Calorie Counter

You are currently viewing the message boards in:

Processed foods cause more weight gain

145679

Replies

  • NovusDiesNovusDies Posts: 5,995Member, Premium Member Posts: 5,995Member, Premium Member
    psychod787 wrote: »
    I still dont think it's the food per se, but the ability to overeat is greater on hyperprocessed food.

    I think it is a symptom not a cause. If you took 100 long term MFP maintainers and told them all to spend the next 6 months eating nothing but ultra hyper whatever processed foods I am willing to bet most of them would be just fine.

    I believe the reason this type of food is demonized is because many of the people who choose to eat this way most of the time have allowed other areas of their life to crowd out health and fitness.

  • CSARdiverCSARdiver Posts: 6,208Member Member Posts: 6,208Member Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    I still dont think it's the food per se, but the ability to overeat is greater on hyperprocessed food.

    I think it is a symptom not a cause. If you took 100 long term MFP maintainers and told them all to spend the next 6 months eating nothing but ultra hyper whatever processed foods I am willing to bet most of them would be just fine.

    I believe the reason this type of food is demonized is because many of the people who choose to eat this way most of the time have allowed other areas of their life to crowd out health and fitness.

    I would agree - it is one of many symptoms. The root causes are behavioral in response to dramatically changing environment - primarily being food abundance and decreased physical activity. Secondary factors being the rise of television and other non-executive thought activities.

    You don't know what you don't know.


    Seemingly simple and rather obvious, but often overlooked. Considering the vast majority do not know or understand CICO, unaware of their activity, unaware of all they don't know...it is simply easier to place blame on something other than the root cause.
  • psychod787psychod787 Posts: 2,829Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,829Member, Premium Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    NovusDies wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    I still dont think it's the food per se, but the ability to overeat is greater on hyperprocessed food.

    I think it is a symptom not a cause. If you took 100 long term MFP maintainers and told them all to spend the next 6 months eating nothing but ultra hyper whatever processed foods I am willing to bet most of them would be just fine.

    I believe the reason this type of food is demonized is because many of the people who choose to eat this way most of the time have allowed other areas of their life to crowd out health and fitness.

    I would agree - it is one of many symptoms. The root causes are behavioral in response to dramatically changing environment - primarily being food abundance and decreased physical activity. Secondary factors being the rise of television and other non-executive thought activities.

    You don't know what you don't know.


    Seemingly simple and rather obvious, but often overlooked. Considering the vast majority do not know or understand CICO, unaware of their activity, unaware of all they don't know...it is simply easier to place blame on something other than the root cause.

    Monkey brain living in a Space Society....
  • GaleHawkinsGaleHawkins Posts: 7,640Member Member Posts: 7,640Member Member
    wmd1979 wrote: »
    I think causes for processed foods to cause weight gain can't be proven for some of the reasons stated above all ready.

    Perhaps processed foods where a factor in my obesity but there is no medical way for me to say it was a fact.

    What I can say and prove as a medical fact is since I cut out foods with added sugars and any form of any grains over 5 years ago which functionally removes any risk from eating processed foods I did loose 50 pounds the first year. Now over 5 years later I have not regained any of the 50 pounds without thought to the calories that I eat while are mostly from protein and fat food sources. My calories are still about the same but their sources are different than back in 2014 and the prior 40 years. Now at the age of 68 with improved health markers and with never having to go hungry works for me.

    I do not know why it does not work for others but then we are all different perhaps.

    If you don't think about the calories you eat, or bother tracking them, then how could you possibly know they are the same as they were in the past? One thing is absolutely certain, when you lost 50 pounds, you did so because you were in a caloric deficit, and not because you distributed the same amount of calories to a different food source.

    Thankful you are incorrect about my case.. My health started improving in about six weeks then the weight decline started.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 3,579Member Member Posts: 3,579Member Member
    psychod787 wrote: »
    I still dont think it's the food per se, but the ability to overeat is greater on hyperprocessed food.

    I bet if you had minimally processed but well cooked food available throughout the day whenever you might happen to want it, and reminders of it visible from time to time, and if you lived in a culture where eating throughout the day was normal and it was common for people to use food as an excuse to take a break or to socialize over, that people would overeat just as much.

    On the other hand, I bet if you had ultraprocessed food as the main source of calories (but also ate a diet rich in vegetables and protein) and the ultraprocessed food was largely reasonably nutrient dense options, and -- especially -- it was not typically available throughout the day but mainly at meal time and the culture of your society was that eating occurred at meals (typically eaten with the family and portioned out on a plate rather than something where it was normal to get seconds and third) and not at other times, it was weird to just grab something to eat in-between meals, that people would not overeat much.

    I will add that I find it easier to overeat when I eat more "processed" foods, but that's because it's a comparison of ordering Indian vs. cooking at home. The portion and calorie-density of the Indian tends to be greater than what I would cook for myself, because I tend to be aware of portions and calories when I cook, whereas if I decide to order high cal food it might well be because I'm not worrying about cals on that day. It's not because I would find it harder to eat a reasonable portion of the Indian food (even from a restaurant) were all else equal.

    Moreover, the Indian food, or let's even say the delicious meal cooked at some local, in season, farm based restaurant would be less processed in most definitions than, say, a Lean Cuisine, but I personally would not overeat Lean Cuisines -- I don't find them that tasty, and they also are not that big. So I really think focusing so much on just the processing aspect is pretty much missing the key differences.
    edited November 1
  • psychod787psychod787 Posts: 2,829Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,829Member, Premium Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    I still dont think it's the food per se, but the ability to overeat is greater on hyperprocessed food.

    I bet if you had minimally processed but well cooked food available throughout the day whenever you might happen to want it, and reminders of it visible from time to time, and if you lived in a culture where eating throughout the day was normal and it was common for people to use food as an excuse to take a break or to socialize over, that people would overeat just as much.

    On the other hand, I bet if you had ultraprocessed food as the main source of calories (but also ate a diet rich in vegetables and protein) and the ultraprocessed food was largely reasonably nutrient dense options, and -- especially -- it was not typically available throughout the day but mainly at meal time and the culture of your society was that eating occurred at meals (typically eaten with the family and portioned out on a plate rather than something where it was normal to get seconds and third) and not at other times, it was weird to just grab something to eat in-between meals, that people would not overeat much.

    I will add that I find it easier to overeat when I eat more "processed" foods, but that's because it's a comparison of ordering Indian vs. cooking at home. The portion and calorie-density of the Indian tends to be greater than what I would cook for myself, because I tend to be aware of portions and calories when I cook, whereas if I decide to order high cal food it might well be because I'm not worrying about cals on that day. It's not because I would find it harder to eat a reasonable portion of the Indian food (even from a restaurant) were all else equal.

