Evolutionary Love of Fat

        A new study found a possible mechanism that drives us to overeat fat.  You can read the details of the study here:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43634952/  


     In short, this study explains (in terms of biological reactions, namely in endocannabinoid signaling in the brain and gut) what we all experience – the drive to have just a few more bites of a fattening, delicious food. This drive is not exclusive to binge eaters; we all have what this article calls an “evolutionary love of fat.” 
      
     Researchers believe drugs designed to block the reception of endocannabinoid signals may be able to “break the cycle that drives people to overeat fatty foods.”  To me, this doesn’t make much sense.   
   
     Because this article is saying that we all have an evolutionary love of fat, is it then suggesting that we should all have our endocannabinoid signals blocked?  This is obviously an unrealistic cure for overeating fat. I’m sure some people (like those who have risk factors for binge eating) have stronger signals telling them to “eat, eat, eat!” when they have already had enough fat, but are drugs really the cure even in these cases?  Furthermore, would the drug take away our desire for even the healthy fats that are so vital for our existence?  


     Wouldn’t it make more sense to educate people about why their brains send faulty signals to overeat unhealthy fats, and then teach them how to resist those signals?  We have certainly evolved enough to use our higher brain functions to say no to our primitive drives.  Articles like this, I believe, can lead us to believe we are slaves to our brains signals and cravings.  What this article fails to mention is that endocannabinoid signaling doesn’t lift our hand to grab the extra fries, it doesn’t put those fries in our mouths, it doesn’t chew and swallow them.  Our voluntary muscles do that.  


   While we can feel out of control when our cravings hit; I believe that once we understand that those cravings come from the primitive brain, and once we realize we don’t have to be trapped by those evolutionary patterns gone awry; then we are all capable of making wise food choices.