Pleasure is not only a vital element that makes our meals nutritionally complete, and makes life worth living. It is also a powerful weight loss strategy.
Us humans, as well as all organisms on the planet, are genetically programmed to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
Any behavior you can imagine can be seen as either of these or a mix of both. In light of our eating, when we eat, we are seeking the pleasure of food and avoiding the pain of hunger. Destiny has fashioned for us a body that’s wired for joy.
“When you’re turned on by food, you turn on metabolism”
In a study at the University of Texas, participants with very high cholesterol levels were places on a low-fat diet; however; they were allowed to splurge every other day on a milkshake and a ham and cheese sandwich. According to conventional wisdom they should have experienced a significant rise in blood cholesterol, but there was none. (1) The slow down diet.
The only elevation they showed was that of enjoyment. Despite the high-fat content of the splurge foods, their cholesterol-raising effect was somehow mitigated by the chemistry of pleasure. It isn’t hard to imagine that the splurges were the ony relaxed and celebrate moments in an otherwise bland and stressful diet. And that decrease in fight-or-flight chemistry could have been, by itself, enough to lower cholesterol.
The nutritional value of a food is not merely given in the nutrients it contains but is dependent upon the synergistic factors that help us absorb those nutrients. Remove vitamin P, pleasure, and the nutritional value of our food plummets.
Add pleasure as a weight loss strategy , and your meal is metabolically optimized.
So if you’re the kind of person who eats foods that are “good for you” even though you don’t like them, or if you think you can have a lousy diet and make up for it by eating a strange-tasting vitamin-fortified protein bar, or if you’ve simply banished pleasure because you don’t have enough time to cook or find a sumptuous meal- then you aren’t doing yourself any nutritional favor.
You are slamming shut the door on a key metabolic pathway.
Most people think that Pleasure is completely separate from the nutritional process and serves no metabolic function, but it can actually be a powerful weight loss strategy
We believe that if food makes us feel good the body is automatically stimulated to eat more.
In the book, The slow down diet, Marc David explains that in the absence of pleasurable satiation, one of the chemicals that increases our appetite is neuropeptide Y. It tells us to search for food. It is naturally elevated in the morning, which makes sense because that’s when the body is readying itself for action. Neuropeptide Y is also elevated whenever we are deprived of food.
It’s presense is particularly enhanced after dieting. Whenever we sink into a low blood sugar state-which usually means we are also in a low mood-neuropeptide Y is increased and stimulates us to consume carbohydrates.
So, if you deny yourself the pleasure of food through low-calorie eating or if you restrict yourself to a fun-free diet, the body responds by chemically demanding pleasure and satisfaction.
The lesson is that we cannot escape the biological imperative to party and enjoy. No matter how stingy we are with eating, the body will not be denied.