The Hungry Brain



I know it its not really a “keto science book” but i think it is related, so there it goes.
I have searched the forum but couldn’t find any mention of it.

[http://The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting the Instincts That Make Us Overeat](http://The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting the Instincts That Make Us Overeat)

I just listened to it as an audio book and it just blew my mind, i think i will have to get a paper copy of it. It is a very well written and researched book IMHO, everything the author talks about just makes sense.

It doesn’t really support keto diet but also isn’t screaming against it.

Did anyone read this book? If yes, what is the general consensus about it?
What do you think?

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #2

You didn’t link correctly, so here it is:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #3

You may find this of interest:


I’ll put it on my to read list, thank you for the suggestion.


I find Guyenet to be a fairly unappealing individual but I believe he has some very interesting and valuable things to say so I will happily to listen to/read his work. I see no reason why his theories can’t be applied to a keto/low carb way of eating.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #6

Given that we want to overeat on the SAD because insulin is (a) cramming all the carbs we eat into our fat cells, thus starving the rest of our body, and (b) interfering with the reception of the satiety hormone leptin in the brain, it doesn’t really take much “outsmarting,” now does it? Eat very little carbohydrate, let insulin drop, then appetite hormones start working again and fatty acids exit the fat cells, ready to be metabolised. Voilà!


@PaulL Have you read the book?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing against LC, as I do it myself.
The book is more focused on behind the scenes, the inner working of the human brain regarding food.
LC/keto works wonders for many people, no question. However, there are many people who struggle to loose weight despite being on keto, including myself.
Reading the book gave me a greater understanding what holding me back from achieving my goals. I hope I can make meaningful changes by utilizing knowledge the book conveys… time will tell.

I highly recommend everyone to read it whit an open mind.

(Deb) #8

I stopped when it said there is no difference between the 3 macronutrients effect on adiposity.

(Bob M) #9

Honestly, I’ve seen years of Guyenet’s postings on Twitter. I think some of what he says has a kernel of truth. Much of what he says is complete garbage, however. I stopped following him when he tweeted something along the lines of “don’t add butter to your green beans because this will cause you to overeat”. As someone who lost 30+ pounds (at the time) by eating things like green beans with butter, I couldn’t continue to follow him.

(Jack Bennett) #10

His academic outlook seems to lack the “boots in the ground” understanding of a health coach or an obesity MD - somebody who sees patients or clients all the time.

In theory, skipping the butter in your beans could save you unnecessary food energy. In practice, it might increase satiety and offset X calories of future eating.

If you eat 100 calories of butter to save 300 calories of potato, that’s a huge win.

Finding the satiety sweet spot is basically the entire goal of obesity medicine - how can we help people eat less (fewer calories) while not feeling like they are eating less (greater satiety)?


Thank you everyone.

I think we are on a different page here, and it is my fault.
I didn’t start the discussion because I think his dietary advice is great, as a matter of face I have never even heard about him before reading the book. Also I didn’t know the author has a bad rep in keto community.

What fascinated me is his research on how we make subconscious decision about most things and the relevant part to our discussion; what we want to eat. The inner working of the subconscious part of our mind. How decisions are made even before we know it. (Yes, there are higher brain functions that can override those decisions, ( that’ is another discussion ) We don’t have to 100% agree whit someone to gain some benefit of their ideas.

What does that have to do whit keto you might ask? I just eat LC and everything is fine, problem solved.

What I am getting to is that even on LC we have to make decisions on what we eat. There are 3 kind of people doing keto, those who want to loose weight, to mitigate some kind of illness, or just general wellness, or any combination of these three.

I don’t really have any medical conditions or take medications, I feel much better on keto than or regular sad diet, and I don’t gain weight but, I have a really hard time loosing weight on it. Why is that? Well… because I can eat large amount of keto food, and it’s where the decision making comes to play.

By understanding how we make decisions can be a helpful tool for people in similar situation as me.

Many people who first start on keto come from the “low fat” lifestyle, fat is bad etc. Those people have hard time eating enough fat to make their weight loss stall. I however never had problem eating high fat, high cal stuff, I love the umami flavor. To me to say, eat more fat is not a good advice and, I am sure I am not the only one.

I hope this clarify a bit why I thought the book was interesting.