    Moreover, the Indian food, or let's even say the delicious meal cooked at some local, in season, farm based restaurant would be less processed in most definitions than, say, a Lean Cuisine, but I personally would not overeat Lean Cuisines -- I don't find them that tasty, and they also are not that big. So I really think focusing so much on just the processing aspect is pretty much missing the key differences.

    Now we go back to reward value. The Indian food is more energy dense. Much like the snack foods given in the ultra processed groups. Can someone overeat on apples? Sure. Harder than cookies, yes. Then we start looking at optimal forging theory. With the easy access to higher reward foods we eat more. If some one had to climb a tree and fight off bees for that cookie, they would be less inclined to eat it.

    *edit* I still cant believe I am online debating this study with people who actually understand what I am saying. Either I'm a massive loser, possible lol. Or, I'm stuck in a chair icing a knee with tendonitis... either way... my tribe! Lol
    edited November 1
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 3,579Member Member Posts: 3,579Member Member
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    I still dont think it's the food per se, but the ability to overeat is greater on hyperprocessed food.

    I bet if you had minimally processed but well cooked food available throughout the day whenever you might happen to want it, and reminders of it visible from time to time, and if you lived in a culture where eating throughout the day was normal and it was common for people to use food as an excuse to take a break or to socialize over, that people would overeat just as much.

    On the other hand, I bet if you had ultraprocessed food as the main source of calories (but also ate a diet rich in vegetables and protein) and the ultraprocessed food was largely reasonably nutrient dense options, and -- especially -- it was not typically available throughout the day but mainly at meal time and the culture of your society was that eating occurred at meals (typically eaten with the family and portioned out on a plate rather than something where it was normal to get seconds and third) and not at other times, it was weird to just grab something to eat in-between meals, that people would not overeat much.

    I will add that I find it easier to overeat when I eat more "processed" foods, but that's because it's a comparison of ordering Indian vs. cooking at home. The portion and calorie-density of the Indian tends to be greater than what I would cook for myself, because I tend to be aware of portions and calories when I cook, whereas if I decide to order high cal food it might well be because I'm not worrying about cals on that day. It's not because I would find it harder to eat a reasonable portion of the Indian food (even from a restaurant) were all else equal.

    Moreover, the Indian food, or let's even say the delicious meal cooked at some local, in season, farm based restaurant would be less processed in most definitions than, say, a Lean Cuisine, but I personally would not overeat Lean Cuisines -- I don't find them that tasty, and they also are not that big. So I really think focusing so much on just the processing aspect is pretty much missing the key differences.

    Now we go back to reward value. The Indian food is more energy dense. Much like the snack foods given in the ultra processed groups. Can someone overeat on apples? Sure. Harder than cookies, yes. Then we start looking at optimal forging theory. With the easy access to higher reward foods we eat more. If some one had to climb a tree and fight off bees for that cookie, they would be less inclined to eat it.

    You seem to be using "reward value" differently than "tastiness," and I don't think that's necessarily a valid distinction. Is what humans tend to find tasty/desirable foods those that to some extent mimic those that were high reward when foods were scarce? Sure, likely so. This has zero to do with the amount of processing itself, which is precisely my point. (I will object if you claim a BigMac is higher reward than my homecooked rack of lamb and brussels sprouts, because that is simply false.)

    I of course agree that high cal foods that one finds tasty are easy to overeat and often overeaten if one is not monitoring calories or portion size in some way.

    Now, I can cook food I find as tasty (and even that is as energy dense) as the ordered-from-a-local-place Indian food. (I mostly got fat eating home cooked food.) However, I find it easier to not overeat such foods given the smallest amount of mindfulness because I can control how energy dense it is -- this means more volume and time to eat fewer cals. I can also make sure a meal has a good variety of lower calorie dense foods. And -- and I continue to think this is more significant -- to eat when focusing on home cooked foods, I have to actually take the time to make them, I can control how much I make, and I won't be eating outside of my normal meal times.
  • rheddmobilerheddmobile Posts: 4,738Member Member Posts: 4,738Member Member
    I had a thought which I don’t think I’ve seen addressed. Depending on how “ultra processed” is defined, might some of the difference be simply what percentage of the calories contained in the food are easily digested? Take corn on the cob as an example of what I mean. If you’re in the habit of looking in the toilet, you may have noticed a lot of the corn you eat exits your body in exactly the same condition it entered, as whole kernels. Logically it can’t matter how many calories were in that corn, because they never got broken down and used by your body. Now grind the corn up into corn meal and eat it, and a much larger percentage of it will get digested and turned into energy by the body, simply because part of the mechanical work of digesting has been done by the processing before it ever entered the body.

    Since the theoretical calorie content of food is determined by burning it, and burning isn’t much like digesting, might some of the difference in weight gain simply be due to a difference in calories actually digested? While corn is an extreme example, most examples of ultra processed foods seem to be defined by being broken down into easier to digest particles.
  • psychod787psychod787 Posts: 2,829Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,829Member, Premium Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    I still dont think it's the food per se, but the ability to overeat is greater on hyperprocessed food.

    I bet if you had minimally processed but well cooked food available throughout the day whenever you might happen to want it, and reminders of it visible from time to time, and if you lived in a culture where eating throughout the day was normal and it was common for people to use food as an excuse to take a break or to socialize over, that people would overeat just as much.

    On the other hand, I bet if you had ultraprocessed food as the main source of calories (but also ate a diet rich in vegetables and protein) and the ultraprocessed food was largely reasonably nutrient dense options, and -- especially -- it was not typically available throughout the day but mainly at meal time and the culture of your society was that eating occurred at meals (typically eaten with the family and portioned out on a plate rather than something where it was normal to get seconds and third) and not at other times, it was weird to just grab something to eat in-between meals, that people would not overeat much.

    I will add that I find it easier to overeat when I eat more "processed" foods, but that's because it's a comparison of ordering Indian vs. cooking at home. The portion and calorie-density of the Indian tends to be greater than what I would cook for myself, because I tend to be aware of portions and calories when I cook, whereas if I decide to order high cal food it might well be because I'm not worrying about cals on that day. It's not because I would find it harder to eat a reasonable portion of the Indian food (even from a restaurant) were all else equal.

    Moreover, the Indian food, or let's even say the delicious meal cooked at some local, in season, farm based restaurant would be less processed in most definitions than, say, a Lean Cuisine, but I personally would not overeat Lean Cuisines -- I don't find them that tasty, and they also are not that big. So I really think focusing so much on just the processing aspect is pretty much missing the key differences.

    Now we go back to reward value. The Indian food is more energy dense. Much like the snack foods given in the ultra processed groups. Can someone overeat on apples? Sure. Harder than cookies, yes. Then we start looking at optimal forging theory. With the easy access to higher reward foods we eat more. If some one had to climb a tree and fight off bees for that cookie, they would be less inclined to eat it.

