Why Would Anyone Choose To Be Over-Weight?

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by Dr. Carl Weisbrod

Why indeed!

How often do you hear that overweight people simply eat too much. But if that was the problem, the solution would be simple, wouldn't it.

Of our five senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste) the sense of taste is at the bottom of the list. So the solution should be simple: Just eat

Dr. Carl Weisbrod


When that fails, we're told that it's the kind of food we eat. One group tells us we eat too many carbohydrates and another that proteins and fats are the culprits. Who would not be willing to eat the required foods if a solution would be the result?

The weight control gurus all agree that too much refined junk food is bad; but if kinds of foods are the problem the solution would also be simple. Stop eating junk foods and eat the best kind of food-although there is some confusion about what is the best kind of food. (I might offer some insight along these lines as you read along.)

We get snowed by technical terms such as ketosis, thyroid, hypothalamus, insulin, triglycerides, and the glycemic index. If organs or hormones are the problem, the solution would be to treat the overweight condition medically-a pill, a surgical procedure, whatever. Many of these medical attempts have turned out to be a disaster.

There's no doubt that most of the overweight population would be willing to make any adjustment if the results would be to reach and maintain a perfect weight.

What about the exercise crowd? We're told that if we do certain kinds of exercise we will metabolize fat like a blast furnace. All that is needed is a good pair of running shoes and a place to walk or run-or a treadmill. If that was the solution why don't more take this option?

For awhile shrinks, like myself, were telling everybody that the problem was a combination of a poor self-image and poor motivation. So we helped pumped up our patient's self-esteem and they did better, but they didn't permanently lose the weight.

What I'm about to tell you carries a lot of scientific evidence as a result of fossil discoveries, radio-carbon and isotopic dating systems. The consensus is shared by the sciences of geology, archeology, paleontology, and anthropology.

There remains strong opposition to this field of science, and this opposition keeps much of what I'm about to tell you out of the mainstream of our educational system.

For a long time, many believe that God created the Earth and all life about six-thousand years ago. There are a few Creationists that still insist this six-thousand year time-frame is correct. But with the preponderance of difficult-to-refute evidence showing the planet is about four and a half billions years old, most modern biblical scholars now accept this geological view.

Various carbon dating systems have been checked and rechecked over decades and the numbers continue to hold up.
Some creationists say, "But the scientists keep changing their minds as they find new fossil evidence."

That statement is incorrect--there's little "mind changing" ...only fine-tuning or verification of already known information.When you hear or read news media headlines such as "new discovery has scientists rethinking old ideas." ...that's media hype motivating you to read the story under the headline. For example, in the past couple of years there has been a couple of new hominid finds that could predate "Lucy," an Australopithecine fossil. This discovery has the potential of pushing back the hominid time-line, but overall, few of the basics have changed over the past several decades.

You most certainly have heard of the gene mapping study research called the Genome Project, With this and other research there's a rapidly growing mountain of evidence that shows the scientific speculation to be correct. Archeology and paleontology have always been a connect-the-dotes & make-educated-guesses type of science, but over the years the dots are approaching a solid line.

Why would anyone doubt the integrity of science? In Charles Darwin's time it was heresy, even a crime, to suggest that man didn't suddenly appear as a creation of God. Any other idea would indicate that God's most important creation (humans?) wasn't perfect from the beginning. Darwin himself, a devout Christian, was very troubled by his own theories.

Darwin's theories of evolution suggested that all animals, including man, started from a rather poor beginning and then adapted to their environment with the passage of time-of course a radical view for the time. You need to understand that 100 years ago men of science lived in crowded and extremely civilized University settings, so Darwin's Galapagos Islands field work was rare and unique for the time.

Well over a century has passed since Darwin's ideas were first published, and some have proven inaccurate. But what scientific theories haven't had revisions and improvements with the passage of time?

You may ask; what earthly value is it for us to worry about ancestors dating back six-thousand or six million years? Let me provide an overview so you can come to your own conclusions.

