I follow the Zenhabits blog, and was amused to hear of the author’s latest challenge for May, that is, to go without food reward.
No, he’s not going on a Soylent-only diet (darn!) but he’ll be eating only seitan, potatoes, and veggies, prepared plainly with no spices or seasonings (supplemented with olive oil and protein powder).
This is interesting not only because some other Soylent-backers may be inspired to do a similar challenge when their Soylent arrives (or with their homemade equivalents) but also because he linked to a really interesting series of blog posts on food reward.
According to the second blog post in the series, in the 1960’s, an experiment was done with humans (not just rats) using what sounds very much like Soylent, dispensed from a machine with a tube. “carbohydrate supplied 50 per cent of the calories, protein 20 per cent and fat 30 per cent. the formula contained vitamins and minerals in amount adequate for daily maintenance.”
From the blog post:
This machine-feeding regimen was nearly as close as one can get to a diet with no rewarding properties whatsoever. Although it contained carbohydrate and fat, it did not contain any flavor or texture to associate them with, and thus the reward value of the diet was minimized. As one would expect if food reward influences the body fat setpoint, lean volunteers maintained starting weight and a normal calorie intake, while their obese counterparts rapidly lost a massive amount of fat and reduced calorie intake dramatically without hunger. This suggests that obesity is not entirely due to a “broken” metabolism (although that may still contribute), but also at least in part to a heightened sensitivity to food reward in susceptible people. This also implies that obesity may not be a disorder, but rather a normal response to the prevailing dietary environment in affluent nations.
Now, I’m not looking to lose weight with Soylent, but I have been intrigued by the opportunity to get a better sense of the psychology of my own eating habits. I’ve already learned a lot from my own DIY experiments in the last month or two. Now, inspired by this “food reward” perspective, I’m really curious to try keeping my own DIY soylent as flavorless as possible, instead of adding cocoa powder and stevia as I’ve been doing for the past few weeks…
Has anyone else noticed any differences in their relationship to food since adopting a more “bland” diet thanks to DIY soylent?
Anyone looking forward to potentially losing weight thanks to the blandness of official Soylent when their shipment arrives?