The Indoctrination Begins...

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Years ago, I was on a sailing/diving trip with a bunch of physical chemists (yes, I lead an exciting life!). I don’t dive, so I was just there to sail. As one of the divers was getting ready, I learned all about the air vest for flotation and the dive weights for sinking.

As my shipmate was preparing for the dive, he was trying to match the weights just right so that he was heavy enough to sink. I asked why he just didn’t put as much weight on there as he wanted and counter balance with the air vest for buoyancy.

Of course, being on a boat of physicists, I got the real answer rather than “that’s what they tell you in dive school”. The reason is that the air volume will change as the water pressure changes. So if you put a little more air in the vest for buoyancy, you’ll go up, then the water pressure will be less and the air volume will increase giving you more buoyancy. It’s easy to get a runaway increase in buoyancy.

Likewise, if you start sinking, you’ll get a decrease in buoyancy as the water pressure compresses the air in the vest.

It requires constant tweaking of the air volume just to keep a constant level of buoyancy. It’s like having a nonlinear positive feedback loop in your control circuit. Highly unstable!

The way to keep the system as stable as possible is to keep the positive and negative perturbations as small as possible (even though to first order, they cancel out). That’s true in life everywhere, it’s just harder to see than a simple diving example.

When is it easier to maintain a healthy weight (or really health in general)? When you eat an ancestrally aligned diet or when you eat a hyperpaletable diet that drives overeating of precisely the foods bad for your health?

The image above came home from school yesterday. It lists a couple of dozen phrases to use to help children recognize their appetite and satiety signals and make “the right choices” when it comes to eating.

We eat an almost 100% paleo, ancestrally inspired diet. And you know what we never have to worry about? Satiety and food choices! The few times we’ve deviated from the right choices - I’m looking at you Sweet Cow - it’s been a nightmare getting them back on track. The engineered hyperpalatable food mess with fundamental brain signals. That’s why “comfort foods” are so dangerous!

Rather than “modelling the way” by pushing back your plate before it’s empty, why not just eat food that lets your bodies satiety signal make it through?

Don’t praise your kid for finishing his plate? How about not feeding him something engineered to be addictive.

And of course, go to the USDA’s website for advice on healthy eating!

All of the effort that goes into trying to instill a “healthy” view of food in an environment that is designed to make you consume an unhealthy amount unhealthy food-like stuff must be maddening. Especially to parents of young kids that want to set their kids up for success.

Here’s the secret: no birthday cake, no donuts, no candy, no soda or sugary drinks, just eat meat and veggies! It’s easy! It’s the way our bodies were designed to act. If Johnny caveman had to worry about satiety signals we would not have survived as a species!

We can add all of these unnatural foods to our diet, but then we have to add a bunch of body positive messages to negate that. A constant effort that’s ultimately unstable. Or we can just eat foods that naturally occurred in our evolutionary history (at the rate at which they naturally occurred).

Oh and did you notice that all the examples of good food were bread, fruits, and veggies. No mention of meat anywhere on the paper. And the one place they could have suggested it, the copped out and just pointed you to the USDA.

Michael Deskevich