Diabetes and obesity together have been climbing to increasingly epidemic proportions throughout the world. Obesity is such a predictive measure for type-2 diabetes, through metabolic processes characteristic of the two, a new term, diabesity, has gain recognition among researchers.
It is easy to understand why these two conditions are becoming frightfully prevalent in our modern society when our metabolic relationship with food is considered. Adaptively, our bodies have been conditioned to deal with fluctuating energy availability under higher energy demands. Hormonally and neurologically our bodies are far more influenced by the drive to eat than the subtleties of satiety.
In a modern world, where food variety is common, sedentism is habitual and the neurological stimulation of physiological hunger is nearly ongoing, the diabesity statistics make sense. That is not to mention that our modern ‘fat-rich, fiber-poor’ diet is abruptly opposite of our ancestors’ Paleolithic diet.
While it makes plenty of sense to blame these conditions for the current crisis, I found it most interesting in the way food is marketed and available to us. Lieberman explains the how the way food is packaged, marketed and enhanced may deceive our bodies’ satiety-related mechanisms into eating more. People often consume a specific amount determined by how much is available. In many cases, what individuals assume to be normal serving sizes, greatly exceed USDA portion sizes (88).
In our society, consumers look for and expect more for their money and this most exceptionally equates to food. Thus ordering a meal in a restaurant that is three times the appropriate portion size is quite normal. It is experimentally expected for the individual to consume more of that meal than what is necessarily appropriate. Lieberman explains that this lack of sensitivity to satiation may have been evolutionarily advantageous so that eating continued whenever food was available (89). It seems only natural then that we would face this diabesity problem when we are evolutionarily urged to eat and more is always available.