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Is Lack of Hunger a Public Health Issue

We think about food a lot. Eating wholesome and healthy food is a relaxing idea, associated with a desirable lifestyle. But perhaps this is not the best for our sense of surival or our bodies. Maybe incidental hunger is something we should embrace as a way to steer ourselves to the best ideas and behaviour.

Food in nature is scarce. If you go into any forest in Europe you’ll be having a hard time filling your stomach, even though it could be full of chestnut, walnut, berry and apple trees. The challenge to find food usually ends up with hunting and killing a herbivor. Except for during specific seasons our ancestor that was not farming was hungry a lot. Even when farming became a thing people could have bad harvests or run out of stored food. Famines are still a common thing in many regions where farming is not industrialized.

Today we know that there is a sugar lobby to addict us to sugar. We also know that putting sugar in your diet ruins your teeth and health, causes diebetes and heart disease. Suger is addictive, it reduces insulin sensitivity so that you feel hungry all the time. “We” know all this, but “We” is not everybody, and certainly not anyone with actual power to change the public diet. The number of ice cream parlors in Amsterdam is noticably increasing, which can mean more money laundering -or- a US drive to addict more people to suger in Europe.

For the brain hunger is important too. When we burn our fat we produce ketones that are good food for the brain. The brain is more flexible and learns better when it is hungry. Rationaly it makes sense because if you can’t replenish your energy stores (burning your fat) you need to start moving towards a place where you can, and find ways to do it. This of will drive iquisitiveness and learning.

It often seems that our diet is dictated by the wish to generate as much cashflow but also by shaping our attitudes. Coffee is a drug, it makes life feel better but it also narrows our attention (and in many cases causes brain inflammation that reduce our intelligence). Chocolate is said to make us more egotistic. Meat makes us more agressive and sugar makes us hyperactive, impulsive. In short, the standard diet may simply make us good consumers, and not good survivors.