    You seem to be using "reward value" differently than "tastiness," and I don't think that's necessarily a valid distinction. Is what humans tend to find tasty/desirable foods those that to some extent mimic those that were high reward when foods were scarce? Sure, likely so. This has zero to do with the amount of processing itself, which is precisely my point. (I will object if you claim a BigMac is higher reward than my homecooked rack of lamb and brussels sprouts, because that is simply false.)

    I of course agree that high cal foods that one finds tasty are easy to overeat and often overeaten if one is not monitoring calories or portion size in some way.

    Now, I can cook food I find as tasty (and even that is as energy dense) as the ordered-from-a-local-place Indian food. (I mostly got fat eating home cooked food.) However, I find it easier to not overeat such foods given the smallest amount of mindfulness because I can control how energy dense it is -- this means more volume and time to eat fewer cals. I can also make sure a meal has a good variety of lower calorie dense foods. And -- and I continue to think this is more significant -- to eat when focusing on home cooked foods, I have to actually take the time to make them, I can control how much I make, and I won't be eating outside of my normal meal times.

    The reward value of a food can be independent of how "tasty" it is. It comes down to several variables. Energy density, absence of undesirable flavors, ease availability, fiber content... ect.... The fact you have to take the time to cook your foods can lower its reward value. It takes energy to shop for the food, prep it, and then cook it.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 3,579Member Member Posts: 3,579Member Member
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    I still dont think it's the food per se, but the ability to overeat is greater on hyperprocessed food.

    I bet if you had minimally processed but well cooked food available throughout the day whenever you might happen to want it, and reminders of it visible from time to time, and if you lived in a culture where eating throughout the day was normal and it was common for people to use food as an excuse to take a break or to socialize over, that people would overeat just as much.

    On the other hand, I bet if you had ultraprocessed food as the main source of calories (but also ate a diet rich in vegetables and protein) and the ultraprocessed food was largely reasonably nutrient dense options, and -- especially -- it was not typically available throughout the day but mainly at meal time and the culture of your society was that eating occurred at meals (typically eaten with the family and portioned out on a plate rather than something where it was normal to get seconds and third) and not at other times, it was weird to just grab something to eat in-between meals, that people would not overeat much.

    I will add that I find it easier to overeat when I eat more "processed" foods, but that's because it's a comparison of ordering Indian vs. cooking at home. The portion and calorie-density of the Indian tends to be greater than what I would cook for myself, because I tend to be aware of portions and calories when I cook, whereas if I decide to order high cal food it might well be because I'm not worrying about cals on that day. It's not because I would find it harder to eat a reasonable portion of the Indian food (even from a restaurant) were all else equal.

    Moreover, the Indian food, or let's even say the delicious meal cooked at some local, in season, farm based restaurant would be less processed in most definitions than, say, a Lean Cuisine, but I personally would not overeat Lean Cuisines -- I don't find them that tasty, and they also are not that big. So I really think focusing so much on just the processing aspect is pretty much missing the key differences.

    Now we go back to reward value. The Indian food is more energy dense. Much like the snack foods given in the ultra processed groups. Can someone overeat on apples? Sure. Harder than cookies, yes. Then we start looking at optimal forging theory. With the easy access to higher reward foods we eat more. If some one had to climb a tree and fight off bees for that cookie, they would be less inclined to eat it.

    You seem to be using "reward value" differently than "tastiness," and I don't think that's necessarily a valid distinction. Is what humans tend to find tasty/desirable foods those that to some extent mimic those that were high reward when foods were scarce? Sure, likely so. This has zero to do with the amount of processing itself, which is precisely my point. (I will object if you claim a BigMac is higher reward than my homecooked rack of lamb and brussels sprouts, because that is simply false.)

    I of course agree that high cal foods that one finds tasty are easy to overeat and often overeaten if one is not monitoring calories or portion size in some way.

    Now, I can cook food I find as tasty (and even that is as energy dense) as the ordered-from-a-local-place Indian food. (I mostly got fat eating home cooked food.) However, I find it easier to not overeat such foods given the smallest amount of mindfulness because I can control how energy dense it is -- this means more volume and time to eat fewer cals. I can also make sure a meal has a good variety of lower calorie dense foods. And -- and I continue to think this is more significant -- to eat when focusing on home cooked foods, I have to actually take the time to make them, I can control how much I make, and I won't be eating outside of my normal meal times.

    The reward value of a food can be independent of how "tasty" it is. It comes down to several variables. Energy density, absence of undesirable flavors, ease availability, fiber content... ect.... The fact you have to take the time to cook your foods can lower its reward value. It takes energy to shop for the food, prep it, and then cook it.

    That's a different definition than I would use, then.

    Reward value is one thing in my mind, and ease or availability is a separate thing.

    Some foods might have a huge reward value (homemade apple pie, say), but still not be something that typically leads to weight gain for the average person, since the time cost or effort cost of preparing it will be high enough that it will be a rarer occasion, or at least not an impulse or mindless thing.

    I think one reason I sometimes feel as if we are in disagreement with the "reward value" concept beyond this, is that you often seem to define homemade or more nutrient dense foods as low reward value and ultra processed foods such as premade sweets or fast food or what not as high reward value, as if the latter were typically tastier and harder to not eat a lot of.

    I strongly disagree with this (I don't even much like most fast food or packaged sweets and they are easy foods for me to not overeat). I don' t think these have higher reward values than many reasonably nutrition (although sometimes calorie dense) options. I think they are just likely to be super easy to mindlessly eat or impulse, often around all the time or there if you are tired and just want to grab something, and the kinds of foods that are often eaten because they are there rather than as part of a planned meal. For example, I recall being in college and studying and wanting a break (with the intent to study more later) and we'd go to the snack bar and get fries or a milkshake. That wasn't eaten for hunger purposes and I certainly would not have taken a break to cook something, but it was an excuse for a break. I think that is more similar to a lot of overeating than reward value in and of itself, even though that food would be defined as high reward value. It's not because it was so magically tasty that I couldn't not eat it or couldn't control myself when eating it.

    (I also didn't get fat at that time, because I was young, reasonably active, and ate just at meal times and not excessively most of the time.)
  • rheddmobilerheddmobile Posts: 4,738Member Member Posts: 4,738Member Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    I still dont think it's the food per se, but the ability to overeat is greater on hyperprocessed food.

    I bet if you had minimally processed but well cooked food available throughout the day whenever you might happen to want it, and reminders of it visible from time to time, and if you lived in a culture where eating throughout the day was normal and it was common for people to use food as an excuse to take a break or to socialize over, that people would overeat just as much.

