Diabesity: How modern lifestyles affects your metabolism

DiabesityWe are all individuals with different genes, lifestyles, gut flora and immunity. We are each exposed to differing levels of toxins, stress and infections, as well as different dietary intakes. All of these factors play a role in weight regulation. This explains why two people can react to the same diet in entirely different ways, and why there is no one solution that fits everyone in order to solve the diabesity problem. There is however, a simple explanation for the cause of Diabesity:

Modern lifestyle + Genetic predisposition = Obesity

It is absolutely that simple. Modern lifestyle includes processed, refined foods, too much fructose, industrial seed oils, environmental toxins, sedentary lifestyle, stress, infections and imbalanced gut flora. But the modern lifestyle doesn’t cause obesity in all people. I’m sure we all know someone who eats a horrible diet, doesn’t exercise, is under excessive levels of stress, drinks too much and yet is as thin as a rail! That’s where genetics come in.

Human evolution didn’t stop in the Paleolithic era

A commonly held belief in the Paleo-sphere is that our genes haven’t changed much since the Paleolithic era. But recent evidence suggests a far more rapid pace of genetic change in humans than was previously thought. The birth of agriculture introduced significant selection pressure, and thus mutation, because humans were not well-adapted to this new way of life. The evolutionary response to agricultural diet differs because different peoples adopted agriculture at different times and in different places.

Different strokes for different folks!

Agriculture began in the Middle East 10,000 years ago, but it was never adopted by Aboriginal Australians. Can we expect the descendants of people from these two regions to have different responses when exposed to agricultural diets? Absolutely. Researchers in Iceland have discovered a gene that regulates blood sugar tolerance. Aboriginal Australians have a four times greater risk of developing adult-onset diabetes than Australians of European descent.

Milk anyone?

Lactase persistence is another example. During Paleolithic times, humans stopped producing lactase (the enzyme required to digest lactose, the sugar in milk) shortly after weaning. There was no need for it, since Paleo people didn’t raise cattle or drink milk. Skeletal remains from northern Europeans 8,000 – 9,000 years ago confirm that there was no lactose tolerance at that time. However, skeletal remains from northern Europeans living in the Bronze Age 3,000 years ago show roughly 25% of adults produced lactase. And today, in certain Scandanavian countries, more than 95% of adults are now lactose tolerant. All of these genetic changes have happened within the last 8,000 years, after the advent of agriculture.

The hand you were dealt: life isn’t always fair

What this means is that some of us are likely better adapted to the modern lifestyle, while others are more susceptible to being harmed by it. It is these people that are most likely to become obese when exposed to a western diet.

Stay tuned more to come…

Check out the Diabesity story so far and catch up on each instalment below

See also Part 1 of our series The Modern Day Health Epidemic that you should know about See also Part 2 of our series Diabesity: Myths that kep you sick See also Part 3 of our series Diabesity and Inflammation See also Part 4 of our series Diabesity: How come I’ve got Type 2 Diabetes? I’m not fat!!! See also Part 5 of our series Diabesity: Not all Diabetics are Obese