26 Nov #41 Fatal Conveniences™: Overeating: Enough is Enough
The holiday season in America comes with a lot of food. There’s really no way around it. We’re going to be offered things we would never normally eat. But for some reason, we will eat them. And we’ll keep eating, probably till we feel sick. You may think doing this every once in a while is no big deal. But overeating comes with consequences.
Welcome to Fatal Conveniences™
This is a bite-sized segment that parallels The Darin Olien Show. In these segments, we get into society’s Fatal Conveniences™. I define these as the things we may be doing because the world we live in makes us believe we have to. These things save us time and trick us into thinking they’re actually good for us. But it’s those same things that are breaking down our health and the health of the environment around us.
I’ve spent most of my adult life obsessively researching these “conveniences.” On every show, I pick one topic, and we dive into it. My goal is to make you more aware of these traps so that you can push back on them. Remember, it starts with you and the choices you make.
So, if you’re willing to look at your world from a different perspective and make little tweaks that amount to big changes, then this segment is for you.
It’s not that we’re addicted to food. It’s more that we’re addicted to eating.
The holiday season always gets me thinking about the amount of food considered normal in our culture. Americans sure know how to eat. But have you ever wondered how we got here? Why are we eating so much when we don’t need to? And what is it doing to our bodies?
The truth is, it’s not just humans that overeat. When animals have access to a never-ending food supply, they overeat too. Why? Because we’re supposed to work for our food! We’re supposed to forage. We’re supposed to peel, carve, chop, carry, prepare. We’re not supposed to open a box, hit start on the microwave and eat.
In the segment, I get into the multi-faceted topic of overeating. There’s lots that goes into this, guys. But the bottom line is, processed foods high in sugar, fat and salt keep us coming back for more. We crave them. But there is good news. If you stop eating them, you’ll stop craving them. It really is that simple. I want you all to work more whole foods into your diet. Fresh, healthy fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes; that’s what we need more of. So as we go through this holiday season in such a different way than years past, let’s insert some new healthy traditions in there as well.
Other great information in this segment:
- The evolution of overeating
- Our overabundance of food
- How we got here
- The dangers of processed foods
- Fat, Sugar and Salt
- Why we’re no better than baboons
- How the human body reacts to excess calories
Links & Resources:
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Darin: It’s that time of the week for another fatal convenience. This is a bite-size segment that addresses some of society’s fatal conveniences and the steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of them. I define fatal conveniences as the things we may be doing because the world we live in makes us believe we have to, tap water, shampoo, sunglasses, food. I dive into the hidden truths behind some of our everyday choices that could not only be harming us but even killing us, so let’s dive in.
Darin: Welcome, welcome. Welcome, everybody to the show. Thanks for tuning in to another installment of Fatal Conveniences. So I’m going after a little interesting topic today. And that is the fatal convenience of overeating. Convenience of food everywhere here in the United States and our first world situation, we have obviously mastered the proliferation, the production of food, and certainly, of poor quality food, and that plays into a lot of aspects as to why we are overeating. So there are many, many layers to this. And I’m not going to be able to get into all of the reasons and the implications to what could lead one to overeat. Obviously, there’s a cultural element. Obviously, there are emotions to food. And there’s also all of these interesting aspects of overeating from an evolutionary standpoint, that is, if you understand it, maybe can give you some insight and give some of your power back, and that’s where I want to go into. So just a little bit on processed food and overeating, some of which from the last 70 years or so we kind of went from production of food, even when I was young, we still had gardens and growing whole foods and even the meat and potatoes really was more macro food from less processed. But now in the last seven years, we really went to ultra processing foods, chips, and cookies, and packages and instant this and microwave that and powdered this and instantize that, and so foods have been dominated in the US diet for the last seven years. So it made food really cheap, ingredients really cheap and allowing then engineering to go into food production, and really zeroing in on the super tasty fat, sugar, salt. Sugar, sugar, sugar, salt, and fat. And that’s really where it gets interesting in terms of our evolution. So here’s where I found it just extremely interesting. And so the human physiology is really poorly adapted to the concentration of calories, especially as it relates to manipulating a food because when we were foraging food, we had to weigh in how long will it take for me to find this food, pull the plant to the tuber, find the berries, find the edible plants, all of these things? How long did it take? How many calories did I need to burn in order to find the food that would then give me not only the calories that I burned but also give me more? So from an evolutionary standpoint, physiologically, we’re looking for food that gave us more density. So