Healthy Living “Engineered Out of Our Lives” Says Yale Nutritionist

In the pursuit of healthy living, we’re working against some pretty incredible obstacles, like 6 million years of evolutionary biology and 15 thousand years of human civilization. At least, that’s how founding director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and president of the American College of Livestyle Medicine, David Katz explains it.

“We live in a world where all of the temptations to live in an unhealthy way prevail over the opportunities to live in a healthy way.”

When tasty food is available, Katz says, we eat it. That’s part of how we evolved. But now, ‘tasty’ food is available all the time. And how can we resist, when, until now, there was no need to defend against overeating?

Likewise, we evolved to rest when possible. And with the advent of office jobs, and the ease with which we can acquire our needs, burning calories is something we have to work at.

In Katz’s words, “the things that we are natively disposed to do…have become far too easy to do in the modern world.”

David Katz joins RealAgriculture to talk about healthy living and nutrition. They also find a way to discuss how much water it takes to brew a glass of Coca Cola, and the hidden costs of food trends (like gluten- and fat-free).

It’s a double-edged sword.

Not only is food easy to acquire (and devour), much of it is also high in sugars and fats. The trouble there (besides the associated calories that come with such foods) is that, since we like what we’re used to eating, we “start to think that’s what food tastes like.”

How do you bust out of the sugar/fat/salt spiral?

Taste bud rehab.

“Just as eating ever-junkier food can make you come to prefer it,” writes Katz in The Case for Taste Bud Rehab, “so can eating ever more nutritious food.”

Focus on foods, rather than nutrients says Katz. “If you get the foods right, the nutrients pretty reliably take care of themselves.” Diets should emphasize vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils and seeds.

What’s shocking is our inability to see how simple and clear this really is. Is it shocking to know that a variety of minimally-processed vegetables are good for us?…Is it shocking to know that a variety of fruits are good for us?…Is it shocking to know that whole grains are good for us? I don’t think so.
– David Katz

Katz argues that a better emphasis on good, wholesome diets combined with exercise could eliminate up to 80% of the chronic disease burden in the world.

What are you doing to engineer health living back into your life?

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