Recently, I crossed something off of my bucket list…
I tried the Dorito Locos Taco at Taco Bell.
As a taco aficionado, I gotta say it was amazing. In fact, it was really hard to stop eating! When I was talking to Adam (my health coach) about this he was telling me how food like this is engineered to be addicting. The combo of salt, sugar and fat can override our brains ability to regulate itself. Science.
Have you ever noticed how you can stop eating a bowl of veggies but it’s much harder to stop eating chips or cookies?
Adam recommended the book The End of Overeating to me – because I couldn’t get over how hard it was to stop eating the Dorito Locos Taco. The book is all about why food is so hard to resist. It’s also a fascinating look into how restaurant chains (like Taco Bell) create food that is as tasty and as addictive as possible.
Here are some of the nuggets (ha!) I got from it:
- Before you eat, ask yourself, “Am I going to feel better after I eat this? Am I going to be satisfied.”
- Fat and sugar levels both influence preference. Sugar, salt and fat are a killer combo.
- A bowl of M&Ms can be reinforcing before you touch a single one.
- Location is also a potent cue.
- Rats could eat as much chocolate as they wanted. Then they offered the rats the choice between a banana or chocolate. The rats chose the banana because of the novelty.
- We have a powerful connection and association between food and memories. It’s undeniable. Just ask people what they did on September 10, 2001. The food industry sells a similar emotional connection.
- We tend to top off an excessive meal with an indulgent dessert. It’s the additive effects of an agreeable flavor combination.
- A cookie also needs to look like a cookie regardless of health. How the mind sees food is very important. Consistency in food (appearance, taste, smell, etc) is important for sensory impact.
- Highly rewarding food becomes reinforcing. It makes us feel better, motivates us to return and do work to feel better again.
- Chronic exposure to highly palatable foods changes our brains, it conditions us to seek continued stimulation. This creates hypereating.
- We can suppress thoughts only for short periods of time. When we actively try to avoid thinking about something, we start to focus and obsess over it. Don’t think about a white panda.
- Plan out your behavior to avoid old cues. Drive a new way to work. Replace old interactions with completely new ones.
- Having someone around who can help you recognize and avoid cues and acknowledge your success makes the process easier. Bring people around you who can support you and make it easy to form new habits.
- People think they are more full if they believe what they ate was an entree instead of an appetizer.
- Protein empties from stomach at 4 calories a minute, sugars are 10 calories a minute, fat is 2 calories a minute. Fat tricks you though cause it processes the satiety signal slowly. Hence fats aren’t bad in moderation. The longer it takes to leave stomach the more full you feel. High fiber foods are good because they assimilate the body slowly too: brown rice, etc instead of white counterparts who get processed more quickly.
- Basic formula: In nature foods have high-fiber and protein with small amounts of fat.
- Build a food plan that can last a lifetime and is around your own preferences.
- Refuse / discard things you can’t control. Limit your exposure to things that trigger an eating cue. Have alternatives. Distract yourself with other things. “Change the channel.”
Adam also taught me to rate my eating on a scale from 1 to 5. I do this during and after meals and it helps me be more aware and discover if I’m really hungry or just eating for the sake of eating.