How Much Is Too Much

The Value of Food

Food has always been a valuable commodity to humans. 250,000 years ago it was more valuable than any form of currency we have today. Food and water are the only things on the planet that we truly need in order to survive. Our struggle with food has been around for as long as we have. Either we had too little or, like today, we have too much. It’s crazy to think that today more people die from obesity related issues than they do from starvation.

The Current Role of Food

From a biological perspective there is no longer a reason to consume all the food we do. Yet we are hardwired to overindulge when it’s available. Up until now the people that overindulged survived longer than those who didn’t. The reason for this is because historically food has always been scarce. Never before could humans eat an entire batch of broccoli and have it grow back fast enough to eat again. They would have to move on to a different location and find something new to satisfy their hunger.

How Long Can We Go without food?

Believe it or not, humans can go 3 weeks without food. This shows just how prepared the human body is to handle food scarcity. What’s perhaps most amazing is that our body takes any extra food we eat and stores it as fat for the sole purpose of fueling us during those times of food scarcity. The problem now is that food scarcity rarely, if ever, happens anymore. What was once a key survival mechanism for our species survival has now lead the majority of us in to being overweight or obese.

Our Food Fight

The increased availability of food these days makes it hard to fight our primitive urges. Education along with willpower is the most valuable asset for our current generation going forward. Think about how most of us were brought up. We were raised to think we need 3 meals a day. Most people feel a little odd if they “miss” breakfast, lunch, or dinner. On top of that, eating all 3 meals without some additional snacking is rare.

Think about this for a minute, if a human can go 3 weeks without food they would miss out on 60 meals and still, at the end of those 3 weeks, have a chance to call an order in over the phone, have it delivered to your front door, and return to a completely healthy life with minimal effort.

Obviously I’m not suggesting we all go without food for 3 weeks but I do hope this puts in to perspective how little food the body needs and how infrequently it needs it.

Intermittent Fasting

One way in which people are trying to combat overeating isn’t by eating smaller meals but instead eating less frequently. Newer research is supporting a pattern of eating called Intermittent Fasting. At first glance this can sound off-putting but all it means is that rather than focusing on having 3 meals a day people focus more on the time frames between meals. For example;

  • giving yourself 4 hours between your last meal and the time you fall asleep has been shown to have amazing effects on your overall health.

  • eating all your food within an 8 hour window gives your body ample time to focus on important non-digestive internal functions.

Intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. Making changes to your eating habits should always be done after discussing each patients personal story and health history. Feel free to discuss your questions and concerns with Dr. Jeff in the office if needed.