Skin & Beauty
The Flavor Point Diet
Bore yourself thin seems to be the central tenet of the Flavor Point Diet, created by diet and nutrition expert Dr David Katz. Katz, a columnist for the popular e-diets web site, and an associate professor at Yale, certainly has the credentials to contribute to our nutritional wellbeing, and its hard to fault this program.
Dr Katz's approach to dieting is quite definitely psychologically biased, with the emphasis on changing the way we combine flavors in order to trick the brain into feeling full. The main claim Katz makes is that too many flavors in a meal stimulate appetite and make us want to carry on eating even when hunger is really not an issue. This means that dieting should be much easier if flavors are restricted and all the food eaten tastes similar. Basically the brain tires of tasting the same thing all the time, although Dr Katz explains this in terms of different types of taste cells in the brain, each of which need to be satisfied after stimulation.
So, for instance, if you eat a little bit of something sweet, you will want more until the sweet taste cells are satisfied, even if you have just eaten a meal, and the same is true of each kind of strong taste, whether salty, sweet, spicy or bitter. Dr Katz calls this sensory-specific satiety, and the point at which we get fed up of eating the same flavor 'the flavor point'.
The Flavor Point Diet is divided into two stages, with most weight loss occurring in the first, six week stage. During this time, flavors are restricted so that each day only one flavor dominates the whole day. For instance, on Cranberry Day you eat recipes like cranberry-banana muffins, salad with cranberries, cranberry and onion turkey cutlets and cranberry-vanilla ice cream. Other days include a pineapple day and a lemon day. The book includes a lot of recipes which look quick to make and sound pretty good, although some may be a bit pricey.
After six weeks, during which Dr Katz estimates that most people lose about 9 to 16 pounds, he says that the brain becomes educated enough to deal with different flavors, as long as each meal is limited to one flavor. This second stage also allows an increase in calorie intake, and can be followed indefinitely to keep weight stable or slowly continue losing.
Of course, limiting flavors alone isn't enough to make us lose weight without some sort of nutritional advice, and for all practical purposes the program is actually pretty standard. Calorie intake is restricted by using a visual portion guide, and most of the recommendations are good, sound middle of the road ones, without any excessive reduction of carbohydrate intake even in the first stage.The Flavor Point Diet supplies about 1500 calories per day, a reasonable level for gradual weight loss in most people, and more rapid loss in really overweight people.
A particularly interesting part of the dietary advice deals with the fast food industry, which Dr Katz accuses of adding hidden ingredients, for instance sugar in mainly salty foods and salt in sweet foods,which stimulate flavor centers and increase appetite.
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