A while back, I came up with the idea of the Unprocessed Food Diet (UFD). I had read The End of Overeating by David Kessler, and came to the conclusion that eating a diet free of processed foods would cause me to lose weight. I took it further though. I prepared my food in a way that was completely opposite of how chain restaurants do. I cooked single whole ingredients very simply and added no salt, no seasonings, no sauces nor other flavorings. Also, I didn’t mix things together. I might have a meal with several items, but I would eat them separately.
I did lose weight, about 20 pounds over two and half months. However, I didn’t stick with the diet. My old habits returned, at least in part, and I gained the weight back slowly over many months. In January, I had once again hit 190 pounds, what I weighed when I had started UFD.
So I tried something new. I was on the 4 Hour Body diet. I lost about 10 pounds and then plateaued again around 179. In recent weeks, I’ve been drifting more and more back to UFD and I’m finally starting to push past that plateau.
I’ve also realized that my idea is hardly unique. UFD is quite similar in philosophy to the Paleo diet. I’ve also found a great blog called Whole Health Source by Stephan Guyenet. Dr. Guyenet has a PhD in neurobiology and studies the neurobiology of fat regulation. His recommendations for a diet to lose weight struck me as very similar to UFD. One thing that jumped out at me was this:
Eat only single ingredients with no flavorings added. No spices, herbs, salt, added sweeteners, added fats, etc. If you eat a potato, eat it plain. If you eat a piece of chicken, eat it plain. It can be in the same meal as other foods, but don’t mix anything together.
Basically, when some people eat diets that are rich in foods which are flavorful and highly palatable, the pleasure reward they get from the food causes their set point to rise and they gain fat. If you lower the food reward of your diet, your set point goes down and you lose weight. His explanation of why this might work is quite thorough and worth a read. If you like the idea of the Unprocessed Food Diet, I recommend following his blog.