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Thursday, July 30, 2015

If obesity is a moral failing, then our morals have failed.

By Anke Snoek
Aeon Magazine - Ideas
Originally published July 6, 2015

Here is an excerpt:

But there’s another reason to be cautious about calling obesity a moral failing. The lay vision is that obese people act on their desires rather than on their better judgment, but recent research of Nora Volkow shows some striking parallels between addiction and obesity. Evolutionarily, we are wired to find certain foods and activities – the ones that contribute more to our survival – more attractive than others. That’s why when we engage in positive social relationships, sex, or eat food with high fat, sugar or salt content, dopamine is released in the brain. Dopamine is often associated with pleasure. We get a pleasurable feeling when we eat good food, but dopamine also contributes to conditioned learning and so-called incentive sensitization. That is, we become sensitive to cues linked to rewarding behaviour or food which was important but scarce in the distant past.  In prehistoric times we learned which cues predict, for instance, where the best fruit trees grow.

The entire article is here.

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