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Overeating Caused By Consuming Too Many Flavors All At Once

A major cause of overeating is eating too many flavors all at once, triggering the hypothalamus in the brain to ask for more food, says David Katz, M.D.//

Dr Katz of the Prevention Research Center and the Rudd Food Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University, has written a new book, “The Flavor Point Diet”, based on a phenomenon he said is well studied, but is well known only to appetite researchers—sensory specific satiety.

"The longer we stay hungry, the more diverse the flavors in a meal or snack," said Katz, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale School of Medicine. "If flavors are thoughtfully distributed, we fill up on fewer calories. This explains why, for instance, people can eat a holiday meal to the point of feeling unpleasantly full, yet still have room for dessert. It's because of sensory specific satiety; the hypothalamus strongly responds to flavors."

In a pilot study of Katz's eating plan conducted for 12 weeks on 20 men and women and their families, the mean weight loss was 16 pounds with persons losing from 10 to 31 pounds. The study participants also lost body fat and saw their cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin, and blood pressure decline.

He said ethnic foods, such as Italian and Indian, are good examples of flavor thematic eating. Top chefs also plan meals around a harmonious blend of flavors. Katz said sensory specific satiety most likely evolved because dietary variety was difficult to achieve when humans had to gather and hunt for food. It takes a variety of foods to provide all of nutrients we need. But the survival advantage this trait offered our ancestors is now a disadvantage because we are perpetually exposed to an unprecedented variety of foods. The result is an over-stimulated appetite center, too much eating and weight gain.

Another problem, according to Katz, is that the food industry appears to spike processed food with superfluous flavors such as
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