Why Fat Is Like Heroin
When it comes to food and exercise, we need to use our intellects instead of our instincts. Harvard University psychologist, Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D., author of Waistland: A (R)evolutionary View of Our Weight and Fitness Crisis, believes that our health is suffering because we evolved for a hunter-gatherer society, and not for a modern setting.
"In our natural environment, our instincts were toward rest when we didn't need to be moving. We automatically got plenty of exercise for food, shelter and other things we needed," says Barrett. "Now we have all this free time when we don't need to be moving and we let those rest instincts take over."
It doesn't help that we have free access to processed versions of the foods we naturally crave. Increased concentrations of fat, sugar and salt function the same way heroin does, she says, triggering the brain's reward systems and leading to physical addictions.
Barrett hopes that by giving people an understanding of the psychology behind sedentary living and overeating, she will empower them to make the radical lifestyle changes necessary to combat their obesity and other health issues.
Read more expert advice from Deirdre Barrett on Living Healthier.