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After a lifetime of not weighing what I wanted, the idea that I can choose my weight is a stupendous dream for my mind to grasp. All along I've been hopeful, but not daring to believe in it, until it becomes real and lasting.  But now I live with feeling happiness with my body, and that feeling is a priceless gift. -- Heidi 555

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Author Topic: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment  (Read 84034 times)

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NTB

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Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« on: September 21, 2006, 05:17:25 am »

Seth,

I've been on SLD since July 3 and have lost 18 pounds from my starting point of 183 pounds, and its been as easy as falling off a long.   So I'm a true believer, and I consider you a genius for devising this very effective weight loss method.  I've also been a big believer in self-experimentation my entire adult life, so I follow that side of your work as well.

However, I'd like to raise a theoretical issue regarding your setpoint theory.  It seems to me that all of the experimental evidence (animal studies, etc.) you've presented to support the setpoint theory can be just as well explained by positing that flavorless calories function to suppress appetite, whereas flavored calories are appetite stimulants.   This hypothesis would seem to explain all your observations just as well as the setpoint theory without the need for a "superfluous" entity like the "setpoint", for which there is really no direct, measureable evidence.  Also, I'm not convinced that one needs to refer to behavioral "learning" to explain the effect of the oils or sugar water.  I really can't see the theoretical difference between SLD appetite suppressants (flavorless calories) and other appetite suppressants (diet drugs, exercise, etc.) except that many of the oils are more healthful and natural than drugs like fen-phen.

Physiologically, the presence of sugars and fatty acids in the blood signal fullness and suppress appetite.  On the other hand, the presence of flavors tends to increase appetite.   And one could posit that it is the ratio between these two signalling mechanisms that determines whether one becomes hungry and is driven to eat or not, and hence to gain or lose weight, based on the level of calorie intake relative to energy expenditure.   Isn't the appetite suppressant theory a simpler explanation than the setpoint theory?

I'm sure you've got a good retort - looking forward to it.
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Seth Roberts

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Re: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2006, 06:01:36 am »

the proof is in the pudding -- that is you've lost weight easily -- but can we really trust the recipe from which the pudding was made? yes, it would be odd indeed if I used wrong ideas to come up with a really good diet.

here is what your alternative explanation doesn't explain:

1. there is lots of evidence for a set point apart from my particular version of setpoint theory . It is a 50-year-old idea.

2. Whatever your dosage of SLD calories -- say 2 T of oil/day -- eventually your appetite will return and you will stop losing weight. My theory predicts this: you have reached a new equilibrium. Your alternative does not.

3. my theory doesn't say that any flavors stimulate appetite, only flavors associated with calories. Unfamiliar flavors should have no effect. This is a prediction that conventional ideas about weight control do not make -- that familiarity matters. In particular familiar foods are more fattening than the same foods when they are new.

I believe my theory because it has repeatedly suggested new ways of losing weight that, when tried, actually work. This has now happened about six times.
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Stephen M (Ethesis)

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Re: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2006, 10:16:54 am »

the proof is in the pudding -- that is you've lost weight easily -- but can we really trust the recipe from which the pudding was made? yes, it would be odd indeed if I used wrong ideas to come up with a really good diet.

here is what your alternative explanation doesn't explain:

1. there is lots of evidence for a set point apart from my particular version of setpoint theory . It is a 50-year-old idea.

2. Whatever your dosage of SLD calories -- say 2 T of oil/day -- eventually your appetite will return and you will stop losing weight. My theory predicts this: you have reached a new equilibrium. Your alternative does not.

3. my theory doesn't say that any flavors stimulate appetite, only flavors associated with calories. Unfamiliar flavors should have no effect. This is a prediction that conventional ideas about weight control do not make -- that familiarity matters. In particular familiar foods are more fattening than the same foods when they are new.

I believe my theory because it has repeatedly suggested new ways of losing weight that, when tried, actually work. This has now happened about six times.

