Why You Get Hungry & What To Do About It: How To Defy Overeating, Conquer The Buffet, Stop Cravings In Their Tracks & Much More!

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Fat Loss, Podcast

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Although most of us strive to eat well and avoid weight gain, our behavior doesn’t always live up to our lofty intentions. The remarkable explanation, argues neuroscience obesity researcher and today’s podcast guest Stephan Guyenet, is that we’re betrayed by our very own brains, which drive us to crave and overeat food.

In THE HUNGRY BRAIN: Outsmarting the Instincts that Make Us Overeat Guyenet deploys his humor, wit, and extensive research experience to explain the instinctive brain circuits that compel us to overeat. He shows how those circuits expand our waistlines and undermine weight loss, and how we can use them to manage our weight more effectively. Stephan Guyenet has put his finger on a critically important explanation for our global obesity epidemic: the human brain. Although it’s indisputable that the brain is the cause of overeating – since the brain is the source of all behavior – this disarmingly simple insight has never before been the focus of a general-audience book.

THE HUNGRY BRAIN starts from the very beginning, uncovering how our (leaner) ancestors lived, both in recent history and the distant past. From there, it explores the brain circuits that kept us alive in that rugged world: those that drive our cravings, make our food choices, govern our appetites, and regulate our body fatness. And it explains how the genetic roulette that determines how these circuits are wired is a major reason why some people are lean and others are obese. Unfortunately for our waistlines, we no longer live in the world of our ancestors, yet our brains keep playing by the rules of a survival game that no longer exists.

Advances in technology and affluence let us tempt our brains with seductive, convenient food more than ever before, and willpower bows before the force of instincts honed by millions of years of evolution. And once we gain weight, the brain works to keep us from losing it again. The result is a world that’s fatter than at any previous time in human history. THE HUNGRY BRAIN explores the brain in a vivid and accessible way, weaving in illustrations, humor, and unlikely scientific discoveries to bring readers inside areas of science that have remained off limits to a general audience until now. Ultimately, it leaves you with profound insights into how the brain works, how the brain drives us to overeat, and what we can do about it.

So who is this guy? Stephan J. Guyenet, Ph.D. is an obesity researcher and health writer whose work ties together multiple fields of science to offer explanations and solutions for our global weight problem. He received a B.S. in biochemistry at the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in neurobiology at the University of Washington. He is the author of the popular health website Whole Health Source (wholehealthsource.org) and he is a frequent lecturer on topics of obesity, metabolism, and diet history.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

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-Why what Stephan presents in his book is absent from all popular theories of obesity…[7:45]

-The story of the fattest man on the island…[12:10]

-Why kids like ice cream and not brussels sprouts…[18:50 & 27:00]

-How chocolate serves as a prime example of reinforcing properties that characterize modern food addictions…[23:15]

-How you can beat the “buffet effect”…[29:00]

-The three things all nonindustrial diets have in common, and how you can use these things to keep yourself from overeating…[36:05]

-Why the idea of moderation in eating is totally foreign to hunter-gatherers…[48:40]

-A simple mechanism you can use to fight your natural, ancestral tendency to overeat…[57:00]

-What lesioned rats can tell you about the mysterious “satiety factor”, and how you can maximize your own satiety factor…[64:05]

-Why the people from the Biggest Loser gain so much weight back after the competition…[75:10]

-A cortisol-like drug that causes intense, unconstrained eating, and what that means for you and your waistline…[84:45]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

-THE HUNGRY BRAIN: Outsmarting the Instincts that Make Us Overeat

-The book The Jungle Effect

Jack Kruse’s Leptin Reset

My podcast with Rick Rubin

Show Sponsors: 

-Oak – Meditation & Breathing –  Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/oak now to download the app, completely FREE.

-Kion Lean – Go to GetKion.com to purchase Kion Lean – an innovative weight management & anti-aging product that regulates blood sugar and insulin levels using bitter melon and rock lotus extracts

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Stephan or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!


Also published on Medium.

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13 thoughts on “Why You Get Hungry & What To Do About It: How To Defy Overeating, Conquer The Buffet, Stop Cravings In Their Tracks & Much More!

  1. Tim says:

    Interesting that they did not mention ghrelin and how to manage it.

  2. Punzie says:

    The full transcript link doesn’t work

    NOT FOUND THIS IS SOMEWHAT EMBARRASSING, ISN’T IT?

    Read more at: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/transcripts/tran…

      1. Yes, thank you for bringing this to our attention! Link has been updated.

  3. Fernando Aramburo says:

    Am I the only one that can’t seem to open the new Detox 2018 page? Google keeps telling me too many redirects. Unable to open on my phone/computer using both Chrome and Explorer.

  4. Janet says:

    Eat, but eat something else other than carbs–the fruit you’re gorging on. Eat bacon, ham, steak strips, cheese, eggs. Eat a big protein breakfast. Avoid carbs, they colonize your body.

    1. Jackie says:

      Believe me, I eat a lot of fat, and moderate protein. But I still like my fruit.

      1. I’m not heavy on the fruit, but I do have a tendency to hit the carbs. I do love my protein and fat.

  5. Jackie says:

    I haven’t eaten processed food in years, but I continue to struggle with compulsive overeating. Now I do it with whole, organic foods, like fruits and nuts. So, when Dr. Guyenet said that no one gorges on fruit, I laughed, because I do all the time. :-)

    Watermelon, bananas, apples, cherries……pretty much any kind of fruit, which is why I’ve gained 15 pounds in the last few months. I’m addicted to it. I also tend to overeat nuts, nut butters (including coconut butter). I’ve been dealing with this my whole life since I was young, so I really think there is some emotional or spiritual component of this, which I haven’t figured out yet. I don’t eat when I’m stressed, angry, depressed, etc. Those are times when I tend not to eat. I eat when I’m either neutral or happy. Still trying to figure it out……

    I’m open to comments. :-)

    1. Roxie says:

      I have the same problem. Cravings are diminished when I take 1000 mg L-Glutamine before each meal. Give it a try. Each person is different, so it may or may not help you.

    2. My problem still remains to be bingeing. I guess I need to consume a larger portion of fats and protein. I try not to eat too much fruit because of all the sugar. I do like to eat vegetables, seeds and nuts. I’m afraid to eat too much protein because it can also bump up the insulin. It’s hard to find a balance in ratio, I guess I should purchase a food scale.

    3. kotoula01 says:

      Fruit is meant to be gorged on IN SEASON. Possibly try only eating seasonal fruit? Being in ketosis kills my fruit cravings completely. Once in awhile tho, I get a hankering for something, like super crunchy, juicy green grapes. Can’t find them in ‘season’ as I live near the north pole, so I settled for some Peruvian ones that I hoped weren’t too laced with pesticide residues. I washed them with ACV then gobbled them down. Sugar high? Sure. Insulin spike? Obviously. But I went back into ketosis by doing a 36 hour fast, and was fine. No fat gained. Craving satisfied. Who knows why I had such a strong craving. But when I do, I usually listen to my body and try to mitigate the ‘damage’ after by fasting or eating keto. Maybe there’s some trace minerals in the grapes that I needed.. no idea.

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