I've been experimenting with pork rinds to see what effect, if any, they have on my weight setpoint. I was pretty consistently at 155-159 eating 150-200g of carbs (usually yams and sweet potatoes, some parsnips, and lentils).
I started eating 1-2 bags per day of Frito Lay's Baken-ETS. One bag of Baken-ETS has 800 calories: 0g net carbs, 50g fat (25g SAFa, probably 20g MUFA and 5g PUFA), 70g protein (surprisingly high), and 3,000mg sodium. That's about 60% fat and 40% protein, despite the nutrition label indicating 45% calories from fat.
I soon found these pork rinds to be irresistible. Whereas I would find my bone broth soup to be very filling, I couldn't get enough of these pork rinds. I gained 5 lbs. after a week. My weight range went up to 160-165 and the fat accumulated around my abdominal area, tightening my pants.
First, pork rinds aren't really an ideal Paleo snack: even though there aren't any artificial ingredients, they're fried in grease with a ton of sodium. It would have been very unusual for any ancestral diet to have included fried pork skins (or fried anything, for that matter). But they're not supposed to be glycemic: there are no carbs nor sugar and there should be no insulin response. Then, why the irresistibility?
Perhaps Stephan Guyenet and Seth Roberts are right about food reward and hyperpalatability. Even though many, irresistible snacks (like pop tarts, candy bars, soft drinks, Doritos, and pretzels) are full of sugar, salt, HFCS, and grease, they're irresistible not due to insulin elevation but due to something else that's triggering the brain. In other words, they're "hyperpalatable."
What is meant by hyperpalatability? Seth Roberts explains this best in his interview with Jimmy Moore.
Seth talks about having sugar water or olive oil with water and how this can lead to weight loss because of the monotony of eating something bland. It's not really sugar or carbs; it's the blandness of our ancestral dishes which does not stimulate the pleasure centers of our brains -- where eating becomes necessary to live, not the other way around. Foodies need not apply; eatings is for fuel.
I experienced something similar: when I leaned out to about 152 lbs. (my all time lowest weight), I was mainly eating 1 meal a day (breakfast) plus boiled yams and green tea. The monotony of eating yams and green tea probably resulted in lower overall calories; I never overate and never had any cravings for anything else. Even though yams are moderately glycemic, the monotony of more yams and green tea prevented them from being "hyperpalatable."
So what is the breakthrough here? If you can point to an all-fat/protein snack that's hyperpalatable, doesn't that lessen the carb/insulin theory of obesity? Some people point to nuts. I'm sorry, but I've never been able to overeat raw nuts that have no added sugar nor salt (that includes macadamia nuts). In fact, I used to conduct appetite suppression experiments with these types of nuts:
These redskin Spanish peanuts are incredibly filling, even though they have added salt (sea salt) and grease (sodium and cottonseed oil). Is it the fiber in the red skin? Don't think so, there's very few. Protein? Protein is only 17% of total calories, while fat is 78%. Sugar is endogenous and only 1g.
In other words, hyperpalatability seems to stem from something else. Seth seems to think it's sugar/salt/grease and/or spices. Plus the smell. I think he's correct. But there seems to be another dimension: the texture, shape, and amorphous nature of these manufactured comfort foods. Our ancestors never encountered something like pork rinds or Doritos before. Eating anything required work: shelling, cleaning, removing the skin, sorting, fermenting, removing the debris. To eat pork rinds, you just have to open the bag and the pieces literally melt in your mouth. And the random, amorphous shape of these rinds seems to convey something "subliminiminal", as Dubya would put it.
Plus the sound of crunching these rinds. Those who do not believe that Rice Krispies are appetizing (my favorite cereal when growing up) because of Snap, Crackle, and Pop do not understand the susceptibility of human nature -- it's the admixture of olfactory, auditory and tactile sensations which enhances the overall palatability of something you eat, the overall experience.
This doesn't mean that the carb/insulin theory is wrong; I know exactly how appetizing a hoagie sandwich or a pasta dish is. Hyperpalatability simply adds a layer to the phenomenon of obesity from another angle. For example, if I added a bag or 2 of pork rinds when very-low-carbing, would I have gained weight? The answer is probably yes, but not as much. Eating 150-200g of safe starch carbs may have made me an easy target for pork rind addiction, if they resulted in chronic and meaningful insulin elevation.
Also, there is more to it than just added ingredients such as sugar, salt, and grease, which induce powerful food cravings when mixed in right doses. Robert Lustig points out that soft drinks generate sales by mixing sugar (HFCS) with salt (Na), making you thirsty for more. Seth points to your nostrils.
