With nearly 70% of the US population experiencing overweight, obesity and morbid obesity, you have to wonder, “how did we get to this point?”. This article looks at the genetic influence, food manufacturing processes and what you can do about it to turn the tide in your own life.
Throughout evolution, the increasing body and brain size of our ancestors had profound effects on energy requirements, food processing abilities and the amount of fat that could be stored on the body. While we evolved to be able to eat more and hold more fat on our bodies to support its size, the foods we ate were low glycemic; such as plant reproductive and storage parts as well as animal protein. This diet of our ancestors did not include simple sugars, except for when fruit was in season and that was only for a short amount of time. The foods of our ancestors were low calorie, high fiber and difficult to digest, slowing down absorption and keeping blood sugar stable. The amount of energy expended to obtain food was higher than a trip to the grocery store or fast food restaurant of today. This meant the food our ancestors ate and their digestive track’s ability to process it were in alignment with the body’s needs. Today we still retain the digestive ability of our guts to process starchy food, but we no longer expend great energy to obtain it and the carbohydrates we eat are highly digestible and turn to sugar quite readily in our bodies. We have stripped away most of the fiber in these foods making them quite easy to digest. We are now capable of processing more food that is calorie dense and readily digestible in one day than we need to satisfy our energy needs and the leftover is stored as fat.
The food we eat today is higher glycemic and much higher in calories than our ancestor’s food. The Standard American Diet of processed foods and medical low-fat diets raise insulin levels and lower fat-burning hormones. These foods are also nutrient deficient. Our intake of carbohydrates has increased as well. On average we get 15% of our calories from protein, 33% from fat and 50% from carbohydrates including cereal, grains, dairy, sodas, fruit juices, vegetable oils, dressings, sugar and candy. Hunter-gathers likely ate a diet more along the lines of 20-35% protein, 30-60% fat and 20-40% carbohydrates. Hunter-gatherers ate wild plant foods, low in carbohydrates, seeds, nuts, roots, tubers, bulbs and seasonal fruit. All those foods, with the exception of fruit had a low glycemic index and were very slow to raise blood sugar with an equally slow and measured insulin response. Today’s foods have been hybridized to be just the opposite; juicier, sweeter and therefore, more fattening.
If we believe our genetic makeup has a say in what constitutes a healthy diet, then the likely reason that easily digestible starches, refined carbs such as flour and white rice, as well as sugars are fattening is that we didn’t evolve to eat them and certainly not in the quantities in which we eat them today!
So if you want to be healthy and reach your natural weight set point, just eat foods high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. By doing this, your insulin levels will drop, fat burning enzymes will increase and weight will come off. Following this simple plan will improve or eliminate diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and obesity.
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Any nutritional information or dietary advice is not intended as a treatment or therapy for any disease or particular bodily symptom. Nutritional counseling, food recommendations, nutritional advice and vitamin, mineral and/or phytochemical support are provided solely to upgrade the quality of foods in the patient’s diet in order to support the physiological and biomechanical processes of the human body. We make no warranties or representations expressed or implied as to the accuracy or completeness, timeliness or usefulness of any opinions, advice or information contained or referenced in this material. We also do not assume any risk for your use of this information. Any statements made have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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