How Our Western Diet Is Making Us Fat

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People are pretty big here, and it's a huge problem. We spend more than twice as much as any other industrialized country in healthcare, but we're not any healthier. We leave the country a lot, and when we come back, it's really very very apparent to us how big we are, and how big we're becoming as a society, and Peter often times, he'll see the one big person.

There's like 20 people and only one person is really, really big, and I'm constantly saying Peter, you cannot extrapolate about everybody because not everybody is overweight. You're keying on this, he said, yes, but nobody was that big before. We know that some people, from seeing people all across the world eat a heck of a lot, and have normal body types, and there's also genetic questions that we question, whether you''re predestined to be hugely overweight, because you genetically inherit something.

So we looked at Pima Indians in Arizona, and we looked at Pima Indians in Mexico that were living the indigenous way. The Pima Indians have some of the highest obesity rates and diabetes rates of anybody in the world, and they have a longevity rate that's for men is in the upper 40s or 50s. So they were just really, really unhealthy, and we wanted to look and see if that held true to genetically similar Pimans that we're living a more indigenous life south of the border, and it's surprising what really happens to people and their diet, and how important physical activity and exercise is, and how important actually what you eat is.

But when you think about the fact that people in the so-called developing world are eating a largely grain or plant based diet, and very little meat because they can't afford it, very little dairy unless they have animals, they're healthier, that is a healthier diet than a lot of highly processed food, or as the writer Michael Pollan says, edible food acceptances which I think is a great phrase.

We learnt the idea of nutrition transition, and that's when people have a little bit more income, and move away from the simple plant and legume based diet to eating more sugar, fat, and meat, and we saw it every where, it's a natural process because as humans and evolution, those things give you lot more energy, and they were harder to come by, and once you can afford them, you want to eat more of them because they are giving you energy, they taste good, and it's something in our evolution that has made us survive over the millennium to become who we are.

So once you get a taste of those kind of things, it's hard to moderate it, because they're sort of new things. And sweet, sugar, fat, it's got a great mouth feel, but in moderation and in small quantities, it's great for you, eat that all the time, boom, you got a problem. It's fine as a special food or a holiday food, what happens is that you turn all of these things into an everyday food, used to be in the olden days. When I was a kid, you could had dessert once a week on a Sunday.

We're just not making good choices about what we're eating.