I just ended up reading The Pleasure Trap by Drs. Doug Lisle and Alan Goldhamer. This is a fascinating book about elements that impact our eating habits and the health impacts of our diets, both mental, neurological, biological, ecological, and evolutionary. The authors explain complex subjects well, and spray in remarkable examples and historic recommendations to keep it entertaining. Dr. Lisle is a scientific psychologist and Dr. Goldhamer both a Chiropractor and Osteopathic Doctor. They interact at TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, California. I learnt more about them though Chef AJ, who considers them to be coaches.
Unnatural aspects can short-circuit this mechanism, and make us fall into “the Pleasure trap”. An apparent example is cocaine, which seizes control of the satisfaction centers of our brains. More importantly to the subject of nutrition, numerous unnatural foods have “drug-like” results.
The book emphasizes a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet, with no animal products, as our natural diet plan. The authors do admit that while it was developing our types ate some meat, however argue that the lean game or fish consumed in the ancestral diet bears little relation to meat from modern commercial sources, so modern-day meat is unnatural for us (a point I made in a previous post). You may believe “why cant we eat healthier versions of modern-day meat, from lean animals raised in a more natural environment,, fed their healthy food?” However the bottom lines of the book are still legitimate even if youre doubtful that we require to consume no animal items. Some leaner meats are likewise less than 700 calories per pound, an essential point since part of the authors reasoning is that too expensive calorie density becomes part of what is abnormal in our modern diet plans. I believe its essential not to get stuck on this questionable point because the proof and thinking about the enjoyment trap and its effects are well worth hearing. They remain valid if you use a looser definition of our natural diet that include some not-too-calorie thick animal products, more analogous to those from a natural surroundings, like state pasture-raised meat or wild fish from a clean source.The authors are passionate supporters of medically supervised water fasting. That is a huge part of the contribution of their TrueNorth center. They provide engaging arguments and scientific evidence of its health benefits. Still, some might find this too extreme. You dont need to think in, or desire to try, water fasting, to get the benefit of the main part of the book. It is just gone over at the very end of the book. I will review the proof about water fasting at the end of this post.
The Pleasure Trap
The first thing explained in the book is the inspirational triad: all species are designed to
seek pleasureavoid painminimize energy usage
Fruit is pleasant to eat because its healthy. “Froot Loops” pirate this feedback by making us think an unhealthy food is enjoyable. Theres a lot more information to it in the book.
Fruit vs “Froot Loops”
The fascinating example of a bird, the male desert shrike, highlights all of these principles and how wonderfully it operates in the natural surroundings. And now expect we present something unnatural, like drug. This entirely short-circuits the mechanism. All the health-promoting intermediate behaviors are avoided, and you leap right to the intense pleasure feedback. It becomes worse. The dosage needed to get the high keeps increasing. Eventually those captured in the trap care about absolutely nothing but the next hit of the unnatural substance. The sad example of lab rats, who are trained to press a lever to get a serving of a drug, is given. They will get hooked and overlook consuming, and eventually starve, because they keep pushing the lever. All of us understand that this can transfer to humans unfortunate enough to be victims of addition. And we know how exceptionally tough it is to leave the enjoyment trap into which they have fallen.
And back to the inspirational triad, contemporary society, with the vehicle and quick food dining establishments, has for the very first time in history made it possible for us to be couch potatoes, so we have the ability to genuinely take full advantage of satisfaction while lessening effort, which we have a strong evolutionary impulse to do.
In this century it has actually gotten much worse with over-processed manufactured foods. This is relentless, more and more overtaking our contemporary diet by increased amounts of over-processed foods, and crowding out natural foods, How this occurred progressively in the 20th century and into the 21st was chronicled by Michael Moss in Salt, Sugar, Fat. Now we have food researchers who understand how to find the “bliss point”, the perfect combination of compounds in food that trigger the most hyper-palatability.
Extremely pleasant experiences, like from eating exquisitely ripe berries or mating, are designed to be periodic rewards. Further, the real system for the intermediate feedback is different than the extreme pleasure feedback. It involves chemicals like serotonin or endorphins, for example, while extreme enjoyment includes ones like dopamine.
Our Exquisitely Tuned Satiety Mechanism
This describes why people have a lot trouble consuming the modern over-processed diet plan in small amounts. A few of us can get away with it on celebration, while for others it can trigger bingeing. I can get away with it sometimes, however it sure feels like “playing with fire”.
No types, including humans, gets thinner or fatter than is healthy in its natural environment. Numerous components in our modern diet plan defeat it, including foods that tend to be much greater in calorie density, outsmarting the stretch receptor, or have unnatural compounds in them that mess up satiety. And dont forget the “drug-like” hormonal results of the trigger foods that lead to the pleasure trap with addicting outcomes or, even for those lucky to be less delicate, something close to it.
Taking various foods and separating them into natural foods, with low calorie density, and high nutrient density, vs. unnatural foods with high calorie density and low nutrient density, is where Chef AJs red line came from. These are not being arbitrarily assigned as “bad or excellent” foods, they are simply foods we progressed to grow on vs. those that we were not. These natural foods, (AJs “purple foods”), are likely the only foods to the right of the red line it may be safe to consume “in moderation” (at least for some).
The authors finish up by explaining how water fasting has actually exercised for patients at their center. It has been shown for instance, to reverse hypertension in a matter of weeks. And there is the added benefit that after you come off from the quick, your taste have reset themselves so more health foods taste great. They emphasize that water fasting requires to be medically monitored or it can be harmful.
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Published by BionicOldGuy
May 3, 2021April 30, 2021
Now we have food researchers who understand how to discover the “bliss point”, the best mix of compounds in food that trigger the most hyper-palatability. Taking numerous foods and separating them into natural foods, with low calorie density, and high nutrient density, vs. abnormal foods with high calorie density and low nutrient density, is where Chef AJs red line came from. These are not being arbitrarily appointed as “good or bad” foods, they are just foods we progressed to grow on vs. those that we were not. Even for many plant foods, the natural kind in our ancestral diet was probably much less calorie dense than contemporary cultivated types. These natural foods, (AJs “purple foods”), are likely the only foods to the right of the red line it may be safe to consume “in moderation” (at least for some).
I am a Mechanical Engineer born in 1953, Ph. D, Stanford, 1980. I have been active in the mechanical CAE field for decades. I also have a lifelong interest in outside activities and physical fitness. I have had both hips replaced and a heart valve replacement due to a genetic condition. This blog chronicles my adventures in staying active regardless of these bumps in the roadway.
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