Random Vacation Musings – Weight Loss Dulls Hunger

August 25, 2011

I’m spending a few weeks out of the office with a nice view.

Except that it’s raining today, so I thought I’d stop and drop a few thoughts. Less of a cogent blog post, more like scribbling on a bedside pad in the middle of the night, half awake from a strange dream.

Stephan’s current series on food reward has had me waiting with bated breath since the first post. J. Stanton’s on Why We’re Hungry has added some context/perspective.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

Weight loss is not caused by eating less food or fewer calories. Eating less is caused by weight loss. The “trick” is in convincing your brain that you have more fat than you need. Then hunger decreases, expenditure increases, satiety increases, satiation comes sooner… and so on. In short, your body goes into “lose fat mode,” and does so in a hurry.

The way to switch to this mode, it is proposed, is to eat a low-reward diet. I’d prefer to say that we should avoid obesity by avoiding an artificially high-reward diet.

So you could say: Eat real, unprocessed food with no ingredients list. Hey wait, that’s what we were already saying! How convenient.


I also like that this takes the burden off carbohydrate (explaining kitavan “paradox”). It gets fuzzy for me when you try to explain how this system is evolutionarily advantageous – but then again, I don’t understand lots of stuff.


On the subject of implicating/exonerating macronutrients, lots of talk about insulin has been thrown around. I’m currently (always changing) of the opinion that the majority of the time, insulin does not cause fat gain – I think that insulin is a soldier in the war of obesity, far from a commander.

One possible exception to this is when insulin is released in the fasted state in response to the sight/thought of food. I could imagine that clearing FFAs and glucose from the blood and causing hunger in a “Taubesian” cycle, if you will. Though it should be noted that even this case is likely a malfunction higher in the chain of command than pancreatic beta cells. Either way, interesting question – is it possible that just living in a house with cupcakes on the counter could be fattening? This probably falls under the umbrella of things not worth worrying about.


Entry filed under: Basics, Calories, Food Choices, Food Reward. Tags: .

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