    On the other hand, I bet if you had ultraprocessed food as the main source of calories (but also ate a diet rich in vegetables and protein) and the ultraprocessed food was largely reasonably nutrient dense options, and -- especially -- it was not typically available throughout the day but mainly at meal time and the culture of your society was that eating occurred at meals (typically eaten with the family and portioned out on a plate rather than something where it was normal to get seconds and third) and not at other times, it was weird to just grab something to eat in-between meals, that people would not overeat much.

    I will add that I find it easier to overeat when I eat more "processed" foods, but that's because it's a comparison of ordering Indian vs. cooking at home. The portion and calorie-density of the Indian tends to be greater than what I would cook for myself, because I tend to be aware of portions and calories when I cook, whereas if I decide to order high cal food it might well be because I'm not worrying about cals on that day. It's not because I would find it harder to eat a reasonable portion of the Indian food (even from a restaurant) were all else equal.

    Moreover, the Indian food, or let's even say the delicious meal cooked at some local, in season, farm based restaurant would be less processed in most definitions than, say, a Lean Cuisine, but I personally would not overeat Lean Cuisines -- I don't find them that tasty, and they also are not that big. So I really think focusing so much on just the processing aspect is pretty much missing the key differences.

    Now we go back to reward value. The Indian food is more energy dense. Much like the snack foods given in the ultra processed groups. Can someone overeat on apples? Sure. Harder than cookies, yes. Then we start looking at optimal forging theory. With the easy access to higher reward foods we eat more. If some one had to climb a tree and fight off bees for that cookie, they would be less inclined to eat it.

    You seem to be using "reward value" differently than "tastiness," and I don't think that's necessarily a valid distinction. Is what humans tend to find tasty/desirable foods those that to some extent mimic those that were high reward when foods were scarce? Sure, likely so. This has zero to do with the amount of processing itself, which is precisely my point. (I will object if you claim a BigMac is higher reward than my homecooked rack of lamb and brussels sprouts, because that is simply false.)

    I of course agree that high cal foods that one finds tasty are easy to overeat and often overeaten if one is not monitoring calories or portion size in some way.

    Now, I can cook food I find as tasty (and even that is as energy dense) as the ordered-from-a-local-place Indian food. (I mostly got fat eating home cooked food.) However, I find it easier to not overeat such foods given the smallest amount of mindfulness because I can control how energy dense it is -- this means more volume and time to eat fewer cals. I can also make sure a meal has a good variety of lower calorie dense foods. And -- and I continue to think this is more significant -- to eat when focusing on home cooked foods, I have to actually take the time to make them, I can control how much I make, and I won't be eating outside of my normal meal times.

    The reward value of a food can be independent of how "tasty" it is. It comes down to several variables. Energy density, absence of undesirable flavors, ease availability, fiber content... ect.... The fact you have to take the time to cook your foods can lower its reward value. It takes energy to shop for the food, prep it, and then cook it.

    That's a different definition than I would use, then.

    Reward value is one thing in my mind, and ease or availability is a separate thing.

    Some foods might have a huge reward value (homemade apple pie, say), but still not be something that typically leads to weight gain for the average person, since the time cost or effort cost of preparing it will be high enough that it will be a rarer occasion, or at least not an impulse or mindless thing.

    I think one reason I sometimes feel as if we are in disagreement with the "reward value" concept beyond this, is that you often seem to define homemade or more nutrient dense foods as low reward value and ultra processed foods such as premade sweets or fast food or what not as high reward value, as if the latter were typically tastier and harder to not eat a lot of.

    I strongly disagree with this (I don't even much like most fast food or packaged sweets and they are easy foods for me to not overeat). I don' t think these have higher reward values than many reasonably nutrition (although sometimes calorie dense) options. I think they are just likely to be super easy to mindlessly eat or impulse, often around all the time or there if you are tired and just want to grab something, and the kinds of foods that are often eaten because they are there rather than as part of a planned meal. For example, I recall being in college and studying and wanting a break (with the intent to study more later) and we'd go to the snack bar and get fries or a milkshake. That wasn't eaten for hunger purposes and I certainly would not have taken a break to cook something, but it was an excuse for a break. I think that is more similar to a lot of overeating than reward value in and of itself, even though that food would be defined as high reward value. It's not because it was so magically tasty that I couldn't not eat it or couldn't control myself when eating it.

    (I also didn't get fat at that time, because I was young, reasonably active, and ate just at meal times and not excessively most of the time.)

    I mostly agree with this, but would like to point out that fries and a milkshake, both highly calorie dense and nutritionally poor items, were available for a quick break, and say, carrot and celery sticks (or whatever, let’s say grilled salmon with a side of roasted veg!) were not. There are reasons for that, it’s not easy for a minimum wage worker to cook salmon, it goes bad unlike a bag of frozen fries, broccoli is an imperfect growing thing and has to be looked at, picked out, and washed in order to be nice, but reasons aside, it always ends up being the bad for you food that’s easy and the good for you food that’s hard. Yes, yes, don’t demonize food, whatever, but it’s way easier to consume 3000 calories of artificial “milk” shake and fries than 3000 calories of broccoli and salmon.

    I ate like a hog when I was in college and my friends and I stayed thin by being active. But that was 30 years ago. Today a lot of college students aren’t outrunning their forks, at least according to the statistics on obesity.
    edited November 2
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 3,579Member Member Posts: 3,579Member Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    I still dont think it's the food per se, but the ability to overeat is greater on hyperprocessed food.

    I bet if you had minimally processed but well cooked food available throughout the day whenever you might happen to want it, and reminders of it visible from time to time, and if you lived in a culture where eating throughout the day was normal and it was common for people to use food as an excuse to take a break or to socialize over, that people would overeat just as much.

    On the other hand, I bet if you had ultraprocessed food as the main source of calories (but also ate a diet rich in vegetables and protein) and the ultraprocessed food was largely reasonably nutrient dense options, and -- especially -- it was not typically available throughout the day but mainly at meal time and the culture of your society was that eating occurred at meals (typically eaten with the family and portioned out on a plate rather than something where it was normal to get seconds and third) and not at other times, it was weird to just grab something to eat in-between meals, that people would not overeat much.

    I will add that I find it easier to overeat when I eat more "processed" foods, but that's because it's a comparison of ordering Indian vs. cooking at home. The portion and calorie-density of the Indian tends to be greater than what I would cook for myself, because I tend to be aware of portions and calories when I cook, whereas if I decide to order high cal food it might well be because I'm not worrying about cals on that day. It's not because I would find it harder to eat a reasonable portion of the Indian food (even from a restaurant) were all else equal.

