Recently McDonald's in honor of the new shrek toy has released another form of of associatively based obesity conditioning ploy known as the Happy Meal Toy. This is how it works and you don't have to think too hard about Pavlov to get the idea here. Pair a fun toy (Pavlov's meat powder) with another stimulus, bad food ridden with toxins (bell) and voila you get kids who become associatively conditioned to realize that bad toxic food (that which is served at McDonald's) is associated with a toy (pleasure). It's quite clever actually and you'd expect nothing less from a giant like McDonald's to use such a clever ploy to get people to buy their product, you know because Americans are really staving off that sort of diet ;-) NOT! What's really clever about it is that it's an experiment almost opposite to trying to develop conditioned taste aversion to an alcoholic or addictive substance. The pleasure more or less over rides the aversive response and addicts keep drinking, snorting, smoking or whatever, even in lieu of the fact that they feel terrible, get ill, vomit profusely, etc. For this case, they are feeding what should make the average person ill (in fact, I know, from self-experimentation, if I were to drive up and order a fast food meal I would be ill very shortly after eating it because my bodies been more or less detoxified). However, in the well-conditioned (to the toxins not fitness that is) there is the development of a resistance. Like a vaccine or sorts.
At any rate, the latest toys are associated with the release of the new Shrek movie and they are plastic glasses. Doesn't sound like fun? You don't have your favorite glass, mug or cup? I do. So does my wife. And so does just about every kid I know. However, the new glasses/cups have a toxin cadmium in them and this has forced McDonald's to recall the glasses. For goodness sake, they would not want their patrons being poisoned from drinking their fructose loaded soda pop from a poisonous cup. They would not want their customers washing down that tasty (toxin loaded, non-organic, shit-fed beef) burger with toxic soda from a poisonous cup, would they? My word, they might lose a customer. In fact, the cadmium poisoning should be the last of their concern. Perhaps McDonald's should consider recalling their menu and serving something a bit healthy and organic and not sugar even their salads!
There is a big to do recently about the discovery of new genes that could regulate obesity. These genes are presumably associated with the regulation of everything from the brain's ability to modulate a person's perception and desire for certain high-fat foods to the bodies ability to differentially utilize and store saturated fats (and of course the old Cholesterol myth is embedded in that one). However, in none of the studies did I read mention (granted I only skimmed the articles) of hyerinsulinimia and silent inflammation. In none of these studies do they talk about the baseline healthy state - an ancestral state. This really gets me fired up.
Yesterday, I was having a conversation with a relative, we were discussing that some friends and relatives are going in for surgery - apparently elective and not critical life-saving procedures. Rather these were surgeries for things that crept up on the person. Stomach pains. Pelvic issues. Inflammation. The list goes on, but I will spare you. The person I was talking to, my mother, and I then went on to consider each person' baseline state of health, from an ancestral living standpoint. Turns out that every single person we were talking about has terrible eating habits and does no exercise whatsoever. When is the medical community and the research community going to put aside, at least momentarily the idea of the reductionist model of medicine and begin to take into account the ultimate causes of illness and bad health. I used this example to explain to my mother. If I am going to prescribe a bunch of meds and surgery to a patient who is knowingly not in a baseline, ancestral state of health and wellness I am essentially doing two things: 1) treating only symptoms, for which I know nothing of the true etiology and 2) possibly causing more harm then good. I made this parallel: Treating the non-baselined patient is like starting to paint a master piece, except your canvas already has some really bad art on it. So now you have to cover up all that bad art, which you can never completely do. Then you have to make your masterpiece shine through even though some of the bad art might still be visible in the right light, at the right angle. Or you might add a color, say blue to an area that you thought was covered adequately, although it was not and now your masterpiece, which had a touch of yellow that you failed to take notice of, shows as green. Well if this portion of your masterpiece was the sky, I've never seen a green sky (yellow & blue make green). The human body, as evolution has crafted it, is a masterpiece. What we've done through USDA "intervention on our behalf" and through poor eating habits (partly not our fault as the powers that be have hijacked deep evolutionary psychological processes to their advantage) is painted over our masterpiece and essentially fucked it up! Royally!
What to do? Clean the slate. Go back to the masterpiece. Unlike the painting, in most cases we can eradicate the "bad art" overlay and get back to a baseline condition. It takes hard work, dedication, good eating habits and exercise, but it's possible. Once at this stage, then if issues, problems, and disease persist, physicians, I would think, would be in a better position to treat the "real" disease.
I am not a medical doctor, but when in the hell are medical colleges going to start prescribing Darwinian Medicine and Health to their students? I just don't think anyone can be held responsible for our health except our selves. So, while I truly believe in Evolution and that genes determine a lot of things, in the cases reported above regarding obesity I think that we've missed the epigenetic train folks. We've not taken into account that our toxic environment might have altered gene expression in a way to survive. We've not discovered a possible new reason for obesity, we've discovered a new genetic expression of obesity. So what will happen now? We will try to develop (20-30 years of research) ways to treat the genes, the proteins the genes regulate, etc. And we will probably still fail to realize that it's all an evolutionary consequence to toxicity.
Shrek, go ahead, drink from the cadmium laced cup. It's probably no worse for you than what you are putting in it to drink.
6 months ago