Exploring Obesity: Are One-Size Solutions Enough?

“If your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail?” 

I have been reading through some old articles and came across this one, which discusses the then-new research from the UNSW School of Psychiatry, which suggested cognitive therapy to deal with obesity. This is very interesting as thoughts are certain things (e.g. neurotransmitters) that impact gene expression BUT… in the article, the shining-light comment comes from Dr Steve Hambleton, president of the AMA, saying….

“Human genetics are based on the hunter-gatherer way of living, Hambleton notes. People are designed to have “survival” periods between meals: a human can exist without food for several weeks and still have enough energy to be capable of gathering food. “We’re physiologically designed to put aside a bit for rainy days,” he says. “Of course, it never rains. There is ready access to enormous quantities of high-energy food. That’s where our problem is – enormous access to the wrong sorts of foods, and it’s cheap.”

Listen: Dr. Ron Ehrlich interviews Dr. Zoe Harcombe. The post continues after the audio.

Mainly, when cheap food contains a lot of processed sugar and carbohydrates, excessive consumption results in obesity; this cheap food also suppresses Leptin, which tells us when we have had enough to eat (….cognitve therapy?? or eat right??).

No doubt, no shortage of industry-funded research has found its way into “evidence-based” studies, which will say grains and sugar are not the problem…in fact, they are great for the economy (and there is plenty of “research/PR” to support that position). But it’s not good for our health.

Human genetics are based on the hunter-gatherer way of living, and humans have never been exposed to the amount of sugars, grains and carbs we now (excessively) eat. It is not that complicated. We can take lessons from the past 2 million years of how we survived… indeed the evidence is clear!

Listen: Dr. Ron Ehrlich interviews Cliff Harvey. The post continues after the audio.


The Obesity Dilemma

Obesity has become a global health challenge, with increasing prevalence across populations. This complex issue has spurred researchers and healthcare professionals to seek innovative approaches. One such approach discussed in the article revolves around cognitive therapy to address obesity. The UNSW School of Psychiatry research shed light on the importance of our thoughts and mental wellbeing in the battle against excess weight.

Dr Steve Hambleton, president of the AMA, introduced a fascinating perspective. He emphasized that human genetics are rooted in the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, where there were natural intervals between meals. Humans are designed to endure “survival” periods without food, tapping into energy reserves for sustenance. However, the modern environment offers high-energy, often unhealthy, and inexpensive food choices.

Processed sugar and excessive carbohydrates, prevalent in these convenient yet detrimental foods, have been identified as culprits in the obesity epidemic. They contribute to weight gain and disrupt the body’s signalling system, suppressing the hormone leptin, which informs us when we’re full. This raises a crucial question: Is cognitive therapy a viable solution, or should we focus on adopting healthier eating habits?

The article touches upon the debate surrounding industry-funded research, which sometimes downplays the role of grains and sugar in obesity. Despite economic incentives, the impact of these dietary choices on public health cannot be ignored. The obesity crisis underscores the need to revisit our nutritional habits in the context of our evolutionary history, characterized by a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

In summary, the obesity challenge requires a multidimensional approach. Cognitive therapy offers intriguing possibilities, but equally important is the need to reevaluate our dietary choices and their impact on our health, taking inspiration from our evolutionary past. This comprehensive approach may be vital in addressing obesity effectively today.