Wednesday, August 22, 2012

AHS11 Talk Posted

After a one-year delay, my talk from the 2011 Ancestral Health Symposium is online with slides synched.  The talk is titled "Obesity: Old Solutions for a New Problem", and it's an overview of some of the research linking food reward to food intake and body fatness.  This is the talk that introduced a fundamentally new idea to the ancestral community: not only does the chemical composition of food matter, but also its sensory qualities-- in fact, the sensory qualities of food are among the primary determinants of food intake.  I didn't come up with the idea of course, I simply translated the research for a more general audience and put my own evolutionary spin on it.

The talk would be a bit different if I were to give it today, as my understanding of the subject has expanded, and my speaking skills have improved.  However, the central message remains as true today as it was a year ago.  You can find the talk here.

The slide synching was done by an extremely generous man named Ben Fury.  As you can see in the video, he did an excellent job.  Without Ben, this video would have remained in internet limbo forever.

Below, I've published a message from Ben explaining the interesting work that he does.  Please contact him if you think it's interesting.

A Message from Ben Fury

I was writing a book on health, fitness and diet in 2009 when my house burned down in the Station Fire, along with 165,000 acres of my beloved Angeles National Forest. Since then, I've had a series of people needing help come through my life, that have upgraded and morphed my talents...

Seniors with chronic pain, falls, brittle bones, and stiff shrunken muscles.
Diabetics with out of control blood sugars, going blind, and having limbs lopped off.
Neurologically challenged people with spastic limbs and foggy brains.
Fat, listless, unhappy people with no idea how they got that way, seeing no way out of the darkness.
Each of them needing help in different ways, but all with an underlying theme of what works to help heal our conditions:
  •     Remove flour, sugar, beans, and heavily processed oils from our diet. Eat real food.
  •     Get strong.
  •     Get flexible.
  •     Stop ceding health responsibility to outside forces, and take charge of our own wellness.
  •     Only use truly evidence based medicine. Don't just pop the latest pill or get the latest surgery all the other people are doing. Be wary of the disease mongers in both the conventional and alternative camps.
  •     Find our "happy thoughts." Use the simple restoratives of sleep, play, and reflection, to let go of pain, find inner peace, and let in joy and purposeful outer direction.
The methods to accomplish these goals are varied, and I have both non-profit and for-profit ventures to share them.
Their websites are currently in development.
The for-profit is
The non-profit is , whose mission statement is:

To move beyond pain management...
and learn to live pain free.

Feel free to write to me  at:
 ben [at] benfury dot com


David Moss said...

Great to see that this is up Stephen. Will be disseminating quite widely.

tito temo said...

Really informative blog, keep up the good work!

Words About Health

Kindke said...

I think if you ask the average paleo follower if banana is paleo/healthy, they would mostly likely say yes

but according to the video, the banana is actually part of the infamous "cafeteria diet" and is therefore highly palatable and also fattening.

HAHA I thought that was the best part of the talk.

stephers said...

Interesting article about energy expenditures by hunter-gatherers, namely the Hadza. Conclusion: they don't expend any more daily energy than we do, so obesity is coming from overeating, not lack of exercise.

Anonymous said...

Interesting health site of yours, in fact, there are many food and processed food that have none or few nutrients. Worst, some processed food are preserved with carcinogenic chemicals. Time for nutritious food revolution.

kuli619 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosa Park said...

Very interesting! I really do think Food Reward is quite a significant contributor to obesity. I have observed this in Korea, my very own home country. When we Koreans eat a traditional Korean meal, nobody binges. Some people do eat more than others, but in general, we don't really eat till we feel stuffed. We can all be relatively lean just eating rice, some side dishes, and a soup. But if you look at the kids nowadays...hardly any of them are really that lean. The kids bring so much junk to class. The constant availability of food makes it particularly a problem. Seoul has convenience stores at EVERY corner. There is a "bunshik" store at every corner as well, selling MSG-laden overly-spiced pounded rice cakes for dirt cheap, ramen, deep fried vegetables/seafood, and whatnot. The kids are so stressed from school that they'd eat and eat and eat (even during class!) these junk foods everyday. What makes it worse is that the delivery service in Seoul is so good, that you can call up anywhere and anytime you want and get the food you want in about 5-15 minutes. Instant gratification. Nowadays, nobody is really eating anything home-cooked. Everybody is eating via delivery service or restaurants, particularly young company workers living in extremely expensive apartments. They eat their bone broths in chain restaurants (with questionable stuff in it), their fermented soy soups spiked with MSG, kimchi with MSG, etc (hmm, healthy foods at home, dangerous at restaurants!). The whole culture is extremely obsessed with food, and the kids do not talk about anything else except food. They crave something even when not hungry all the time...But give them a Korean traditional meal. They barely eat it! But pizza? Fried chicken? Chocolate? Snacks? Oh they'll stuff their face with them! Food reward is definitely a major factor behind the rising obesity rates in Korea, for sure! We all eat a lot of carbohydrates, and generally low fat...that's not why we were ever fat. It's the high engineered, highly palatable foods, the excellent marketing, the fast delivery service, and the chain bakery/fried chicken/pizza/basically all food specialties found next to your company and your apartment that is to blame!

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Kindke,

It's not that bananas are particularly fattening, it's that food variety is a reward/palatability factor. More food choices = higher total energy intake.

Hi Rosa,

Thanks for your perspective-- I think you hit the nail on the head.

Marc Nelson said...

I just found your blog and really have been enjoying some wonderful info here..I agree with you on the importance of inner peace, I've seen people binging as they feel this can help them distress..It is truly powerful when you decide to lose weight for your self instead of just an external influence which has pushed you in to it.

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Marana Alva said...

Obesity may cause various problems including male impotence, it is essential to address the problem immediately.