So yesterday we where waxing about the topic of fat and that now in South Africa people are both starving as well as dying of obesity as how can a dichotomy of this nature manifest itself? Yet to understand this, we need to back up a bit to better understand this as it is one of the main reasons which I started writing this blog in the first place. As one of the key things I’ve learned is people do not understand there is an “effect” to their “cause”, as they see the world in monochrome as each action is an independent action.
However our friend Sir Isaac Newton was very clear that for every action there would be an “equal and opposite reaction” so in short backing up the second law of thermodynamics which says there isn’t a free lunch in say burn a log, while you’ve changed its ‘state” it’s matter still exists and therefore still is a log. Yet the dualities of these “actions” are also not independent as many times the “effect” can drive the cause.
Moving back to the physical world for a moment, let’s use the example of the “machine gun” as it has no external power source, yet will keep firing so long as it has bullets. As its “action” is the firing of the bullet and its “effect” is the recoil and here it uses the “recoil” to fire the next bullet. In turn it creates a causal cycle which builds in speed until some physical limit kicks in to hinder it. This in turn is a perfect example of a “Viral Loop” which grows very fast and can end just as quickly as in the gun when the bullets run out its an immediate stop.
So what does all this have to with obesity in South Africa you ask, good question as this is a text book example a cause in effect scenario playing itself out in society where we can see it. As unfortunately, social loops are too large to be easily seen and lead “uni-blindness” meaning we see only one the “cause” side of the equation.
So you want to solve hunger right? Noble cause to say the least, so how are you going to tackle it is the question as economic (be functional or token denominated) systems are always the limiting factor. So with limited resources you want to supply the most for the least right? So you buy the highest caloric staple for the dollar you can, correct? Well what happens then, ok the first when dealing with carbohydrates, it is easy to overrun the calories which the body needs as the basal rate for an average adult is about 11 calories per pound, per day so a 160 pound person at rest would require only 1,760 calories per day. So round up to about 2,000 and anything over that is going to fat production an yes, all calories are not created equal.
As without going into a lot of nutritional and metabolic mumbo jumbo the human has a hard time with “complex” sugars (another phrase for crabo’s) as its designed to burn simple sugars so it likes to convert them to fat first then simple sugars so you get the picture. The piece you might of missed is above I shared that basal caloric needs are based upon body weight and therefore as body weight rises so does the need for more calories so is a negative cycle forming here or what.
Finely (for today’s post) is when high carbohydrate food is “handed out”, less effort needs to be applied [on aggregate] to obtain those calories so the need actually falls yet the availability rises. Again not a good cycle as we are now “fattening” people even more and all we wanted to do is feed the hungry right? Well, you have to remember the world like it or not is “zero sum”. Whoa you say Campbell, zero sum really! Well we will pick that up tomorrow…