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Just another thought

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vmorais

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Just another thought
« on: June 16, 2006, 12:20:42 AM »

Seth - You kind of touched upon this in your book, and perhaps you have already thought this through (or it has already been discussed in this Forum), but it seems to me that the reason why flavorless calories might reduce the set point (which I like to call the "satiation point" - as it is the point that I feel satiated) is that during humankinds 100,000 year hunting and gathering period, it would be natural in years of abundance, to stock up in calories using the abundant "good tasting" calories. 

Ingestion of "good tasting" calories then became a signal for our metabolic system that there was a period of abundance and time to increase the satiation point in order to stock up further on calories as protection for the lean years.

On the other hand, during the lean years, the "good tasting" calories would have been depleted, as it would be natural to exhaust the good tasting calories prior to ingesting "neutral" or "less flavorful" tasting calories.  In such lean periods, the ingestion of neutral tasting calories would be a signal to our metabolic system that there was a lack of readily available calories and time to decrease the satiation point.  Decreasing the satiation point was a protection against hunger in these leaner years, and possibly also a protection from compelling ingestion of potentially harmful foods in an attempt to ward of hunger by satisfying and unsupportable higher satiation point given the current conditions.  A reduced satiation point would make it more likely that the hunger matched the calories supported by the current environmental conditions.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2006, 02:52:05 AM by vmorais »
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vmorais

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Re: Just another thought
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2006, 02:36:31 AM »

A few other related thoughts:

1.  A variable satiation point which can stock calories in periods of abundance, and stave off hunger in lean years, would be something that would benefit not just humankind, but all mammals, and perhaps even further back on the evolutionary scale.  This appears to be true for rats.  The flip-side should also be true - feeding mammals a consistent flavored high-caloric "convenience" food, abundantly provided, would allow the mammals to raise their satiation point and further stock up on calories - such as fattening cattle and hog with manufactured feedstuffs.

2.  A variable satiation point that reduced hunger in lean years could also reduce unhealthy competition (such as warfare and other aggression) for scarce food resources in lean years.  On the other hand, an invariable/fixed satiation point in periods of scarce food resources might create unhealthy competition driven by hunger, resulting from a higher and unnecessary caloric satiation point that was set in years of abundance.  Hence, a variable satiation point might well be reinforced by natural selection by reducing unnecessary and unhealthy competition and aggression.

3.  Unflavored calories, less flavorful calories, or unique or unusual tasting calories would more likely be ingested in lean years once the abundant flavorful calories were exhausted, and more creativity and variability in diet would have to be employed in order to find additional sources of a decreasing supply of readily available calories.  This variability in diet has been noted as the signal to the metabolic system to lower the satiation point as a protection against entering a period of scarce food resources, and is consistent with the observation that different foods, or unique flavored foods, are another way to "trick" the metabolic system into lowering the satiation point.
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Pinkmug

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Re: Just another thought
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2006, 02:59:43 AM »

I think your thoughts make perfect sense, along the lines of Seth Roberts' theory, and in fact I find that the use of the expression "satiation point" instead of "set point" makes it all much clearer in my mind. What a difference a word can make!...

Pinkmug
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Ann H

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Re: Just another thought
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2006, 03:26:09 AM »

Yep, vmorais,

I think your "satiation discouse" :) thoroughly explains the hunger-affecting / calorie-consuming aspect of the role of Seth's "set point". However, I think we can't yet (without some research) reduce the set point to solely this aspect...

Seth's theory seems to me to include two roles for the set point: setting hunger (and calories), and managing the desired amount of fat to be carried. The first role you nailed. The second role I think is somewhat separate: it would include leptin feedback, etc. for your brain to "judge" how much fat is there and whether it should be increased, maintained, or reduced.

If my interpretation of the theory is correct, then hunger and calorie intake management is not enough to drop weight. The set point's management function needs to kick in as well and say "Use up the fat and get it off this poor starving beast (who might not have the energy to lug it around! :) )" Tapping this management function would be what makes Seth's diet reeeeally different from other diets, that hinge on a "physics theory" of fat retained = remainder of "calories ingested minus those used".

Anyone to correct or expand this?

Cheers,
Ann H
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vmorais

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Re: Just another thought
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2006, 07:38:09 PM »

Ann - are you suggesting that there is an acceleration of metabolic function when the set/satiation point is lowered that will burn of stored fat in an accelerated manner? 

