When you think about it from an intellectual level it’s odd. Why do humans eat things they don’t actually want and then feel guilty about eating it, over and over and over? The cognitive dissonance (thinking/believing something different than what you do) is striking. Humans are the most intellectually advanced species on the planet. And yet, we can’t seem to manage something as simple as what we eat.
There are a few factors to consider:
Evolution– We are designed to ingest the largest amount of energy in the most efficient way possible. The goal is to keep yourself alive long enough to procreate and take care of the next generation long enough so they can procreate.
To that end, you can feed a human just about anything, as long as it has enough calories and some basic nutrients, and they will live about forty years. Plenty long enough to have children and raise them to the point of having their own children with a few years to spare.
If your goal is to live to be forty, you really don’t have to do anything special with your diet. You won’t thrive. I’ll likely be overweight, tired and suffer from inflammation, but you’ll live for 40-ish years.
Industry– The food industry is designed to make money creating ingestible substances (notice I did not call it food). Basic business sense says things should be made as cheaply as possible, sold at the highest price possible, to the largest masses possible. Ingestible substances made from the cheapest ingredients that are shelf stable (remove the nutrients so it won’t rot) and taste good. Great for the company bottom line. Bad for your waistline.
Easy calories. Just what humans need to live for about forty years.
Science– The food industry is REALLY good at studying humans, what we like, what we do and most importantly, what we will pay for. Enter the discovery of the Bliss Point. The exact mixture of salt, sugar and fat that makes the human brain say, “YES!” and turns off the ability to say “no.”
Put all those pieces together and you have the perfect storm for saying, “I shouldn’t but…” and digging in - cognitive dissonance personified.
2.5 million years of evolution is telling you to eat as much as you can, as fast as you can before it disappears and you starve to death. The food industry has created cheap, fast calories that hit all the “eat more” taste centers in our brain and they package it in colors that our unconscious brain equates with nutrition.
But the more nutrition-less calories we ingest, the more calories we crave. Our evolution doesn’t have a mechanism to ask for nutrition, only calories. We end up on a hamster wheel of eating and eating and eating, but being malnourished and still hungry so we eat more.
At the end of the forty years our evolution can squeeze out of this mess, we are obese and sick, really sick. Heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure. And we start to die.
But don’t worry, modern medicine can keep you alive, sort of - hopefully. Not thriving. You’ll be tired, sick and spending insane amounts of time and money trying to keep your body plugging along. Some of us will manage to make it to 80, twice as long as 40. That will be used as evidence that things aren’t so bad. Just ignore the people who are dying and that those who are alive are sick. It’s all good.
All of that is just smoke and mirrors and excuses. Sure, that WHY things are the way they are. But that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.
What if you got off the hamster wheel? What if, you didn’t let evolution, industry and their science collude to make you sick and kill you?
You deserve better than to be controlled for the benefit of corporate shareholders. You can do it and we can help. Join the Whole Food Muscle Club. Your future is worth it.
Dr Robyn is a former competitive volleyball player turned psychologist with continuing education in nutrition. Russ is a former competitive bodybuilder and trainer on the Mr. Olympia Tour. They are the co-founders of Whole Food Muscle and the authors of How to Feed a Human The Whole Food Muscle Way. To work with them one on one to improve your health and fitness or to have them speak at your event or organization email them at Health@RnRJourney.com.