Obesity is a scourge that primarily afflicts the inhabitants of wealthy countries. In recent decades, as more and more countries have jumped on the reckless high-speed train of modern economic development, which is proceeding at constantly accelerating rates without any brakes, obesity has become a significant health problem all over the world. The causes of this change are more or less understood – sedentary lifestyles due to the mechanization of people’s lives so that they perform very little physical labour, and often don’t even use their legs and feet to transport their indolent bodies from one place to another, along with consuming physically and chemically altered foods that contain numerous additives that are meant to make the consumer consume more of them – but a simple, effective solution to this problem has not yet been found.
It is the free market that has invented convenience foods like fast food, and foods that have already been cooked so they only need to be reheated, along with junk foods and drinks made from natural ingredients like corn, wheat, and potatoes that, however, do not go bad even after weeks or months of exposure to the air. And yet, these kinds of foods are nutritionally less beneficial than the foods that our ancestors were eating for hundreds of thousands of years. This is another example of how the free market produces outcomes that are very far from being optimal. For who except dim-witted economists, along with the many people who believe their false pronouncements, would declare that a system that produces vast quantities of artificial foods and is able to get more and more of the world’s inhabitants to consume them, resulting in alarming increases in serious health problems like morbid obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, is ideal in any but a very narrow economic sense?
In general, the more a food or drink is altered from its natural state, the greater is the profit that can be derived from it. Conversely, as the amount of human modification of these foods increases, then generally the lower is its nutritional and health value. This is true of alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, and spirits, which are made from, but are less nutritious than, natural ingredients like wheat, rye, barley, grapes, potatoes, sugar cane, and corn, but it is also true of soft drinks, potato chips, chocolate bars, instant noodles, and sugary breakfast cereals.
One of the paradoxes of this situation is that, as obesity has increased, the ideal image of human attractiveness has not changed to reflect this widespread physical change in people’s bodies. In a natural state of human society – which is very different from the extremely artificial urban and technologically-saturated societies in which more and more of the world’s human population lives – the most prevalent kind of person in a society would be the one that is found to be the most attractive by its members. Thus, in a society where obese people predominate, they would – or should – form the ideal of human attractiveness. That this has not happened is because, after they have stuffed their bodies with the artificial concoctions that are manufactured by the capitalist food and drink industries, these hapless and highly manipulated human beings, who think they are free but are more and more merely the obedient serfs of the global corporations that decide what they eat and drink, the things they buy, what they do with their time, and how they live their lives, then stuff their brains with the inane productions which are manufactured by the capitalist entertainment industry, in which they observe primarily slender or muscular people, but rarely fat people, unless they are there to make the viewers laugh.
In the spirit of the No-Tech, Low-Tech Revolution which I am advocating, I will propose a few simple dietary rules that, if they are followed, will help people to lose weight and develop more healthy eating and drinking habits.
Rule #1: When you are thirsty or hungry, drink only water and eat only wholesome foods that have been subjected to no or little commercial processing. For generally speaking, the more a food has been subjected to the ingenious processes that have been devised by those deviously clever human beings, the less healthy it will be for you. This also includes fatty and sugary foods like cheese, ice cream, desserts, and French fries, none of which exist in Nature. When your thirst is sated and your hunger appeased, then – and only then – should you eat the artificially-processed foods and sugary drinks that the marketers and advertisers want you to consume in vast quantities so that the food and drink companies that manufacture and sell them can earn higher profits for their greedy stockholders, who care only about how much money they make and don’t care at all about your health, not even if you become obese, develop diabetes, or die prematurely from consuming too much of these unhealthy products.
In other words, when you are thirsty, do not sate your thirst with soft drinks or other artificial beverages, and when you are hungry, do not appease your hunger with fast food or junk food, or foods that contain high amounts of fat or sugar. This change will be hard at first because your taste buds have been corrupted by years and years of consuming these artificially modified and frequently unhealthy foods and drinks, products that often contain chemical additives that are concocted by food scientists in order to make people consume more of them and therefore increase the producing companies’ total revenues and profits.
Rule #2: Do not feel obliged to consume the contents of an artificially modified food or beverage all at once. In other words, you need not finish a bottle of soda, a bag of chips, or a chocolate bar once you open it. For if you do, you are letting the manufacturer of these products, rather than you yourself, decide how much of them you eat and drink. These foods are designed not to go bad, and so, unlike wholesome, natural foods that will quickly spoil, they can be consumed several days after they have been opened without any risk on your part of becoming sick. So, for example, if you only feel like eating half or a third of a regular-sized chocolate bar, or only a part of a bag of chips, or only a few gulps of soda, then do so and leave the remainder to be consumed later. The bag of chips can be sealed to keep them crisp, while the soft drink can be put in the refrigerator to keep it cold and fizzy. One need not do anything with the chocolate bar to preserve it because, provided it remains sealed, it will not change in any significant way after a few days or even weeks of exposure to the air, as is shown by the fact that chocolate bars do not need to be chilled or vacuum-sealed to prevent spoilage.
Rule #3: Don’t make food taste too good, otherwise you are more likely to eat too much of it. A common example of the violation of this rule is restaurants, which seek to make their food taste as good as possible in order to entice consumers to keep coming back. People who eat frequently at restaurants are also at risk of overeating and becoming obese. In addition, when you eat at a restaurant, it is the restaurant that decides how the food is prepared, with what ingredients, and how much food and drink you are served, which can be a problem for those who have the habit of eating everything on their plate and drinking everything in their glass.
Rule #4: Keep available, such as in the refrigerator, a large quantity of simple and filling foods that you like to eat and are low in calories for those times when you feel hungry. Some examples are fresh fruits and vegetables, plain boiled potatoes, or a large bowl of oatmeal flavoured with apples and cinnamon. The key characteristics of all of these foods are that they contain large amounts of water and little or no fat, meaning that they are calorie-light. These should be your new snack foods, instead of the fatty, calorie-laden, and nutritionally-empty junk foods and drinks that you are wont to consume presently. Develop the habit of eating these foods when you crave something apart from meal-times. You can safely eat as much of them as you want because they have a low calorie-to-mass ratio, usually less than 1, meaning that 100 grams contain less than 100 calories – unlike many fast and junk foods, which are calorie-dense, in many cases because they contain little or no water as a means of preserving them. Even though these proposed snack foods contain mostly water, because they are solid, they take longer to digest than the same quantity of water, which would quickly be absorbed by the intestines, and therefore it will take a longer time before you feel hungry again.
If you follow these simple rules, you will find two things: first, your desire to consume artificial foods and drinks will diminish, and second, you will consume less of them. These changes will not take place immediately, as they require a change in tastes and dietary preferences, from the artificial foods and beverages that so many of us have become habituated to eating and drinking in large quantities, to more natural and wholesome foods and beverages like water. But be assured that, provided you stick to them, the changes will occur, and, if you are obese, you will start to lose weight.
Most dietary plans fail because, like the not-very-successful preaching of the Catholic Church to its unmarried members to practice sexual abstinence, they require people to curb or ignore their basic human desires, in the one case hunger and thirst, and in the other, sexual desire. The four simple rules that I have suggested do not require people to abstain from consuming fast foods, junk foods and drinks, and foods that contain large quantities of fat and sugar. Rather, they only require one first to fill one’s stomach with good things like water – Nature’s original and, provided it is not polluted or contaminated, still the best thirst quencher – and unprocessed or slightly processed foods before they consume those artificial products of the capitalist free-market system which they crave because of their servility to this system and their acquired unhealthy consumption habits.