site and read it. I can't explain it, but it's true."

If Paleo digs in on this topic and plants the flag on it, it's time to trade up, whatever that turns out to be.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:24 PM

I'm heading out for a bit, but feel free to keep up the deflective rebuttals. I can do this all day.

8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5

(2433)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:18 AM

A hearty +1 from me

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:57 PM

Despite whether or not FR theory is scientifically sound (some say it isn't accurate, some say it is, back and forth with links etc), I think that DFH does have a point when he calls it "an excuse to point the finger at fat people". Though the application of FR could possibly be helpful to some individuals, it kind of tars every obese person, when FR could apply to both obese AND non-obese individuals equally. Focusing on it as solely an "obese persons problem" just ties into the stereotypes that obese people are unintelligent, unaware, out-of-control etc.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:45 PM

Why are you so upset that I see FR as an excuse to point the finger at fat people? I'm not the only one. I'm just taking the heat for it. BTW, the up clicks are way ahead of the downs right now, so I guess I'm not as crazy as you think. :) I'm not going to get all ad hom about your background, and you should avoid mine. I'm the last person you would expect to do what you did, and we can leave it at that.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:07 PM

I strongly doubt anyone started out investigating FR because they were just looking for a way to point the finger at fat people.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2012
at 05:19 PM

deleted all comments that are back and forth namecalling.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:12 PM

IC, you lowered yourself to ad homs. I was about to ask if you could stop posting links and excuses and just tell us what FR means in the space allowed in a comments box. But never mind. You don't know. Everyone is still just going "Read this, I can't explain it, but it's right." You can keep your "blame the fat people" theories and attempt a fecal transplant with them. :)

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:25 PM

Ad hom. Stop talking about me and stick to the topic.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:45 PM

Inflammatory? That's a bit much. I do think Paleo is digging a hole if it stays with this stuff and I won't be around for it. If it keeps up until AHS 2012 you can have the ticket I bought already! :) You can NOT have a healthy discussion if your side of the argument is "Go read SG. I can't explain it, but it's true anyway." I'm discussing. Most people are just posting links.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:29 PM

Oh, and how cursory of you to dismiss FR theory as simply saying "fat people can't control themselves". So what is the final word, then? Fat people CAN control themselves? Is that true for all fat people? Even you admit to being subjective in your views on this.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:06 PM

Not upset at all, you're reading meaning into text on a computer (I suspect you do this quite a bit). I simply take issue with your attitude in a public forum. I don't care what your opinion is one way or the other, it's the way that you've been going about relating it. We all get that "you're offended" by something so abstract as the FRH and by extension, its investigators (SG, Richard, etc.) but there's no reason to be such an asshole about it. For further explanation, here's a "link" you might want to check out: http://www.yak.net/fqa/138.html

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:19 PM

Ha! That's funny..

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 09, 2012
at 10:52 PM

DFH: What's your pet hypothesis for what *did* happen since 1980 or so?

E12d01c41ed41315112c753c752bd7e2

(50)

on March 10, 2012
at 10:45 AM

Cheap shots, come on...

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:08 PM

You are missing the point IC. It's not about being dogmatic. It's about knowing better. My guess is that at least half the readers here came to Paleo to lose weight, and get the added benefit of better health after a lot of dead ends. FR is a long winded way to say that obese people did it to themselves. Call me over sensitive, but this is one ex-obese person that won't sit still and listen to it anymore. I think Paleo should be about looking back to our ancestry to learn what we can and do better with it, and we can do that without "fat people can't control themselves."

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:01 PM

I just think we're talking about a living, breathing, growing movement that must remain open to change and adaptation. When new ideas come into the picture, they must be examined and tested, not "rejected out of hand". It takes time and patience and open minds, not dogmatic "la la la" fingers-in-ears reactions.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:21 PM

It is a theory just like countless others. To constantly dismiss it as a "trendy mind exercise" and "call BS" because it doesn't fit your own experience is fine, but the inflammatory statements are getting a bit tiring. It's "time to trade up" because you just don't like Stephan Guyenet and all his crazy FR talk? You said in another post that you feel insulted. Why? Did he call you up and insult you directly? Your rants about this make you sound like a bit of an ass. Where's the healthy, open-minded discussion? And please do tell me, what does actually "explain the real world"? All ears here.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:57 PM