Thank you for reading.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #12

That’s the goal of mainstream researchers, yes, but the science behind a well-formulated ketogenic diet suggests that people’s caloric intake will vary with the circumstances. Phinney has demonstrated that people with a great deal of excess fat to lose will generally “undereat” by about 1000 calories at the beginning of a well-formulated ketogenic diet eaten to satiety. This is because the low insulin resulting from not eating too much carbohydrate permits fatty acids to leave fat cells to be metabolised. As this excess is dealt with, the caloric intake necessarily rises, because there is less stored fat to make up the difference. One the person has shed all the excess and entered the maintenance phase, energy expenditure is being met from food intake.

There are documented cases of people eating a low-carbohydrate diet to satiety whose caloric intake was quite high (one study subject ate about 3000 calories a day), but these high-calorie eaters still lost excess fat at the same rate as the other participants in their study. The medical literature is filled with case studies of people who ate unlimited amounts of meat and non-starchy vegetables who still lost fat, simply by eliminating sugar, grains, and starches from their diet. Before fat was falsely blamed for causing heart disease, everyone knew that pasta, potatoes, and sweets were fattening. The idea that carbohydrates are our friend was only introduced into our thinking within the past thirty years, actually, because if people aren’t eating fat, they have to get their calories from somewhere.

Admittedly, the idea of trusting our body to tell us how much food it needs is contrary to the whole basis of Western medicine. After all, if we can’t out-think two million years of evolution, what do we have these giant brains for? :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #13


(Jack Bennett) #14

Good point @PaulL … the ultimate goal of obesity medicine is not “eating less” but safely reducing body fat mass. If that can be accomplished without great willpower or misery then so much the better. It has a hope of being a sustained loss rather than a diet that you quit as soon as you can.

I’m thinking of a typical “calorie reduced diet” compared to a LC diet that happens to have low average calories because of (e.g.) intermittent fasting / OMAD:

Calorie reduced diet (CRD) (1000 kcal/day)
Breakfast - special K and skim milk; orange juice
Lunch - two slices of low-fat smoked turkey on whole grain bread; skim milk
Dinner - 4 oz of lean chicken breast with steamed spinach

OMAD low-carb diet (LCD) (1000 kcal/day)
Breakfast - skip
Lunch - skip
Dinner - 12 oz ribeye with broccoli and butter
(This would be approximately the Induction phase in @amwassil’s diagram above.)

My understanding is that the CRD would keep insulin high and prevent use of fat stores, while the LCD will allow liberation of fat stores (at the usual estimate of 30 kcal/lb fat / day).

So an obese person doing the CRD will be:

  1. miserable and hungry all the time due to the blood glucose roller coaster
  2. not burning much body fat due to continually elevated insulin

An obese person doing the LCD will be:

  1. experiencing reasonably stable blood glucose
  2. releasing and burning body fat due to lowered insulin

In other words, the CRD is truly calorie reduced - once you burn through your glycogen, you’re going to be white-knucking through the misery of low blood sugar. Running on empty.

The LCD is calorie-reduced in terms of food calories eaten, but very abundant in terms of calories supplied by your body fat - the way it’s supposed to be. Once the patient reduces his excess body fat he can increase his dietary fat intake to match the energy that he used to get from his own fat - according to @amwassil’s diagram.

(Remind me again why anybody recommends anything but low-carb diets any more?)

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #15

Remember that a low-carb diet eaten to satiety is only a reduced-calorie diet if the person has excess fat to shed. If the excess fat is gone, the same diet becomes a full-calorie diet. And this, if you think about it, makes sense. It is also worth remembering that deliberately restricting caloric intake risks signaling to the body that there is a famine going on, and that it should conserve all its resources (including the fat store).

Many people have trouble wrapping their minds around this distinction.

(Jack Bennett) #16

Agree 100%. LC is only reduced calorie during induction and other earlier stages as in @amwassil’s diagram from Virta. Not in maintenance mode.

“Normal operation” of the diet allows the patient to titrate his dietary fat upward as the energy supplied by stored body fat decreases … because the mass of stored body fat itself decreases.

I would draw the distinction between an “externally restricted” diet (calories, points, portion sizes/weights, etc) and a “self-restricted” or “internally restricted” (don’t stuff yourself, eat until happily satisfied, listen to your body). While I haven’t seen a study on this, it would surprise me if adherence and sustainability weren’t much higher on an internally restricted diet.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #17

Those are two very good turns of phrase. I’ll remember them! :+1:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #18


Have you ever read a Hall and Guyenet study? They are designed to give the result they want. Pure intellectual dishonesty. It’s The Woo did a really good job of ripping on of their “studies” apart. I tried to find it, but it seems her blog in now invite only. I don’t follow her closely, so I have no idea why she did that. Too bad.