#257 Why Can't I Stop Eating That? The Struggle With Hyper Palatable Foods-(Encore episode)

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If you’ve ever felt out of control when it comes to food, this is an episode that you don’t want to miss. 

Have you ever considered that food itself and the way you’ve conditioned yourself to eat are bigger problems than your willpower? 

In this episode, I’ll tell you all about hyper-palatable foods.

These foods are extra tasty because of the combination of fats, sugar, salts, and carbohydrates in them.

They're also the foods that have led to the idea of food addictions. 

Listen in to hear:

-What Hyper-palatable foods are

-How they affect your eating behaviors

-What you can do to take back the power over your food choices so you are in control of your food instead of the food being in control of you. 


90 Days of Wellness

Hyper‐Palatable Foods: Development of a Quantitative Definition and Application to the US Food System Database

Supra-Additive Effects of Combining Fat and Carbohydrate on Food Reward

What we eat in America

Food and nutrient database for dietary studies

Which Foods May Be Addictive? The Roles of Processing, Fat Content, and Glycemic Load




Read the full transcript here:


Laura Lummer 0:00
You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a Certified Life health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Let's get started. Hey, friends, welcome to episode 250/7 of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. And you're listening to Tuesday terrain talks. This episode of Tuesday, train talks is going to come out on the Fourth of July. And a lot of you in the United States are going to be out barbecuing and celebrating and feasting. And I thought there's no better time to bring back episode 93. Why can't I stop eating the struggle with hyper palatable foods because that struggle is real has a lot to do with our metabolic health. In this episode, you're going to hear all about what a hyper palatable food is. And why you sometimes catch yourself saying I can't stop eating that I can't have only one that food is calling to me. I can't have that food in my house because I can't stop myself from eating it. Or why you go out and sometimes way over eat food to the point where you feel physically uncomfortable. I'm going to give you all the details, insights and some really valuable studies and information. And you'll be able to find links to all of those studies in the shownotes at the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash 157. This is an awesome episode to revisit and reconsider because it fits right in with taking care of the train. And it's a starting point for many, many people, especially those of us living in the Western world, and conditioned to eat what we call the SAD diet, the standard American diet. I think it's a great episode not only to have awareness for yourself, of what might be going on with the food, that makes changing your eating habits even more challenging, but for those of you who are still raising families or taking care of other people, again, I think it's a very important thing because we realize that it's not just us who have had a cancer diagnosis that need to be very mindful of how we use food to support our metabolic health. But if we are the person in the home, who's also the primary person preparing food for other people, it's important to remember that this is how we all support each other. So being aware of what these foods are, can provide a tremendous benefit for your entire family. And it's important for everybody, because we don't want to just look at our metabolic health, and how we support our train after we've had the diagnosis of something serious. We want to think about supporting our metabolic train now, because the best way to heal cancer is to never get cancer is to be preventative. And preventative means taking all the steps to create the healthiest lifestyle you can before a diagnosis. So it's as important for us as we're trying to recover, as we're trying to rebuild our health, as we're trying to support ourselves through treatment. And as we think about food we provide in our homes for other people that we love. So I hope you enjoy this episode. And when you listen to it, I also want you to consider if you need support in this area, I offer a fantastic program. It's called the 90 days of wellness. And it is a heart centered approach to wellness. And what that means is that is not a restrictive diet. In fact, it's not a diet at all. And it's a program that includes coaching, and can give you a tremendous amount of support in how you think about what you're putting into your body. How you understand what's important to put into your body, and how you can change your mindset so you don't do those things, feeling deprived. Now you can find the 90 days of wellness inside the better than before breast cancer life coaching, membership, that and all of the other standalone programs I've created, all live inside the membership. So you not only get the benefits of being in the life coaching membership, but you get to access all of these amazing programs also, they are also currently available on their own and that might be changing soon. So if you're interested in doing it, you should definitely check out the 90 days of wellness. It's on my website, the breast cancer week. Every coach.com forward slash wellness and get the help you need to make small sustainable changes out of love for your body and love for your ability to support your optimal wellness. Alright, I hope you enjoy this encore performance of episode 93.