From my experience, the huge difference is that in the past, about the point I lost twenty pounds, my metabolism would shut down, hard and cold, and weight loss would stop.  With the SLD, that still hasn't happened.

rosekelly

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Re: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2006, 10:57:15 am »

Quote
Physiologically, the presence of sugars and fatty acids in the blood signal fullness and suppress appetite

My noseclipped smoothies have little sugar or fat but knock me out with appetite suppression. The protein powder I use is sweetened with artificial sweeteners and has only 2 grams of carbs per serving. The milk is 2%, and I'm only adding half a cup now. A bit of veggie and fruit round out the smoothie, but I don't think six strawberries and a bit of green pepper would signal too much fullness.

But I too have wondered the same as what you're asking. Does SLD work because I'm sated? Or is my appetite being reset regardless of satiety? I think the latter. I've been sated most of my life, but that never stopped me from eating another bite.  :D

Rose
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frenata

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Re: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2006, 11:28:39 am »

2. Whatever your dosage of SLD calories -- say 2 T of oil/day -- eventually your appetite will return and you will stop losing weight. My theory predicts this: you have reached a new equilibrium. Your alternative does not.

How much observed data do you have for this? It implies (depressingly) that whatever degree of SLD you were doing to lose the weight, you will have to continue doing for life to maintain it. But it doesn't seem to be entirely born out by my (admittedly nonscientific and anecdotal) observation of this group.

We have very few people who report first losing their appetite and later having it coming back on the same dose (one, that I remember). We have a fair subset who never achieved appetite suppression at all (we'd both argue they didn't take enough flavorless calories). We have quite a lot of people who haven't lost weight, stop losing weight, or lose very slowly, but have continued very good appetite suppression (much to everyone's puzzlement and frustration). We have some people who stopped SLD but had continued low appetite for a long period afterwards.

I think we should all take off our shoes and say "hail Seth!" before entering the forum, so I always feel sheepish about arguing details of the central thesis. But figuring out exactly what to expect helps all of us so much.

I suppose we'll be looking to Stephen M. and the other maintainers for insight on this.
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Seth Roberts

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Re: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2006, 02:00:46 pm »

how much data for this? I don't know -- a dozen people? Ask Tim Beneke -- he originally thought when his appetite came back the diet had failed. It hadn't; it was just that he wanted to go lower than his particular dose would take him.

Because the diet has a snowball effect -- you are less hungry therefore you eat less therefore there is less food raising your set point -- a certain momentum builds up that can keep appetite low even after you stop the oil or whatever. But that won't last forever.

You won't know what dose you need to stay at your perfect weight until you get there and try various amounts. It may be more less or equal to the dose you are taking now.
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dgrillot2000

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Re: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2006, 02:16:18 pm »

I think we should all take off our shoes and say "hail Seth!" before entering the forum

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

Just make sure when you write home to ma-ma telling her that you are doing SLD that you do not invert the "S" and the "L"   :lol: .

I like the discussion in this thread.  It answers some questions I have had.
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Stephen M (Ethesis)

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Re: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2006, 06:10:45 pm »

how much data for this? I don't know -- a dozen people? Ask Tim Beneke -- he originally thought when his appetite came back the diet had failed. It hadn't; it was just that he wanted to go lower than his particular dose would take him.

Because the diet has a snowball effect -- you are less hungry therefore you eat less therefore there is less food raising your set point -- a certain momentum builds up that can keep appetite low even after you stop the oil or whatever. But that won't last forever.

You won't know what dose you need to stay at your perfect weight until you get there and try various amounts. It may be more less or equal to the dose you are taking now.

That is a good point.

Needs to be a FAQ on it, about appetite and maintenance ... guess when I finally merge all the way into maintenance I can write it. ;)

NTB

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Re: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2006, 11:07:41 pm »

From Seth Roberts, 6:01 a.m. today as Reply #1:

The proof is in the pudding -- that is you've lost weight easily -- but can we really trust the recipe from which the pudding was made? yes, it would be odd indeed if I used wrong ideas to come up with a really good diet.

here is what your alternative explanation doesn't explain:

1. there is lots of evidence for a set point apart from my particular version of setpoint theory . It is a 50-year-old idea.

2. Whatever your dosage of SLD calories -- say 2 T of oil/day -- eventually your appetite will return and you will stop losing weight. My theory predicts this: you have reached a new equilibrium. Your alternative does not.

3. my theory doesn't say that any flavors stimulate appetite, only flavors associated with calories. Unfamiliar flavors should have no effect. This is a prediction that conventional ideas about weight control do not make -- that familiarity matters. In particular familiar foods are more fattening than the same foods when they are new.