    Moreover, the Indian food, or let's even say the delicious meal cooked at some local, in season, farm based restaurant would be less processed in most definitions than, say, a Lean Cuisine, but I personally would not overeat Lean Cuisines -- I don't find them that tasty, and they also are not that big. So I really think focusing so much on just the processing aspect is pretty much missing the key differences.

    Now we go back to reward value. The Indian food is more energy dense. Much like the snack foods given in the ultra processed groups. Can someone overeat on apples? Sure. Harder than cookies, yes. Then we start looking at optimal forging theory. With the easy access to higher reward foods we eat more. If some one had to climb a tree and fight off bees for that cookie, they would be less inclined to eat it.

    You seem to be using "reward value" differently than "tastiness," and I don't think that's necessarily a valid distinction. Is what humans tend to find tasty/desirable foods those that to some extent mimic those that were high reward when foods were scarce? Sure, likely so. This has zero to do with the amount of processing itself, which is precisely my point. (I will object if you claim a BigMac is higher reward than my homecooked rack of lamb and brussels sprouts, because that is simply false.)

    I of course agree that high cal foods that one finds tasty are easy to overeat and often overeaten if one is not monitoring calories or portion size in some way.

    Now, I can cook food I find as tasty (and even that is as energy dense) as the ordered-from-a-local-place Indian food. (I mostly got fat eating home cooked food.) However, I find it easier to not overeat such foods given the smallest amount of mindfulness because I can control how energy dense it is -- this means more volume and time to eat fewer cals. I can also make sure a meal has a good variety of lower calorie dense foods. And -- and I continue to think this is more significant -- to eat when focusing on home cooked foods, I have to actually take the time to make them, I can control how much I make, and I won't be eating outside of my normal meal times.

    The reward value of a food can be independent of how "tasty" it is. It comes down to several variables. Energy density, absence of undesirable flavors, ease availability, fiber content... ect.... The fact you have to take the time to cook your foods can lower its reward value. It takes energy to shop for the food, prep it, and then cook it.

    That's a different definition than I would use, then.

    Reward value is one thing in my mind, and ease or availability is a separate thing.

    Some foods might have a huge reward value (homemade apple pie, say), but still not be something that typically leads to weight gain for the average person, since the time cost or effort cost of preparing it will be high enough that it will be a rarer occasion, or at least not an impulse or mindless thing.

    I think one reason I sometimes feel as if we are in disagreement with the "reward value" concept beyond this, is that you often seem to define homemade or more nutrient dense foods as low reward value and ultra processed foods such as premade sweets or fast food or what not as high reward value, as if the latter were typically tastier and harder to not eat a lot of.

    I strongly disagree with this (I don't even much like most fast food or packaged sweets and they are easy foods for me to not overeat). I don' t think these have higher reward values than many reasonably nutrition (although sometimes calorie dense) options. I think they are just likely to be super easy to mindlessly eat or impulse, often around all the time or there if you are tired and just want to grab something, and the kinds of foods that are often eaten because they are there rather than as part of a planned meal. For example, I recall being in college and studying and wanting a break (with the intent to study more later) and we'd go to the snack bar and get fries or a milkshake. That wasn't eaten for hunger purposes and I certainly would not have taken a break to cook something, but it was an excuse for a break. I think that is more similar to a lot of overeating than reward value in and of itself, even though that food would be defined as high reward value. It's not because it was so magically tasty that I couldn't not eat it or couldn't control myself when eating it.

    (I also didn't get fat at that time, because I was young, reasonably active, and ate just at meal times and not excessively most of the time.)

    I mostly agree with this, but would like to point out that fries and a milkshake, both highly calorie dense and nutritionally poor items, were available for a quick break, and say, carrot and celery sticks (or whatever, let’s say grilled salmon with a side of roasted veg!) were not. There are reasons for that, it’s not easy for a minimum wage worker to cook salmon, it goes bad unlike a bag of frozen fries, broccoli is an imperfect growing thing and has to be looked at, picked out, and washed in order to be nice, but reasons aside, it always ends up being the bad for you food that’s easy and the good for you food that’s hard. Yes, yes, don’t demonize food, whatever, but it’s way easier to consume 3000 calories of artificial “milk” shake and fries than 3000 calories of broccoli and salmon.

    There are reasons for that, yes, which is that the snack bar was for students and those were the types of foods, among others, that we were likely to want for a SNACK. (Admittedly, sometimes I just got a diet soda.) Minimum wage workers has nothing really to do with it, the snack bar was staffed by students (who were paid as well or better than I was at my library job, not that that really says much). The dining hall was staffed in part by non-student workers (students also helped, it was a another financial aid job, like my library one), but the food in the dining hall, while "ultra processed" under some definitions, wasn't necessarily "high reward" and was reasonably nutritious -- for example, vegetables were always available in the cooked options, there would be a protein (including fish often), and there was a salad bar.

    The milk shakes were made with ice cream, so I'm not sure why you are emphasizing the artificial quality (most are IME, even super high cal ones), and one would have had to eat multiple ones to get to 3000 calories, and I don't think people who went to get a milk shake or fries were typically binging on them -- more likely you'd share fries with a friend or have a milk shake. My point was the attraction was more the break and the excuse not to study than the food itself. While no, I don't think broccoli would have been the same attraction, when I was in law school the comparable example was this coffee place that was open late night, and although they did have great tortes (note the e, not torts), it sufficed to have black coffee or coffee with some milk (real milk not whatever you mean by "milk") most of the time, which was lowish cal. Again, because it was about the break, not the reward value of the food.

    In addition, I reject the notion that it's impossible to find anything not high cal in the usual environment that offers more options than a college town in the middle of the night. I could have likely found something lower cal at the time, but the point was not hunger but an excuse for a break (fries would taste so good!) and I had no weight issues. (Btw, I've been back to my college recently, and it does not appear that the students there are obese/overweight much more than we were when I was there. People are actually probably more knowledgeable about nutrition/health stuff, and having been by the old snack bar it now has a much broader selection of healthy options than when I was there. Yes, the weight stats for the country as a whole are worse, but they differ based on subsets of the population.)
  • psychod787psychod787 Posts: 2,829Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,829Member, Premium Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    I still dont think it's the food per se, but the ability to overeat is greater on hyperprocessed food.

    I bet if you had minimally processed but well cooked food available throughout the day whenever you might happen to want it, and reminders of it visible from time to time, and if you lived in a culture where eating throughout the day was normal and it was common for people to use food as an excuse to take a break or to socialize over, that people would overeat just as much.

    On the other hand, I bet if you had ultraprocessed food as the main source of calories (but also ate a diet rich in vegetables and protein) and the ultraprocessed food was largely reasonably nutrient dense options, and -- especially -- it was not typically available throughout the day but mainly at meal time and the culture of your society was that eating occurred at meals (typically eaten with the family and portioned out on a plate rather than something where it was normal to get seconds and third) and not at other times, it was weird to just grab something to eat in-between meals, that people would not overeat much.

