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Hyper-palatable Foods and Weight Loss

I'm a great advisor to eat the food you love. Providing nourishment with food that not only provides fuel for our body, but also tastes good is one of the ways we take care of our physical and emotional needs. Because we eat regularly all day, every day (I eat up to six times a day) we have the opportunity to show ourselves serious love! When we eat what we really want right now we start to experience physical hunger and stop when we are no longer enjoying our food or when we are physically satisfied (whichever comes first), our body remains healthy. This process is called homeostasis and it can be observed in other body mechanisms as well, such as maintaining a healthy body temperature.

When homeostasis is interrupted or suppressed, we start to lose touch with our bodies. In the case of food, we may ignore our hunger / fear signals or, worse, not feel it at all. How did this happen? There are medical reasons for this, but what I have observed and learned is that it is often associated with two factors: 1) Our thoughts on food and, for some of us, 2) eating healthy foods (products that go beyond conversation and make us go crazy for them). Understanding and working with the first factor is important in overcoming any food issue (or any issue for that matter), but knowing the second factor is important in helping many people who are "food addicted" be aware of their challenges.

In his new book, End of Excess Food, Dr. David Kessler, a former FDA Commissioner, presents detailed information on how food industry engineers specialize in their products to suppress the hunger / pleasure signals our bodies display. Kessler describes how our brain's reward center is stimulated when we eat donuts - this is the same reward center that is stimulated when someone injects heroin into their veins. In fact, donuts are drugs disguised as food and like drugs they keep their users coming back for more. This makes food highly processed homeostasis # 1 and enemy of any weight loss attempt for sure. Here are some of the most processed (and many successful) food manufacturers' ways to get addicted:

* Break down the original food so that all that is left is the less nutritious part, it does three things: 1) the product leaves the mouth faster (less chewing is involved), 2) it has a "mouth-watering" catchy term used by the food industry ) and 3) it doesn't have very little nutrition so there is no real saturation (and you need to eat more)

* using any combination of fat, salt and sugar (high concentration and methodical combo of any two really sets the reward center in the brain)

* Creates and uses more intense artificial flavors than imitated natural foods

* fried meat in oil (which will be dug up again - I just found out that when food is fried, the water content of the food is replaced by cooking oil, this means if the food was 40% water before, the food was 40% fat after frying!)

* Injection of meat with a solution of sugar, salt and water and, many times, other additives

All of these manipulations (and others) conspire to counter our body's natural response to our healthy / hungry signals by stimulating our brain's reward center, just like drugs.

If you are a regular fast food, rest. There is a minimally processed food cornulopia that will satisfy your appetite and your nutritional needs. You are still in complete control of what you put into your body. If you really want to break your drug habit instead of food, you can do it. It's not like someone wants to quit smoking, it's a process that starts with desire, followed by a plan and action-driven. As a recovery perfectionist, I must also add that working with integrity and not striving for perfection is the key to achieving that goal and maintaining it. It doesn't happen overnight, but it doesn't have to be a long battle.

Starting with your thoughts is a great way to measure where you are and find out how you associate it with good food. Start by making a list of the foods you eat on a regular basis. Which ones are highly processed and / or hyper-palatable? You don't have to do anything about the list, just look. If you're happy with your list, that's great, congratulations! If you're dissatisfied, suggest some processed foods that you like to eat. Again, there is no pressure to take any action, just observe. In fact, I do not recommend doing anything until you find a (inaccessible) substitute for the hyper foods you feel like - I say if you give up something fun (whether it be food, medicine or internet word games) ), there is something better like, if not more, fun to take home (this could be spending more time outdoors, taking a hobby or even getting more nookie with your honey - no, there is no sex diet).

If you find yourself a compulsive person and just divert your addiction, you have some thoughts to do if you want to break that cycle. Recognition is a powerful first step to ending any habit you want to break. The rest is simply to know what you want and to lose the confidence that restricts you from it.


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