Hugh Pickens writes:
Scott Adams of Dilbert fame writes on his blog that science's biggest fail of all time is 'everything about diet and fitness':
I used to think fatty food made you fat. Now it seems the opposite is true. Eating lots of peanuts, avocados, and cheese, for example, probably decreases your appetite and keeps you thin. I used to think vitamins had been thoroughly studied for their health trade-offs. They haven’t. The reason you take one multivitamin pill a day is marketing, not science. I used to think the U.S. food pyramid was good science. In the past it was not, and I assume it is not now. I used to think drinking one glass of alcohol a day is good for health, but now I think that idea is probably just a correlation found in studies.
According to Adams, the direct problem of science is that it has been collectively steering an entire generation toward obesity, diabetes, and coronary problems. But the indirect problem might be worse: It is hard to trust science because it has a credibility issue that it earned. "I think science has earned its lack of credibility with the public. If you kick me in the balls for 20-years, how do you expect me to close my eyes and trust you?"
Eating lots of peanuts, avocados, and cheese, for example, probably decreases your appetite and keeps you thin.
Woah, hold up there. Eating some of those things might help in the way he suggests, but eating lots (his word) certainly won't.
Well, I'm pretty sure that eating lots of those things decreases your appetite (just as eating a lot of basically anything does; it's called satiation).
At least some humans' appetites can be dramatically changed by eating "lots" of high-fat foods such as nuts, cheese, fatty fish, and other animal fats (don't trim that roast!), while avoiding processed carbs and foods with high starch content.
I always figured I'd die fat and happy, since I couldn't imagine relying on willpower to resist pizza indefinitely. However, my digestive system's ecosystem changed after approximately two weeks of radically altering what I ate, away from cold cereals, fruits, crackers, beans, and potatos and to bacon, eggs, cheese, fatty meats (beef, pork, chicken, fish), seeds, nuts, lettuce, broccoli, and SMALL amounts of fruit so I don't develop scurvy. Willpower is no longer needed. I drool over the tought of simple salads now, instead of tubs of raw cookie dough or bags of Doritos. To avoid ketosis [wikipedia.org], I make sure I consume 50-100 grams of non-vegetable carbohydrates a day, usually in the form of dark chocolate or fruit.
So, in my own experience, the claim you seem to find unbelievable is true: eating, say, four ounces of nuts as the main course of a meal after your gut bacteria has acclimated to such input DOES comparitively decrease felt hunger levels versus snacking all day on a box of carb-loaded dry cereal.
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't dismissing the general claim - just the writer's use of the word "lots," when in fact what you should try to eat is "the right amount" of those things, as you seem to have found.
eating, say, four ounces of nuts
Tell someone with an eating disorder that they can eat "lots" of something and it'll help them lose weight, and they won't stop at four ounces.
After the two week acclimation period, I've found that I can eat as much or as many high-fat foods as I want, including nuts. The notable change from past eating habits is that after a relatively small amount (2-6 ounces), I feel satiated. Satiation is a new experience for me, as I basically lived on processed carbs all my life up until a few years ago. Rather than being forced to stop eating because my stomach was nearing physical capacity, my subconcious brain now informs me after comparitively small portions that there is no need to eat any more right now, which effectively removes my motivation to continue eating. In other words, after using willpower to change my eating habits for a short time, willpower is no longer needed for portion control: "as much as I want" has become "the right amount".
Biochemists have apparently made the claim that the typical "food pyramid" diet suppresses the human body's ability to detect when it is satiated. My anecdotal experience appears to indicate this is true. The only source I can remember and find a link to that touches on this is a video of a presentation entitled "Sugar: The Bitter Truth [youtube.com]".