Last week I covered 5 major points in Dr. Guyenet’s book “The Hungry Brain.” Today, I’m going to cover another 5! Believe me, this book has far more info than I can cover in these articles so I strongly encourage you to buy the book and read the finer points at your leisure.


  1. Avoid the Buffet Effect.


The reason we over eat is because of variety (something we covered in the previous article). Despite the feeling of “fullness” we overeat when given a multitude of options. Why? Different foods have different effects of satisfaction on our brains. Yes, our brain will eventually tell us to stop eating but not before we’ve over consumed our caloric intake.


A simple way to avoid this, aside from not going to an actual buffet, is to stick with 3 foods at each meal. You’re more likely to fill up and not overeat because your brain (and stomach) will be satisfied much sooner than you would if you had more food options.


  1. RRV (relative reinforcing value of food) + Impulsivity = Obesity


In the book, Dr. Guyenet points out a study conducted by Dr. Epstein and his team on whether or not people would choose food as a reward (when compared to another item of equal or greater importance). The study concluded that individuals, children and adults, who placed greater value on food as a reward tend to be overweight and obese. If you get excited over food as a “prize” then you might be in trouble.


Another key factor in using food as a reward was the level of one’s impulsivity. Not surprisingly, individual’s who showed lack of control over their urges and impulses were more likely to use food as a reward. So, if you use food to reward yourself and you have little self-control expect your waistline to grow.



  1. 3rd world countries (aka non-Industrial countries) have 3 common factors


First, they eat the same 15-20 foods. This is NOT to be confused with eating the same exact foods (ex. Aborigines eat kangaroo while Inuit eat whale fat). I’m referring to each cultures diet consisting of the same 15-20 foods. You might be thinking, “Well, that’s because they don’t have a lot of variety like we have in grocery stores.” This is partially true. They don’t have grocery stores with thousands of options but in most of the regions these groups reside there are over 100 different food options. However, they still only eat the same 15-20 foods because those are the foods that give them the biggest “bang” for their buck.


Second, they don’t have the ability to enhance the taste of their foods. Most of the foods served in industrialized nations are enhance with flavor, both real and artificial. MSG and refined sugar? Non-existent. Spices and herbs? Very few. Remove the enhancing flavors and most of us would have far lower body fat percentags.

The original Grill Out

Third, they don’t use a variety of cooking methods: boiling and roasting mostly. Us? We can grill, bake, braise, roast, sauté, deep fry, pan fry, simmer, poach, and more. Different cooking methods produce different tastes. The fewer the tastes, the less likely to overeat.


  1. The enemy is NOT Sugar. The enemy is NOT Fat. It’s BOTH!


Researches have known this for years, but, as with most things, there is severe misinterpretation of the research by the time it reaches our news outlets and our ears. Both fat and sugar are very enticing to our taste buds and our brains. Again, it’s evolution, not lack of mental fortitude. However, in nature we rarely find both sugar and fat in the same food source. Today? It’s everywhere!


  1. Historically, and biologically, we are NOT Vegetarians


I’m sure many of my vegetarian friends are losing their minds right now. This is not to say you can’t live a vegetarian lifestyle and be very healthy. Many vegetarians are very healthy compared to the general population. But so are meat-eaters. What Dr. Guyenet and many other researchers are saying is that, based on the evidence observed in 229 present-day and historically “hunter-gatherer” cultures, is that eating a predominantly vegetarian diet makes absolutely no sense. Broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and onions aren’t exactly calorie dense. They’re not fat dense. They’re not carb dense. They’re not protein dense. Foods that are packed with calories, carbs, fat, and protein are the basic necessities of hunter-gatherer cultures.

Doesn’t look like he’s carrying a sack of cauliflower rice


It doesn’t what region of the world we’re talking about, eating animals has been a dominant feature is nearly all hunter-gatherer diets. Unfortunately, it’s this very evolutionary adaption and desire that has backfired on those of us in industrialized nations. We still have the same cravings as our tribal ancestors but we are no longer in need of the amount we desire.



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