But it's not that simple. There's more to it than meets the nose. It's the eyes and ears, too. And throw in your unconscious. Obesity is a phenomenon that defies consensus. It's not that it's "complex"; it's too subjective. Get used to it: we're not getting any closer to solving obesity. It will remain a riddle.
asked byNamby_Pamby (5147)
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on November 01, 2011
at 09:41 AM
Note the "not a significant source of protein" asterisk on the ingredients.
That's because the protein in pork rind is basically 100% collagen, which is mostly made of four amino acids...glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and hydroxylysine. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Collagen#Chemistry_of_Collagen
So it's not just incomplete protein, it's nutritionally almost useless. Thus the federally required asterisk. And thus the inability of pork rinds to produce satiation or satiety: nutritionally they're basically just fat and salt.
I'll risk a charge of self-promotion by pointing out that you will most likely have a clearer picture of hunger, and the current state of the science that explains it, after reading my series which starts here: http://www.gnolls.org/2304/why-are-we-hungry-part-1-what-is-hunger-liking-vs-wanting-satiation-vs-satiety/
on October 31, 2011
at 06:35 PM
I may be missing something, but you added 50-100g of fat to your diet and it resulted in a gain of body fat. There's nothing really surprising about that at all. Your body will store 450-900 extra calories of fat as body fat without hesitation, and since the thermic effect of fat is something like 0-3%, it is by far the easiest way to increase body fat. As such, fat calories count far more than those from carbs (thermic effect of about 5-10%), protein (TE of about 20-30%) or alcohol (TE of about 10-30%).
Even if the pork rinds have protein, the manufacture of them makes it far different than that of, say steak, so they would confer very little in the way of satiety.
Additionally, the not insubstantial amount of added sodium would have definitely resulted in a gain of water weight.
on October 31, 2011
at 06:00 PM
I don't know that this is relevant either way to the carb/insulin theory of obesity. I do think it has merits re food reward tho ... eating non-natural foodstuffs that are chock full of salt and devoid of water break our normal appetite regulatory systems. This ties into J. Stanton's difference between satiety and satiation over at gnolls.org.
on November 01, 2011
at 02:05 PM
they're irresistible not due to insulin elevation but due to something else that's triggering the brain - I have a problem with this statement - fundamentally they are not irresistible, you chose/are choosing to eat them.
Our ability to stop eating at will, no matter what endocrinology is involved, is continually being glossed over in all our palatability discussions. The choice to eat anything is crucial, this is why people can and do lose weight by using 100-calorie snack packs of fauxfood.
The real discussion is simply about a food's flavor/texture (I suppose something like eating experience might capture what we're looking for) and how that might make one more or less likely to choose to eat it or continue to eat it.
Ultimately there is always still simply the choice to eat it. Alcoholics can stop drinking, they just have to focus and work to do it. People who really love bigmacs can stop eating them, they just have to focus and work to do it.
on November 01, 2011
at 10:24 AM
I don't think it could be explained totally via Stanton's explanation, as Namby already has complete protein sources and this was addition. If it was all she ate then it would be good explanation.
They might be irresistible because there are additional ingredients not listed by the manufacturer or not required to be listed as natural ingredients. Few come to my mind, for instance cannabinoids. Also, salt improves palatability.
Now, skin is more rich in PUFA as it is closer to lower environment temperatures and require greater flexibility. PUFA fatty acid AA rises anandamide, endocannabinoid which promotes eating (carb particularly)
on October 31, 2011
at 06:38 PM
I can't figure out who I want to smack harder: Taubes fanboys who cling almost viscerally to the carb-insulin theory of obesity in contravention of substantial evidence of its failings, or the "There's Gotta Be Somethin Goin On Here" folks who seem to be bending over backward to make the obesity theory of the moment work in their minds.
With all this bickering, it's no wonder people are inclined to listen to she-hulks like Jillian Michaels and her talking treadmills.
on July 14, 2017
at 05:35 PM
This is a response to J Stanton's comment. It is stupid to say that animo acids like glycine is "nutritionally useless". This just proves the guy is clueless.
"Glycine is not essential to the human diet, as it is biosynthesized in the body from the amino acid serine, which is in turn derived from 3-phosphoglycerate, but the metabolic capacity for glycine biosynthesis does not satisfy the need for collagen synthesis." (Especially as a person age.)
More reason to eat pork rinds occassionally.