Are you aware that one third of Americans are pre-diabetic? A third! I found that hard to believe, and was very quick to blame the processed food industry, until I did some research.
As humans evolved into the highly intelligent creatures we are (current politics aside), our brains were constantly at work. It takes 500 calories a day just to run our brains. When we were eating nuts and berries, a large part of our day was devoted to food gathering. As we got smarter and learned to hunt, it was slightly easier to meet our caloric needs. The big change came with fire and the advent of cooking. Preparing our food made it easier to digest, so we could eat more and our brains could work harder. We figured out how to grind those nuts and seeds, to alter food so we could store it, and of course we started farming.
As food became more plentiful, we spent less time each day foraging, and had time for higher pursuits, like art and philosophy, seeing patterns in the stars, creating written language. Cooking, the earliest form of processing food, set us miles ahead of any other creature on earth, and we ran with it.
It took us thousands of years to develop into a dense, urban society in which survival tasks are divided among our members. Some cook, some grow, some butcher, some draw, some write, some study the stars -- everyone has a part to play. A new industry arose -- getting the food to the people. The need for large storage facilities developed. Since our brains were now such powerful instruments getting plenty of calories, we innovated. We found ways to preserve food. Companies formed whose job is to sell the food for the most profit. Making food more appealing became an industry in itself. And what are we biologically designed to want from our food? Yep -- calories.
We learned to refine sugars and purify fats, add them to food, take additional steps to make people want to buy it, and whoever was best at this made a fortune. They still do. We all know that food in its natural state is better for us, but who has the time? And processed food is marketed so brilliantly that it's very hard to resist.
We don't have time to prepare raw food, so we choose convenience, which allows us to sit and think and dream and create. What was that? Sit? Yes. We, as a society, have mastered the art of sitting still. We don't do it in that age-old healthy way of meditation, quiet conversation with a loved one, or increasing our knowledge with reading. We do it in the most stressful way possible, so that sitting isn't the least bit relaxing, and when we're finished at the end of the day, we just want quick, easy food and a nice sofa.
Our brains continue to need a constant blood sugar level. But we've gotten so good at providing that for ourselves that we've come up against the natural next stage in our evolution -- too much blood sugar. Of course we're all pre-diabetic. It only makes sense if you look at the history of our dietary changes.
It's time for all of us smart people to take a step back, look at the evolution of human diets, and determine the future. If we don't, the processed food industry will continue on its path of earning money over all else, and we'll be doomed. Time to put on those highly-nourished, powerful thinking caps and figure out mankind's next nutritional solutions.