When you say things like "if this happens" then "it's time to trade up" or "not everyone is taking the bait"- Huh? No one is trying to bait anyone! Seriously? And again with the weird things you say: "Paleo is digging a hole if it stays with this stuff". How is "Paleo" digging a hole? Because a few bloggers and/or people in general don't share the same opinions as you do about "Paleo", so the whole thing is ruined for you? Are you the only one on the planet? I don't mean offense.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2012
at 11:59 PM

he thinks carb consumption increased, but it didn't.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:51 PM

Fine. See my answer to the post.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 02:21 PM

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Some folks are a bit more tactful than others when it comes to sharing them, though. And I'm sorry, but the language of "I think Paleo should be about..." makes you sound just like a dogmatic preacher telling everyone what he thinks the Bible and "being a Christian" should be all about. As a former minister in a past life, I think I'm at least moderately familiar with "dogmatic" viewpoints (or "critiques" in this case) when I come across them. They're often condescending, narrow-focused and shoved in everyone's face. Not always, but quite often.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:08 AM

Keep your strawmans to yourself, please! I sense a REAL open minded audience here....

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Those are not cheap shots. Those are, in reverse order, me being sarcastic, Melissa making a strawman argument, and Travis changing the subject (moving goalpost). Normal stuff!

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:19 PM

You're a real piece of work, my friend! If you had actually clicked on it, you'd see that it was a link to a page about how to be an asshole, which you obviously don't need help with. I never said word one about FR specifically, except that "I don't know" which is the most sound answer I think anyone with a shred of humility ought to be able to put forth. Good day to you, sir.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 09, 2012
at 09:23 PM

I can't believe I upvoted you :-)

9
2b3edde3c7b9393fe36a2dd9c8acf473

on March 09, 2012
at 03:16 PM

You're misunderstanding the study, at least as far as I'm reading in the abstract. The highly rewarding ice cream stimulates the dopamine receptors more than the isocaloric low-density meal. In response to excessive stimulation, the dopamine receptors are downregulated and there are fewer of them. It might seem like that means the brain would lose its taste for highly palatable food given that it's turning down the volume on dopamine, but the function of dopamine is to cause seeking/wanting behavior whenever you're not stimulating your dopamine receptors enough. In the past, this is what has kept people alive, active, and hunting, instead of laying on the ground in a stupor. However, because your receptors have been downregulated, things that were previously satisfying are no longer sufficient. This leads to seeking out higher stimulus behaviors, be they food or otherwise (drugs, gambling, sex, risky behavior, etc.). This is why people who have genetically reduced D2 receptors are more likely to be ADHD, obese, addicted to drugs, etc. It's also why people who quit one dopamine-stimulating addiction tend to pick up others (recovering alcoholics picking up caffeine and nicotine, recovering smokers picking up sugar, etc.) I think there will prove to be at least some genetic component (D2R variation, specifically) in determining what part of the population is likely to be affected by hyperpalatable food reward in the context of obesity.

6
22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:37 PM

Food reward is explaining why a person chose to eat a food that has more of a drug-like effect. The study results have to do with needing a larger dose to get that drug-like effect. Unfortunately, everyone already has a definition for words like "reward" and "palatable" while the food reward hypothesis is defining these terms in a very specific way that might be different than your definition (that's what is happening here).

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:23 PM

That is a very good point. But still, "If you use food reward and palatability in a sentence, even if you stumble through it, you still sound smart..." I don't want to pick on the popular Mr Nikoley, but when he brought this up on Jimmy Moores show this week, it was all he could do to put reward and palatability in a sentence, then tell people to go read what it means on SG's site. It's so half baked, even the gurus can't explain it.

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:48 PM

The moment you describe something you will indefinitely lose some amount of the whole truth. Describing FR is like trying to explain scientifically why you don't like raw broccoli. The way I think of food reward is this: You are sitting on a couch, watching TV and you just ate breakfast. There are a bunch of different foods in your kitchen (from raw broccoli to donuts). How much time goes by before you get up to get something to eat based on what is in the kitchen? Is it when there's room in your stomach or is it when you are about to starve to death?

