What if it's not carb/insulin or food reward? (xpost from reddit)

Answered on September 07, 2013
Created October 16, 2011 at 6:21 PM

So, right now, it would seem that the two big sides of weight gain theory (at least in the paleo blogosphere) are carb-insulin hypothesis and food reward hypothesis.

-----My understanding:-----

Basically, CI says that eating carbs triggers an insulin response, which tells your body to store energy as fat, rather than using it, making you hungrier.

FR says that highly-palatable foods trigger the reward center of our brains, making us eat more.

I have some qualms with both, and today was thinking of something else that I hadn't heard discussed around the paleo world before (forgive me if it has been).

What if it's simply a matter of nutrition? That is, let's say our body doesn't think in terms of "calories" (why would it?); it thinks in building blocks. The food we eat provides us with the blocks our bodies use to maintain, repair and otherwise run things.

If we eat foods that are nutritionally sparse but relatively high in calories, like grains, white rice, refined sugar, etc, ??we're still going to need the nutrients that we're missing. Raw protein for building muscles, fatty acids to build cell walls, vitamins, minerals, whatever. Perhaps the mechanisms in ??our body that control hunger can recognize this and makes hungry, so we eat more, to try and fulfill those needs.??

Since we're getting a lot of extra calories along with those nutrients, the calories get stored away as fat (nothing goes to waste, right?).

Think of it like... An ore refining process. Raw ore comes in, gets processed into the desired minerals and byproducts. If the refinery has a quota to fill of 10 tons of iron, they're going to end up processing a lot more ore if what they're processing is low in iron (and end up with a lot more byproduct).

Thoughts? I'm definitely not a scientist, but I thought I'd post here to see if anyone's read a similar theory/study thereof, and what the findings were.


on October 16, 2011
at 06:45 PM

Not a question. Reddit is the right place for this, Paleohacks is not.


on October 16, 2011
at 06:27 PM

Why downvote this? Am I missing something?

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1 Answers


on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

At the risk of sounding snarky, I'd say... so what? Whether it's food reward, insulin, carbs, whatever, I know that I'm feeling great eating this way and I'm happy with where I am.

I enjoy the academic discussions over what causes what as much as most people, but at the end of the day, I'm eating well and feeling great. That's really what matters, in my opinion.

Please understand that I'm not trying to take away from the very interesting ongoing discussion in the paleo world. It's just that I saw the question in the thread title and felt the need to respond as I have. I do indeed love the ongoing debates and such, but the debates really don't impact my day-to-day eating.

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