Laura Lummer 5:20
Okay, so let's jump into the show. At the time of this recording, we are coming up to the end of my five day sugar challenge. And I have to tell you, it has been a really great experience, it's been a lot of fun. This challenge is all about taking a mindful approach to eating and drinking sugary foods. And contrary to what you might expect, we're not talking that much about food. Because food usually isn't the problem. The way you think about food, and the way you react to your thoughts and urges and cravings is far more powerful than changing the food that you eat. changing your mindset is the key to changing your food choices, not turning to willpower, as so many people think I wanted to talk about this today because I know that one of the biggest concerns after a diagnosis of breast cancer is what should I eat? We worry that what we eat will lead to a cancer recurrence. Or we're hopeful that what we eat will support the prevention of a recurrence. And we're correct on both counts. lifestyle habits are major contributors to cancer. And they include food, physical activity, stress reduction, smoking, alcohol consumption, body weight and several other factors. The studies in this area have conflicting data. But even so they show that lifestyle habits contribute to anywhere from 70 to 90%. of cancer diagnoses. So when it comes to food the jury's still out because the studies say that the correlation between overweight and cancer in specific foods and cancer make it difficult to determine which one is the biggest contributing factor. Is it the food? Or is it the excess body fat. But at the end of the day, they both play a role because obviously food contributes to being overweight. Now before the sugar challenge began last week, I asked the women in the challenge what their biggest issue around sugary foods was. And I heard a lot about cravings, which is what inspired me to do this episode about a particular type of food that is very prevalent in our quote unquote Western diet. These foods are actually designed to make it more difficult for you to say no to them. They're created to make your brain want more of them. And by created I mean that food manufacturers spent a lot of money and time researching what combinations of ingredients have the most powerful impact on the reward center of a consumers brain. They work to develop the right colors, fragrances and flavors that keep you coming back for more food. And this isn't just the packaged food in the grocery house. This includes fast foods from the big familiar chains that many of us wait in line for breakfast, lunch and or dinner. So these foods are called hyper palatable foods. And according to terra firma Zeno at the Kauffman Logan center for addiction research and treatment at the University of Kansas. A hyper palatable food is one where the synergy between the components of the food such as fat, sodium, sugar, and carbohydrates make that food tastier than it would otherwise be. So think of fast food, french fries, burgers, and chicken sandwiches are packaged cookies and brownies. And they don't really taste like the foods that you make at home. But they're so good. You feel like you can't stop eating them until they're gone. Then there are also foods we prepare at home and in restaurants in such a way that the combination of fats, salt and sugar used in cooking them, make them so good that you have to lay on the couch to recover from eating right, what the heck, we eat to the point of physical discomfort. Why do we do that? Well, it isn't happening because you don't have any willpower. On the one hand, there's the abundance of hyper palatable foods. And on the other there's the way we've conditioned ourselves to eat, which is unconsciously for the most part, and often powerlessly. Meaning that we say I can't help myself. So we're going to dig into both of those issues today. Your amazing body and it truly is a fantastic intuitive, amazing creation. It has all kinds of mechanisms in place to maintain your heart rate your temperature to he'll itself. And among many other things, your body rewards you with a flood of feel good chemicals. One of them called dopamine when you