That seems to describe what I have experienced (I have lost 4 lbs in 6 days since starting the diet last Sunday).

On the other hand, I am no physiologist or dietitian, but an increased metabolic rate in periods of scarce food resources seems inconsistent with my previous discourse, as I would have expected a slowing down of metabolic rate, and conservation of stored fat calories, concurrent with a decreased satiation point caused by "lean" years.

I would be interested to know whether the reduced calorie intake resulting from the decreased satiation point, and burned calories, are sufficient to account for the weight reduction by itself.   It seems that this is measurable, and would provide evidence of whether redcued caloric intake is solely responsible for weight reduction, or whether there is some other process at play.

Regards
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vcanfield

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Re: Just another thought
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2006, 06:19:27 PM »

vmorais,

I came up to the same conclusion on the scaracity of food requiring trying new things, thus the brain sensing this reducing the amount of hunger. My conclusion came about with much simpler terms. Ancient man, "Boy, I'm hungry but we finished off the last of the dried apples, the nuts and now that winter is here all we have is meat- Ug. Hmm... what is this strange root? What the heck, I'll feed it to one of those visiting tribesmen and if they don't keel over in the night I guess we will call it breakfast."

Of course it may have been more like "Grunt..hungry. Meat-Ug. Huh? (Sniff, Sniff) MMM...eat." :lol:

Maybe that is also why low carb diets seem to melt off fat. When only meat was available that meant winter was probably in full force and there would be no fruits, honey, nuts, grains, vegetables, etc. and the body went into hunger hibernation until spring.

I like the "satiation" also. It helps with the set point concept.
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scottycompton

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Re: Just another thought
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2006, 04:06:00 PM »

Yes, your speculations make a lot of sense.  Thanks for these insights.  My current 24+ pounds of weight loss was achieved on still eating the flavorful foods I like, but making sure that I didn't repeat them day after day.  I try to give myself at least 7 days before I can have the same type of taste again, IF it has strong flavors associated with it of course.  I judge this the following way: I deem that when I strongly 'crave' a food, I have a strong taste-calorie association with it.  Compound caffeine with it, and it makes it that much harder to break the cycle (like Soft drinks or Chocolate).  So I have been trying to eat more tasteless foods every day. 

My main staple foods on the Shangri-La have been yogurt, omelettes/eggs, motzerella cheese, walnuts & brazil nuts, and tons upon tons of salads (with chicken/plain tofu/turkey/tuna for protein, garbonzo beans/kidney beans, and feta or motzerella cheese, and a different flavor of salad dressing every day).  I'm lucky to go to an organic build-your-own-salad place every day for lunch, so I can always build it different every time. 

The points this thread has brought up also lead me to I had some random thoughts that I had after reading the book:

1. Do people that have the ability to taste food better end up fatter? (I'm talking about the the genetics of the receptors on the tongue).  Recently, researchers discovered that we have some taste-receptors of meat on the tongue.  However, you do bring up a good point that if the tongue (and stomach for that matter) recognizes the food, it might cause a greater chain of events to take place in the body to store fat vs. taking it out of fat-cells via a Carnitase-reacting type system.

2. Is there an ability to 'numb' the taste senses to lose more weight?  I think Seth mentioned something about this with smokers. This brings up the idea that harsh-spices like jalapenoes might be so overwhelming that it would help with weightloss if this is true.

3. Does it take years for people to make the taste-calorie association, and if so, does breaking the cycle for even a year make that much difference?  For instance, if you return home to eat mother's meal that you grew up on, but haven't had it in 5 years, will your body recognize it because you had it so much as a youth?

4. What about the Christmas season?  It's common knowledge that people gain more weight in that period of the year.  Of course, there's more food that people are eating at the same moment on the feasting table, so it would make sense that if anything is recognizable by your body, then all of the calories are absorbed more readily. 

5. Has the depletion of nutrients in common foods in our society contibuted to people wanting to eat more because the nutriets are less?  Is there any truth to people that do not take vitamins and eat a standard American diet end up fatter because their hunger-response is triggering off more because not enough nutrients are detected?

Moreover, I'm finding that there are so many combination of factors involved with losing weight, that when I employ many methods, I've seen better results...Here is my personal list that has worked for me that I've rated as most important to least important.

