Our basis of food consumption is that of being hunter gatherers, we would extol a huge amount of energy in order to find our food, hunting would take days, weeks, months and a had a huge price of not only hiding, waiting, making and maintaining tools and weapons but also following and chasing, slaughtering, not to mention cooking and carrying the kill, with no ability to store anything! Gathering had to do with finding high calorie foods such as nuts and berries, these calories were a precious commodity and very rare. Most people had to walk long distances and perform a huge amount of manual labour just to survive.
So historically, it is really important for us to be motivated to consume high calorie foods whenever we can. Our brains are designed to look for foods high in sugar, high in fat, and also high in salt in order to survive. The motivational factor was also that these high calorie foods taste very good and were very rewarding. So, most of our human history was based in being motivated to eat high calorie foods. This was a survival tactic because it inspired us to get as many calories as possible in order to survive the harsh elements and manual labour it took to find and process foods.
Now lets look at today. The truth is, the calories are not nearly so precious, in fact just walk into the nearest Bulk Barn, and you can see that those calories are very easy to come by and in bulk. We have high fat junk foods and refined carbohydrates easily available everywhere you look, as well as being available cheaply. These kinds of foods have far more calories packed into them then anything our ancestors would have ever come across. When you think about it, our ancestors high calorie foods would have been fruits and nuts. When I think about fruits and nuts I think about the trail mix and high energy bars of today, they are actually the high carbohydrate intake of our ancestors eating nuts and berries. Essentially, fruits and nuts were our ancestors junk food.
Our brains are motivated to consume these high calorie foods historically, it is what our brains reward circuit was designed for. So even eating the nuts and berries of today in forms such as trail mix and energy bars are exaggerated versions (supersized) of our ancestors simple fruits and nuts. Eating these foods therefore engages the motivational circuits in the brain in an exaggerated manor, it engages the brain in such a powerful way, and in such a high impact shot of calorie intake that it can lead to significant cravings as well as easy overconsumption.
Because our brains are motivated to consume high calorie foods based on our history, our processed foods of today, as well as advertising agencies that promote it, uses our reward circuit to promote the high consumption of high calorie foods. The problem is, that if everything processed is actually composed of high calorie versions of such a rare commodity of what our ancestors diets would have been composed of, then what is happening is, we have exaggerated one component of a historical diet and turned it into normalcy, so it is actually really not normal, it is ‘supernormal’! It is the ‘super size me’ version of reality.
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