Right to Satiety


Proposal: Make this the year we stop holding and displaying the expectation that there are people who should be required to live with a chronic sense of hunger in order to be respected.

  • There is a false idea that any and all people who are not slim can choose to substantially reduce their body fat – by actions or choices that they have control over.
  • the current state of the art in obesity medicine is that it is documented and agreed that this is a false idea.
  • although it is possible for a person to deliberately starve themselves, it is not currently possible to find a lifestyle means or medical means that will safely enable them to do this without being continually keenly aware that they are starving. That is, when you “eat less” than your body is telling you to, at some point intrusive disruptive thoughts, feelings and body sensations will develop that make it impossible for the person to just continue normally with the enjoyable or even tolerable undertaking of their daily activities, interests and responsibilities.
  • a completely unproven, unsubstantiated concept has come into common currency that the only valid expression of the body’s need for food is what is described as classic, “stomach-growling” hunger. There is no need or place for invented concepts in this regard. Experiments on extended calorie restriction have been done and that data is what matters.

Related to this, here is an article in the New York Times, August 29, 2015, by Gary Taubes:

“Diet Advice That Ignores Hunger”    LINK

Please visit the site to read the full article. Here is just a bit:

 Questions like these about the relationship between calories, macronutrients and hunger have haunted nutrition and obesity research since the late 1940s. But rarely are they asked. We believe so implicitly in the rationale of eat less, move more, that we (at least those of us who are lean) will implicitly fault the obese for their failures to sustain a calorie-restricted regimen, without ever apparently asking ourselves whether we could sustain it either. I have a colleague who spent his research career studying hunger. Asking people to eat less, he says, is like asking them to breathe less. It sounds reasonable, so long as you don’t expect them to keep it up for long.

Much of the obesity research for the past century has focused on elucidating behavioral techniques that could induce the obese to eat less, tolerate hunger better, and so, by this logic, lose weight. The obesity epidemic suggests that it has failed.

For those who believe that hunger is somehow all in the mind, rather than a powerful biological response to caloric deprivation, it is tempting to wish on them the fate that the goddess Ceres bestowed on King Erysichthon of Thessaly in Greek mythology. She “devised a punishment to rouse men’s pity… to torment him with baleful Hunger.” Erysichthon then eats himself out of castle and kingdom and ultimately dies by feeding, “little by little, on his own body.”  

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