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By Serge Kreutz (2010)
"Psychological calories" are an entirely new way to look at the nutritional value of food, and its effect on weight gain or weight loss. We all know that the food we eat can be measured on a calorie scale. Calories are the energy which food provides when being burned in digestion.
Ideally, we should consume food that provides precisely the amount of energy we need for optimal physiological function.
However, humans and most other animals lack an organ to sense the energy value of food.
Nevertheless, humans and other animals do have sensations related to the consumption of food. Alas, this system lacks in fine-tuning.
We can feel hunger if we clearly lack food, and we can feel satiation when we have eaten enough or too much. In between these two poles are sensations like appetite (a desire for food because of its palatability) and food aversions (because we associate it with events of physical or mental discomfort).
All of this is very psychological, and much more complex than, for example, feeling too hot or too cold, or tired or sleepless.
However, conventional nutritional science, as well as all so-far devised weight loss diets, have failed to take into account the psychological satiation value of food.
One thing is sure: the psychological satiation value of food and the burn value of food do not match.
Availability of palatable food is a factor. In a world where tasty food is not available or not affordable, people may happily under-eat on food of limited taste appeal. They will be psychologically satiated on a diet that provides just enough energy for their daily activities.
However, a non-availability of tasty food is not the problem in the Western world. Not even in cities of developing countries.
So, if people in comparatively rich countries turn to food of little taste appeal, they will not be psychologically satiated. Instead, they will crave for the tasty food that is within their reach, if they give in to their appetite.
Now, if you live in a developed country, and have the money to buy standard food, an if you follow the concept of psychological calories, then you will not fill yourself up with burn-calories that do not satisfy your cravings.
I postulate here and now that it is better to right away eat the food that you crave for the most, and leave out all the lesser items.
This is why I can actually live a full day, or even two, on nothing but chocolate. These are the days I actually lose weight.
Because I can stop after eating 60 gram quite easily.
Anyway, I may eat another 20 gram after an hour, and another 20 gram after another hour.
I eat other food, too.
But I cannot eat just 60 gram of a standard meal. During a normal meal, I eat much more food in a shorter time. My chocolate with (decaffeinated) coffee meal of 60 grams of chocolate may take 20 minutes. But in a standard meal, I eat more burn-calories in half the time.
I still crave the chocolate... the full 60 gram... or even 100 gram.
I don't normally like to live with food cravings. I find them disturbing. I want my mind focused on my work, or sex, but not on controlling my food cravings.
So, unless I am on a weight-loss regimen, I will just eat the chocolate I crave.
If I now look at my burn-calorie stats, the meal that I ate before the chocolate, then I see that the normal meal was additional calories that I may convert into fat.
Normal meals, especially those of little taste appeal, provided a lot of burn-calories with very few psychological calories.
This is why I say: if you want to watch your weight, or avoid gaining weight, cut out the food you crave least, and just eat the one you crave most.
This is how you can even reach a point where you have full psychological calories at less than the burn-calories which your daily activities require, and lose weight without torturing yourself. (v*n)
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Copyright Serge Kreutz