    I will add that I find it easier to overeat when I eat more "processed" foods, but that's because it's a comparison of ordering Indian vs. cooking at home. The portion and calorie-density of the Indian tends to be greater than what I would cook for myself, because I tend to be aware of portions and calories when I cook, whereas if I decide to order high cal food it might well be because I'm not worrying about cals on that day. It's not because I would find it harder to eat a reasonable portion of the Indian food (even from a restaurant) were all else equal.

    Moreover, the Indian food, or let's even say the delicious meal cooked at some local, in season, farm based restaurant would be less processed in most definitions than, say, a Lean Cuisine, but I personally would not overeat Lean Cuisines -- I don't find them that tasty, and they also are not that big. So I really think focusing so much on just the processing aspect is pretty much missing the key differences.

    Now we go back to reward value. The Indian food is more energy dense. Much like the snack foods given in the ultra processed groups. Can someone overeat on apples? Sure. Harder than cookies, yes. Then we start looking at optimal forging theory. With the easy access to higher reward foods we eat more. If some one had to climb a tree and fight off bees for that cookie, they would be less inclined to eat it.

    You seem to be using "reward value" differently than "tastiness," and I don't think that's necessarily a valid distinction. Is what humans tend to find tasty/desirable foods those that to some extent mimic those that were high reward when foods were scarce? Sure, likely so. This has zero to do with the amount of processing itself, which is precisely my point. (I will object if you claim a BigMac is higher reward than my homecooked rack of lamb and brussels sprouts, because that is simply false.)

    I of course agree that high cal foods that one finds tasty are easy to overeat and often overeaten if one is not monitoring calories or portion size in some way.

    Now, I can cook food I find as tasty (and even that is as energy dense) as the ordered-from-a-local-place Indian food. (I mostly got fat eating home cooked food.) However, I find it easier to not overeat such foods given the smallest amount of mindfulness because I can control how energy dense it is -- this means more volume and time to eat fewer cals. I can also make sure a meal has a good variety of lower calorie dense foods. And -- and I continue to think this is more significant -- to eat when focusing on home cooked foods, I have to actually take the time to make them, I can control how much I make, and I won't be eating outside of my normal meal times.

    The reward value of a food can be independent of how "tasty" it is. It comes down to several variables. Energy density, absence of undesirable flavors, ease availability, fiber content... ect.... The fact you have to take the time to cook your foods can lower its reward value. It takes energy to shop for the food, prep it, and then cook it.

    That's a different definition than I would use, then.

    Reward value is one thing in my mind, and ease or availability is a separate thing.

    Some foods might have a huge reward value (homemade apple pie, say), but still not be something that typically leads to weight gain for the average person, since the time cost or effort cost of preparing it will be high enough that it will be a rarer occasion, or at least not an impulse or mindless thing.

    I think one reason I sometimes feel as if we are in disagreement with the "reward value" concept beyond this, is that you often seem to define homemade or more nutrient dense foods as low reward value and ultra processed foods such as premade sweets or fast food or what not as high reward value, as if the latter were typically tastier and harder to not eat a lot of.

    I strongly disagree with this (I don't even much like most fast food or packaged sweets and they are easy foods for me to not overeat). I don' t think these have higher reward values than many reasonably nutrition (although sometimes calorie dense) options. I think they are just likely to be super easy to mindlessly eat or impulse, often around all the time or there if you are tired and just want to grab something, and the kinds of foods that are often eaten because they are there rather than as part of a planned meal. For example, I recall being in college and studying and wanting a break (with the intent to study more later) and we'd go to the snack bar and get fries or a milkshake. That wasn't eaten for hunger purposes and I certainly would not have taken a break to cook something, but it was an excuse for a break. I think that is more similar to a lot of overeating than reward value in and of itself, even though that food would be defined as high reward value. It's not because it was so magically tasty that I couldn't not eat it or couldn't control myself when eating it.

    (I also didn't get fat at that time, because I was young, reasonably active, and ate just at meal times and not excessively most of the time.)

    Well, when you take nova class 1 and 2 foods and mix them in such things as "pie" they become a nova class 3 processed food. Take the individual components of that "pie", salt, sugar, apples, butter, flour, ect.... and eat each one individually, doubtful one would eat as much. Thus, the less processed ingredients are lower reward. Availability of certain foods do make them higher reward. We as humans like to get as many calories as we can for less work. So, a more energy dense food that is easy available, is more rewarding. The trips to the "milkshake" bar is an example of non-homeostatic eating. "If" the bar had been up a mountain and an apple was on the tree outside, would you still go after the milkshake? So, ease of availability is a reward factor.

    *https://world.openfoodfacts.org/nova*
    edited November 3
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 12,798Member Member Posts: 12,798Member Member
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    I still dont think it's the food per se, but the ability to overeat is greater on hyperprocessed food.

    I bet if you had minimally processed but well cooked food available throughout the day whenever you might happen to want it, and reminders of it visible from time to time, and if you lived in a culture where eating throughout the day was normal and it was common for people to use food as an excuse to take a break or to socialize over, that people would overeat just as much.

    On the other hand, I bet if you had ultraprocessed food as the main source of calories (but also ate a diet rich in vegetables and protein) and the ultraprocessed food was largely reasonably nutrient dense options, and -- especially -- it was not typically available throughout the day but mainly at meal time and the culture of your society was that eating occurred at meals (typically eaten with the family and portioned out on a plate rather than something where it was normal to get seconds and third) and not at other times, it was weird to just grab something to eat in-between meals, that people would not overeat much.

    I will add that I find it easier to overeat when I eat more "processed" foods, but that's because it's a comparison of ordering Indian vs. cooking at home. The portion and calorie-density of the Indian tends to be greater than what I would cook for myself, because I tend to be aware of portions and calories when I cook, whereas if I decide to order high cal food it might well be because I'm not worrying about cals on that day. It's not because I would find it harder to eat a reasonable portion of the Indian food (even from a restaurant) were all else equal.

    Moreover, the Indian food, or let's even say the delicious meal cooked at some local, in season, farm based restaurant would be less processed in most definitions than, say, a Lean Cuisine, but I personally would not overeat Lean Cuisines -- I don't find them that tasty, and they also are not that big. So I really think focusing so much on just the processing aspect is pretty much missing the key differences.

    Now we go back to reward value. The Indian food is more energy dense. Much like the snack foods given in the ultra processed groups. Can someone overeat on apples? Sure. Harder than cookies, yes. Then we start looking at optimal forging theory. With the easy access to higher reward foods we eat more. If some one had to climb a tree and fight off bees for that cookie, they would be less inclined to eat it.

