The Jaminents just posted a great write up on this yesterday. Here is a link link text
What I took from it is that Food Reward, as presented by Stephen, does play a role, but it is part of a larger system, and may only impact those whose are already obese.
I think it does, though incidentally. I started there btw - it had the geeky self-experimentation attraction I needed, and it definitely had some results. Gets top marks in the 'worst name for a diet, ever' category though.
The most valuable aspect of it for me were the forums. People did a lot of self-experimentation that went way outside the borders of 'true' Shangri-La. You could just read the forums for days and weeks and learn an incredible amount.
One explanation was that it worked by separating calories from flavor (and scent) - it's the latter which actually tells the body to generate insulin. The carbs themselves have little impact without flavor to 'identify' them.
That was were I first heard about Good Calories Bad Calories btw, from Todd Becker who now has a very interesting blog called Getting Stronger: http://gettingstronger.org/ And from GCBC I went low/zero carb and then found paleo...
I think they mentioned it on Chris Kresser's podcast with Stephen Guyenet. I just remembered them mentioning the guys name Seth Roberts. Read the link and one thing is for sure I wouldn't eat Canola oil if you paid me. Seriously gross what oil like that goes through. I already eat a tablespoon of coconut oil mixed with my cod liver oil. (talk about bad tastes)
Don't know about the sugar water. It would be really sweet with 3 T per liter so is the aim tastelessness or is the aim for it to be not tasty, which super sweet water would be?
Overall this idea doesn't make sense to me in the simplistic sense it's being put our there. Eat only bland foods. I love bland foods. Rice in particular. I'll eat spoonfuls of the stuff with nothing on it. Now add something spicy to it and I'll get satisfied and stop eating. Maybe it's a timing thing.
One thing is for sure this Food reward/set point thing is blazing through Paleo hacks.
From what I gather the Shangri-La diet breaks down to...
natural food reward is good for you, artificially induced (processed/flavored food) food reward drives obesity and modern disease. I dislike Shangri La diet because I hate consuming oils by themselves. However, I follow Stephan guyenet's low reward guide (with a Paleo template of foods) + sometimes I even do a nose clip to further lower the taste of the already plain diet I'm eating. I kid you not, I dropped 60lbs on Paleo alone but had 40lbs that I couldn't budge. I'm now starting to see my abs, it's ridiculous. All my life I've been morbidly obese and at the age of 25 I'm starting to be as lean and fit as a fitness model.
This doesn't really answer your exact question, but in case it is useful to anyone: I followed the Shangri La Diet quite strictly for a while a couple years back, and it had absolutely no effect whatsoever. It seems to work for some people but I wasn't among them. I was on the SAD back then fwiw.
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