Diet, Reductionism & Desire

Diet, Tape Measure (1)I thought these two replies by Rosemary Sharples and Jan Horton, writing in the New Scientist, about diet and weight loss were interesting and quite apt:

Rosemary writes: Once again, scientists working on ways to make it easier for people to lose weight are concentrating entirely on appetite (20 June, p.14) as though this and hormones are the only factors involved in weight gain.

Entirely ignored are the other reasons for eating, which include habit (it’s 11 am and therefore time for a snack) and social pressure (“Aren’t you going to have a drink?”).

Until researchers and funding bodies tear themselves away from simple technological determinism – in this case, chemistry, obesity research is going to bear s strong resemblance to rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic.

Jan writes: I don’t eat because I am hungry, I eat because I like eating, but only if it is food I enjoy. Anti-obesity scientists seem to miss this point.

For me, tasty food is the solution to all of life’s problems (except, unfortunately, being fat). And, eating something I like stops me worrying about that too.

Modifying food to satiate me sooner isn’t going to work.

I’d rather not eat than have to eat “diet food” or most processed food.


Sharples, R. & Horton, J. (2015) Editor’s Pick: Diet, Reductionism and Desire. New Scientist. 18 July, 2015, pp.54.


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