I believe my theory because it has repeatedly suggested new ways of losing weight that, when tried, actually work. This has now happened about six times.


My reply:
1.  It would not be odd that a wrong or less adequate theory generates a good invention or predictions.  This has happened often in the history of science and technology, e.g., the phlogiston theory of combustion helped provide a coherent explanation of phenomena as various as combustion, metabolism, and formation of rust, but eventually was replaced by Lavoisier's caloric theory of combustion based on his experiments with oxygen.

2. The 50-year age of the setpoint theory is not in itself an argument in its favor.  And even if there are such things as setpoints, they may not be the BEST explanation of how the SLD diet works. 

3. From reading the forums, it appears that consistent intake of a set amount of oil or sugar doesn't always produce the classical asymptotic approach to a new fixed equilibrium weight that one would expect if weight setpoints were like thermometer setpoints.   Often the weight drops, plateaus, moves up a little; in other individuals there is a long, linear decline; and other times there is flattening and sudden drops.   This doesn't sound to me like an approach to "equilibrium".     But suppose in fact that after daily doses of 2T/day oil, my appetite eventally "returns" and I stop losing weight.   That can also be explained by pointing out that, while the oil exerts a fixed contribution as an appetite suppression, appetite is a function not just of the suppressant dosage, but of other factors such as adaptation of tissues and receptors, blood concentrations of various metabolites, etc., that could in fact be a function of the individual's weight.   Levels of obesity hormones such as leptin and ghrelin may vary as individuals become leaner.   

4.  The fact that only familiar flavors stimulate appetite may be explained by an alternative physiological mechanism.   Apparently, ghrelin -- a peptide hormone proven to be a potent appetite stimulator -- is secreted into the stomach by "anticipation" of a meal, apparently after flavors are detected by the vagus nerve via acetylcholine synapses:

http://nielsolson.us/archives/2006/05/ghrelin_leptin.php

Couldn't it be that the vagus nerve and acetylcholine synapses respond better to familiar flavors than unfamiliar ones?  One could posit that neural pathways become more established upon repeated exposure to a stimulus.

Similarly, the presence or absence of calories might be detected by other hormones like insulin.   So appetite changes may results by a complex physiological calculation resulting from these hormone levels.   Further, it is well know that levels of insulin, ghrelin, leptin, etc. are influenced by adiposity and overall body composition.   So one can explain why the effectiveness of an appetite suppressant or stimulant might change as we gain or lose weight.

I would think that a physiological approach based on multiple biochemical inducers and inhibitors is more likely than a simple setpoint model to explain the wide variety of responses seen by people following the SLD diet.

My main point is not that the setpoint theory is wrong, but that there may be more useful and adequate theories which not only explain a greater variety of individualized response to the SLD diet, but more importantly, which are more scientifically productive because they are based on empirically measureable entities such as peptide hormones, rather than theoretical "constructs" like "setpoint" which can't really be observed directly.     And empirical theories are better suited to being tested, refined, and used to generate more specific predictions.

Here's an example of a specific prediction:  Flavors that will not increase appetite are those which do not stimulate the vagus nerve.  One recent article provides data that of five flavors tested, only sucrose did not induce a vagus nerve response as measured by an increase in heartrate!  Take a look:

http://chemse.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/25/2/149

That would explain the oft-raised puzzle as to why sucrose is not a "flavor".   A secondary prediction is that SLD-friendly calories do not cause an increase in heartrate.  And presumably all the above would have some connection to ghrelin or other appetite hormones. So measure your pulse next time you try taking your oil or sugar! 



In short:  Sometimes a very nice theory generates a large number of very useful observations and results.   But then one must be willing to follow the observations wherever they go, and modify, revise, or even overthrow the theory in favor of one that is more adequate to the data -- when this becomes necessary or more productive.
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Seth Roberts

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Re: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2006, 03:33:47 am »

NTB, this is, from my point of view, your most interesting point:

1.  It would not be odd that a wrong or less adequate theory generates a good invention or predictions.  This has happened often in the history of science and technology, e.g., the phlogiston theory of combustion helped provide a coherent explanation of phenomena as various as combustion, metabolism, and formation of rust, but eventually was replaced by Lavoisier's caloric theory of combustion based on his experiments with oxygen.

