Satiety: Why People Get Fat

4년 전

In the land of body weight, satiety is king.

‘Satiety’ is science-talk for feeling full. Satiety is caused by eating food. Information about the amount of food in your GI tract — like how much it’s stretching your stomach (‘gastric distension’) — is communicated from your gut to your brainstem and hypothalamus by peptide signals (with arbitrary and silly names) like cholecystokinin, glucagon-like peptide 1, and peptide YY.

If these signals are strong enough, voila! Your appetite is curbed.

Why is satiety so important to fat loss? Because we’re always getting hungry, we’re always eating, and we’re always getting full — one of the great circles of life.

And when it comes to satiety, wait for it…foods are not equal. Per calorie, some foods are far more filling than others. (Sources: 1,2,3,4)

It’s hard to overstate the importance of this.

Let’s assume you’re not an ascetic monk who chooses a life of continual hunger pangs. In this case, you will generally, more or less, most of the time, often enough to count….eat until you feel somewhat full.

And if you consistently eat foods that are on the less-filling end of the spectrum, you will need to eat more of them — eat more total calories, in other words — to feel full.

So you will eat more total calories. (Because you’re not an ascetic monk who chooses a life of continual hunger pangs.)

And we all know what happens when you consistently eat more calories. You gain fat. And if you give it enough time — unless you’re a genetic luck-pot — you get fat.

While some people are genetically disposed to be fat, most people get fat because their regular diet contains less-filling foods.

And most people can get skinny by removing the less-filling foods from their regular diet and replacing them with more-filling foods (that still taste good; no ascetic monk-ing required).

The key to everything is to base your diet on more-filling foods.

But what foods are more filling, and which are less filling? Where is this elusive satiety spectrum?

It’s very simple. You don’t have to worry about any details. Just one, all-important, neon-bright dividing line:

processed foods vs. whole foods

Processed foods (definition to come) are generally much less filling than whole foods.

And because processed foods are less filling, when people have unlimited access to processed foods (like most of us do) they tend to eat more total calories. (Sources: 1,2,3)

Food processing is a science, an art, and an evolutionary novelty. It creates uber delicious foods that are aliens to our body’s satiety system — which evolved regulating whole-food diets.

For all its alleged complexity, the obesity epidemic is very simple. People eat too much processed food. A 2015 study found that 77% of the food Americans buy is processed — and that 61% is ‘highly processed.’

This is why 71% of us are overweight.

There are no mysterious forces at play — most of the food we eat is processed, so most of us are overweight. That’s it.

And in the cause lies the cure. Get in the habit of eliminating processed food from your regular diet. (The diet you follow most days of the week.)

But what exactly is ‘processed food,’ aside from obvious junk foods? Great question.
The term processed food isn’t in the dictionary, so here’s a useful definition:

processed food n : a food with an ingredients list longer than one item

Tune in next week.

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Very interesting way to define processed foods. I always thought of processed foods as raw food that has been put in packages and various items are added to it to make it taste good. For example, sugar and salt. This changed the way I look at it.


Thanks for reading epearson. I'm happy you took something from it. A lot of people think like you used to--that GMOs and additives and "chemicals" are what make certain foods unhealthy. (Everything in the physical world is made of 100% chemicals [not 99%], naturally occurring arsenic exists in our bodies, GMOs have never been proven unhealthy, and most food additives have been approved by international regulatory bodies with strict safety standards.)

Your old type of thinking leads to people forsaking fruit at Walmart and buying expensive organic soda (this actually exists) and non-GMO candy bars from Whole Foods.

There are only four truly "fattening" food ingredients: added sugar, white flour, vegetable oil, and processed meat. (And also all sugary drinks, especially juice.) These are all utterly ubiquitous in the Western food supply.

I'll defend all this in future posts :)


Organic soda. That's just sounds off. I've given up on juice a long time ago and drink filtered water. Looking forward to your future posts.

There also seems to be a correlation between various fat consumption and satiety. Polyunsaturated fats do not strigger the same processes as saturated fats in the mitochondria. Basically saturated fats signal for more fat to stay in the blood and trigger satiety. PUFA's do not work the same way, they keep accepting theses fatty acids into the cell allowing it to enlarge. Therefore, contributing to obesity.

Comparing correlation, we see a big rise in obesity around the same time that we started demonizing saturated fat in america and promoting PUFA use.


Hey supreme, I'm not sure about the precise cellular mechanisms, but I am sure that vegetable oil (which is polyunsaturated) is among the most fattening substances on Earth. It's right up there with added sugar, particularly in the way these oils are ubiquitously added to nearly all processed foods.

Can home cooked food be considered a whole food? It’s very unlikely that we get unprocessed food this days, so is the complexities of Obesity. Can home cooked food help solving the problem of obesity?


Hey Teejay,

Whole foods include many types of meat, potatoes, butter, fruits, vegetables, certain whole grains, and nuts (without added vegetable oil).

If you look at the ingredients list and it's more than one thing, you're looking at a processed food. If there is no ingredients list (like, say, an apple), you're usually looking at a whole food.

The only practical exceptions to this rule are white pasta (which is made up of one processed ingredient--white flour--and is thus a processed food) and most dairy products (which have more than one ingredient, none of which are fattening [with the exceptions of sugar-added yogurt and chocolate milk]. Modern dairy products are technically 'processed' but are basically healthy for people without lactose intolerance, and should be counted as 'whole foods').

Home cooking is almost always better than eating at a restaurant, but is almost meaningless by itself. For example, you'd be better off eating steak at a restaurant than cooking up a big batch of white flour noodles at home and smothering it with home-cooked tomato-and-sugar sauce (also known as 'pasta').

The ingredients list is more important than whether you cooked the food at home.



Thank you logicalfatloss, you have always been very quick to respond and come up with a logical explanations. It is very convincing and your knowledge of food is truly in depth. Do you have any other social media platforms or personal blog? i would like to follow your contents.


Hey Teejay,

I'm glad you've read some of my stuff. Thanks for the compliments.

You can follow me on Twitter and my website.

I've been writing a book on the comprehensive theory of fat-loss for like seven years, and it should finally be coming out mid-year. I'll be sure to tell you when it's done :)

In the meantime, I'll be randomly posting on here and my website.


logicalfatloss Quite a number of things can play a position in weight gain. those encompass weight-reduction plan, lack of workout, elements in someone's environment, and genetics. some of these factors are discussed briefly beneath.

Thanks for sharing >> @logicalfatloss


No problem! Thanks for reading.

thank you for the clearification. i use to think that obesity is been caused by excess starch in ones diet, never know that processed is among. Please can you link your site to mine?


Hey healthbid, I'm not sure what you mean. How do you want me to link my site to yours?

Same applies for fruits. You should always skip the juices, since you end up taking in more than is necessary when it comes to juices. Consuming the fruit directly is more beneficial.


mandeep.vicky, truer words have never been typed.

thanks for sharing , i really need to read that , cuz i have gained more weight !