do something good. That's a reward system that says, yeah, that is good. Do it again, that was a good behavior because it felt good. It tasted good, it made me feel good. So even if you hate exercise, for example, you have to admit that when you get out and you get active, you'll catch yourself saying afterwards, Oh, I'm glad I did that, I do feel good. And that's because when you exercise, you get a little burst of feel good chemicals in your brain says to you, that was good. Keep doing that. I like that it's good for us. Well, once you take a bite of food, you also set off all kinds of chemical reactions in your body and your brain. And these reactions are needed for proper digestion. And to tell you if your body likes that food, and when you've had enough of that food. The problem comes in when we choose to override our sensations of fullness. Ignore the fact that we're not hungry and choose to eat anyway. And make the choices to eat hyper palatable foods that cause a reaction in your body and makes your brain say yes, more of that, please. So one of the mechanisms in your amazing body is called sensory specific satiety. And that means that as you eat a food, it becomes a little less pleasing with each bite. This is a part of your body's intuitive way of saying that's good, but that's also enough. Now, the interesting thing is that if you're eating one food, and you think, Okay, that's enough of that, then someone puts a new food in front of you. The first bite of that other new food will also be more pleasing than future bites of that food. Think about when you finish dinner, and you're like, Oh, I can't possibly eat another bite of that pasta. But I'll just take a taste of that tiramisu. And then you bite into the tiramisu, and it's so delicious. So fill in the food that works for you. But you know what I'm saying, right, so we keep eating. What studies have found is that foods that have high combinations of fat, sugar, salt, or hyper palatable foods, they seem to dull this mechanism of sensory specific satiety. So it's not just a food that's high in fat, or high in salt, or high in sugar. It's foods that have a combination of more than one of these ingredients, that makes them hyper palatable. It's the combination. And when it dulls that mechanism. That means that even though you may feel satisfied by what you've eaten, you may continue to eat those foods because your brain keeps telling you, this is good. And it's giving you that dopamine reward and saying yes, keep eating that I like it. And a 2018 study published in the Journal of Cell Metabolism. What they found when the study participants brains were scanned with functional MRIs was that foods that have a high combination of fat and carbohydrate, compared to foods that are only high in fat, or only high in carbohydrate, recruited more of the reward circuits in people's brains. And so people perceived these foods as being more valuable, meaning they were not only willing to eat more of them, they were willing to pay more money for those foods. So what foods are considered hyper palatable? Well, in a credible study it 2019 study that was published in the journal obesity, a team of researchers evaluated other studies to try to come up with a definition of hyper palatable foods. So after they took all of these other studies, they cross referenced, they did all the science stuff, they came up with three different categories that defined what a hyper palatable foods it's. So one category was foods that were high in the combination of fat and sodium. These foods had a combination of 47% or higher in fat 22% or higher in carbohydrate, and 10% or higher in sugars. This category is foods like pancakes, cookies, and butter popcorn. Then there was the fat sugar combination group, which includes foods that had 50% or more of their calories from fat 14% or more from carbs and 37% or more from sugar. This category was foods like pies, cakes, wheat cereals, and pretty much most desserts. The third category was the carbohydrate sodium category. And these foods had a combination of at least 23%, fat, 57% carbohydrate and 6% sugar. These are foods like pizza, pasta cereals, and salty snack foods.

