It’s quite interesting when I get a comment on an old post (root post). Usually, and especially if someone has a disagreement, I’ll just deal with it in comments. But this commenter is a family doc and he raises an interesting quibble.
First off, let me say bravo for a pretty good health info website. Let me contextualize: I am a family doc who often feels like a “sheep in wolf’s clothing” for my preventative health apostasy, most of which is addressed by your site.
I will quibble with the following quote, though:
“human hunger adversely motivates the human organism to harm itself (which is prima facie absurd)”
From an adaptive/evolutionary standpoint, it isn’t necessarily absurd. If the majority of mankind adapted to a diet high in raw plant matter, potassium would have been in abundance, sodium often scarce. This is consistent with normal kidney function: potassium is sacrificed (excreted) in favor of retaining sodium. Most people I know like high-salt foods, and one only has to look at nutrition labels to see what sells.
Back in paleolithic, high-K days, a constitutive salt craving would have made adaptive sense. Now in the time of Con-Agra and supermarkets, it works against us unless we make informed, conscious choices. People of African descent, especially, do well to follow a lower-salt diet, as their blood pressure is typically more responsive to it than the general population.
Still, overall I think you’re spot on. Glad there’s someone else taking ownership of health to this degree. I’m bookmarking your site!
Basically, the post was about my changing appetites which I attributed to fasting and I got a bit exuberant — as noticed by the doc — over the power of it. Essentially, I was mistaken in trying to make the point that it would be counterintuitive that we would naturally hunger for things harmful to us.
Well, that would be one post, but I always appreciate valid correction, as this is. I was still carrying a good amount of body fat (probably weighed around 210 or so at the time, now 175). I was likely being fooled by the satiation of my own body fat release so sincerely didn’t hunger for crappy food. A couple of popular & linked to posts on this issue:
Now that I’m many pounds lighter, things are a bit different. Now, I absolutely have to exercise more discipline — whereas, less than you’d have thought, before — and I’ve yet to sort out whether it’s because I’m pretty close to an ideal weight and body comp, allowing myself to back off, or it’s a real hunger for things that are bad for me.
So it seems obvious to me now that indeed the root problem is that our sense of taste and hunger drives are stone age living in a modern world and that food companies (in cahoots with their whores at all levels of government) have successfully pitted our tongues against our brains.
It is all about who owns the tongues of these youngsters, not who reaches their brains, mused Obesity. Ownership, Obesity knew, belonged to his most faithful allies—the vast fast food and food processing industry and their clever advertisers. For decades these companies have transformed millions of young tongues into fast food first responders.
The tongue has been turned against the brain for so long that the kids’ parents and even some grandparents accept this conditioned response. Look what they head for in the movies, what they choose in the supermarkets, what they order in the chain restaurants and takeouts. It’s all about the pipeline full of enlarged amounts of sugar, fat and salt, dude! Hour after hour, day after day, these pipelines are flowing to the delight of their video-addicted young customers.
That’s a Ralph Nader quote, of all damn irritating nanny-state people. But he’s pretty right on, here. Of course, fat always gets a bad wrap when the focus ought to be what the fat delivery device is. But hell, I’ll just be uncharacteristically generous and give the guy a pass, this time.
In the end, it’s always going to be about hunger and its perverse modern manipulation. That post suffers from some of the same errors the doc pointed out in the comment above. And now I know. It’s probably always going to be a battle.
The best defense for me is to keep decent food around and to cook for myself most of the time. I’m also embarking with new resolve to get rid of the last bits of fat, here & there. I have a plan of intense execution, but I’ll save that for a later post.