I've been doing some experiments with starches and fats over the last two months. Coincidentally, I've just read some things that have confirmed my initial thoughts.
Stephan just posted an article and there was in interesting quote from Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, talking about low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets:
“The common denominator of such diets is that neither allows consumption of the very caloric and seductive foods that combine high fat with high carbohydrates.”
My experiments over the past two months have been adding butter/oil to either potatoes or rice. When adding butter to potatoes, I noticed that over time the amount of butter I used seemed to creep up. It was if I incrementally wanted more fat, or at least felt I needed more to be satisfied. Then I did the same thing with rice, and once again noticed the same phenomenon. Switching from butter to olive oil made no difference.
I would have to conclude from this that adding oil to starch made it much more appetizing, and probably also led to overconsumption. For example, even if I was not hungry, if I fixed some rice with butter (and often added salt), I could polish it off no problem.
I compared this to when I was in an Asian restaurant in Vancouver the other month. They gave me a huge plate of rice, but it was mostly dry and flavored with pineapple. I couldn't finish it. But I bet if they mixed it with butter I could have.
I know Art Devany has rallied for a lot of years against the combination of sugar/starch with fat. He hypothesized that this was a foreign combination to our hunter-gatherer physiology. I disagree, as nuts combine starch and fat, and nuts were consumed in the Stone Age. But maybe he was right about starch and fat but for the wrong reason. Maybe combining starches with added fat just makes the food that much more appetizing which leads to overconsumption, which then sets off the negative metabolic events.
You could apply the same things to nuts themselves. A couple of people commenting recently at Stephan's blog did some detective work and said:
"Since i started eating primal, the only thing i binge on is salted nuts – mostly dry-roasted.
not unsalted nuts, just salted ones. i can eat 5 oz of salted almonds at one sitting and stop when i feel like throwing up. unsalted almonds soaked overnight? i eat maybe four or five and stop.
so i stopped stocking salted nuts. i don't binge on nuts at all now. Salt makes fatty nuts more palatable to me – so palatable, that i can't control how many i eat."
"I found something similar, so I experimented to see whether the salt or the roasting were to blame. On some days I ate unroasted nuts with salt on them, and on other days I ate roasted, salted nuts with the salt washed off. Neither made me want to eat more than the roasted salted nuts did. From which I concluded that the combination of the salt and the roasting oil was the palatability hook, as the producers planned."
I found this to be true back in 2007 – salted, roasted nuts are are an addictive-like food. So much so, that I just quit buying them and quit eating nuts all together.