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You Are What You're Tricked Into Eating 499

Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "Two prominent nutrition experts have put forth the theory that the current obesity epidemic is, in large part, the result of processed foods tricking our appetite control mechanisms. They argue that evolution has given humans a delicately balanced system that balances appetite with metabolic needs, and that processed foods trick that system by making foods high in fats and carbohydrates have the gustatory qualities of proteins. As the researchers put it, 'Many people eat far too much fat and carbohydrate in their attempt to consume enough protein.'"
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You Are What You're Tricked Into Eating

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  • Not possible. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @03:24AM (#46865839)

    Our diet contains more meat than any other point in history, even before factoring in the abundance of nuts and beans.
    While much fast or junk food is low in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, our protein intake is far from deficient.

    Humans are anything but carefully balanced, besides. Living organisms are very adaptable and self-correcting - if they weren't, we'd all be long dead.

  • by dutchwhizzman ( 817898 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @03:58AM (#46865935)

    Plants are an important part of a healthy diet, but they tend to lack in the protein and fat intake we need. Yes, we need fat to live. You can live without carbs for many months, but if you don't eat any fat, you're dead within three months. Even vitamins usually can be abstained from for longer periods of time without you dying. Carbs mess up our blood sugar and are proven to be one of the main contributors to the amount of diabetes type 2 we have today, as well as the enormous amount of obese people ( [] ) . Carbs are addictive (they have bacteria in our guts produce "happy hormones") so even if you can afford to buy food that doesn't have carbs, you most likely don't want to, but you should seriously consider drastically reducing your intake in carbs. You can get your energy from fat and protein, no need for grain products at all.

    New mantra: "Don't eat carbs, mainly fat, protein and plants". If you do it that way, the "not too much" will be easy.

  • Re:Ass time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rioki ( 1328185 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @04:41AM (#46866027) Homepage

    Add to that the fact that basically you have the choice of buying raw food, processed food or paying someone to cook for you. Properly cooked food, starting with raw ingredients, without fail tastes better. The problem is either you have money and can dine out or you need the skill to cook. If you where raised, like me, on the concept of buying raw food and cooking it, you will have learnt how to actually cook. But as it turns a good few people's cooking skill stops with scrambled eggs and as a result they buy processed food.

    Processed food in itself is not bad and you can buy quite good quality food, but that costs. Competition in the food industry means sacrificing quality for profit/lower price and they will continue to "optimize" until the product stops selling. The interesting bit is that in recent decades there is a gap between the sensory experience of the food and the actual nutritional quality.

    If people would realize how easy it actually is to cook...

  • by Bongo ( 13261 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @05:10AM (#46866087)

    Also known as Banting.

    The LCHF Paleo Primal Banting community, the people who have been reading Taubes' review of the literature going back pre-war, and so on, and who have tried this stuff for themselves, the basic insight is that it is the carbohydrates that are the problem.

    The grain growers wanted to mass produce and sell the stuff, and some politicians liked a "heart healthy" message (despite scientists protesting that more research was needed before jumping to conclusions) and so the whole "heart healthy" movement was born, which emphasised high carb foods like cereals, by demonising fat.

    Well after some decades, and people trying it for themselves, people are now realising that it was pretty much completely wrong. And manufacturers, because fatless food tastes of cardboard, knew they had to increase the sugar content to make up for the lack of taste. Low fat yoghurts loaded with sugar. Healthy smoothies, loaded with sugar.

    The carbs create cravings, signal the body to store fat, and overwork your insulin production until it breaks.

    But dietary fat? Good natural fats are good for you. They are good for the guts, the heart, and the brain. Well, you can read books and various docs on this, and try it for yourself. See if their claims seem to work out. It isn't a short term diet, it is a lifestyle.

  • Bread and Circuses (Score:5, Interesting)

    by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @06:23AM (#46866289)

    The problem is that we metabolize bread just as fast as sucrose. Even Coca Cola gives less of a 'sugar rush' than bread (because Coke contains fructose).

