Dr. Sasse is a regular contributor to Sixty and Me, and in a recent post, he covered the misconception that obesity is a personal failing. Actually, obesity is a classic environmental disease. We’re sharing an excerpt from the piece below.
From the Post
“… if one backs up and has a wider lens to look at the epidemic of obesity and diabetes, we realize that it’s negatively impacting life expectancy and quality of life across the globe, and that the underlying propensity of humans to lack willpower or discipline has not changed over the decades or centuries.
What has changed dramatically in these recent decades that correlates closely with the obesity and diabetes epidemics is the environment, and the inputs that are directly intersecting with our genetic makeup. Those would include several things, but of course the number one factor would be the changes in the food supply.
There is a great deal of research describing the change in the genomes of many food staples, including wheat, soy, rice, and corn, in ways that we don’t truly understand and have not fully examined. There may be beneficial effects of some of these changes, some of which came about from hybridization techniques and some from GMO techniques.
I’m not offering blanket opposition to GMO techniques or improvements in agriculture, but it’s clear that key properties of food have changed that are intersecting with our biology, causing unintended consequences of runaway obesity and type two diabetes. And we’ve yet to have a well-organized, galvanized research effort to understand exactly what the mechanisms are that have led to those changes.”
The big takeaway? “Certainly, this problem is not a result of humans lacking personal responsibility. This is a problem of environmental biology interacting with our genetic biology through a rapidly changing environment, producing very negative effects in terms of obesity and diabetes.”
Read the post in full here.