I believe that our taste buds serve one function when it comes to body composition – to help us be as fat as possible.
Those living on the planet now represent the best of the best when it comes to surviving on it. If they possess a trait it is because the trait helped them survive. Any traits we possess have been passed along to us through our ancestors for thousands of years. Human beings have biological tendencies towards certain behaviors and the expression of these behaviors is often unconscious.
Why humans eat fat and sugar: The basic reason is that these nutrients help us store fat in preparation for the next famine / winter. That is it. Our species used to need to have large fat store to get us through the tough times and having favoring eating the things that make use fat would help us survive.
Eating disorders (at least binge eating) are a survival mechanism. Okay, I’m probably going to get blasted for that but I believe it is true. I have spoken to a number of people who suffer from compulsive eating and almost all of them describe their binges in exactly the same terms I would use to describe my binge eating. Initially, there’s an awareness of the food. The cookies call to me, the cake makes noises in the fridge to remind me that it is there, the chocolate bar dances in my peripheral vision taunting me. If I’m able to ignore them, I am fine. The craving or awareness will go away and my day will continue.
However, if I eat a cookie, have a sliver of cake or sample a piece of chocolate, something very unusual happens. I have a sensation that I can only describe as an out of body experience. I watch, in almost horror, my hands grabbing the food and putting it into my mouth. I am only marginally aware of the sensation of eating, chewing and swallowing. Basically, I sit back and watch while my body just rips its way through the food. Through out the session I will think that maybe I should stop, that maybe 20 cookies is enough, but these are just thoughts that have no impact on the behaviour of the thing I become. I roll through the food, ALL of the food, regardless of any feelings of fullness. Even the crumbs get eaten and my fingers get licked clear to make sure nothing is wasted.
Others who gorge or binge report the same sort of feeling – like they are watching something unfold and are powerless to do anything other than watch. In fact, the reports are so similar that I am left with no option but to say that this gorging behaviour is a part of our genetic code and it is a trait that was critical for the survival of our ancestors.
Why the need to gorge? Simply put, if we stopped eating when we were full, we`d be much less likely to overeat and store fat. Everyone would be their ideal weight. However, when the seasons changed and food became scarce, we would have very little stored fat to help bridge the gap between the end of harvest season and the start of the growing season in the spring. This survival trait is antiquated in modern farming times given that there is never an interruption in the food supply. However, the consequences of the expression of this trait is becoming more and more common as high sugar and high fat foods become readily available to everyone.
I have talked to 100’s of people about the food they buy and I have yet to hear any of them convincingly tell me that they do not know what they should be eating. Without fail, they all say they should be eating more vegetables and less candy or junk food. They know that fresh foods that will rot quickly are better for them than anything they buy in a package yet their buying decisions indicate everything BUT good food awareness. Logic, it seems, has little impact on many people when it comes to what they eat.
I liken this to choosing relationship partners in that most people cannot tell you exactly why they fell in love with their significant others. Everyone is looking for something, they just don’t know what it is until they see it and they don’t know why they found it when they find, just that they knew. When I fell for Rachel, there were a number of logical reason why I shouldn’t pursue her which just didn’t factor into the decision making process. She matched what I was looking for even if I didn’t know what I was looking for and I was powerless to stop myself from falling in love.
I think of food in the same way. We are drawn to it for reasons other than logic given that most do not eat the perfect foods or eat the right amount of food for their needs. We eat that which makes us fat because we’re programmed to eat it.