    So, if you are big, fat and lazy, just stop eating wheat, potatoes and rice products and you'll be pleasantly surprised at the result. This is otherwise known as the Caveman diet, Paleo diet, Atkins diet, High Protein diet, or any number of other names. It works and there is no need to buy and read a book about it, though it won't hurt if you do.

  • Re:not only that (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ByteSlicer ( 735276 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @06:52AM (#46866377)

    The problem for vegetarians (and more especially for vegans) is not getting enough proteins, it's getting all of the required amino acids

    What problem? Rice and beans [] in combination contain all the amino acids you need.

  • Cigarettes... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @07:33AM (#46866505)

    ....used to be made with paper and tobacco leaf. That's it. That is how it was grown and manufactured for hundreds of years.

    Today's cigarette contains hundreds of ingredients. And they sure as hell weren't added as flavor enhancers.

    Anyone "tricked" over the concept of addictive chemicals being added to fast food that make you want to crave more of their product is rather ignorant of the world we live in, and the greed and corruption that built it.

  • Re: lol (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fished ( 574624 ) <> on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @07:39AM (#46866525)

    You're a fool. Once I realized that "willpower" is a metabolic state, not moral success or a moral failing, and I learned how to manipulate that metabolic state, I lost 150 lbs.

    But go ahead, haters gotta hate!

  • by AlphaWolf_HK ( 692722 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @07:48AM (#46866561)

    Ever cooked food before? Ever ground anything into a powder before doing something else to it before eating it? In either case, congratulations, it's processed. This also includes *any* kind of oil or milk alternative, which are very heavily processed extracts from different kinds of plants. *ANY* kind of soy that is actually edible is also heavily processed.

    This whole article is bullshit. I first tried dieting by avoiding processed foods (namely, the kinds that tend to be higher in sodium, carbs, fats, etc) and it didn't work for shit. Know what did work? Just watching the caloric intake. Already lost 60 pounds over the last year, and it mainly just involved getting proper perspective on what an actual serving is. I still eat fast food, indeed all kinds of junk foods. I've also lowered my cholesterol and triglycerides in the process, while eating burgers, fries, and pizza no less. The trick is eating portion sizes that an actual human would eat instead of what a rhinoceros would eat.

    A plain old hamburger at mcdonalds has about 360 calories. Contrary to popular belief, these hamburgers have been around since way before the obesity epidemic. Know what hasn't? Big triple stacked burgers globbed with mayo and ranch dressing. Another thing that hasn't is eating cereal in the large quantities most people do, which is actually primarily a result of the vegetarian movement (before that happened around the 60's, most people used to eat what we today call a "heavy" breakfast, e.g. eggs, bacon, which IS mostly protein and possibly small amounts of grits or toast.

    Cereal (any variety) is mostly carbohydrates on the other hand and you also tend to crave higher amounts of calories worth of vegetarian breakfasts than you do traditional breakfasts; note how cereal bowls used to be tiny, and now they're about three times the size of what they started at mere decades ago.) The following is unscientific, but when I watch most people eat breakfast, I typically see most of them eat 750 calories in the cereal alone (that's typically 5 oz of cereal; it's uncommon to find cereals with less than 150 calories per 1 oz serving.) In fact to be honest, I'm pretty sure the whole vegetarian movement is bunk:

    http://www.cholesterol-and-hea... []

  • Re:Ass time (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jimbolauski ( 882977 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @08:14AM (#46866681) Journal

    Properly cooked food, starting with raw ingredients, without fail tastes better.

    Flour, sugar, stock, milk, butter, baking soda, baking powder, cheese,... require processing to make. While I agree that fresh foods taste better then the same out of a can it's complete and utter nonsense to think that only using raw ingredients will yield a better meal.

  • Re:Ass time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @09:19AM (#46867177) Journal

    You are correct. It literally takes 10 minutes to season a chicken breast and throw it on a grill while you steam some fresh broccoli and make a little pasta for a side. There you go, fresh and healthy dinner for less than $5/plate.

  • Re:Not possible. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @09:19AM (#46867187)

    Our diet contains more meat than any other point in history, even before factoring in the abundance of nuts and beans.
    While much fast or junk food is low in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, our protein intake is far from deficient.