    You seem to be using "reward value" differently than "tastiness," and I don't think that's necessarily a valid distinction. Is what humans tend to find tasty/desirable foods those that to some extent mimic those that were high reward when foods were scarce? Sure, likely so. This has zero to do with the amount of processing itself, which is precisely my point. (I will object if you claim a BigMac is higher reward than my homecooked rack of lamb and brussels sprouts, because that is simply false.)

    I of course agree that high cal foods that one finds tasty are easy to overeat and often overeaten if one is not monitoring calories or portion size in some way.

    Now, I can cook food I find as tasty (and even that is as energy dense) as the ordered-from-a-local-place Indian food. (I mostly got fat eating home cooked food.) However, I find it easier to not overeat such foods given the smallest amount of mindfulness because I can control how energy dense it is -- this means more volume and time to eat fewer cals. I can also make sure a meal has a good variety of lower calorie dense foods. And -- and I continue to think this is more significant -- to eat when focusing on home cooked foods, I have to actually take the time to make them, I can control how much I make, and I won't be eating outside of my normal meal times.

    The reward value of a food can be independent of how "tasty" it is. It comes down to several variables. Energy density, absence of undesirable flavors, ease availability, fiber content... ect.... The fact you have to take the time to cook your foods can lower its reward value. It takes energy to shop for the food, prep it, and then cook it.

    Where have you found a clear definition of "reward value" for food? I started doing a bit of reading this morning (i.e., research studies and scholarly articles) to try to clarify that concept in my mind, and am finding the definition so far to be somewhat situational and even subjective.

    In these threads, frankly, I feel like you treat the term as somewhat squishy, varying the emphasis in your definition to counter whatever the current discussion's push-back may be: Almost equivalent, sometimes, to "stuff psychod787 finds tasty and easy to overeat". However, I'm willing to believe that my feeling that way is simply that I'm not as familiar as I should be with a clearer definition of the term. Maybe I should find the bolded, in the above quote, persuasive in that respect, but it still seems pretty fuzzy/malleable to me.

    Since you use this concept frequently in discussion here, can you pin it down more concretely?

    I'm really interested in understanding better, BTW, I'm not trying to play "gotcha" here, at all.
  • psychod787psychod787 Posts: 2,829Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,829Member, Premium Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    I still dont think it's the food per se, but the ability to overeat is greater on hyperprocessed food.

    I bet if you had minimally processed but well cooked food available throughout the day whenever you might happen to want it, and reminders of it visible from time to time, and if you lived in a culture where eating throughout the day was normal and it was common for people to use food as an excuse to take a break or to socialize over, that people would overeat just as much.

    On the other hand, I bet if you had ultraprocessed food as the main source of calories (but also ate a diet rich in vegetables and protein) and the ultraprocessed food was largely reasonably nutrient dense options, and -- especially -- it was not typically available throughout the day but mainly at meal time and the culture of your society was that eating occurred at meals (typically eaten with the family and portioned out on a plate rather than something where it was normal to get seconds and third) and not at other times, it was weird to just grab something to eat in-between meals, that people would not overeat much.

    I will add that I find it easier to overeat when I eat more "processed" foods, but that's because it's a comparison of ordering Indian vs. cooking at home. The portion and calorie-density of the Indian tends to be greater than what I would cook for myself, because I tend to be aware of portions and calories when I cook, whereas if I decide to order high cal food it might well be because I'm not worrying about cals on that day. It's not because I would find it harder to eat a reasonable portion of the Indian food (even from a restaurant) were all else equal.

    Moreover, the Indian food, or let's even say the delicious meal cooked at some local, in season, farm based restaurant would be less processed in most definitions than, say, a Lean Cuisine, but I personally would not overeat Lean Cuisines -- I don't find them that tasty, and they also are not that big. So I really think focusing so much on just the processing aspect is pretty much missing the key differences.

    Now we go back to reward value. The Indian food is more energy dense. Much like the snack foods given in the ultra processed groups. Can someone overeat on apples? Sure. Harder than cookies, yes. Then we start looking at optimal forging theory. With the easy access to higher reward foods we eat more. If some one had to climb a tree and fight off bees for that cookie, they would be less inclined to eat it.

    You seem to be using "reward value" differently than "tastiness," and I don't think that's necessarily a valid distinction. Is what humans tend to find tasty/desirable foods those that to some extent mimic those that were high reward when foods were scarce? Sure, likely so. This has zero to do with the amount of processing itself, which is precisely my point. (I will object if you claim a BigMac is higher reward than my homecooked rack of lamb and brussels sprouts, because that is simply false.)

    I of course agree that high cal foods that one finds tasty are easy to overeat and often overeaten if one is not monitoring calories or portion size in some way.

    Now, I can cook food I find as tasty (and even that is as energy dense) as the ordered-from-a-local-place Indian food. (I mostly got fat eating home cooked food.) However, I find it easier to not overeat such foods given the smallest amount of mindfulness because I can control how energy dense it is -- this means more volume and time to eat fewer cals. I can also make sure a meal has a good variety of lower calorie dense foods. And -- and I continue to think this is more significant -- to eat when focusing on home cooked foods, I have to actually take the time to make them, I can control how much I make, and I won't be eating outside of my normal meal times.

    The reward value of a food can be independent of how "tasty" it is. It comes down to several variables. Energy density, absence of undesirable flavors, ease availability, fiber content... ect.... The fact you have to take the time to cook your foods can lower its reward value. It takes energy to shop for the food, prep it, and then cook it.

    Where have you found a clear definition of "reward value" for food? I started doing a bit of reading this morning (i.e., research studies and scholarly articles) to try to clarify that concept in my mind, and am finding the definition so far to be somewhat situational and even subjective.

    In these threads, frankly, I feel like you treat the term as somewhat squishy, varying the emphasis in your definition to counter whatever the current discussion's push-back may be: Almost equivalent, sometimes, to "stuff psychod787 finds tasty and easy to overeat". However, I'm willing to believe that my feeling that way is simply that I'm not as familiar as I should be with a clearer definition of the term. Maybe I should find the bolded, in the above quote, persuasive in that respect, but it still seems pretty fuzzy/malleable to me.

    Since you use this concept frequently in discussion here, can you pin it down more concretely?

    I'm really interested in understanding better, BTW, I'm not trying to play "gotcha" here, at all.

    @AnnPT77 , ma'am, you know I have been highly effected by Stephan Guyenet's work. I speak more from an evolutionary stand point. While taste can be individual and cultural, the mixture of fat and carbs tends to be a common theme.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 3,579Member Member Posts: 3,579Member Member
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    psychod787 wrote: »
    I still dont think it's the food per se, but the ability to overeat is greater on hyperprocessed food.