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:59 PM

The factors of FR are almost endless (and to make that even more difficult, they are determined by your subconscious). Just consider this: a co-worker comes up to you two hours after you ate lunch with 300 calories of food. If the food it chicken breast and broccoli, I will definitely say "I just ate lunch." But if it's half a muffin... Hopefully I won't say yes but realistically I might. But it's not just that a muffin tastes better, it might be the texture, or that it digests more easily, or that blueberry muffin remind me of my childhood. The influences are endless.

4
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 09, 2012
at 04:26 PM

I found Melissa's answer very beautiful and J Stanton's beautifully logical. I will add a piece of my own story. On PH, I've always called myself a binge eater but based on the current discussions I'm starting to believe I'm not--what I have is a mental/stress disorder that has been expressed EITHER through binge eating or migraine attacks. I guess it could have been drug addiction or something but my lizard brain chose food and "brain fires" and I should probably be grateful. So, I don't know the official name of my personal demon any more but it's available to a good home.

Based on that, what I'm thinking about FR theory is that it makes sense if you overeat to some degree BECAUSE you've eaten a hyper-palatable food and gradually gain weight. In my case, experiencing strong emotions is what caused and fueled binge eating (or migraine although that was also triggered by other things such as storms, bright sunlight, etc.) Even now, after nearly a year of disciplined shopping and eating and socializing, extreme stress that generates strong emotion immediately causes my lizard brain to say the stress MUST be released by eating ice cream or chips. The compulsion to binge is incredibly strong and I used to eat MASS QUANTITIES of food, gaining weight incredibly fast.

That doesn't make Stephan's work invalid but it makes J Stanton's assertion that FR theory is incomplete spot-on for me.

3
Medium avatar

on March 09, 2012
at 11:39 PM

In a more wild state, nearly all of the food one would eat would have a degree of satiety that correlates to its energy content and energy cost of acquisition. If one fills their stomach with meat and fat, digestion is slow, satiety is very high and acquisition is typically quite costly. If one fills their stomach with fibrous fruit or tubers, there's less satiety, but also less energy, and in the case of tubers, acquisition/preparation are costly as well.

Somehow I doubt that management ever instructs their food scientists to create foods that satisfy hunger for extended periods of time without being overly energy-dense. Bad for business. There's no need to create those foods as we've been eating them for a long time. Their job is to make things that are minimally satiating while being sufficiently food-like.

I guess I'm just moving away from the need for an elaborate theory to explain bodyfat gains on a diet rich in these foods that takes a negligible amount of energy to acquire alongside a lifestyle that itself requires a decreasing amount of energy. We can all now eat like kings and be as fat as they were. There are plenty who will say they got obese eating a bowl of steamed rice per day while training for a triathlon, but I'd say most people gained fat as a result of eating these pseudo-foods. I did.

One of the more horrifying animal experiments I've seen in the literature is something called "sham feeding" where they surgically alter an animal to still be able to eat the food, but it never actually reaches the stomach and is never digested. Naturally, in this state they will eat constantly since none of their satiety signals are being triggered. Sadly, Western diets are moving ever-closer to this effect, except that food is digested and the energy is made available. The more of these empty calorie food holograms one eats, the fatter they'll likely become since the overall volume necessary to match traditional levels of satiety from real food will result in a considerable, persistent energy surplus. There wasn't sufficient selective pressure for us to evolve toward a proportional down-regulation of appetite based on leptin feedback.

Food reward might be better framed as a means by which we can explain addictive responses to certain types of food that some obese people experience rather than calling it a dominant factor. This would probably offend fewer people, though I don't see the slightest tinge of blame attached to anything Stephan has written.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:18 AM

Travis for president! :)

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:23 AM

A lot of people swing back the other direction to carnivory with the resultant super-high satiety, but I don't think that's really necessary. Just composing meals/diets purely out of unrefined foods takes care of most of it.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:27 AM

To the point about 100% replacement to healthy food is required but keeping it tolerable is a challenge, consider this: Some people that have weight to lose and are determined to lose it, can't. Everyone they turn to for help has bad answers. Eventually your real "reward" is a freaking answer. What do I eat, what do i do, who do i believe? That's all you really want. Truth. Truth is its own reward. I just made that up. Someone take a note. DFH (c) 2012

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:22 AM

That's why telling someone to simply eat less of these things is unacceptable. They need to be replaced with food 100% in the same way that drugs or alcohol need to be replaced with rewarding behaviors, not titrated down to the amounts that some people can tolerate. The replacement has to be satisfying, as Paleo is, or the gnawing cravings that come from attempted avoidance will become all-consuming. I think my asceticism has made these things so novel that I have a lot of trouble reining in my consumption should I start.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:10 AM

