It’s no secret that American waistlines continue to expand, despite regular headlines about the dire health consequences of excess body fat. We eat too much sugar, refined carbohydrates, junk food, fast food and hydrogenated trans fats. Compare our modern diet to that of our evolutionary ancestors and you’ll quickly see why we’re putting our lives in peril every time we eat.
Cave Men Set Our Dietary Genes in Stone
The food we eat every day sends powerful chemical messages throughout our body which directly influence our genes. This happens with every meal, as we switch our genes either toward health or disease with every bite of food. We were never intended to eat massive quantities of processed foods laced with sugar, salt and fat that many people consume throughout the day.
Like it or not, we are a product of evolution and our genes are switched toward health and natural weight loss when we eat a diet similar to our Paleolithic brethren. Information reported in the Chicago Tribune reveals the importance of eating closer to the way nature intended to significantly reduce the risk of disease and drop the excess weight which packs on as a consequence of our poor culinary habits.
It’s important to understand the reasons behind the obesity epidemic which keep us from losing weight. Once we understand the powerful genetic influence our diet exerts over fat storage and mobilization in our body, we can make simple dietary changes to achieve our healthy weight loss goal.
Reason 1 – Too Much Sugar and Fructose
As the genes we carry today were being coded thousands of generations ago, sugar was virtually nonexistent, and fructose from fruit was a rare treat which bore little resemblance to the highly cultivated sweet fruit we buy on store shelves today. From a metabolic perspective, our body has difficulty processing the great amounts of sugar we consume, and most is converted into triglycerides (blood fat) and then stored as fat.
Research demonstrates that fructose, and especially high fructose corn syrup used in so many sweetened beverages, has an even more disruptive effect on fat metabolism. Reading nutritional labels is the best way to avoid added sugar. Cut out desserts, sugary soft drinks and sweet snacks, and be mindful of condiments like ketchup which are loaded with sugar.
Reason 2 – Refined Carbohydrates and Wheat
In between meal snacks and junk food can account for up to 40% of our daily calories, and these are typically high calorie foods with no nutritional value. Chips, fries and breads are immediately broken down by our efficient digestive system into glucose which hits our blood stream hard, and ultimately leads to metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and diabetes. Wheat has only been in our food supply for the last 5,000 years, and genetically we haven’t yet evolved to eat wheat based foods.
Wheat is foreign to the body, and causes our immune system to spring into action every time we dine on breads or pasta, resulting in systemic inflammation which leads to heart disease and certain forms of cancer. Replace wheat with fresh vegetables, nuts and healthy monounsaturated fats which promote health and natural weight loss.
Reason 3 – Hydrogenated and Trans Fats
Hydrogenated and trans fats are artificially produced substances designed to boost the shelf life of many foods and appeal to our natural taste for fat. Fat is essential to our health, and one of the biggest mistakes many people make is trying to eliminate it from their diet. Our cells use fat to construct membranes which allow nutrients and oxygen to pass freely. Fake fats don’t have the same properties, and encourage disease and weight gain.
Avoid synthesized fats by reading all ingredient labels carefully, and don’t fry anything, as this cooking method produces trans fats from overheated oil. Use healthy fats from extra virgin olive oil and flax seed sources, adding them onto your food after cooking to preserve their natural qualities.
Following our evolutionary counterparts may provide an important insight into how we have evolved to eat, and why our present day diet is largely responsible for our declining health and excess weight gain. Our food has a significant impact on our genes, and by cutting unhealthy dietary options we can regain control of our health destiny and lose weight as a natural consequence.