“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”

Henry David Thoreau

Compulsion.  Addiction.  Drive.  Pain threshold.  Inherent brain chemistry (genetics of the mind, if you will) is another major piece of our individual genetic make-up that wields huge influence upon our ultimate fitness and phenotype expression.  One needn’t be a “brain surgeon” to realize that some people are just wired between the ears for fitness success, while others, unfortunately, are cobbled together in such a way that channels them toward addiction and avoidance of exertion.

In keeping with this theme, Diane Rehm recently interviewed Dr. David Kessler about the addiction aspect of over-indulgence, and about his new book, titled The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. In the interview, Dr. Kessler describes the complete endocrinological response to the human taste preference for fat, sugar and salt, and especially the combination of these macronutrients.  This is very interesting stuff indeed, in a “devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know” kind of way.  At least it provides information to ruminate on while battling the dreaded carb Jones; and it provides, as well, a scientific basis behind why a good dose of fat will alleviate that Jones — and why a Paleo diet with adequate fat intake will eventually curb that Jones to a manageable nil.  And here again, we see the genetic factor at work.  As Dr. Kessler puts it, some people would be content to take their food in pill form, while others are wired to crave the entire sensual delight of a food’s taste, smell, mouth-feel…even the atmosphere within which the food is consumed.  The point is, we’ve all come to this ride called life with inherent liabilities that we have to work with and around; that realization is step one to diet and fitness success.  Step #2 is formulating a personal plan of attack with a solid knowledge of where your weak underbelly lay.  Just as in physical training, a concentrated effort on toughening that weak underbelly will ultimately pay greater dividends than further improvement of proven strengths.  Unfortunately, this mindset runs counter to the natural human inclination toward the path of least resistance.  Hey, do yourself a huge favor, huh?, and take the path least traveled.  You’ll be so much the better for it.

I do have to warn you that Dr. Kessler — though he never comes out and proclaims it so — seems to hint throughout the interview of an anti-fat bias. He never says that it’s the sugar and salt alone that are the real culprits here, and that left to its own devices, fat would be not only benign, but healthful — and that’s too bad.

And a big reason why that’s too bad is because he’s missed a perfect opportunity to weigh-in (pardon the pun) on the national healthcare debate.  There is simply no way to achieve any modicum of healthcare reform — no matter the formulation — unless Americans take responsibility for the state of their own health.   The costs of keeping sick people limping along — while a boon for my industry (pharmaceuticals) — is simply too cost-prohibitive to any otherwise potentially viable plan reform.  Most Americans will not accept this simple truth, though.

But don’t blame this national nonacceptance on Sally Fallon.  She’s out fighting the good fight through the Weston A. Price Foundation, and most recently, this interview with Joe and Terry Graedon, of The People’s Pharmacy, covering such topics as the efficacy of hunter-gatherer diets, the benefits of raw dairy, and a whole host of other Paleo-minded topics.  It’s one of the best mainstream treatments I’ve heard touting the positives of the Paleo lifestyle.  Give it a listen, and see if you think so as well.

In health,

Keith

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