There is a vast difference between explaining something and predicting it. I disagree with you here -- it would indeed be "odd" if a wrong theory generated several correct predictions. But maybe I have my facts wrong. What were the correct predictions of the phlogiston theory?

In the area of weight control, incorrect theories can certainly predict one or two (if two, quite similar) new ways of losing weight. By sheer force of number -- there are so many theories some of them will make accurate predictions simply by chance. But six correct and dissimilar predictions -- I truly doubt it.

As soon as someone uses an alternative explanation of SLD results to produce a new way of losing weight that actually works (i.e., the alternative explanation makes a correct prediction), I will become interested in that alternative.
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anacara

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Re: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2006, 03:14:58 am »


I think we should all take off our shoes and say "hail Seth!" before entering the forum, so I always feel sheepish about arguing details of the central thesis. But figuring out exactly what to expect helps all of us so much.


I say at least 25 "Hail Seth"s a day  :wink:
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bekel

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Re: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2006, 09:11:07 am »

And even if there are such things as setpoints, they may not be the BEST explanation of how the SLD diet works. ...

3. From reading the forums, it appears that consistent intake of a set amount of oil or sugar doesn't always produce the classical asymptotic approach to a new fixed equilibrium weight that one would expect if weight setpoints were like thermometer setpoints. ...
   
I would think that a physiological approach based on multiple biochemical inducers and inhibitors is more likely than a simple setpoint model to explain the wide variety of responses seen by people following the SLD diet. ...

My main point is not that the setpoint theory is wrong, but that there may be more useful and adequate theories which not only explain a greater variety of individualized response to the SLD diet, but more importantly, which are more scientifically productive because they are based on empirically measureable entities such as peptide hormones, rather than theoretical "constructs" like "setpoint" which can't really be observed directly.   

IMO this line of thought deserves to be investigated. A setpoint may be there for each person, but how each individual moves that set point may be different.

There has to be a way to figure out why/how the statistically significant group of folks lose slowly. It's my bet that physiological responses within the body hold an answer (as well as more questions).
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Stephen M (Ethesis)

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Re: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2006, 11:15:13 am »

And even if there are such things as setpoints, they may not be the BEST explanation of how the SLD diet works. ...

3. From reading the forums, it appears that consistent intake of a set amount of oil or sugar doesn't always produce the classical asymptotic approach to a new fixed equilibrium weight that one would expect if weight setpoints were like thermometer setpoints. ...
   
I would think that a physiological approach based on multiple biochemical inducers and inhibitors is more likely than a simple setpoint model to explain the wide variety of responses seen by people following the SLD diet. ...

My main point is not that the setpoint theory is wrong, but that there may be more useful and adequate theories which not only explain a greater variety of individualized response to the SLD diet, but more importantly, which are more scientifically productive because they are based on empirically measureable entities such as peptide hormones, rather than theoretical "constructs" like "setpoint" which can't really be observed directly.   

IMO this line of thought deserves to be investigated. A setpoint may be there for each person, but how each individual moves that set point may be different.

There has to be a way to figure out why/how the statistically significant group of folks lose slowly. It's my bet that physiological responses within the body hold an answer (as well as more questions).

Not to mention the fact that nose clipping has such a quick impact -- I found that strange.  First meal I tried it on, I couldn't finish (and that is on my set food plan, same thing every day, month after month meals).  Made me wonder.  Nothing I could use to predict anything with though.

BTW, the 3 Chicks book, after all the sound and fury, #126,333 in Books on Amazon.  Closest we had to flame war here, with this thread second. ;)

SixtiesLibber

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Re: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2006, 12:26:30 pm »

The other day when I was at the library, I did a quick check of the new book shelf for anything interesting.  Spotted Seth's book by the cover and the 3 Chicks one next to it. :lol: Own the SLD book; no desire to read the other.
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TalkingRat

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Re: Appetite Suppression vs. Setpoint Adjustment
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2006, 01:02:23 pm »

OK, SixtiesLibber, you made me look.  Our county library has 4 copies of SLD, and all are checked out.  There are 2 copies of the fat chicks, and only one is checked out.  I didn't reserve it.  :lol:
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