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Food - Arvind Narayanan's journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

Food [Sep. 21st, 2006|10:33 am]
Arvind Narayanan
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I've been eating 1.5 metric assloads of food a day recently (3500 calories/day, for those more familiar with imperial units). Eating bucketfuls of healthy food requires quite some effort, and I've been managing it with the help of neuropsychology research findings :)

When a severe amnesiac (none other than H.M., human guinea pig extraordinaire, who deserves a fucking nobel prize or two, and without whom neuroscience would probably still be in its infancy) was fed a full meal, and was offered another one only a minute later, he heartily ate it. And then a third, right after that. After the third meal he began to feel full though. What this proves is that our notion of hunger is not based on the level of shit in our intestines, but based on our recollection of eating.

While surprising when discovered, this fact is by now well known; in fact standard recommendations from weight-loss advocates include buying smaller plates: if you eat a plateful of food, your brain thinks you're full, even if the plate was smaller. (If only more people knew what a ridiculously imprecise internal represenatation we have of ourselves and the world around us, there'd be a riot :-)

Anyway, I manage to fool my brain into underestimating my food consumption by dissolving a large quantity of oatmeal (full of low-GI carbs, the best for gaining weight) in a big bowl of water and drinking it in about 30 seconds, all the while trying to focus on anything but the oatmeal. It works.
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[User Picture]From: smriti
2006-09-21 04:37 pm (UTC)
It works.
Maybe it does, because you're aware (all those papers) that it's supposed to ;-) Sorry couldn't resist.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2006-09-21 07:00 pm (UTC)

Re: oatmeal

When one talks of weight gain as a goal, one refers to muscle, whereas when you want to lose weight, its typically fat. So the two goals are actually complementary, at least in the sense that the same types of foods help you do both.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2006-09-21 10:17 pm (UTC)

Re: oatmeal

Well, my point in the original post was that it's not what you eat but how you eat it that determines how full you feel after the meal.
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[User Picture]From: skthewimp
2006-09-22 06:21 am (UTC)
strong agreer. that hunger is more in the mind than in the stomach. and if you are really engaged in something else you can peacefully carry on without eating.

and your post just reminded me that it's been 5 full hours since i had my breakfast, so now i've started hearing my stomach grumble!
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[User Picture]From: kadambarid
2006-09-22 03:22 pm (UTC)
When a severe amnesiac (none other than H.M., human guinea pig extraordinaire, who deserves a fucking nobel prize or two, and without whom neuroscience would probably still be in its infancy) was fed a full meal, and was offered another one only a minute later, he heartily ate it. And then a third, right after that. After the third meal he began to feel full though. What this proves is that our notion of hunger is not based on the level of shit in our intestines, but based on our recollection of eating.
Whoa! Dunno what to say...plain dumbfounded!
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2006-09-22 07:17 pm (UTC)
If you want lots more dumbfoundment along the same lines, you should check out the Reith lectures by Vilaynur Ramachandran. Available as both audio and transcripts on the web.

The most incredible brain story I've ever come across is what happens to people whose corpus callosum is severed. This is some seriously unbelievable shit. You won't believe it if I tell you, so I'll let you find out for yourself.
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[User Picture]From: kadambarid
2006-09-24 12:06 pm (UTC)
Righto! Will do.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-10-07 06:27 pm (UTC)
wow! I read about the experiments conducted and I agree with you! There iis some seriously unbelivable shit there! wow, Incredible!.........

must read for any one who is curious about human mind and brain!
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