    While this may be true, it may also be irrelevant to the claims here. Contrary to popular belief, high protein foods (including meat, but also beans and legumes) are generally low in calories when they are lean. (And, in prehistoric, pre-agriculture diets, chances are any meat that was eaten would have been fairly lean, not have been off of a farm-fattened animal with "superior marbling" to attain a "prime" rating.)

    However, from TFA:

    Food manufacturers have a financial incentive to replace protein with cheaper forms of calories, and to manipulate the sensory qualities of foods to disguise their lower protein content. This leads to savoury-flavoured food that makes us think we're eating protein when in reality it is loaded with carbohydrates and fats.

    So, say I eat a dish that "tastes like protein" and my taste receptors think that a savory dish that tastes like that should usually have a couple hundred calories.

    But, instead, that dish is NOT protein at all, and is loaded with fats and processed carbs, which gives it a calorie content of over 1000 calories. I'm getting a signal from my body telling me it's okay to eat more (according to taste), even when I'm consuming way too many calories. Moreover, as we eat it, our body might be ready to digest the protein it assumes it there, but when it doesn't arrive, perhaps another impulse might kick in to continue eating to receive that expected protein?

    Thus, it may not be a lack of protein overall, but a mismatch in our digestive system and hunger impulses getting confused when we intake food that our bodies think should contain protein, but doesn't.

    Humans are anything but carefully balanced, besides. Living organisms are very adaptable and self-correcting - if they weren't, we'd all be long dead.

    While this is certainly true, TFA seems to be about our bodies getting the wrong chemical signals from foods that don't (and probably can't) occur in natural raw plant and animal sources. If we've evolved while always consuming foods with certain characteristics, but now we're eating foods that have very different characteristics that confuse our systems, those "balancing" elements may not react correctly.

    Again from TFA:

    It is clear that the balance of nutrients -- especially protein, fat and carbohydrate -- has profound effects on many critical physiological functions, including appetite, energy intake, obesity, cardiometabolic health, ageing, immunity and the microbial ecology of the gut.

    Processed carbs flood our bodies with sugars, whereas prehistoric carbs would have had less concentrated sugars and which would have required much longer digestion (and a HUGE intake to get anywhere near modern levels). If a human body is flooded with stuff that metabolizes in odd ways, perhaps it causes people to crave things that would regulate it and be digested more slowly (e.g., proteins)... which could drive us to eat "savory" things. But unfortunately, the "low fat" craze may then drive us to seek out "savory" by eating more carbs that have a "fake protein" taste, which again confuses our bodies, and the cycle continues.

    Perhaps. I don't really know what's going on. But the argument from TFA is not impossible on its face.

  • Re:Oh well (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @10:04AM (#46867565)

    what about fruit and vegetable rights.

    Plants produce fruit to be eaten, so that the eater will spread the seeds. The fruit wants to be eaten. That is its purpose. So eating an apple is ethically different than eating a carrot, which of course kills the carrot plant. People that eat only fruit are fruitarians [].

  • Re:"Enough protein" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nbritton ( 823086 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @10:37AM (#46867915)

    The CDC recommends 56g of protein for adult males, and 46 for females. The British Nutrition Foundation's RNI is 0.75g per kilogram of body weight.

    The CDC is whey off, follow the British standard. Most people do not get enough protein, you know when you've eaten enough protein because your body stops craving food. Without protein intake you die fast, faster then simple calorie starvation, protein is one of the major reasons why your body triggers a hunger response. For a week try intaking 1g/kg of protein a day and you'll understand what I'm saying. The whole point of this article is that processed foods typically exchange protein for fat and carbohydrates, the problem with that is fat and carbohydrates are fuels; protein is a biological building block.

  • Re:Not possible. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @11:09AM (#46868273)
    Have you ever traveled to a Third World country with a group of Westerners? My experience is that your group will likely be a full head taller and noticeably more muscular than the the locals. Yes, our diet is better than people in the past had available to them, that doesn't make it wrong.

Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. -- Christopher Morley