If you got sick, you probably wouldn’t go to an evolutionary biologist to get treated. But Daniel Lieberman, professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard University, says that his field can help you understand why you got sick, and make you more aware of healthy and harmful behaviors.
On our relatively “new,” unfettered access to sweet foods
We evolved to crave sweet foods. Everybody loves sweet foods. But if you try to eat foods that hunter-gatherers eat or chimpanzees Cheap Jerseys eat, you’d be surprised at how unsweet they are. Most wild fruits are about oakley womens sunglasses as sweet as a carrot. So we love sweetness, but until recently, pretty much the only food that we got that was sweet was honey, and honey of course was a special treat — honey was pretty much the only form of dessert in the Paleolithic. But now we have access to abundant quantities of sugar and simple carbohydrates, which we evolved to love because they’re full of energy, but we don’t have the metabolism. We don’t have the bodies that are able to cope with those kinds of levels of sugar, and the result is that we get sick.
On why stress leads us to crave comfort foods
The hormone that gets elicited when you get stressed is cortisol. … If you jump out Tracker of an airplane or something really bad happens — a loved one dies — our body goes into a fight or fright [sic] state; we’re ready for danger. And cortisol plays an important role because it releases sugar into the bloodstream so you can run from that lion or deal with whatever that bad situation is. It makes you more alert. But it also exacts a toll. Cortisol makes us want to bring in more energy to cope again, with those energetic needs. So stress activates basic primal urges to eat calorie-rich food, which is, of course, useful to cope with those kinds of situations, from an evolutionary perspective. So people who have lives that contribute to higher basal levels of cortisol are more likely to suffer the ill consequences of that stress.
On the way the stress we experience today is different from Paleolithic stress
Stress creates this vicious cycle, this positive feedback loop. When you’re stressed you crave unhealthy foods, but when you’re stressed you also have a harder time sleeping, and when you have a harder time nfl jerseys china sleeping that elevates your levels of stress. It just sets off this chain reaction that keeps going on and on. Now normally, when we’re stressed, the stimulus that causes the stress should be a short-lived one; that’s what evolution predicted. … oakley sunglasses sale So a lion chases you, that’s a very stressful event, obviously, hopefully you managed to run away from the lion … life goes on. But much of the stress we create today results from social conditions. If you think about the most stressful things we experience, they’re often our lives — they’re our jobs, our commutes, not having enough money, the list goes on. Those, of course, oakley sunglasses cheap elicit chronic levels of stress. And when stress becomes chronic, then it helps feed a variety of mismatched diseases that make us ill, that make us depressed, that make us anxious, that make us overweight, which causes more stress and then keeps the cycle going.
source (interview & excerpt)