Saturday, February 4, 2012

About Obesity

I think it is good to reproduce here a comment I made at another blog:
Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky

Until the medical profession starts to think about what our evolutionary environment was with regards to nutrition, and what's at odds with this evolutionary environment in todays nutrition, we will remain in the dark about the causes of obesity. Some sort of constant "Calorie Restriction" is most certainly not part of an natural environment. All animals are evolutionary selected to search the food that is right for them and eat until they have taken up the right amount of food – with interspersed episodes of insufficient food supply (which certainly is not the norm).
The number one source of calories in all age groups [in the US] is "grain-based desserts". The next five in adults are yeast breads, chicken dishes, soda/sports drinks, alcohol and pizza.
One problem that should be immediately obvious from this are supernatural stimuli in the form of adding sugar to all kinds of food products with sugary/alcoholic beverages being the biggest problem. In an natural environment, you don't take up calories when you drink.

Another thing that should be immediately obvious is how much grain products there are in that list:
  • grain-based desserts
  • yeast breads
  • chicken dishes (how high is the share of breading?)
  • soda/sports drinks
  • alcohol (mostly beer I'd reckon)
  • pizza
If there is meat in that list, it is mostly chicken or processed meat from pizzas. Something to ponder about.

A few more points (from the top of my head) that are not immediately obvious:
  • The content of saturated fat in such a diet would be lowish due to the common usage of vegetable oil with high PUFA content, instead of sources of fat that are available in an evolutionary environment (like animal fats)
  • The ratio of PUFAs is highly skewed towards Omega-6 fatty acids and away from Omega-3 fatty acids (see Bill Lands for reference)
  • The content of partially hydrogenated oil in this common diet would probably be "unnaturally" high (no way we could consume so much of that stuff in our evolutionary environment)
  • Animals that end up in our diet are fed a diet that is high in grain leading to a different composition of the resulting meat (higher fat content, lower Omega-3 content, most probably other changes as well)
For finish, I give you one image:

Lard and butter consumption is on the decline.

At the same time the consumption of margarine, shortening and vegetable oil is on the rise.

While correlation does not imply causation, this correlation is something I would consider worthy of investigation.

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