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Predisposed to gluttony

Posted Jan 11 2010 12:00am
There was an interesting item on the One Show on BBC this evening. They are taking a look at the seven deadly sins - one each day - and it was gluttony's turn today. First the question was asked, why are we so gluttonous? Is this something we are predisposed to from an evolutionary point of view? Well, apparently yes. In ancient times food was relatively scarce, particularly in the winter months. Therefore we would eat what we could find and hunt in the summer months of relative plenty and gain weight. This extra fat would have seen us through the relatively lean days of the winter. The difficulty for modern (western) people is that food is never in shortage and therefore we simply gain weight and become obese.

The programme makers then asked if there was anything we can do to overcome this - so they performed a simple experiment. They got four people to fast for 24 hours. They were then allowed to eat as much as they wanted. Blood samples were taken during the fasting, during the eating and afterwards. They tested two groups of hormones, those that relate to hunger (ghelin) and several others that indicate satiety - or fullness. They found that, as expected, the ghelin was very high before eating - because they were hungry from their 24h fast. Ghelin levels then fell during eating and again afterwards. However, it took 30 minutes for this hormone to fall. At the same time, the levels of satiety hormones increased during and after eating - but again there was a delay of about 30 minutes before any change took place.

The problem with delay this was illustrated superbly by one of the participants, who, in less than 30 minutes, ate a substantial meal of steak, chips and peas, and no less than FIVE desserts!! This totalled more than 3,000 calories - far higher than the recommended total daily intake for a man of his height and weight! Adrian Chiles, one of the programme presenters joked that he usually tried to eat his food as quickly as possible so that he could eat it all before that 'full' feeling had time to kick in!!

So, the moral of this tale, is EAT SLOWLY! This is what our band providers tell us all the time and here is the reason why. So, message to self: Eat slowly, eat with small utensils to facilitate this, put the knife and fork down between mouthfuls, chew everything a lot to slow it down even further and finally, don't get distracted while eating because this tends to make us eat even faster!
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