1. One-two Tblspoons Oil 1-2x a day (massive impact to control calorie intake/reduce appetite)
2. Making lower-carb choices when ever possible (lowering or eliminating intake of corn/pasta/bread/white flower/etc).
3. Getting exercise at least 3x a week / 30+ mins per session.  Without exercise, I see less weightloss impact.
4. Trying to vary the tastes of what I eat every day. 
5. Make more bland food choices (veges, meats, tofu, yogurt, nuts, and eggs appear to be the best in this reguard)
6. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep (On days I feel more tired and draggy, I tend to eat more for an energy boost)
7. Avoid salty foods most of the time (I allow myself about 1/week to eat more salty foods).
8. Taking my vitamins (for overall feeling of more energy).

Scotty

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Ann H

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Re: Just another thought
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2006, 10:19:10 PM »

Great thoughts, Scotty, and a great summary of method tips!

We'll have to wait for some hardcore science and more self-reported results to know for sure, but I think they'll answer most of your hypothesis-questions with "yes". I'll add a bit on a few of them...

On people who taste very well:

This is the only explanation I can find for all the people here who got fat on fine and natural foods. There are seemingly dozens of people on this board who DON'T eat junk, or even the "usual suspects" for "ditto" foods, but still got fat. I think we are the supertasters. We gravitate towards fine and natural foods, and we get fat very easily because we taste so well. There's a test you can take at BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/body/interactives/supertaster/ to see what degree of "taste" your tongue has, from supertaster to normal to nontaster. Fat me? Supertaster. My skinny husband? Nontaster. This will be worth taking a poll on here.

That definitely leads to reducing our "gift" of taste to lose weight, as you mentioned. But regarding jalapenos on that... I'm not sure that works. Chilis are medicinal and definitely benefit the body, and some compounds in them are associated with weight loss. However, as a supertaster living in Asia where chilis are served--usually at least two varieties--as condiments on every restaurant dinner table, I don't think they help so simply. What happens is if I don't take the chilis, I get the very strong and simple flavors of the food (they use LOTS of MSG here, unfortunately), as a "blast of boring" in my mouth. This taste is too in-my-face-assaultingly-uniform (if that makes any sense), so I dump on chilis to be able to get the food down. Note that: they HELP me eat more. Once the chilis are on, I taste chili and a bit of the food. This STILL builds a taste association, for sure: chilis are very intensely flavored. But I'm not sure which flavor would have put on more weight: MSG  food alone, or MSG food + chili.

AND, I've heard that when Thai kickboxers aim to lose weight, they:

1--reduce the "not-rice" they eat (sauces, etc.) They believe too much not-rice can make you fat--NOT the white rice, which they (along with our skinny Japanese friends) will eat in abundance.

2--forbid chilis.

Cheers,
Ann H
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Ann H

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Re: Just another thought
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2006, 10:26:56 PM »

Oh, yes, and regarding familiar tastes from long ago:

EVERY YEAR when I return from Singapore/Malaysia to my native America and stay with my folks for a month, I put on at least 10-15 pounds. I have photos from arriving at the airport off of one plane and leaving 30 days later on another, and I've clearly been supersized in between. (And I think, "Thank God I got out when I did!")

When I'm at Mom and Dad's, I eat foods I NEVER make for myself at home, but ate ALL THE TIME as a child growing up in their house. The foods are certainly not junk, but ARE typical ditto foods like Mom's Casserole X, Mom's Casserole Y, Dad's Casserole Z, branded yogurts, etc. These foods are not "familiar" in my short-term memory: they are familiar from long-term memory, eaten a lot long ago, and intermittently since then.

Cheers,
Ann
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scottycompton

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Re: Just another thought
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2006, 05:33:19 PM »

Hi Ann H,
Thanks for your insights again.  When I wrote my post in the update section about how much weight I've already lost, I mentioned that I took a trip to Finland in 1994 and lost over 20 pounds.  I stayed three months, but when I returned, I gained it all back (plus a little more).  So it sounds like many people have similar types of experiences.  At least with Seth Robert's ideas, there is some type of intuitive wisdom that fits perfectly with what I've experienced in my life with weight control. 

I'm really starting to see the wisdom behind eating one type of food might be better to eat for a meal than getting a diversity of food at one meal.  Like the idea of eating just meat in the first hour and then the bread an hour later might cause less fat storage than the meat and bread at the same moment.  This idea in particular might completely explain why fast-food restaurants help to cause obesity (and same rational for #4 Christmas-time weight gain on my list).  I thought about the specifics: if a person has a large Diet Coke, a normal hamburger and fries for a meal, the recognizable sweetness-flavor of the diet coke and the saltiness of the fries could be triggering the body to go into 'fat-storage mode'.  Even though the bulk of the calories of the hamburger is not very flavorful (unless it's got mustard/ketchup/etc.) these bulk calories get absorbed into fat cells because the body is recognizing them so easily. 

