Food Flavors and Appetite: A Look at the Flavor Point Diet

Q. Is there any proof behind the Flavor Point Diet for weight control?

A. If you?re browsing for a diet book, you could do a lot worse than the “Flavor Point Diet” (Rodale Books, 2005), written by renowned health expert and director of the Yale Prevention Research Center, David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., with his wife, Catherine Katz, Ph.D. What’s different about this diet tome? The “Flavor Point Diet” suggests that you limit the number of flavor themes’such as sweet, salty or savory?at a meal in order to turn down the volume on your appetite. Katz shares research on the neuroscience of appetite, demonstrating that when people taste too many flavors at once it stimulates the brain’s appetite center and they tend to overeat before they feel full. The perfect example: You can eat a huge savory dinner and still find room for a sweet dessert. Food manufacturers have contributed to the problem by combining a variety of flavors into processed foods that spur the appetite and promote excess calorie intake. The answer, Katz suggests, is to limit the flavors at a meal in order to reach the “flavor point” where you feel satisfied and stop eating. You can do this by selecting and preparing nutritious foods that are minimally processed?foods that aren’t souped up with hyper-flavors and extra fat and calories. The “Flavor Point Diet? is laid out neatly in phases that allow the reader to understand and develop skills to organize flavors and choose healthful foods, with the assistance of detailed menus and recipes that support a reduced calorie (1,300 to 1,500 calories per day) eating plan. This isn’t a fad diet; it’s a way of eating for life.

What do the experts think about the “Flavor Point Diet”? Mostly, the reviews have been positive. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) gave the book a thumbs up, noting that the diet plan is nutritionally sound and that the flavor themes throughout the book build on an abundance of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish and poultry and encourage limiting fat and opting for healthier snacks. The diet also brings to light the intriguing facets of the brain’s appetite center, as long as the dieter avoids getting too wrapped up in the flavor concept and becomes overly restrictive in food variety. EN is on the same page as ADA; there’s a lot to like about such healthful eating advice that comes straight from one of the country’s most respected nutrition and health experts.

Editor’s Note: In our July 2010 feature “Genetically Engineered Foods Update”, we reported that 60 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered. The most recent USDA data as of July 2010 indicates that this amount is significantly higher at 86 percent.

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