It's not hard to guess how mammals arrived on a planet that was once dominated by reptilian, bird-like, egg-laying dinosaur rascals. When did the world become dominated by fuzzy, nursing, live-birthing mammals?

During the Jurassic era, it was very likely that a small mole-like mammal lived underground and thereby survived being eaten into extinction by the carnivorous dinosaurs. The asteroid strike caused a dust cloud that covered the planet like a shroud. This dust cloud blocked the sun, and caused temperatures to plummet below freezing. This event happened 65 million years ago.

Our little mammal simply burrowed deeper and survived on popsicle-like roots. In a year or so as the sun broke through the freezing dust cloud and these little guys found themselves in the company of a few small hibernating amphibians and reptiles, some fish, and insects whose eggs could survive freezing. The big dinosaurs were all gone!

With only a tiny fraction of their former enemies, mammals were a species destine to thrive, and so they did.

The strong evidence of a Yucatan asteroid strike really helped establish a time-line for everything that followed.

After the passage of another 35 million years,  the hominoid arrived; gorillas, orangutans, chimps, etc. In another 10 million years (or so), enter our bipedal hominid group.

During the past half century, many paleo-anthropologists had difficulty accepting their own fossil evidence. The fossil evidence has bipedal hominids dating back millions of years, and more troubling is the cranial evidence shows that this ancient hominid had a brain only slightly larger than that of a chimpanzee. How could that be?

To this day, so-called modern man is thought to date back only 100,000 years, and  even some scientists hate the thought of human-like ancestors predating our group by millions of years. But the evidence is compelling.

It seems to me that God would have worked within his overall plan for life. I haven't seen convincing evidence to the contrary, but of course, I'm not a theological scholar.

It's only guesswork to suggest that hominid split off from hominoid. They could have just as easily have been a separate species altogether, although the recent genetic evidence suggests otherwise.

The Genome Project indicates that the human genome is nearly identical to the genome of a chimpanzee, and that strongly suggests that our genome would be even closer to that of the Australopithecus.

What is important about this? Well, Australopithecine very likely survived several million years with a brain too small to make tools or control fire. They certainly  wouldn't have been able to compete as hunters with the lightning fast carnivore cats that lived on the same African savanna. They would have been the hunted rather than the hunter.

So it looks like the Australopithecine group survived twenty to thirty times longer than Homo sapiens. Does that surprise you? I was shocked when I first became aware of that.

What are we missing if we discount the importance of the Australopithecine lifestyle? Let me tell you a story.

About 5 million years ago, a diminutive hominid couple loped across the African savanna, arms swinging at their sides. In this time, long-long ago, the males and females stayed in love for life. They maintained an isolation from the other members of the species because they required a large tract of land to supply their food needs.

Isolation was necessary during this time. The savanna, as compared with the rain forests, had a somewhat meager food supply.

These hominid, with their chimpanzee-sized brain, must have lived on the roots, shoots, tubers, seeds, fruits and other plant parts they could gather on the open spaces of the savanna. They were opportunistic gathers and foragers, but never hunters--their small brain certainly precluded hunting.

As bleak as this sounds, these Australopithecine folks were an extremely healthy group. How is that known? It's known from the record for hominid longevity that I've been telling you about. They couldn't have been the fearful and disease-ridden species as sometimes described, and they certainly did not have a short life expectancy.

Such ideas have long been abandoned by paleo-anthropologists. No species would survive such a long time under such dismal conditions.

And remember, Australopithecus accomplished this record of longevity (for a species) without the benefit of our huge cerebral cortex.
New fossil evidence is constantly being excavated, but it all points in the same direction; pushing the hominid envelop to an even earlier time frame which shows this early hominid as even more remarkable.

But how did they make it with such a small brain in the same neighborhood with physically superior predators such as the saber-toothed tiger?

