When will human beings be satiated?
Humans are susceptible to over-eating, and various physiological, evolutionary, biological, social and psychological reasons have been provided by scientists. Far too many to list here! Just listing a few which I personally feel are important reasons for over-eating:
(1) DNA has a say, as “people with fewer dopamine receptors in the brain need to take more rewarding substances, like food and drugs, to have the same effect that other people get with less. Dopamine is a pleasure reward chemical made by the brain that helps making eating and other behaviors more satisfying.
(2) A [Feb 2008] study has shown that the heavier you are, the less likely are you to experience feelings of fullness. The higher their BMI, the lower the likelihood of saying I feel full…
(3) A tendency to eat whenever food is available, an instinct from our evolutionary days when food wasn’t available 24×7.
Then there are the usual psychological reasons (eating because of boredom, entertainment, emotional disorders) plus social reasons (eating because of social cues) and probably many more(you are welcome to add any) but the end result is that our stomachs expand, and we eat more and more. Not surprisingly, our per capita food consumption is increasing, and sadly, is not going to fall, no not even in the rich countries where people are already eating more than enough!
Here are some statistics from the World Health Organisation: Global and regional per capita food consumption (kcal per capita per day)
South Asia’s eating more
In the seventies people in South Asian countries like India were consuming just 1,986 calories per day (reasonable enough, for an active human being) but by the late nineties it increased by over 20 percent and this growth is expected to continue. By 2030, India is expected to notch up another 20 percent growth over the 1999 figures.
I remember that way back in the seventies and eighties, one never even saw that much food around. There were far fewer restaurants and as for eating at street corners – it was frowned upon. Today, eating out is in.
Developed countries are stuffing themselves up too
The increase in food consumption in the developed countries is fairly high too – as much as 10 percent. Their base being higher, the increase is lower…but they too are stuffing themselves up.
And just look at those East Asian countries. An increase of 38% in the twenty year period from the seventies to the nineties! Their prosperity is showing.
Will our stomachs ever be stemmed?
Thankfully, the statistics do show a falling off. In the developed countries the food consumption per capita is supposed to increase by barely 5% by 2030. The increase in consumption levels of the East Asian countries is also expected to fall to 10 per cent. So food consumption levels don’t increase that much when humans near the 3000 calorie mark…but what’s worrying is that they still increase. Are we soon going to be huge species?
Are we ever going to be satiated?
So we know where we are going, whether we like it or not. We are all going to get bigger and fatter with each generation. Worse, we are heading for a situation where we will suffer from more diseases than we ever did, many of which will be caused by the food itself.
Note 1: I have clubbed India under the category of ‘South Asia’ and not ‘Developing Countries’ although it falls under both categories. I felt the lower calorie consumption for South Asia fitted India better due to the widespread poverty here.
Note 2: This is a revised and updated version of a post I wrote a few weeks after I started blogging. I will be deleting that other post (less confusion for the google crawler!)
(photo is taken by me and is copyrighted)
Related Reading: India’s population to be two billion by the end of the century
Indians’ food expenses rising
America accuses India and China of eating too much!
Being plump is a sign of prosperity in India