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PSYC 3100 (39)
Hank Davis (14)
Chapter 10

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PSYC 3100
Hank Davis

Chapter 10: Health  Before 1900: 25% died before 25, 50% lived past 50; Today: 3% and 10% respectively o Modern medicine and modern health practices o 1900: death by diseases; Today: CVD (old age)  More and more, the cause of death has become the result of human behaviour (accident, homicide, suicide, lung cancer, obesity)  Mismatch Hypothesis: the idea that many of our health problems come from differences between our present lifestyle and that of the EEA (present environment vs. evolved characteristics) NUTRITION AND EXERCISE  Most stone age people were taller and extremely fit – very athletic  Maintaining healthy weight is a huge problem today – mounting evidence that diets do not work Adult Human Body Weight is Remarkably Stable  It takes only 10 extra calories each day to gain a pound each year  Why Diets Usually Fail o Body weight is maintained by a feedback system with a set-point – we eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full o When we first diet, the resting metabolic rate is lowered which means we burn fewer calories than before – if we go off the diet we may gain more weight back because of the lower metabolic rate  Allowed ancestors to survive periods of famine (no longer an advantage clearly) o Body fat is evolved to store food on the body – women have more (enough for a pregnancy to be successful, typically) Exercise Helps in Weight Regulation  Studies show that regular exercise can help (with or without dieting) in weight regulation  We increase our food intake with exercise if we are reasonably active – need to include exercise alongside diet in order to lose weight THE PALEOLITHIC PRESCRIPTION  Obesity is such an issue because in the EEA, stone age people were more active and ate different diets Paleolithic Levels of Activity  Hunting and gathering are extremely active lifestyles – in the range of weight regulation  Would work extremely hard for days and then rest when possible – maybe why it is so hard to get people to exercise (we are designed to rest when possible) Paleolithic Diet  Typical stone age diet was probably 65% plant, 35% animal – diets now vary greatly by region  Stone age had to eat 5 pounds to get 3000 calories; we only need 3 pounds for the same calories  Domesticated meat is very high in fat (20-40% fat) but wild game is not (4% fat)  Stone age diet was much lower in caloric density We Are Two Revolutions Removed from the Paleolithic Diet  Ancestors ate thousands of plant and animal species – we eat about 650, respectively  Decline in the quality of food from: domestication and resulting increase in fat and sugar, calories becoming more abundant, reduced variety, lower protein content  3% of the population feeds all the rest  We eat a much narrower range of foods – because most food eaten by ancestors never became domesticated and therefore aren’t found in our farms  We eat much more fat, sugar, and salt – because we crave them and can mass produce them Why It Is so Hard to Follow the Paleolithic Prescription  We love to eat the things that are not good for us – they were scarce in the EEA but now are abundant and cheap so we eat them way too much PSYCHOACTIVE DRUGS  1/3 people in prison are there because of illicit drug offences  Alcohol kills 5
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