Saturday, May 14, 2011

1. SUMMARY

 The World Health Organization predicts that there will be more than 700 million obese adults in the world by 2015. Other estimates place the figure as high as one and a half billion.

The underlying cause of obesity lies buried in history.

The origin of that cause is set out. Obesity is only one of the major ill-effects of that underlying cause.

Current approaches to the treatment of obesity do not amount
to much because they deal with the symptoms of obesity rather than with
the cause of obesity.

The development of obesity and the devastating effects of obesity in the human body arising from the cause of obesity are described.

Action that is required to eliminate that cause is set out. Other great and surprising benefits to humanity will result from the elimination of the underlying cause of obesity.

2. The Global Extent of Obesity

Human obesity is now a major global problem. Its rate has doubled since 1980. The World Health Organization predicts that there will be more than 700 million obese adults by 2015. Other estimates place the figure as high as one and a half billion. Obesity among children is also alarming.
         
According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a third of adults in the United States are obese, and another third are overweight. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that obesity is associated with an excess of more than 160,000 deaths a year in the United States due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, non-cancer, and non-cardiovascular disease.

3. The Underlying Cause of Obesity

However, in spite of its global reach and severity, obesity is only one of the major effects of an underlying cause that produces a range of illnesses, disorders, diseases, suffering, and pain, that has plagued humanity for thousands of years. That underlying cause of obesity lies buried in history. Scientific investigations of obesity have given us great insights into its metabolic, neurological, and genetic pathways: but this work has not resulted in much of an advance to a solution of the worldwide crisis that the prevalence of obesity has become. Behavioral approaches to weight loss, which in any case deal with the symptoms of obesity rather than the cause, are too feeble an intervention to amount to much, either.

The discovery that seed which fell to the ground from plants grew into new plants of the same kind, ushered in probably the most important scientific revolution for us of all times – the Agricultural Revolution which dawned some 10,000 years ago and enabled people to abandon their nomadic way of life and live in settlements and eventually build cities and civilizations.

Before that revolution, humankind lived on a diet of various fruits, tree and root crops, nuts, berries, and, occasionally, the flesh of animals, that it foraged or hunted, and ate, when it was evolving over the previous millions of years.

4. We did not evolve as Grass-eating Animals

Unfortunately, when the agricultural revolution got underway, we did not grow and eat the range and variety of foods that we had foraged and eaten when we had been evolving. Instead, we were attracted to, and over time we switched in the main to growing and consuming, and developing, grass and allied plant crops such as wheat, barley, rye, rice, corn, oats, sugarcane, and consuming products derived from them such as cane sugar, cow’s milk, butter, cheese, and beef, as the major part of our new Diet because they were fast-growing, easy to cultivate, storable, recipe-friendly, and suitable for trade.

But these benefits of our Post-Agricultural Revolution Diet came at a high price. We did not evolve as grass-eating animals. Cows, for example, did. That’s why they have a stomach with four compartments. We do not have that, nor any other genetic arrangement so far that enables us to live on a grass diet without any ill-effect.

All humans and human groups are however not the same, nor are their history and lifestyle, and so the ill-effects of a diet of grass and grass derived products over time show up differently among individuals and groups.

5. The Case of Celiac Disease

In Celiac Disease, a worldwide, potentially fatal, food-triggered disease, with more than two million victims in the United States, components of food items in our current Post-Agricultural Revolution Diet such as gluten in wheat, hordein in barley, and secalin in rye, have been causing the immune system of genetically susceptible people from the start of the agricultural revolution to react defensively, attacking the body’s own tissues that are in contact with the offending substances, and triggering autoimmune responses that cause the villi in the small intestine to become inflamed and damaged , and to flatten, thereby disrupting the absorption of nutrients from food, and causing those affected to suffer from recurrent bouts of diarrhea, abdominal pain, emaciated bodies, extreme loss of weight, and a rapid decline in vigor and health. Today, there is only one known reliable cure for Celiac Disease: permanently avoiding foods that contain the offending ingredients. This however is a difficult cure to pursue in the face of lack of knowledge and the limited range and variety of foods available today outside those included in our Post-Agricultural Revolution Diet.

6. The Case of Overweight & Obesity

In the case of overweight and especially of obesity, and associated ill-effects, our Post-Agricultural Revolution Diet does not provide the nutritional foundation for victims to develop properly into healthy human beings. Where foods from it form the bulk of their diet, the nutritional shortcomings and excesses of these foods produce their own ill-effects in the bodies of these victims such as swollen bellies analogous to those of starving people, and diabetes, and they also disrupt their uptake and absorption of particular nutrients that can lead to a large range of symptoms, disorders, and illnesses, including anemia, neurological problems, chronic fatigue, osteoporosis, and short and feeble stature. In addition, the nutritional deficiencies of these foods delay the activation of the satiety centers of their brain, and this results in chronic over-eating on their part and the storage of the large amounts of excess nutritional energy constantly made available as a mounting accumulation of fat in their bodies.

These nutritional deficiencies further drive their bodies into hunger to satisfy them, which they naturally seek to do by eating the foods available to them which happen to be mainly the same grass and allied plant products that caused their nutritional deficiencies in the first place. And so they develop a cycle that leads to obesity -- the ever increasing accumulation of fat in their bodies and the building up and intensification of the problems resulting from it. This excess fat further obstructs their arteries and veins, and it encases and increases the weight of their vital organs impairing their functions, and together with the deficiencies and effects of the Diet itself, makes them prone to heart diseases, strokes, liver, pancreatic, and kidney problems, and sloth and aberrance in their mental and intellectual processes.            

