Theory of Why We Overeat

Here’s a top level theory for why we’re overweight and how we can get back to normal.  Bottom line:  we’re chasing nutrients that have been stripped out of processed food.  It’s an almost open loop until we just start eating whole foods.

  1. We and food plants and animals co-evolved.  We benefited plants by spreading their seeds if we liked them.  We benefited animals we liked by husbanding and sheparding and even feeding them.  Plants and animals continue to benefit us by keeping us going so we can continue to help them succeed.
  2. Our main “gross control” system for food intake evolved in an environment in which the range of main nutrients and the density of nutrients were somewhat similar.  Our tongue gives “gross sensing” of at least sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory (umami).  Some scientists believe that the tongue can also detect picquance (E.g. capsaicion from peppers), metals and water or “juicy”.  But the tongue can’t determine if the food we’re eating is nutritionally complete.
  3. Our stomach and body have a system of fine measurement, assessment and control that evaluates whether the body currently has what it needs or is still in need of some nutrient(s) and/or calories.
  4. It expresses these as hunger or craving depending on how badly it needs something.
  5. Highly processed food loses some of its nutrients during processing.
  6. Processed food tastes rich to our tongue.  But then our body assesses what has been eaten and a little while later says, “Yes you fed me but I still need something.  Feed me more!”
  7. The body compels us to eat more but can only lead us toward what to eat.  If all of our recent training has been to get nutrition from processed food, we’ll choose to eat more of that food.
  8. We get into a repetitive loop of gorging on processed food to try to fulfill the nutrients needed.
  9. We get fatter and fatter.
  10. Once we start to eat nourishing whole foods, the body slows down and then stops gorging as our body becomes habituated to getting what it needs.
  11. The craving subsides.  We get hungry but aren’t compelled to crave.  As long as we continue to supply the body the nutrients it must have, it does not require us to overeat.

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