Monday, February 26, 2007

Food processing and Hunger

I sort of hit on this with the carbohydrate post last week, but I think it deserves more attention.
I read a study where people were given breakfast where they could eat as much as they liked. Then they were assigned to have either a 100 cal apple, 100 cal worth of applesauce, or a 100 cal glass of apple juice as a snack. There was also a control group that didn't get a snack. They then ate a lunch and the researchers counted the calories.

Those who had an apple as a snack ate, on average, about 100 calories less than did the control group that didn't have a snack (compensating for the apple). Those who had the apple sauce for a snack ate significantly fewer calories at lunch than did the control group, but significantly more than the group that had an apple for lunch (partial compensation). Those who had apple juice for lunch ate about the same number of calories as the group that didn't get a snack (no compensation).

Your body is not good at counting liquid calories (in order to compensate for them). Of course soda is the major culprit here, but milk, tea, coffee, alcohol, and juices have the same effect. To a lesser extent, simply processing a food will decrease your body's ability to recognize those calories as they come in.

Do you know what they do to wheat nowadays? When we grind our own wheat at home we have to freeze it so that it won't go rancid in a few weeks. The oils in fresh ground wheat go rancid relatively quickly. When is the last time you froze your flour? What is in your flour? or should I ask what has been taken out of your flour and why?

Honestly, there aren't any studies with wheat like there are with apples, but the more processed the wheat, the more it is digested like sugar (white bread and sugar are really quite similar). Remember those graphs from the carbohydrate day? Well, the more processed (white bread) will cause blood glucose dips like are seen with sugar. Whole wheat bread, on the other hand, does not have the same effect. I want to bring to your attention that the good breads are "whole wheat". "Wheat bread" is white bread (made from wheat flour) that has been dyed with food coloring (it's a marketing thing).

What do you think a corn-dog will do to your satiation/hunger situation? I don't know, but I have a couple of guesses. Twinkies, with a near infinite shelf-life, do you supposed that those are made with all natural ingredients, designed to make you feel full?

My next post will sort of wrap things up on nutrition. I'm going to try and bring it all together and give suggestions on meal plans that will help keep you feeling full and provide a balanced, healthy diet. You've heard almost everything that I have to say about weight loss, but there's a lot more that I could say about bone health, inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, etc. If you want to hear about anything, leave a comment and I'll post something (or let you know that I really don't have the foggiest idea).


Phil said...

Thank you for all the great posts on this topic, I have so many questions, but I guess the biggest ones that stand out in my mind are, whats the nutritional facts on the Corn Syrup debate? Some people seem to believe it's the cause of all fat people, is it really much worse then traditional sugar?

Also, where do things like noodles and rice fall in the nutrition game? My wife holds the believe we should have a "starch" every meal, but I feel like that's old 50s nutrition.

sans auto said...

phil --corn syrup, I can't believe that I never mentioned high fructose corn syrup. It's evil, very evil. In addition to being highly concentrated calories that our bodies poorly regulate, the large quantity of fructose in corn syrup may contribute to diabetes. You see, the fructose is able to bipass regulatory enzymes and flood cells with energy that it doesn't need. This may contribute to insulin resistance and subsequently diabetes.

As far as starches go, I intend on hitting on that next time. In short, the fiber you get from brown rice is wonderful and foods like that should be consumed daily. Noodles, on the other hand can be fairly simple carbs and more moderation is in order. Come back in a couple of days for a more in-depth answer.

Margaret said...

I love brown rice, and always get it with my Thai food. And I hate apple juice, but love apples. I don't like grape juice--but love grapes. I do think that the sensation of chewing is very important(does that sound silly?); that's why raw crunchy cauliflower and carrots make a great snack.

Lars said...

Keep the info coming. I enjoy the information in the straight forward manner in which you present it. These are all things I think more about in my life as I get older and my kids get to the age where I can start to teach them why and how to eat healthy.