At the same time, the fat that they store and accumulate in their bodies from these foods presents itself to their bodies, and is identified by their bodies, as being nutritionally deficient in the same elements that their bodies seek, and so this stored fat becomes largely metabolically inactive, and so is not readily used up by their bodies. In these circumstances, attempting to reduce the accumulated store of fat in their bodies by exercise and by the reduction of the volume of their intake of food becomes an uphill struggle with no long-term solution to their problem of obesity. Reverting to mutilating surgical procedures shows how desperate this struggle to overcome obesity has become. Two of the difficulties that victims of obesity encounter in meeting their dietary needs – lack of knowledge and the limited range and variety of foods available today outside the foods included in our Post-Agricultural Revolution Diet -- are the same in the case of obesity as those encountered by those who seek a permanent cure for Celiac Disease, and other diet related diseases.

7. Obesity is altering our Species

We are to a large extent what we eat. Our current Post-Agricultural Revolution Diet imposes a price on us – humanity -- that we cannot afford. Economically, this Diet has imposed a burden of a whole spectrum of ill-health and diseases on us, the health-care costs of which have already spiraled beyond our means. And it simply cannot be said that our Post-Agricultural Revolution Diet which we are not genetically equipped to consume, is not altering our Species for the worse, already having taken its toll on sufficiently significant numbers of us, physically, mentally, neurologically, emotionally, and intellectually, in accordance with the simple laws of biological evolution. Here we should note with alarm that obesity is already known to be associated independently with certain cognitive brain dysfunctions and large-structure brain changes. Looking in the mirror and around us, too many of us look more like a cross between a cow and a human being -- and not without reason, with the attendant adverse health consequences, than members of the species, Homo sapiens; and other large numbers of us look like scare-crows, wasting away with, or suffering from, illnesses originating from our Post-Agricultural Revolution Diet that are preventable, and recently from increasing global levels of hunger too (see below). The short and comparatively frail or less robust stature of the general population of historically rice-eating countries is yet another remarkable outcome of living on our Post-Agricultural Revolution Diet. We should face these realities and change them as we surely can: not hide from them. It’s time we also begin to worry at the lack of physical, mental, and intellectual energy we clearly display in failing to apply ourselves purposefully and successfully to the solution of the vast range of major global problems that confront us today, and recognize the part that our Post-Agricultural Revolution Diet plays in it.

So there we have the difficulties in which our handling of the great Agricultural Revolution of 10,000 years ago, have landed us. We aimed for the quickest short-cut known to us to make food cheap, plentiful, and widely available. For thousands of years after the Agricultural Revolution began, we were ignorant of the damage our choice of these foods was inflicting on us. We no longer have that excuse.

8. Adding Global Chronic Hunger

Alarmingly, at the same time that our current Post-Agricultural Revolution Diet is globally causing such havoc health-wise for us, the United Nations tells us that over one billion of us is estimated to have suffered chronic hunger in 2009. Recent decreases and shortfalls in our food supply, and rapid increases in food prices, can only raise already high global hunger levels, and increase our health and financial burdens, and despair, worldwide in the years ahead, if these problems are left unattended.

9. The Overall Solution & Benefits

For our own sake, we have no other choice but to embark on a massive New 21st Century Food Production & Distribution Revolution to make up for the current massive shortfall in our food supply, and to supply the range and variety of foods that our Species needs to stop its evolutionary decline and to restore and advance its health and vigor, and to make that overall food supply available to us cheaply, plentifully, and worldwide. We can do it if we make the effort a universal one and apply ourselves methodically to the task. Global food production and distribution are vital areas of fundamental human rights and care that we have neglected. And so is adequate whole body physical exercise which is vital for the development and maintenance of good health for us. We can now stop wondering how the ancients hewed out and moved gigantic blocks and stones by sheer human muscle-power to build pyramids and mega-stone structures! It’s largely the difference between their level of physical activity and the foods they ate, as against our level of physical activity and the foods we eat today. We must now deploy the necessary manpower and resources to the task. The ancient Incas and their predecessors of South America for one understood better than us the top priority that the human race should give to the production and distribution of food. They were responsible for developing a wide range of foods some of which we enjoy to this day; and an Empire-wide distribution system to ensure that food was available to people everywhere in their vast Empire even in those “primitive” times. They understood too the scientific effort that must keep triggering the advancement of a food drive. Lucky for us, the scientific drive that must accompany our own New Food Drive should not be difficult for us to finance and undertake. Huge human and material resources are already employed in the scientific field. We just need to re-organize our priorities. With our scientific, technological, and managerial capacities and capabilities, we can set in motion and accomplish as a first priority a New 21st Century Food Production & Distribution Revolution for ourselves faster than we think, and safely too!

10. Let's Make the Effort Required

 And so – there we have the solution and cure for the problem and scourge of global obesity that overwhelm us today: the replacement of our 10,000-year old Post-Agricultural Revolution Diet with a massive New 21st Century Food Production & Distribution Diet. No dietary, medical, surgical, or other patch-up work will do. We must get it firmly established in our heads that we did not evolve as grass-eating animals; and treating ourselves as though we did, is destructive of us and our Species in the short-term and in the long-term, and the destruction is not limited to the area of overweight and obesity only but extends to a whole range of illnesses, disorders, diseases, suffering, and pain, and to sloth and aberration in our mental and intellectual processes, that have plagued humanity for thousands of years, and that emanate from the same cause. So let us buckle down to a task that we are well-equipped to succeed in doing  – to replace our current, 10,000-year old Post -Agricultural Revolution Diet with a massive, modern, New 21st Century Food Production & Distribution Diet. We can do it. Our survival as the Wise Species, Homo sapiens, depends on it.