    I bet if you had minimally processed but well cooked food available throughout the day whenever you might happen to want it, and reminders of it visible from time to time, and if you lived in a culture where eating throughout the day was normal and it was common for people to use food as an excuse to take a break or to socialize over, that people would overeat just as much.

    On the other hand, I bet if you had ultraprocessed food as the main source of calories (but also ate a diet rich in vegetables and protein) and the ultraprocessed food was largely reasonably nutrient dense options, and -- especially -- it was not typically available throughout the day but mainly at meal time and the culture of your society was that eating occurred at meals (typically eaten with the family and portioned out on a plate rather than something where it was normal to get seconds and third) and not at other times, it was weird to just grab something to eat in-between meals, that people would not overeat much.

    I will add that I find it easier to overeat when I eat more "processed" foods, but that's because it's a comparison of ordering Indian vs. cooking at home. The portion and calorie-density of the Indian tends to be greater than what I would cook for myself, because I tend to be aware of portions and calories when I cook, whereas if I decide to order high cal food it might well be because I'm not worrying about cals on that day. It's not because I would find it harder to eat a reasonable portion of the Indian food (even from a restaurant) were all else equal.

    Moreover, the Indian food, or let's even say the delicious meal cooked at some local, in season, farm based restaurant would be less processed in most definitions than, say, a Lean Cuisine, but I personally would not overeat Lean Cuisines -- I don't find them that tasty, and they also are not that big. So I really think focusing so much on just the processing aspect is pretty much missing the key differences.

    Now we go back to reward value. The Indian food is more energy dense. Much like the snack foods given in the ultra processed groups. Can someone overeat on apples? Sure. Harder than cookies, yes. Then we start looking at optimal forging theory. With the easy access to higher reward foods we eat more. If some one had to climb a tree and fight off bees for that cookie, they would be less inclined to eat it.

    You seem to be using "reward value" differently than "tastiness," and I don't think that's necessarily a valid distinction. Is what humans tend to find tasty/desirable foods those that to some extent mimic those that were high reward when foods were scarce? Sure, likely so. This has zero to do with the amount of processing itself, which is precisely my point. (I will object if you claim a BigMac is higher reward than my homecooked rack of lamb and brussels sprouts, because that is simply false.)

    I of course agree that high cal foods that one finds tasty are easy to overeat and often overeaten if one is not monitoring calories or portion size in some way.

    Now, I can cook food I find as tasty (and even that is as energy dense) as the ordered-from-a-local-place Indian food. (I mostly got fat eating home cooked food.) However, I find it easier to not overeat such foods given the smallest amount of mindfulness because I can control how energy dense it is -- this means more volume and time to eat fewer cals. I can also make sure a meal has a good variety of lower calorie dense foods. And -- and I continue to think this is more significant -- to eat when focusing on home cooked foods, I have to actually take the time to make them, I can control how much I make, and I won't be eating outside of my normal meal times.

    The reward value of a food can be independent of how "tasty" it is. It comes down to several variables. Energy density, absence of undesirable flavors, ease availability, fiber content... ect.... The fact you have to take the time to cook your foods can lower its reward value. It takes energy to shop for the food, prep it, and then cook it.

    That's a different definition than I would use, then.

    Reward value is one thing in my mind, and ease or availability is a separate thing.

    Some foods might have a huge reward value (homemade apple pie, say), but still not be something that typically leads to weight gain for the average person, since the time cost or effort cost of preparing it will be high enough that it will be a rarer occasion, or at least not an impulse or mindless thing.

    I think one reason I sometimes feel as if we are in disagreement with the "reward value" concept beyond this, is that you often seem to define homemade or more nutrient dense foods as low reward value and ultra processed foods such as premade sweets or fast food or what not as high reward value, as if the latter were typically tastier and harder to not eat a lot of.

    I strongly disagree with this (I don't even much like most fast food or packaged sweets and they are easy foods for me to not overeat). I don' t think these have higher reward values than many reasonably nutrition (although sometimes calorie dense) options. I think they are just likely to be super easy to mindlessly eat or impulse, often around all the time or there if you are tired and just want to grab something, and the kinds of foods that are often eaten because they are there rather than as part of a planned meal. For example, I recall being in college and studying and wanting a break (with the intent to study more later) and we'd go to the snack bar and get fries or a milkshake. That wasn't eaten for hunger purposes and I certainly would not have taken a break to cook something, but it was an excuse for a break. I think that is more similar to a lot of overeating than reward value in and of itself, even though that food would be defined as high reward value. It's not because it was so magically tasty that I couldn't not eat it or couldn't control myself when eating it.

    (I also didn't get fat at that time, because I was young, reasonably active, and ate just at meal times and not excessively most of the time.)

    Well, when you take nova class 1 and 2 foods and mix them in such things as "pie" they become a nova class 3 processed food. Take the individual components of that "pie", salt, sugar, apples, butter, flour, ect.... and eat each one individually, doubtful one would eat as much. Thus, the less processed ingredients are lower reward. Availability of certain foods do make them higher reward. We as humans like to get as many calories as we can for less work. So, a more energy dense food that is easy available, is more rewarding. The trips to the "milkshake" bar is an example of non-homeostatic eating. "If" the bar had been up a mountain and an apple was on the tree outside, would you still go after the milkshake? So, ease of availability is a reward factor.

    *https://world.openfoodfacts.org/nova*

    At this point I think we are just disagreeing on semantics. We both agree that convenience makes one more likely to overeat (absent some other thing, like calorie counting or cultural restrictions) that makes it more unlikely. We both agree that high cal and tasty foods are easier to overeat than lower cal foods (also all else equal). I think it makes more sense to refer to that as two separate things -- availability vs. reward value -- whereas you are grouping them together.

    My problem with grouping them together is that very often people claim that the prevalence of ultra processed foods leads to weight gain because they are "addictive" or at least "much harder to stop eating than home cooked food." I disagree with that -- I think home cooked foods are often harder to not overeat and the deliciousness of the average ultra processed option is grossly overstated much of the time. Rather than focus specifically on the foods, I think an important thing to look at is availability (which was the point of my snack bar anecdote).

    In fact, I was not eating fries because the fries were addictive or I was hungry from too much processed foods or because the appeal of the fries was so great. I wanted a break and they were there and a nice excuse. If it was, instead, a coffee place (as mentioned also), that would have served as well. If the fries required me to find someone with a car to drive to the next town, no I wouldn't have eaten them.

    So I think we are basically in agreement here, just disagreeing about language, and for the reasons I explained above I do think it is important to talk about the prevalence and convenience factor separately, not just group it all into reward value. One is burden (or lack thereof) in obtaining access, and one is reward from consuming.
Sign In or Register to comment.