Laura Lummer 15:16
So once they came up with these three categories, they applied them to nearly 500 foods that were found in the food and nutrient database for dietary studies. So this is a database of nutrient values, that's taken from another database called what we eat in America. Now I'm gonna post the resource in the show notes for this episode to what we eat in America, because it's pretty, there's a lot to it. But to put it very simply, what we eat in America is a database compiled from actual interviews with real people based on what they ate over a specific period of time. And so it's all collected and stored in this database of what we eat in America. So what the study found was that 81% of the items in this database met the criteria for hyper palatable foods, mostly based on the way the foods were prepared, meaning that what was added to the food in the cooking or processing of the food caused it to be a hyper palatable food. So have you ever eaten a food that was labeled low fat or low calorie, and you couldn't believe how good it tasted? That's the best, right you find this little gem of a food and you think, oh, day now I can eat as much as I want, and be guilt free because it's reduced calorie or low fat? Well think again. Because what the study found was that 80% of the 127 items they studied, labeled as low fat or low calorie, met the criteria for a hyper palatable food. Okay, here's a side note here a story of my own personal experience. There's a local restaurant to me, and it's a farm to table type of restaurant. And they have this dish called the hubby vegan salad. I love that salad. It's so delicious. The dressing is spot on. And it served with these little ice cream scoop sizes of hummus and farro into bullae. I love the salad. And I always felt so good eating it, you know, I'm making a healthy choice. But it's super delicious, delicious, and it's very satisfying. And then one day, I was going to go meet a friend there for lunch. And it was after they made restaurants post the calorie content for their foods. So I looked at that salad, mostly to make myself feel good about my choice. And I found that it had a whopping 1200 calories. I'm telling you, I was traumatized. I was shocked. That is a huge amount of calories for one meal. And it's a flipping vegan salad. I was beside myself like how could this be? Well, it's all the delicious fats and salts in the dressing and those tasty little topping scoops that made them so delicious. And I should have known better because my almost never taste has never tasted that good. Right. So back to the studies. I want to point out that all of the studies that were compared had to meet the criteria of being studied on humans, and examining the palatability of Western foods. And that's important because it's common foods that real people reported eating, it wasn't animal studies or, you know, cross right when maybe a mouse responded like this, but what would a human do? So they were actually evaluating studies done on typical western foods eaten by real human beings. So let's talk about the foods that did not meet the requirement for being hyper palatable. And I'm sure you can probably guess, there were no fresh or raw fruits, meats, or fish, unsalted nuts. Heavy cream was nothing added to it. And 97% of vegetables, were not considered to be hyper palatable foods. Now, there's a lot of debate over food addiction. Is it real? And if so, what's the definition of food addiction, and so on and so on. There's not a concrete definition or approach to food addiction at this point. But according to a study by the University of Michigan, where they examined, quote, unquote, addictive like eating behaviors in more than 500 people, they found that more than 90% of the study participants had addictive like eating behaviors towards at least some of the 35 foods they were exposed to. So addictive like eating behaviors in this study meant that the participants felt like they couldn't control how much of the particular food they were eating. Even if they wanted to stop, they just kept eating it. Now, I'm not going to list all the 35 foods here. But I do want to tell you the top five most addictive foods, and the top five least addictive foods determined by that study. So let's start with the addictive ones. The scale these foods were rated on was from zero to seven, with seven being the most addictive. The number one most addictive food was pizza coming into the 4.01. Number two and three were tied at 3.73. And that was chocolate, and chips. Number four at a 3.71 was cookies. And number five at a 3.68 was ice cream. And the top five least addictive foods. Cucumbers number one with a 1.53 rating. Carrots came in number two at 1.6. Beans with no sauce on them came in at 1.63 Apples 1.66 and brown rice 1.74. So understanding the criteria for hyper palatable foods. And then hearing these two lists, I'm sure you're getting a pretty clear picture of the challenges around making healthy food choices. It's not easy, because the companies that create these hyper palatable foods, designed them to be irresistible. And let's be honest, at least some of them are delicious to most of us. And here's the thing, if you're used to eating hyper palatable foods, and you try to cut them out all at once and go straight to clean, natural versions of non hyper palatable foods, your brain loses its mind. It's like what the hell are you doing? I mean, seriously, let's look at the contrast from the number one most palatable food pizza to the number one not most palatable food, cucumber. I mean, come on, there's a huge gap in between the deliciousness of those two foods. When did you ever unbutton your pants and sit back feeling like you're going to explode and say, Oh my God, those cucumbers were so good, I ate way too much. Never, that never happens. Your brain is not going to give you the same dopamine hit that you get from hyper palatable foods. And eventually, you're going to go on a binge. Now, that will happen for everyone. There are those individuals who are the cold turkey people out there and more power to you. But there's a large body of behavior change science that shows most of us can't go cold turkey. So what can you do? Well, as I told the group in the sugar challenge, you have to start by taking back your power and recognizing that you are in charge of the choices you make around food. Mindful eating and changing habits begins with awareness. As in the salad story I shared with you once I became aware of the calorie density in that salad, it's not as if I can never eat the salad again. But if I do, I plan my eating around it so that it fits into my lifestyle and my health goals. And that's another step and equally as important as being mindful. One of my favorite coaches is Corinne Crabtree. She specializes in weight loss, and her fundamental tool is planning. In fact, anyone I know who has been successful with weight loss or who coaches weight loss, teaches planning and how to stick to the plan. And how to stick to the plan is all about managing the way that you think. So knowing that you live in a world of hyper palatable foods, and hyper palatable food preparation to create and follow a healthy nutrition plan requires awareness, mindfulness, planning, and understanding how your thinking creates your habits. So that gives you a big chunk of behaviors to start looking at and working on. Thank you for listening. I hope that that gives you a little more awareness about food and hopefully gives you a little insight and encouragement on how you can take control of your food and begin approaching it differently. Looking at your foods differently and consuming foods more carefully so that the food works for you that the food supports your health, your healing and your lifestyle and not that you feel controlled and as if food has more power. over you. Alright that's it for now ladies and I will see you next week until then, be good to yourself and be good to each other.

Speaker 2 25:11
You've put your courage to the test laid all your doubts you're your mind is clearer than before. Your heart is full and wanting more your futures Give it all you know has you been waiting on yours? This is your



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