Newsletter #185 - Appetite Regulation & Energy Intake 🥧
Welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of the humanOS newsletter! We of course wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday week. Given the approaching holiday and its renowned association with indulgent eating, it seems all too appropriate that we came across a few studies which examined some subtle factors that can have a surprisingly big impact on energy intake. Scroll on down to learn more 👇🏻
This Week's Research Highlights
🍽️ Plate size may affect how much food people believe that they have eaten.
Researchers in Malaysia recruited 58 undergraduate students and had them attend a lunch buffet on two separate occasions, during which food was self-served using either a small (7-inch/18cm) or a large (9-inch/23cm) plate. Subjects were asked how much energy they thought they were consuming, and the weight of the food was measured to estimate actual energy intake. The researchers found that when participants were using the small plates, their perceived dietary intake was higher than their actual dietary intake. But while using the larger plate, it was the exact inverse: they underestimated how much food they were eating. This distortion led to an additional average intake of 122 calories - a 23% increase - when eating with the 9-inch plate compared to the 7-inch plate.
🧆 A larger portion on your plate is likely to lead to overeating.
Researchers at Penn State recruited 44 subjects to participate in a weekly lunch over the course of four weeks. At each meal, they were given different-sized portions of macaroni and cheese (in random order). As you might expect, the participants did not exhibit a ton of self-regulation - when they were given more food, they generally ate more food. In fact, when the portion size was increased by 75%, subjects consumed as much as 43% more mac-and-cheese. Notably, participants also tended to eat more when they ate faster, or took bigger bites of food. Study author Paige Cunningham said: "When we eat really quickly, obviously the food is spending less time in our mouth. And when we take really large bites, the food is spending less time in our mouths. So, these signals take longer, it takes longer for these signals to tell us to stop eating and we end up eating more when we take larger bites and eat faster."
📱 Eating while reading or using a smartphone may increase caloric intake.
Researchers recruited 62 adults for a series of experimental snack tests. In three different sessions, participants ate while either 1) using a smartphone, 2) reading a magazine, or 3) with no distractions. Food was weighed before and after each session, and total caloric intake was measured at the end of each snack test. Subjects ate, on average, 15% more calories if they were provided a distractor while eating. There was no statistically significant difference between printed versus electronic media.
Random Trivia & Weird News
🦝 In 1926, President Coolidge and his wife were given a raccoon to be served for the annual Thanksgiving dinner (yeah, I know, olden times 🤷🏽♀️).
However, the Coolidges took a liking to the creature, and decided to keep her as a pet instead.
They named her Rebecca, and she became a special favorite of the family. She was given free rein in the White House, and even attended White House events.
Podcasts We Loved This Week
- Josh Turknett: Holistic approaches to help people end chronic migraines. Via STEM-Talk.
- James Clear: Building and changing habits. Via Peter Attia.
Products We Are Enjoying
Instant Pot Duo Nova Pressure Cooker 7 in 1
I can’t recommend this thing enough. It is the veritable Swiss army knife of kitchen appliances, functioning as a rice cooker, pressure cooker, and steamer all in one. It’s also energy-efficient, super easy to use, and can cook things like legumes, grains, potatoes, tubers, etc. really fast without requiring much effort on your end. Good for people who want to eat healthy without putting in a lot of work. Now, if you’re considering buying one, this upcoming week is likely to be a good time, as this is exactly the sort of thing that is frequently subject to Black Friday deals 👀
humanOS Catalog Feature of the Week
Food Environment and Weight Control
This week, we’d like to highlight one of the courses from the Ideal Weight Program, developed by our good friend Stephan Guyenet.
What is the true cause of the obesity epidemic? This is an incredibly complicated and multi-factorial problem, but on a high level, it is thought to be the result of genetically/metabolically susceptible individuals living in an obesogenic environment and adopting an obesogenic lifestyle.
Logically, the most effective solution would be to alter the modifiable risk factors - meaning remove the obesogenic environment. However, this is obviously quite difficult to do on a national/global scale. Maybe impossible. But could you make some changes to your own food environment? (Of course, this week specifically might be a bit challenging!)
In this course, Stephan explains how our food environment has changed over time, why it is so crucial for body weight regulation and highlights some science-based tips for how you can restructure your own food environment for optimal health over the long haul.
Thanks for reading, have a happy Thanksgiving, and we will see y'all next week! 🦃