Fat, Nature, And The Food Industry
Daniel Lieberman, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard, has two pieces of advice for the two-thirds of the U.S. population that is overweight or obese: less sugar, more exercise. In an op-ed published in the New York Times, Lieberman asserts that “obesity’s fundamental cause is long-term energy imbalance — ingesting more calories than you spend over weeks, months and years.” And of the many things that contribute to that imbalance, he writes, sugar may be the worst. Lieberman explains that because excessive sugar in the bloodstream is toxic, our bodies convert digested sugar in the bloodstream into fat, which wouldn’t be a problem if we were living as we did for millions of years, in an environment where sugar was scarce and everyone walked or ran, in Lieberman’s estimate, five to ten miles a day. Instead, the biologist writes, we live in a world where “the food industry has made a fortune because we retain Stone Age bodies that crave sugar but live in a Space Age world in which sugar is cheap and plentiful. Sip by sip and nibble by nibble, more of us gain weight because we can’t control normal, deeply rooted urges for a valuable, tasty and once limited resource.” What to do? Restore our diets and exercise to a more natural state. How should we do that? Tell us in the comment space below. Read Daniel Lieberman’s op-ed.