Hyperpalatable Food Hypothesis: A LessWrong Study?

In Eliezer Yudkowsky’s recent post he discussed SlimeMoldTimeMold’s research into possible causes of obesity, and how he thinks SMTM’s theories are more convincing than the Hyperpalatable Food Hypothesis (HFH). SlimeMoldTimeMold theorizes that some kind of contamination is more likely, potentially lithium contamination in water. His work can be found here: https://​​slimemoldtimemold.com/​​2021/​​07/​​07/​​a-chemical-hunger-part-i-mysteries/​​

Matthew Barnett’s comment supporting the hyperpalatable food hypothesis was strongly upvoted, so I’m interpreting that as indicating a decent amount of support for it among readers here. Personally, I find the HFH the most compelling of the existing theories. Why I’m posting is I think we could run our own study to test this hypothesis.

As a group, we could have 3 months where we only eat meat, fruit, vegetables and spices. We track our weight, pool the data and see what happens at the end of it.

Instructions would be along the lines of:

  • Eat only meat, fruit, vegetables and spices.

  • Eat to satiation. Eat how much you feel like eating.

  • Do not alter exercise habits greatly during these months if possible. Report if you do.

  • Rather than record everything you eat, only record when you have broken the diet. Obviously, this diet will be very difficult to follow in certain settings, and we’ll all break it at some point. This is fine. Being allowed to break this diet for a few days at a time, or for a few meals here or there will be necessary. As long as you restart afterwards and record how much you deviated over the 3 month period, I think we’ll still have a good sense of its efficacy.

This would only make sense to do if enough people were interested, so I thought I’d make this post to see if anyone was. If it is something you’d be interested to participate in, please comment below or send me a message.

Also, if you see any issues/​improvements please comment.