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Monday, September 1, 2008

Waddling Happily Toward the Grave

The simplicity of it is mind boggling! If you look around (or probably just look toward your toes), the people in modern society are just becoming fatter and fatter and fatter. The reason is a simple equation, really. In western society, at least, there is a virtually unlimited supply of food (mostly carbohydrates), and very little physical movement necessary to get through the day. The human body is an amazing machine. It was designed and developed over 2 million years or so to survive and reproduce under a wide range of conditions. Unlike many animals, we can survive on meat, on fruit, on vegetation, or any combination of those, for extended periods of time.

Our ancestors, of course, couldn't wake up in the morning and walk to a cupboard, grab a bag containing 5,000 calories of whatever, and eat their fill. They had to find-catch-pick their food. That required caloric expenditure. This went on until about 10-20,000 years ago, when man figured out that he could keep animals penned up, grow grains and fruits close to his abode, and access them at his leisure. Unfortunately, our bodies have yet to catch up with our intellect. Although we have solved the problem of having enough nutrition available, the human body is still programmed to store what we find, in the way of fat, until the next period of plenty arrives.

When our paleolithic ancestors found a migrating herd of caribou, they could kill and eat for weeks, gaining precious fat as an insurance policy against leaner times when food was not plentiful. Now our bodies perform the same way, not having changed much in such a short time. We do not, however, still have the "leaner times" during which the fat was drawn upon for energy.

This is why nearly everyone you see has a large abdomen protruding in front of them, as they happily graze the samples at Costco, or descend upon the "birthday table" of sugary sweets brought into the office by a co-worker to "celebrate" some milestone or event. Add this to a sedentary lifestyle, a habit of eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and you have ........fat people

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