think about that now through that lens. So we’ve poorly adapted to evaluate foods that have historically unusually high energy density. So when we scored in nature is when we found food with high caloric density, then we could bring that back to the community, we could bring that back to our family, and then they could benefit from the effort that I had to put into climbing the tree. And then that gave a balance to– listen, you expended energy but that energy gave you life not only as an individual but as a community. So what hasn’t adapted is the fat, sugar, and salt calories of the ultra-processed food. So when we get exposed to these things, especially sugar and fat, then we say, hey, that’s a score in nature, and then we consume a lot of it because in nature, again, that would have been a huge score. So those are addictive for us to constantly come into contact with, but they’re everywhere. And then food manufacturing, people know that. So fat, sugar, and salt is going to get you from an evolutionary standpoint, keep coming back for more but the problem is, it’s been stripped down of the essentials, the great micronutrients for the most part, the fiber, and all of that stuff, which then wreaks havoc in the body. So there was an interesting baboon study, where females had access to abundance of food from a nearby human garbage dump, where they dumped a lot of food. And so the baboons averaged 50% more body mass than their wild feeding counterparts. So they knew where this food was going to be. They just kept coming back to the garbage dump and had all of these leftovers from us and didn’t have to expend a lot of energy, but they knew that it was a score, and they kept showing up. And of course, then they had this abundant source, but their body fat increased by 23.2% as opposed to 1.9% of the wild feeding animals. So this is a snippet into what we’ve done. So we’re a big baboon, and we’ve created all of these foods, so convenient to eat. But then from an evolutionary standpoint, we know that consuming high amounts of calories is a good thing, but we keep doing it and the food quality keeps going down at the same time. So on top of that is this neurochemistry that’s going on. And let’s talk a little bit about food addiction. So you have all of these things in terms of neurochemistry as it relates to food. You have dopamine, which is endogenous opioids, essentially. You have neuroanatomy, which is our deep, deep limbic system. And largely, by consuming foods and other things, these are self-medications that happens within our body. So foods identified as having potentially addictive properties include, of course, sweets, and carbohydrates, fats, and fats with sweets in these combinations, and possibly processed and or high salt foods. So the combination of all of those fat, sugars, and salts kick in these deep limbic systems and these addictive neurochemical systems, the dopamines, these endogenous opioids, so the eating topography has been identified as a necessary factor in the neural pathway changes that promote addictive-like properties in response to these foods. So literally, we are eating these overly sugared, overly processed fats and salts are literally creating an endogenous cascade of addictive properties and neural pathways and dodginess opioids in our system getting a hit from all that stuff. And therefore, kicking on the food addiction with that evolutionary standpoint that I’ve pointed out in the beginning that caloric restriction was a win in nature so when you have it, consume it. And then not to mention the poor food quality and I’m not even getting into the toxic exposure of some of these foods. So recent findings have strengthened the case of food addiction. These findings may serve to validate the perception of food addiction in patients and inform psychoeducational, cognitive-behavioral, and pharmacological treatment for chronic food cravings, compulsive overeating, and binge eating and may represent a phenotype of obesity. Screening of food addictions has a potential to identify people with eating difficulties that seriously compromise weight management efforts. Future research should include more of a focus on human food addiction research evaluating the impact of treatment on underlying neurochemistry and prevention, or reversal of food addiction in humans. So this is basically saying, we know that this is going on, there’s not a lot of research in it, we’re still in this experiment. But when you’re combining and slamming food addiction as our deep evolutionary aspects of food, calorie density scores, and nature, you’re getting a dangerous aspect of what’s going on because you’re addicted to your own brain food chemistry, as well as the evolutionary side. So, obviously, that is just hitting– and all the food manufacturers know this. So why this makes it convenient, is because we can look anywhere, hell, we can go to 7/11 and get a score of sugar, salt, and fat, manipulating our primal systems of foraging for calories. That is why it’s a convenience. And of course, our calories go up from there. So now there’s two basic categories, fresh produce, and then there’s processed, prepared, preserved, and packaged food. And you know where I’m going with this. So the food categories, number one are vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds of legumes that are largely not processed, of course, that promote health, general health, lower inflammation, all of that stuff. Unfortunately, all of the processed prepared, and you already know this, is going to predominantly push you in. And with the obesity, addictive personality, which will stop you reaching for the healthy stuff because now you’re addicted, and now you’re also, and I haven’t even talked about this yet, the changing the microflora and