I have been trying to catch up on a line of research about hunger. A couple of weeks ago, I posted about a study that showed if people could start to recognize basic hunger signals, they could lose weight and maintain it.
First, you have to assume (or at least I assume) that humans, like any other animal have an in-built system to regulate food intake. So then the question is, why has that mechanism gone haywire in modern society?
It's easy to point the finger at energy-dense, processed foods. But if look into it, like this study , you'll find the correlation between dietary energy density and overweight is actually pretty low. In fact, if someone starts consuming low-energy-dense foods, there can be a tendency to just eat more to make up for this in the long run.
Then, some people assume that energy-dense foods somehow short-circuits the weight regualtion mechanism and leads to overeating. This unique study found this wasn't true for all groups. After consumption of fast food, lean adolescents compensated for this and consumed less food while overweight adolescents did not.
What's frustrating is when researchers just lump these two groups together in other studies. If you take a mix of lean and overweight people, you will find that on average they don't compensate for energy-dense foods. But that's only because you lumping together those who do (the lean) with those who don't (the overweight).