Shangri-La Diet and Science

The theory that underpins the The Shangri-La Diet is in part based on numerous studies that have explored how animals (including humans) develop a desire for flavors that they encounter over and over in association with calories. If we taste a flavor and our body soon after absorbs a good supply of calories, our bodies will begin to crave that flavor. Lately, I’ve been perusing various search engines of scientific journals. I’ve been looking for studies that might support (or refute) SLD. Here is an interesting one I found:Flavor–nutrient learning in restrained and unrestrained eaters

Female participants consumed two differently flavored desserts. Each was presented three times on separate days. One was formulated with a high-energy content (1882 kJ) and the other with a low-energy content (226 kJ). After training, we found little evidence for learned satiation. However, we did observe flavor-preference learning. Specifically, participants acquired a greater liking and desire-to-eat the dessert flavor that was paired with a higher energy density during training.*

* Emphasis added by me. Also, I don’t mean to suggest that the authors of this study are proponents of SLD or even that they are aware of it, only that the author of SLD cites flavor calorie association studies as early inspirations for his own ideas.

In other words,

  • The more we eat high-energy content foods (HECF), the more we will crave such foods.
  • The more we eat foods with the same flavor, the more we will crave those foods, as long as those foods are also dense sources of calories.

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