the microbiome, which is then creating a different environment to create other addictive aspects of that microbiome, which is now adding a third wave of addictive inside environmental changes that make it harder and harder to block and stop these addictive behaviors and these poor food choices. Okay, so there’s like 300 processed food companies. That’s it, 300 that dominate the American diet. And with about 60,000 products in the supermarket relying on salt, sugar, and fat, which absolutely override our dietary self-control. That’s why it’s easy to lose weight when you eat whole healthy fresh foods. And listen, there’s no deprivation in fresh fruits and vegetables. It tastes great. You just have to give yourself a little time. And with sugar and fat intake and the brain pleasure centers that light up and creates this functional magnetic resonance just like that when they show what happens when you take cocaine. So it’s the same mechanisms that they all do. So there’s a reason why all of these companies are pushing all of these buttons because you’re going to come back like a good addict even that which is close to cocaine and keep coming back increasing sugar, salt, fat, trying to hit that same bliss point. So what are the conflicts of this whole thing? Well, there’s several. Every degenerative disease that you can possibly imagine, as well as these ultra-processed diets, causes an excess in calories which causes an increase in weight gain. This is a study done presented by calories of sugars and fats and fibers. The calories are all the same, but the people that consumed more calories when exposed to the ultra-processed diet, as compared to the unprocessed diet. The people with the ultra-processed diet gained more weight, and the people with the unprocessed diet lost more weight. Same calories in, exactly the same calorie. Calorie isn’t the same as each calorie. Limiting consumption of ultra-processed food may be an effective strategy. This is from cell.com, cellular metabolism. So obviously, their conservative way of saying, well, it may be an effective strategy if you just eat whole foods rather than these processed things. So that’s what we’re up against here. So I just wanted to create a context of your overeating, that if you start eating more whole healthy foods, everything in your body, in your longevity, in your brain, in your microbes, in your evolutionary state for longevity and your current state of balance of your chemistry, and your lowering of all-cause mortality, heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol, all of that will lower when you shift to whole healthy foods. And I’ll just add this other whole healthy plant-based foods, will lower all of these markers, and your microbes will change, your taste buds will change, and you will not be victim of overeating. You are not 100% a victim of overeating. Your body has been manipulated because we’ve grown up in an ultra-processed world. So if you back off in the ultra-processed food eating, your body will change, your mind will change, and your life will increase in longevity. Okay, so that’s what we do. We go back to eating whole healthy plants, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes. Stop eating all of these processed, take very, very little of that stuff, especially during the holidays. Consume whole healthy plants, amazing salads, amazing nuts, all of these things, and your life would be better for it. And I promise, you will not crave this stuff over a period of time. You will go back to celebrating food as it’s meant to be eaten. That’s it for my overeating. I love you, stay healthy, stay positive. And if you eat a little better, your brain chemistry will help you stay positive that much more. I love you all and have a great holiday season.
Darin: Thanks for tuning in everyone. I hope that left you feeling inspired to take a closer look at the everyday choices you’re making and how they could be impacting your health and even planet. If you want to learn more about life’s fatal conveniences, head over to fatalconveniences.com. You can sign up for the exclusive access to Fatal Conveniences episodes, news, insights, and more. And all this great stuff gets sent each week straight to your inbox, making it really easy. Now, that’s a convenience without the negative side effects. It only takes a few seconds to join. Just fill in the form and take that amazing step towards making better choices. Remember, small changes can have big impact. So, keep diving my friends, keep diving. And if you haven’t had a chance to check out the interview, I released earlier on the week, here’s what you missed:
Dr. David: The sirtuins, we have seven of these genes in our body. I first worked on them in little yeast cells back in the 1990s. And so it turns out, most life forms on the planet have these genes, whether they’re plants, bacteria, or even ourselves, of course. And we’ve been along with probably 100 other labs trying to figure out what these genes have been, what are they doing in the body. And in yeast cells, what they do is they promote longevity. They keep the little yeast they use for baking and brewing. They keep them healthier for longer. And it turns out, as a group of scientists, we’ve figured out that they do the same thing in our bodies. So you can think of these genes as making little proteins that are little workers that tell the body how to be healthy.
Darin: This episode is produced by my team at Must Amplify, an audio marketing company that specializes in giving a voice to a brand and making sure the right people hear it. If you would like or are thinking about doing a podcast or even would like a strategy session to add your voice to your brand in a powerful way, go to www.mustamplify.com/darin. That’s www.mustamplify.com/darin.