Measuring Food Pleasure & The law of Diminishing Returns
Imagine with me for a minute, in as much detail as you can... You have a bar of chocolate in front of you. You unwrap it, you get the smell of that sweet cocoa, you're excited. You put the first square in your mouth. It's cool, it starts to melt, and as it melts you get to access the sweet, rich, satisfaction on your tongue. It's the most perfect square of chocolate. Let's say this gives you 100 units of pleasure. It's finished. You go for another square... Also delicious. But perhaps only 80 units of pleasure because your mouth already enjoyed that first sensation of being filled with sweetness and coated in that satisfying way chocolate does. But still... 80 units of pleasure is a good score so still definitely worth it. As you go down the bar, each subsequent square is offering you less units pleasure towards the end, you're not even really bothered, nor are you getting any different taste or texture sensation and if you'd left those squares you wouldn't have felt hard done by... You're down to very low units of pleasure, maybe 10 max. In fact, the last couple of squares you only eat because you're no quitter but you know you're now in autopilot and you're experiencing zero units of pleasure. This is how one author in my studies in UK, now nearly 20 years ago, explained THE LAW OF DIMINISHING returns and it stuck with me. In my opinion, that author, whoever he was, is a genius. How true is it that we do this with food? I find find so many people that believe because something is labeled "healthy", they think they can eat a truck load and "not get fat". They're looking for that "Get out of jail card" where so long as you eat X or Y, you don't need to practice portion control. When Edamame beans hit the news as "super food" (my personal worst term ever), there were people eating 2kg bags and ending up in hospital in gastric distress! Do you really want to eat a truck load of something that starts at 40 units of pleasure? Or do you want to eat a reasonable portion of something that starts you at 100 units? Look, you have to get the good stuff in. Fruit, Veg, Fibre, Protein, beneficial fats etc. So yes, you have to make your calories count, but, even on a restriction diet, there's room for deliciousness, just not as much leg room as when you're not restricting. So have that treat... But tune in to that needle that's telling you how many units of pleasure are registering and stop before it's just not worth it.