Well...heaven help the cat that made the judgment error of viewing these slow moving folks as lunch. At thirty yards, just out of springing range, such a cat would become intimate with a lemon-sized stone rocketing at 100 miles per hour with the real possibility of removing an eye or breaking a jaw.  If the first stone missed, it would be followed by a second, and a third aimed at the cat's rapidly retreating behind. (It's certainly in our genes to love baseball.)

This non-lethal rock-throwing defense is in the same category as the quills of a porcupine or the offensive spray of a skunk. After millions of years, however, this archaic formula started to fail. Perhaps it was a climate change or a change in the population balance. You'll need to read some paleo-anthropological textbooks for clues to what might have happened. The Australopithecine formula needed to be reorganized.

So Australopithecus was followed by Homo habilis. They were taller with a larger brain, but surprisingly, not faster or stronger. This hominid had enough brain power to begin making crude stone tools and maybe to control fire, but they were not smart enough, or social enough, to become hunters. They probably remained foragers, which in turn locked them into the same single family unit and home-based lifestyle of the Australopithecus.

The Homo erectus was the transition species to our group. They had better control of fire and made more sophisticated tools.

It wasn't until our group of Homo sapiens and the Neanderthal that the current level of brain power existed. But beyond brain size, early modern folks, perhaps starting with Cro-Magnon, had bilaterally specialized brains that could think in groups of threes. This is likely the last major change in hominid physiology, and is extremely important in the overall scheme of things.

The triad brain could couch ideas in language in one brain hemisphere while imagining the concept in the other brain hemisphere. But the amazing part is the incredible cognative jump unique to humans as ideas form into an abstract concept-it's quite a mental juggling act.

As this lateraliztion was developing in the Homo sapiens brain, it made possible the invention of things such as agriculture and domesticated animals.

Agriculture allowed humans to band together and protect themselves  from their arch enemy, the predatory cats. The downside to this banding together, however, was it required a set of rules not necessarily in harmony with nature-that is, related to gathering food and individual self-defense. These ancient farmers were able to alter a system that had functioned well for the millions of years that had gone before. One change is monogamy was no longer critical for
survival. (*whew* That caused some big time conflicts, dontchaknow!)

How can Archeologists possibly guess when such a brain lateralization took place?

It's done by reading the substantial carbon-dating records of artistic creations on tool handles, cave art, and other artifacts. These dating studies can be time-lined with the earliest approximating of a calumniation of this neurological event. A bilaterally specialized brain is essential to create carvings and cave art.

Well, it's a little more involved than that, but I think you get the general idea.

What do you think? If a group of Hominidae survived successfully for millions of years and they have the same metabolism-the same basic physiology-do you think there is something to be learned?

It's obvious that these Hominidae lived on course roots, tubers, fruits, and other plant parts, with only a tiny bit of animal products. So overall, their metabolism was designed to tolerate very little fat and very little protein.

They covered many miles every day over rough savanna terrain gathering their food. Perhaps the level of physical demands would be equal to a modern day Marathon-and they did it every day!

The most recent nutritional research is giving us a message that moves in one direction. We are told more and more that we should eat more complex carbohydrates and get more aerobic types of exercise. The research, especially the epidemiological studies, show the following:

Too much fat and protein coupled with a sedentary lifestyle will lead to many of the chronic degenerative diseases that cause death and disability to some seventy percent of the population. The overweight condition is only a symptom of this.

So you may ask: "Carl, are you saying that if we all moved to the African savanna and foraged for a living we would all live longer and be thin and healthy?

Yes, but there are a couple of obvious problems with that. The twenty-first century savanna is more arid than during Australopithecine times, and of course, there are too many of us to be offered the space necessary for foraging. But that isn't to imply that we shouldn't consider coming as close as possible to the balanced lifestyle that served our ancient ancestors so well.
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References: "Life's Story" (The WDS Sampler) C. Weisbrod, WDS
Publishers 2002
"The Australopithecine Diet," "The 5000 Millennia Exercise Program:"
The Weisbrod Digest of Seminars 2001. Some editing: May 2004.
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