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MYST 158: Evolution

Quick quiz:

You are starving–literally. Which food do you choose:


Photo via Pixabay.com by silviarita

Our brains are hardwired to prefer the taste of sweet and salt, and fat (which is now being suggested as the sixth taste–sweet, salt, sour, bitter and umami.)

If you go back to evolutionary history, our bodies craved one thing over all others: calories

Calories meant survival. And way back in those days, lack of food was not because the local c-store was closed. Famines killed. Our bodies became built to store calories (as fat) to prevent future famine-related deaths. Those with the bodies better-suited to store fat were able to pass those genes on to future generations. Those with “skinny genes” (sorry–a bad pun) died early and were unable to pass on defective genes.

We are evolutionarily designed to get fat.

The problem is that in most of the developed world, famines are no longer an issue and we really don’t need to be searching for extra calories to store as fat.

So how does that connect to ice cream and pizza?

A half-cup of Ben and Jerry’s Choc Chip Cookie Dough ice cream has 270 calories. Now, our cave-dude likely had no access to ice cream, so let’s think about something that he could get: animal fat. Which of those three foods would be the fastest to give him the daily calories (let’s assume 2500 calories a day):

Lima beans cooked: 11.5 cups
Kale, raw: 74.5 cups
Honey: 2.4 cups
Animal fat: 1.3 cups

Animal fat and honey (or anything very sweet) packs a lot of calories in each bite. When you needed to hunt, gather, and fight for every bite, you wanted it to count. Our bodies are built over the millions of year to crave and love sweets and fats. (We also love salts, because salt would make our bodies hold water to stay hydrated during the long hunts. Because back then, the only Camelbaks found were actually on camels.)

To lose weight, we need to force our bodies to do the very thing that allowed us to survive. That’s why it is so darn hard to lose weight and even harder to keep it off. We are not fighting our own personal natures. We are fighting against nature.


Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over

work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Comm