Can you Over Eat Whole Foods?


Bee Cee

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I've gotten asked this question a few times, so I'd like to hear what other's think: Can we over eat our whole foods, especially vegetables, meat and healthy fats? I am leaning towards "no" because eating these foods turns us into fat burners (a concept I am not sure some understand) as opposed to sugar burners. I also find that I eat LESS when I eat strict paleo because the foods are more nutritious. Any takers?

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I find that densely nutritious whole foods are self-limiting for the most part, so I probably end up eating fewer calories overall (despite eating plenty of fat) than I was when I was eating grains and dairy or processed food.

I have to be careful with nuts, though. I can definitely overeat them if not careful.

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I think anything is possible, but it's not particularly common for teh reasons mentioned above. I read a food study once conduced in the 1930s (so, before there was much oversight on human subjects research). Basically, the researchers took over the food supply at an orphanage that cared for very young children. They provided all the whole foods (meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and dairy, and I believe some grain-based things) the children wanted. The food was just out and available at all times. The researchers tracked what the children ate and its nutritional makeup. What they found was that the children would eat a lot of food some days and less food other days, and while they'd do funny kid things like get obsessed with strawberries and eat only strawberries for most of a day, the children all averaged out to balanced diets, and none of them were over- or undereating.

I wish i had the study to pull up, but it was an oddball thing i came across in the library researching something else. I realize nutrition research has probably advanced in the past 8 decades. However, my point is, you can overeat on whole foods, but you probably won't. Whole foods are more satisfying, and they don't trigger the same cravings, etc. Also, by not metering out portions and things like that, I think you change your relationship with food in a way that makes it less likely for you to binge or overeat.

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I think anything is possible, but it's not particularly common for teh reasons mentioned above. I read a food study once conduced in the 1930s (so, before there was much oversight on human subjects research). Basically, the researchers took over the food supply at an orphanage that cared for very young children. They provided all the whole foods (meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and dairy, and I believe some grain-based things) the children wanted. The food was just out and available at all times. The researchers tracked what the children ate and its nutritional makeup. What they found was that the children would eat a lot of food some days and less food other days, and while they'd do funny kid things like get obsessed with strawberries and eat only strawberries for most of a day, the children all averaged out to balanced diets, and none of them were over- or undereating.

I wish i had the study to pull up, but it was an oddball thing i came across in the library researching something else. I realize nutrition research has probably advanced in the past 8 decades. However, my point is, you can overeat on whole foods, but you probably won't. Whole foods are more satisfying, and they don't trigger the same cravings, etc. Also, by not metering out portions and things like that, I think you change your relationship with food in a way that makes it less likely for you to binge or overeat.

That was in the 1930's before HFCS and seed/bean oils. If they did the same experiment today, the kids would choose prepackaged junk and nothing else. This type of thing is mentioned in a book called THE END OF OVEREATING.

The worst thing about the book were the suggestions at the end on how to not overeat. Same old - low fat high carb mantra.

But the info on food, especially about restaurants and experiments, was an eye-opener and very interesting.

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The study foods excluded sugar and other sweets, so I always thought the whole point was that packaged foods mess people up. Candy bars and sodas were incredibly popular and common in the 1930s, for example, but those were excluded from the study as well. If the study was done today in the same spirit, I assume they'd exclude packaged junk, which means the theoretical children in the theoretical study wouldn't be able to choose those foods.

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I think it's interesting that this question was placed in the Athletes forum- I'm betting that people in optimal physical condition are likely to have optimally functioning hunger/satiety feedback systems that would keep tedancies to overeat to a minimum. You might get a much different answer from people on the other end of the wellness spectrum, such as non-athletes who might have come to the Whole30 as a method of healing illness.

I myself, for example, can certainly overeat even the healthiest foods. It's easiest with carby stuff like fruit or sweet potatoes, but if I'm not careful to be mindful about portion sizes and the act of dining, I can accidentally eat enough chicken or zucchini or coconut to make myself physically ill. I'm hoping that eventually the years of eating whole foods will add up enough to repair my body's signals, but I can't count on it. I'm betting I'm not the only one coming from this perspective.

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sweet, sweet carrots, sure you can overeat them. They aren't as sweet as sweet potatoes but still they might be too carb rich for you to have frequently if you're getting overly fond of them. I limit my fruit and higher carb foodstuff to days when I'm doing more exercise, or more strenuous exercise such as weight lifting followed by some fairly high intensity cardio.

And if I start wanting more of a sweet food I just stop eating it (whatever it is) for a few days and switch out to something else.

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StayFit -

My hubs can go through up to 3 lbs of carrots by himself in a week. I personally don't believe you can over-eat veggies, especially when you look at your larger diet picture. If you ate nothing but carrots, then yeah, maybe. But in the context of a varied diet - there are worse things for you than carrots. Check out this timely post:

http://whole9life.com/2012/08/carrot-train-to-crazytown/

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  • 1 month later...

I can overeat anything! That's what I'm struggling with right now. I'm on day 7. The Whole30 hasn't been all that hard so far because my diet was very similar although not as strict. What I didn't like about what I was doing before was the need to count every calorie in and out and my mood for the day was determined by the number that was on the scale that morning. With Whole30, I have stuck to the plan, but every day, I'm aware that I've eaten too much. At first, it was nuts, nut butters, and to a lesser extent, fruit. I saw that for what it was and I've pretty much tamed that monster, but I still eat more than I need to the point of discomfort and I hate myself for it.

I have noticed that my awareness has increased. I think that each day I'm making a little progress. I am grateful for the rule that I can't get on the scale for 30 days. I think at this point, it would be very discouraging.

I know that I'm not going to overcome a lifetime of bad habits in a week. I think that I need to pay attention to what my body is telling me and get in the habit of acting on those cues. I feel certain that once I get into that habit, this monster, too, will go away. It is easier said than done, however.

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I know I can overeat whole foods. While I thought turning to food for emotional reasons like stress had to do primarily with the distraction of eating the food, I have learned there are other reasons that cause me to indulge too much. Crunchy foods when I am stressed help relieve anxiety and tension. Recently I discovered there are times I simply want a full stomach. I find it strangely comforting, relaxing, soothing to be a bit more full than I should. At times it gives me a similar relaxed feeling as drinking a glass of wine. There are all sorts of reasons why even though I might stay Whole30 compliant, I continue to eat more than my body really needs. It's something for me to work on but it's not easily overcome in just 30 days. I am gradually trying to recognize the patterns and change them, but it would stress me further to force myself to abandon all these habits cold turkey. I find each month gets better.

I can only speak for myself but I think my issues are fairly common for emotional eaters.

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