Disclaimer: Nothing I write here is a criticism, in the pejorative sense, of Guyenet’s advice; he reports scientific findings faithfully and we can ask no more than that. Instead, I want to explore why some people find his advice discouraging. Also, note that Guyenet’s advice involves more than just reducing food reward – he says you can also lose weight by eating a high-protein diet, exercising more, sleeping better, and reducing stress.
Scott Alexander suggested that the implications of The Hungry Brain are “neo-Puritan”, and I more or less repeated that claim in my review of the book. However, it could be argued that every diet plan is puritanical – after all, every diet plan, from the quackiest to the most scientifically sound, offers the same basic promise: Restrict in some way your consumption of delicious foods, and you will lose weight. Is Guyenet’s advice any different?
I think it is.