I’m a perfect example of one who knows, yet behaves like one who knows not.
Today I bought a warm, crisp-crusted loaf of white bread, and ate slice after slice, spread thick with real butter. Real butter is good, and that’s what I use, but why did I buy and gobble that white bread?
I know full well that refined carbs, particularly refined wheat flour, is not good food for me. I know that it spikes my blood sugar. I know that it brings a flood of insulin. I know that this will fatten me around my middle. But I smelled it, and I fell for the smell. My senses lusted for that childhood memory of fresh bread and butter. This is addiction at work, showing it’s power lasts and lasts.
We humans have been attracted to carbohydrate foods and sweet stuff like wild honey for thousands of years. It wasn’t a problem a hundred thousand years ago, because it wasn’t freely available. To get honey you had to find bee hives, and you had to face the stings. To get the carbs out of wild grains took some hard chewing, or heavy labour hand-grinding the seeds, or finding and stick-digging the tubers and roots. There was no danger of being overwhelmed by tons of carbs every day.
Once we turned the corner towards the cultivation of wheat-like plants and learned to raise other carb-laden crops, we became more deeply hooked. History tells us about the flat bread-like goodies we learned to make thousands of years ago. We love the flavour of baked or roasted carbs. The thing that saved us from going overboard was that we couldn’t produce it and store it in sufficient quantities. That changed radically about 140 years ago, with the development of roller mills. At about the same time, the milling and extracting of sugar also took off. Suddenly the delicious stuff was freely available, and we became really hooked.
So, after hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, suddenly we have a sickening over-abundance of starches and sugars, and our bodily chemistry becomes swamped. We know we should not indulge in so much sweet and starchy stuff. We know our grandmothers warned us of the dangers 70 to 100 years ago, but we still go for it, because it is freely available. That’s addiction.