2) I often found myself going through anti-McDonalds/fast-food periods over the years where I had sworn them off completely on sheer principle. "I'm not going to eat anything from such a horrible company that serves such complete crap". About 1 month before I discovered Paleo, I found myself in this mode again. After about 2 weeks, I caved at about 2am one evening. The whole time I was driving to the nearby McD's and as I sat in their parking lot scarfing down a Big Mac, double cheeseburger, fries, coke and hot fudge sundae, a single question kept barking in my mind: "Why am I doing this?"

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:12 AM

I've never done hard drugs, but those kinds of experiences with "pseudo-foods" definitely made me feel like an addict.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:05 AM

Great thoughts! I know in my own experience, being smart about what I ate wasn't enough. I knew better, I just couldn't help myself many, many times. Two examples: 1) I used to wait until I had an empty house to order myself a whole pizza, eat half of it in 10 minutes or so, then come back two hours later and eat the rest. I did this depressingly way too often.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:55 AM

No, I believe you just echoed Plato. You're still on to something though, I'll give you that! I swear this thread has been like Philosophy 101 today.

2
079c9288506d6692b9ce6ab0e9b2bcac

on March 09, 2012
at 01:25 PM

FWIW, I was recently writing about this study and this WSJ article.

2
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:31 AM

IMO, our senses are there for a reason, and if it were a bad thing to trust them, I think we wouldn't have them. I see the issue as more one of greed than senses that don't work right. I think we taste something we like, and we stop listening to the other senses in our gut... you know... the ones that say "ok, it's time to stop eating till later", and "i'm not hungry right now."

I use the phrase "eating below my neck" a lot, to explain things. I don't NOT eat tasty, healthy foods -- I just eat from foods that are low on the "processing" chain as much as possible, and take my cues about when to eat and when to stop from my gut, not my mouth or head (both of which can, in the absence of hunger, succumb to societal programming errors).

1
0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:50 PM

Food Reward Theory is interesting. I'm not sure it explains the universe or even my own history of obesity, but it's worth reading about. I think it's important to consider different viewpoints and keep an open mind about this stuff. Not all the facts are in, last time I checked.

It it weren't for being open to new ideas, I'd still be trapped in Conventional Wisdom.

1
Ec6e6cb0bee067776433dea987d6c844

on March 09, 2012
at 01:18 PM

I think we need to de-couple food reward and obesity. It's obvious you can have one without the other. It's only one factor in obesity, and obesity is only one of the issues that FR can cause. For instance, FR helps explains why my former co-worker developed T2D while being in his 20's and underweight. He only consumed extremely high-reward food. Yet it manifested as T2D in him rather than obesity.

FR makes sense in terms of my experiences. Having worked at restaurants and gyms for most of my adult life, it's been mentioned in some way countless times, by people who are healthy and extremely unhealthy alike. More over, the idea of reducing FR for one reason or another has also been mentioned to be time and time again. I don't think the concepts are new, just the science behind it.

My experience is the paleo sphere also provides ancetdotal evidence of this. Reducing FR has helped not only obesity, but binge eating and other problems. Sometimes this is explicitly explained as reducing FR, sometimes not.

It's one piece of the puzzle- how important of one depends on the person, just like everything else in paleo.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:00 PM

Exactly what I was going to right, you beat me to it ;). Claiming that food reward is just an "obese persons problem" seems like a good excuse to blame each individual for actively perpetuating their own obesity- and I don't think adding another tool to discriminate against and de-humanize obese individuals is productive. Can FR theory maybe help explain SOME people's relationship to food, whether or not they are obese? Possibly!

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 09, 2012
at 03:19 PM

This one makes perfect sense. If people think they have an FR neural issue, fine. Just don't call it "FR theory of obesity" and stop talking about people not affected! That's what makes this topic suck ass. It just ends up "fat people have no control." if you can't control your food urges, fine. Mine are put away thank you. :)

0
427016b70156ae53719ccaec6d68aec0

on March 10, 2012
at 09:38 AM

I disagree. That's a bit like saying Class-A drugs are addictive because they give less "buzz".

I see that people are still conflating tastiness with reward.

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