Videos like this one really get under my skin
PEOPLE LIKE HIGH CALORIE FOODS. IT IS NOT A CONSPIRACY
Foods that are high in calories, that contain a large portion of fat are simply something people like. The same is true for starchy foods and sweet foods. Any chef will tell you this. There’s a reason why so many of them seem to be nearly obsessed with butter. It makes foods taste pleasing. Trying to make foods that are low in sugar, low in fat and low in starch as palatable is, at beast a challenge. They can be spiced and seasoned, but this really does not get you quite the same level of culinary gratification.
Of course, substitutes can be used, which give similar taste to foods. Many substitute sweeteners exist. Unfortunately, they do not always work in all products, since they may not melt or dissolve the same way as natural sugars do. They also tend to have inferior subjective tastes, at least to most people, with undesirable mouth-feels and aftertastes. There are also fat substitutes, but they have their own problems. Olestra is a well known example. The molecule is similar to fats, chemically and physically. It has the same thick, greasy feel to it. However, it also has some unfortunate side-effects. It is not absorbed in the digestive tract but passes through. It’s become famous for therefore producing an unpleasant side effect known as anal leakage. (Which is exactly what it sounds like.)
The human affinity for sweetness, however, should not be viewed as an addiction in the same way something like cocaine is addictive, however. That’s just ridiculous. Sugar is a natural part of our food we are all exposed to and which can’t be eliminated. Sweet flavors light up the pleasure centers of the brain because we like them and that’s what stuff we like does. Cocaine is a powerful drug that modifies brain chemistry, working on the dopamine system. It has strong stimulating effects and produces tolerance and dependence. With time, users are left dopamine-deficient without it. It also has an effect on serotonin and norepinephrine.
Why this is the case:
The reason why humans seek out and prefer high calorie foods is actually very simple. For most of our evolution food was scarce and it was common to not know where your next meal was coming from. Calories are, by far, he most important basic nutrient, and therefore when the opportunity arose to eat something high in them, it made sense to do so. If our ancestors went out foraging or hunting for food, it made sense to seek out that which had the highest calorie density.
It’s also more common to find other important nutrients, such as vitamins in the fruits of plants than in their leaves. Since humans require a steady supply of vitamin C, an affinity for sweet fruits was a good thing to have.
It really is that simple. It’s a matter of desiring foods and high calorie foods, because that’s what we need.
Evolution is also the reason why humans get fat when they eat a lot of high calorie foods. Many seem to believe that gaining weight represents the human body functioning improperly or that it is the result of something unnatural. This seems to be the reason why there are so many “detox” diets, which are based on the entirely false notion that fat is toxic or that some toxic and foreign substance is making people gain fatty tissue. There’s nothing especially toxic in fat cells. They’re just full of nutrients.
This has the same basic evolutionary reason. Every day we burn a certain number of calories, based primarily on the level of activity undertaken. We also take in a certain number of calories, based on diet. When we consistently eat more calories than we burn, there is a surplus and that surplus of calories needs to go somewhere.
Perhaps these calories could be eliminated by selectively closing the intestinal wall to further absorption or by boosting the body’s resting metabolism rate. If we were designing the human body for modern society, that might be what we’d decide to do. But that would be a very bad decision in a more “natural” environment, where food could be scarce. If there are extra calories, they are stored in fatty tissue, which is one of the primary purposes of fat. Our distant ancestors probably never had the opportunity to take this process to the extreme that so many do today, but it does not change the fact that it’s all just the body functioning normally to pack away calories for later.
It’s been said that there’s more to weight loss than just calories in and calories out. That’s only partially true. Metabolism is a complicated process and some people do have naturally higher or lower metabolisms, which does mean they may have to work harder than others to keep the pounds off. It’s also true that some foods have more easily absorbed calories than others. It does not change the fact that the human body cannot create fat out of nothing nor can it expend energy without burning something. We can’t photosynthesize.
Posted in Agriculture, Bad Science, Culture, Good Science, History