In a more wild state, nearly all of the food one would eat would have a degree of satiety that correlates to its energy content and energy cost of acquisition. If one fills their stomach with meat and fat, digestion is slow, satiety is very high and acquisition is typically quite costly. If one fills their stomach with fibrous fruit or tubers, there's less satiety, but also less energy, and in the case of tubers, acquisition/preparation are costly as well.
Somehow I doubt that management ever instructs their food scientists to create foods that satisfy hunger for extended periods of time without being overly energy-dense. Bad for business. There's no need to create those foods as we've been eating them for a long time. Their job is to make things that are minimally satiating while being sufficiently food-like.
I guess I'm just moving away from the need for an elaborate theory to explain bodyfat gains on a diet rich in these foods that takes a negligible amount of energy to acquire alongside a lifestyle that itself requires a decreasing amount of energy. We can all now eat like kings and be as fat as they were. There are plenty who will say they got obese eating a bowl of steamed rice per day while training for a triathlon, but I'd say most people gained fat as a result of eating these pseudo-foods. I did.
One of the more horrifying animal experiments I've seen in the literature is something called "sham feeding" where they surgically alter an animal to still be able to eat the food, but it never actually reaches the stomach and is never digested. Naturally, in this state they will eat constantly since none of their satiety signals are being triggered. Sadly, Western diets are moving ever-closer to this effect, except that food is digested and the energy is made available. The more of these empty calorie food holograms one eats, the fatter they'll likely become since the overall volume necessary to match traditional levels of satiety from real food will result in a considerable, persistent energy surplus. There wasn't sufficient selective pressure for us to evolve toward a proportional down-regulation of appetite based on leptin feedback.
Food reward might be better framed as a means by which we can explain addictive responses to certain types of food that some obese people experience rather than calling it a dominant factor. This would probably offend fewer people, though I don't see the slightest tinge of blame attached to anything Stephan has written.