Food Lifestyle Science

We’re Wired to Eat, So Why Are We So Worried About Food?

April 7, 2017

Food anxiety seems to exist everywhere now. Guilt over eating the wrong things, obsession over sticking to methods that have worked for you, friction when your diet disagrees with someone else’s. That’s ironic, of course, because eating is such a biologically fundamental behavior. The rest of the animal kingdom does it without issue. It seems we’re wired to eat, so why are we so worried about food?

Wired to Eat, Conditioned to Worry?

Today’s post is a quick commentary on that subject and a re-direct to a great podcast listen. Robb Wolf, the ridiculously well-regarded author and overall badass in the nutrition and strength communities, released his new book Wired to Eat on March 21. It’s high on my list to read, but in the meantime, check out Robb on the Revolution Health Radio Podcast this week. Host Chris Kresser invites Robb onto the show and together, the two dig into the psychology of eating.

As he often does, Robb examines things through the lens of evolutionary biology. Anyone who knows me knows that I love evaluating modern life in that context. So I was all about this episode. It’s not that I want us to live like cavemen. But, I think it helps to understand how our core biological needs are met or inhibited in everyday choices. Robb emphasizes that we’re wired to eat, and so like other animals, we should be able to do so without technology, books, anxiety, or confusion. A fox does not fret over macros. A Junebug doesn’t count calories. But the convenience and availability of cheap calories in the U.S. completely alters the decision matrix.

Wolf & Kresser both have serious chops when it comes to the science, but they mostly leave that to the side this time. Instead, they opt for an incredibly approachable conversation on this modern dilemma. I respect how simple they keep the subject matter (which can veer off into geek territory so quickly).  The take home messages are just as clear and salient – with the last one really being something to which we could all pay heed:

  • The best food habits tend to involve some variation on whole, unprocessed foods.
  • The right mix of those foods will vary from person to person.
  • Subjecting yourself to chronic stress and mental anguish over your food choices probably undoes much of the “good” that positive choices do for you. Investigating what works for your body

Naturally, the conversation goes a layer deeper than that. You can listen by clicking here.

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