It’s Not Your Fault, It’s How You Are Wired To Eat
“Nor is it your fault that you eat too much. Or that you developed Type II Diabetes.”
These were the words spoken by nutrition expert and author of The Paleo Solution and Wired to Eat Robb Wolf at the 2017 MadLab business summit las weekend in Las Vegas.
So whose fault is it that people are becoming more and more obese and diseased?
Wolf said it can be blamed on two things: Biology and society. Or more specifically, the message the supposed health experts have been feeding society about nutrition.
The detrimental message is two-fold:
1. Eat less, move more
2. Everything in moderation
“How many times have you talked to someone who clearly has some nutritional, possibly some lifestyle issues, and when you’re talking to them about trying to make some changes, they’re like …’Whoa, whoa, whoa, this sounds over-the-top…Everything in moderation…”.
“We have been beating this drum for 40 years, 50 years, and everything is still getting worse—obesity, Type II Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, neurodegenerative disease…We know more about (Type II diabetes) than we ever have in history and yet these rates keep going up,” Wolf said.
“Do you think maybe we’re trying to fix the problem the wrong way?”
He asked rhetorically.
Wolf certainly thinks so.
“Is there eat less, move more in the snack isle? What does moderation even mean in these places?”
The second half of the problem comes down to our genetic make-up, Wolf explained.
Human beings are essentially wired to eat everything in sight, because traditionally in the animal kingdom you don’t know when you’re going to get to eat again.
“From this naturalistic evolutionary biology perspective—you should be eating everything that’s not nailed down, then you should go lay down and take a nap because you really don’t know when the next meal is going to happen,” he said.
To Wolf, this comes down to a couple theories:
- Optimal foraging strategy: This is the theory that says organisms are designed to select nutrients that provide the most bang for their buck. In other words, “as a free living critter out in the world,” you need to get more nutrition and calories out of your environment than what you burn finding it.
- Palate Fatigue: This is essentially a strategy wired in all of us that causes us to try to diversify the nutrients we get.
The problem for us is our modern world has made food so easily accessible and diverse, it’s no wonder we—as a society—eat too much. Our biology is winning!
Or in other words, our ancient wiring originally designed to protect us has become a liability.
“If you are fat, sick, diabetic or broken, you are a success story. You have done nothing wrong. You have done everything right,”
“You are the result of 4 billion years of evolutionary success.”
Is all hope lost then?
Wolf doesn’t think so, but it’s going to take work.
Understanding why we are where we are is the first step, he said. And then consciously putting ourselves on a path to better health is the next step.
We can’t medicate our way out of this, Wolf said. Drugs aren’t going to help us. Instead, he believes it’s going to come down to counseling and community and coaching. This is where the gym and fitness coaches come in.
Coaches and gyms are the keys to turning this ship around, he said.