If being fat is so bad for our health why do we have and inbuilt mechanism for storing it on our body and why is it so hard to get rid of?
If we look back to our ancestor’s hunter gatherer way of life our fat storage mechanism makes sense. Your fat stores are in and around your body for times when we didn’t get food, it’s there as a reserve fuel source. So why would your body give it up once it gets it, it wouldn’t make sense if it was getting fuel from somewhere else, I.e. your dinner.
From an ancestral point of view if your hunters have made a kill and the gatherers have had successful forage then your tribe will all eat well, blood sugars will rise and insulin will be secreted to use the energy coming in. Anyone who has read this blog before also should know that insulin will also signal fat storage, why?
We didn’t know when we would get any food again, what if the hunters didn’t get the kill and nothing was found? We store some for later use in times of need.
We as modern humans still have this mechanism but as we all know there is a now a continuous supply of food and food like substances (In most places). As far as the body knows we are just hunting and gathering really well all the time so continues to do as it has been designed, store the fat.
And here is our problem, we never go without food. We get up and have breakfast, snack half way through the morning, lunch, another snack, dinner and maybe another snack before bed. We just are not designed to eat this way. Our ancestors would have gone through long periods without food, particularly over the winter periods when food was not as abundant.
We can draw parallels to the seasonal availability to the insulin signalling mechanism. The summer months would have given rise to higher availability of fruits, leaves, nuts and seeds and the birth of animals from the spring will have given us an easier and abundant meat source. These feasting periods would be followed by the closer to famine states over winter, so we stored it while we could and relied on these stores when we didn’t have it.
So as we can see your body really does want to make and keep you fat, just in case, it really doesn’t know that your food is coming from the supermarket and not from your environment, so it continues to do what it thinks is best, store it while we can. Add to this the kind of food that we are eating, high sugar processed junk food that lends itself well to stimulating fat storage.