In thinking about all of the types of foods I've eaten and gotten fat from, it was when I would eat a bagel sandwich.  I usually put mustard, cheese, and turkey on a salty-bagel for the bun.  Within a few weeks, I had gained 15 pounds with that formula.  Thinking about this, it's extremely common for us to eat foods with different flavors mixed together these days.  We put chocolate in bland-milk, honey and fruit in yogurt, salty butter and spreads on bread, etc.  It's pretty rare when we just eat one type of food at one time like raw nuts.  At a matter of fact, it's getting harder to find just a bag of raw almonds these days, because they are usually coated in other types of oils with added salt.  Of course now I'm trying to eat more bland foods, or just put a few foods together at once to see if it makes any difference.

Of most of the foods I've tried in the past, I'm now also believing that powerbars are the worst for trying to lose weight because they have so many ingredients and very recognizable flavors.  Back in March, I restricted my food intake from 2200 Calories down to 1600 because I was trying powerbars.  I found that I gained 4 pounds over the course of two weeks when I made that switch--I was eating far less but somehow I gained more weight.  This was really frustrating to say the least, because I figured the reduction in calories would have worked.  Some of the powerbars have 40-50 ingredients in them!  So if this hypothesis holds true, powerbars may be one of the more fattening items out there if the body recognizes many different tastes at once. 

This also leads me to a conclusion that some people can readily taste foods easier than others, and a lot of this would have to do with wiring, upbringing, etc.  I'm relying on my 'craving' sense.  If I crave a food strongly, it's a good signal to me that it may be easier for my body to store it as fat.  So I've now been trying some switcher-oos... if I crave something, I'll eat something instead to see if it has any impact.

Scotty
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scottycompton

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Re: Just another thought
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2006, 05:40:52 PM »

Wow,... just took the test as well.  I'm also a supertaster.
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Seth Roberts

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Re: Just another thought
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2006, 08:26:09 PM »

Quote
Back in March, I restricted my food intake from 2200 Calories down to 1600 because I was trying powerbars.  I found that I gained 4 pounds over the course of two weeks when I made that switch--I was eating far less but somehow I gained more weight.  This was really frustrating to say the least, because I figured the reduction in calories would have worked.

What goes unstated in all calorie values I have ever seen is the error in the measurement. Not to mention the distribution shape. If I measure the calorie values in a powerbar 20 times I will get 20 different numbers. There will be variation from one person to the next, and between different times for the same person. How much variation? No one's saying. It is entirely possible that the powerbars had more calories than the "2200" calorie food.

Because the process of coming up with these "calorie values" seems so primitive, I don't mind the assertion that 10 foods with "2200 calories" will have on average more calories than 10 foods with "1600 calories" but I wouldn't be surprised if the two distributions overlapped.

Which is not to say the numbers are useless--they certainly aren't. It's just that you shouldn't place a lot of weight on them.
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Pinkmug

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Re: Just another thought
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2006, 03:09:06 AM »

Scoty and Ann, I have a remark to make that is consistent with your insights:

My hubby is 45 and has the same body as in his twenties. Not a hint of fat.
Suddenly a couple days ago I realized one thing.
His staple food is bread. Any bread. Preferably wheat or rye, or a mix of the two.
I love bread too, but don't eat a quarter of what he eats. But while I always spread something on it, or top it (with sometimes 2 or 3 other foods)...... he loves his bread PLAIN. Nothing on it, not a thin layer of butter, jam, no cheese, no ham, nada!!

He can eat a pound plain bread a day and his weight is always the same. Plain bread, arrgh! I couldn't do it. It's simply.... flavorless! (does this ring a bell or what!)
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vmorais

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Re: Just another thought
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2006, 12:11:50 AM »

I have been wondering the same thing - whether there are other foods that can provide flavorless calories that would reduce the set/satiation point and provide an alternative to the sugar water and flavorless oil options.
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Rabin the Cat

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Re: Just another thought
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2006, 08:44:33 PM »

Ann- I rated as a supertaster too. Interesting, thanks!
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