X-Message-Number: 27330
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2005 11:51:39 -0800 (PST)
From: Doug Skrecky <>
Subject: 6'th update on food satiation experiments

    This is the sixth update on my food satiation experiments. The 5'th
update (copied below) was posted in August 2002. Although a number of
years have passed since the early experiments, I recently felt these had
been done under somewhat artificial conditions, and more experimentation
was warrented under more "real world" conditions, hence this sixth
    These satiation experiments recorded my total calorie intake while
consuming a defined diet over the course of one day. The original
experiments were done under a rather austere condition, where I ceased
eating after no longer feeling any "hunger pangs". However in the "real
world" neither I nor virtually anyone else stops eating so easily. Instead
under ab libidum conditions humans typically eat more "heartily" while
consuming food till it is no longer "fun". With the credo of "eating
heartily" recently a further series of one day feeding experiments were
completed, as shown below.
    As expected, calorie intake was increased under "eating heartily"
conditions. For low palatability foods average intake increased from 1589
to 2150 calories. For medium palatibility foods intake increased from 2183
to 2240 calories. For high palatibility foods intake increased from 2659
to 3876.
    In the original "hunger pang" driven experiments calorie intake had no
consistent correlation with any obvious food characteristics under low
palatability conditions. Low carb, low fat, low density, nothing made any
difference. With medium and high palatibility foods low caloric density
reduced intake, in some cases down to the level of low palatability
    One exception was adding water to spaghetti, which unlike adding
vegetables did not reduce calorie intake. This difference was accounted
for the increased eating time with vegetable laden spaghetti, which did
not occur with the mere addition of water. This all confirms numerous
experiments detailed in the medical literature regarding sensory specific
satiety, and the effects of food bulk on such satiety.
    Nonetheless the earlier set of experiments proved ultimately to be a
failure. Despite adding plenty of vegetables to my meals I have remained
overweight. Obviously I had missed something important, and the current
series of experiments were directed to identify what this factor was.
    Under the "eating heartily" condition caloric density became a
universal driver of intake, even under low palatability conditions, as
witness the increased intake of pecans relative to plain spaghetti.
Increased palatability did not always increase intake, as witness the
addition of tomatoes to spaghetti. However adding tomatoes would also act
to decrease caloric density, so the neutral effect of adding tomatoes
could have been expected.
    One major surprise was the extreme stimulation of appetite which
occured with the simple substitution of tomato sauce for tomatoes. This
substitution increased intake of spaghetti dinner from a modest 2585
calories to an incredible 3876 calories! The fact that I consume tomato
sauce very often, and tomato hardly ever, may possibly be one reason for
my lack of weight loss on a vegetable laden diet.
    Although more experiments will be needed to positively identify the
appetite stimulating factor(s) in tomato sauce a preliminary examination
of the contents yielded the unexpected fact that sugars accounted for 35%
of the calories. Further investigation revealed that most other tomato
sauces had even higher amounts of sugars.
    Here's what I think is happening. Does food taste good? Yes - eat
more. Does food still taste good? Yes - it is sweet - eat lots more.
Repeat the this many times, until completely stuffed to the gills.
    As a tentative hypothesis sweetness induced appetite stimulation might
be the secret behind the immense sales of tomato sauces to an unsuspecting
and rather often over-weight public. Personally, I would never consider
adding several tablespoons of sugar to every supper meal, but that is
exactly what is happening every time tomato sauce is used in place of
    Summary: Calorie intake appears to be driven by two main factors.
These are increased palatability and increased caloric density. With
sufficiently high palatability it becomes difficult to decrease caloric
density enough to offset this. Thus palatability presumedly must also be
decreased for sustainable weight loss to be feasible.

FOOD                                 DENSITY INTAKE
spaghetti (by itself)                 medium 1964
pecans                                high   2335
average:                                     2150

FOOD                                 DENSITY INTAKE
rice/tomatoes                         medium 1874
spaghetti/tomatoes                    medium 1892
soup                                  low    1931
spaghetti/cheese/tomatoes             medium 2585
cashews                               high   2917
average:                                     2240

FOOD                                 DENSITY INTAKE
spaghetti/cheese/tomato sauce         medium 3876  !!
average:                                     3876

Food details:
Cheese: No-Name fat free process
Rice: Lunberg Basmati brown rice
Soup: Campbell's Bean & Bacon
Spaghetti: Catelli durum whole wheat semolina
Tomatoes: fresh, unsalted, diced & boiled
Tomato sauce: Catelli Country Mushroom (35% sugar)


    This is the fifth update on my food satiation experiments, in which I
compare my own ad libitum calorie intake of various foods over a period of
one day.
    Recently I examined the effect of caloric density on caloric intake of
spagetti. Daily intake of high palatibility spaghetti was 2938 calories.
Mixing 1.25 liters of water with the spaghetti in a separate test on a
different day yielded an intake of 2964 calories. However replacing the
water with 1.09 liter of cauliflower reduced total intake to just 1576
calories, without changing palatibility. Substituting 1.03 liter of
broccoli for the cauliflower yielded an intake of 1606 calories, but
palatibility was reduced to medium levels. The amount of chewing, as well
as the total time to consume the spaghetti was increased when cauliflower,
or broccoli, but not water was added.
    At another extreme I tried eating nothing but low palatability
blanched almonds all day. To my great surprise intake was the lowest in
the test, at 1320 calories.
    I have found that decreasing caloric density usually reduces intake in
medium and high palatability foods. Apparently the key factor is the time
taken to eat the food. In contrast low caloric density exerts no
beneficial effect in low palatability foods. The two lowest intakes were
for almonds, and rye bread. Both of these foods were eaten mostly during
snacks, and major meals were themselves spontaneously replaced by large
snacks. It appears snacking a lot may slightly reduce intake of low
palatability foods.

FOOD                                 DENSITY INTAKE
almonds                                high   1320
rye bread                              medium 1388
Gala apples                            low    1413
chicken breast                         low    1478
rye crispbread                         high   1564
rice cake with turkey, mustard         low    1602
vegetables/cottage cheese           very low  1768
potato      (skipped lunch next day)   low    2179
average:                                      1589

FOOD                                 DENSITY INTAKE
spaghetti & 1.02 liter broccoli        low    1606
yogurt, fruit, no fat & Gala apples    low    1976
2% fat chocolate milk                  medium 2100
yogurt, fruit, sugar                   medium 2354
rye sandwich with turkey, mustard      medium 2371
peanuts           (malabsorption)      high   2689
average:                                      2183

FOOD                                 DENSITY INTAKE
yogurt, fruit, no fat                  low    1483
spaghetti & 1.09 liter cauliflower     low    1576
angel food cake, jam                   medium 2936
spaghetti                              medium 2938
spaghetti & 1.25 liter water           low    2964
cookies & chili                        high   4055
average:                                      2659

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