The obesity epidemic

The authors of Eat Like the Animals, David Raubenheimer and Stephen Simpson, wanted to test their theory that our protein appetite has driven us to consume excess calories in a world where the food supply is dominated by fats and carbs. David and Stephen recruited a nutrition scientist, Alison Gosby, to design special menus to test their theory. She found that those on the lowest protein diets consumed 12% more calories:

[Extra calories] … come “not from people consuming bigger meals but instead through snacking … you might expect that sweets was to blame, but the increase came almost exclusively from the savoury-flavoured snacks that tasted of umami … on the high-carb/fat and low-protein diet, subjects were fooled into eating things that only tasted like protein but in fact were highly-processed carbs. … That 12% total calorie increase is more than enough to explain the entire global epidemic.”

(Raubenheimer, D. & Simpson, S. (2020). Eat like the Animals, pp.54–55. HarperCollins Publishers: Sydney.)

I see all this when I’m out shopping. The “coffee and a pastry” combo is now a fave option at cafés as being value for money. You’ll see at least one muffin, cake or croissant on every table. Shopping at the supermarket? Let’s grab a pack or two of chips while we’re at it (“love that new seasoning!”).

Fancy a browse through supermarket shelves? 

  • Biscuits: Laden with sugar, fats and ‘artificial flavours’ … but now with ‘Murray River Pink Salt’ (or ‘Himalayan salt’). Salt is salt, folks. And if you read the labels, they’re adding much more of it.
  • Rice crackers and rice puffs: ‘Sweet and Salty’ inside separately portioned ‘snacks’. Wow, what a perfect combination – you’re hungry, a portion wouldn’t hurt. 
  • Marinated meats: You’ll find them in chicken, meat and fish said to make for ‘easy cooking’. But please read the label. ‘Sodium’ is there, more than necessary. 
  • Ready-to-eat frozen and canned foods: You’ll need a full minute to read the ingredients. Among them will be modified starches, reconstituted fruit juices, soy and vegetable protein extracts, vegetable oil, food acids and of course ‘flavour enhancers’ (aka salt).
  • Chips, chips, chips: “ … artificial flavourants to make cheap, starchy and fatty foods such as potato chips taste savoury like protein.” (Raubenheimer & Simpson, p.153)
  • Fizzy drinks: Just have a look at the sugar content in plain old soda. 
  • Plant-based packaged foods: Now on dedicated shelves (I checked them out). I heard one Mum ask her 2 children (aged about 10–12), “Which one would you like for dinner?” I was so tempted to take one of those off the shelf and read the poisonous list of ingredients aloud

“ … increasing market share – sometimes known in food industry circles as stomach share – is a powerful force that shapes our food environment … Cocktails of chemicals are added to improve the color, texture, flavour, odour, shelf life … and the mixtures are packed with cheap fats, carbs and salt.”

(Raubenheimer & Simpson, pp.152–3)

Everything in the list above, if eaten regularly, will slowly destroy your colon’s ability to protect you from viruses and chronic disease. Your metabolism will slow, your moods will fluctuate, and weight gain is inevitable. And here we are, in this technology-charged age of abundance, consuming trolleyfuls of cheaply-produced foods to satisfy our protein appetite. 

To me, the key point here is BALANCE. According to Raubenheimer and Simpson, we have 5 appetites

  1. Protein 
  2. Carbs 
  3. Fats 
  4. Sodium
  5. Calcium.

“These nutrients have been singled out by our evolution for special reasons. One is that they are needed in our diet at very specific levels – neither too much or too little.” (p.25)

But what about the other essential nutrients? The entire range of vitamin groups plus minerals like potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium? Our natural diets are rich in these. By eating the right amounts of the ‘Big 5’ – especially with raw fruit and vegetables – you automatically get enough. Be mindful that supplements don’t work as well, if at all, if you keep eating rubbish

Here’s how you can properly balance your diet, keep your colon happy and your weight down. I’ll use breakfast as an example of foods with each of the Big 5: 

  1. Lots of water, citrus or any preferred fruit. Wait 25 minutes. 
  2. Then have either rolled oats, kefir yoghurt, honey, sultanas, almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds (nuts can be ground together). Take this to work if you need to rush out. 
  3. Or have toasted Turkish or sourdough bread with a good slice of cheese or an egg. 

You’ve made your Big 5. For more meal suggestions, read ‘Your natural detox’ in Diet & Your Colon menu. This is critical to your well-being, so be prepared. When you’re out, take an insulated bag with you filled with at least one of these items: 

  1. A cheese sandwich
  2. Scrubbed apple (if pre-cut, squeeze lemon juice to prevent oxidation) 
  3. A peeled carrot ready to chew 
  4. A container of almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds with a fig, date or dried pear. 

In fact, the carrot is my favourite vegetable. It’s nature’s all-in-one’ most valuable and complete food. Click here for my short video on it. 

If you see me at the supermarket before dinner time, I’ll be munching and crunching. Hope you will be too – but if your feet still take you to biscuits and chips, read the labels

Satisfy what your body needs and your cravings for these awful foods will slowly disappear. Have your muffin and cake if you feel like it, but share half with a friend or wrap it up for another day. 


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