Getting to obesity’s bottom line

From The Harvard Gazette:

Waste Hunter-gatherer instincts set loose in a world of modern food abundance are at the root of today’s obesity crisis, according to a Harvard psychologist. Deirdre Barrett, psychologist with the Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance and assistant clinical professor of psychology in Harvard Medical School’s Psychiatry Department, says food manufacturers and advertising campaigns play to our Paleolithic instincts.

Our bodies evolved in a world where salt, sugar, and fat were scarce and desirable. We live, however, in a word where those substances are not only plentiful, but in which images of them in different forms are beamed at us constantly. “You really can’t just trust your instincts or listen to your body unquestioningly in today’s environment,” Barrett said. Barrett, who has treated many cases of eating disorder over her years in the field, said she advocates radical change for those seeking to eat healthier and lose weight. Simply cutting down on unhealthy french fries or sugary snacks requires more willpower, she said, than does eliminating them entirely: more painful in the first few days but ultimately easier to maintain. Barrett’s advice comes in her latest book, “Waistland,” published in July. Barrett said in an interview Tuesday (June 26) in her Cambridge home that for years she looked for a book that said what she felt needed to be said. Finally, she wrote it herself.

More here.