5

votes

What is Food Reward?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 19, 2011 at 1:15 AM

Can someone please clarify this whole "food reward" idea that I keep seeing in questions/answers on this site. Thank you!!

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on November 25, 2011
at 09:22 PM

but beyond the obvious bad foods, if i sautee my meat or add seasonings/curry to my rice/potatoes then i can def overeat vs plainly salted or non-salted foods (same foods). so for those who even a Paleo diet doesn't rid their weight completely, its worth a shot to eat monotonously like our ancestors did. food as fuel vs food as entertainment

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on November 25, 2011
at 09:20 PM

SG claims it was A DOMINANT factor NOT THE DOMINANT factor in obesity. read.

B883e32a79f743ff8fee345567393074

(132)

on August 19, 2011
at 06:43 PM

I think that is a little simplistic. Either that or I am understanding food reward wrong. My understanding is that the processed foods of today, because of food science and the chemical changes they do. It then alters the food causing it to trick the body into eating even more, and having a chemical effect on the brain and body fat setpoint etc. That's probably pretty simplistic also.

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on August 19, 2011
at 04:46 PM

I'm not sure if Guyenet is just doing a poor job of explaining the proper utility of the theory or if he's really just getting it wrong himself. Paleo tastes good, but don't get it confused, Haagen Dazs and cheesecake tastes better than 99% of the things you're eating on Paleo. You might enjoy bacon or steak more, but something like cheesecake is going to be more palatable. It's not necessarily about things tasting good, it's about things tasting much better than they're supposed to by adding massive amounts of sugar, MSG and, dare I say, fats that wouldn't be there otherwise.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on August 19, 2011
at 03:33 PM

It's not just food that is tasty, it's food that wants you to keep wanting more. That is why some people are so against it, seems a bit circular. It also doesn't take into account that people's palate changes quickly when they eat differently. It's the food reward concept, not the tasty food concept. But then Guyenet goes and muddles the concepts when he recommends stages 4 and 5.

B2cadbf43bddfbb523b8a53155656188

(548)

on August 19, 2011
at 02:57 PM

So with that theory, would it make sense to say that you will not gain weight (or that you will continue to lose it) if your diet is bland and repetitive? I have definitely noticed a trend when it comes to over-eating tasty foods. I can eat virtually limitless amounts of bread/cereal/cakes/ice cream - and I mean, I could sit and eat a whole tub of ice cream or a whole loaf of bread in one sitting. HOWEVER, I would not be able to eat a huge amount of veggies and chicken in one meal. I am done as soon as it makes me full. With the sweets or carbs, I devour every last bit, even if I feel full.

669790861549f3c6d54d88a65296ed19

(452)

on August 19, 2011
at 11:51 AM

So that'd mean you could get obese on Paleo too?when you keep on eating enough tasty food

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on August 19, 2011
at 05:10 AM

But it has been used to explain why people get fat, and the Kessler and Guyenet version comes with recommendations for fat people.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on August 19, 2011
at 04:53 AM

But some are actually claiming that food reward is THE DOMINANT factor in obesity. It is clearly an attempt to explain why people get fat.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on August 19, 2011
at 04:48 AM

What a well-written answer.

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3 Answers

4
22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on August 19, 2011
at 03:31 AM

You need to approach it with the idea that food reward can mean a number of different things and can only be simplified to the extent of saying that adiposity/fatness/fattening/obesity is negatively effected by highly palatable food. This could be by many different functions and we do not understand why or how it works. It's a hypothesis. It could be that highly palatable foods cause us to want to eat more or cause us to feel less satiated than if we were eating less palatable food. It could also be that highly palatable foods cause a reaction in the body that makes our food more likely to be stored as fat (possibly via insulin).

I think the food reward theory only speaks to the fact that nutrition is extremely complex and at a level that we are not going to be able to comprehend in a way that we can apply to the entire population. It's not an attempt to explain why people get fat, it's just one factor that seems to correlate with populations that have higher concentrations of obese citizens.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on August 19, 2011
at 05:10 AM

But it has been used to explain why people get fat, and the Kessler and Guyenet version comes with recommendations for fat people.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on August 19, 2011
at 03:33 PM

It's not just food that is tasty, it's food that wants you to keep wanting more. That is why some people are so against it, seems a bit circular. It also doesn't take into account that people's palate changes quickly when they eat differently. It's the food reward concept, not the tasty food concept. But then Guyenet goes and muddles the concepts when he recommends stages 4 and 5.

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on August 19, 2011
at 04:46 PM

I'm not sure if Guyenet is just doing a poor job of explaining the proper utility of the theory or if he's really just getting it wrong himself. Paleo tastes good, but don't get it confused, Haagen Dazs and cheesecake tastes better than 99% of the things you're eating on Paleo. You might enjoy bacon or steak more, but something like cheesecake is going to be more palatable. It's not necessarily about things tasting good, it's about things tasting much better than they're supposed to by adding massive amounts of sugar, MSG and, dare I say, fats that wouldn't be there otherwise.

669790861549f3c6d54d88a65296ed19

(452)

on August 19, 2011
at 11:51 AM

So that'd mean you could get obese on Paleo too?when you keep on eating enough tasty food

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on August 19, 2011
at 04:48 AM

What a well-written answer.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on August 19, 2011
at 04:53 AM

But some are actually claiming that food reward is THE DOMINANT factor in obesity. It is clearly an attempt to explain why people get fat.

B2cadbf43bddfbb523b8a53155656188

(548)

on August 19, 2011
at 02:57 PM

So with that theory, would it make sense to say that you will not gain weight (or that you will continue to lose it) if your diet is bland and repetitive? I have definitely noticed a trend when it comes to over-eating tasty foods. I can eat virtually limitless amounts of bread/cereal/cakes/ice cream - and I mean, I could sit and eat a whole tub of ice cream or a whole loaf of bread in one sitting. HOWEVER, I would not be able to eat a huge amount of veggies and chicken in one meal. I am done as soon as it makes me full. With the sweets or carbs, I devour every last bit, even if I feel full.

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on November 25, 2011
at 09:20 PM

SG claims it was A DOMINANT factor NOT THE DOMINANT factor in obesity. read.

2
B883e32a79f743ff8fee345567393074

(132)

on August 19, 2011
at 01:18 AM

Read Stephen Guyenet's Series on Food Reward. That will give the best description.

Here is a link to Part 1: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/04/food-reward-dominant-factor-in-obesity.html

1
F3e312545761ab663e37e6c2d5c831ea

(1049)

on August 19, 2011
at 03:05 AM

Simply, it's that food which tastes good activates the reward center in your brain - making you overeat. So, you can eat an entire pizza or pint of ice cream but that volume of tasteless food wouldn't cause the same intake.

B883e32a79f743ff8fee345567393074

(132)

on August 19, 2011
at 06:43 PM

I think that is a little simplistic. Either that or I am understanding food reward wrong. My understanding is that the processed foods of today, because of food science and the chemical changes they do. It then alters the food causing it to trick the body into eating even more, and having a chemical effect on the brain and body fat setpoint etc. That's probably pretty simplistic also.

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on November 25, 2011
at 09:22 PM

but beyond the obvious bad foods, if i sautee my meat or add seasonings/curry to my rice/potatoes then i can def overeat vs plainly salted or non-salted foods (same foods). so for those who even a Paleo diet doesn't rid their weight completely, its worth a shot to eat monotonously like our ancestors did. food as fuel vs food as entertainment

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