Fat Planet: How Capitalism Invented Obesity

Our obesity epidemic is nothing but a mirror for our energy gluttony

The purpose of fat in our bodies is to store energy reserves. Fat deposits work exactly like a battery: when there is surplus food in our bloodstream, our insuline hormone is released which takes the decision to divert extra food into storage rather than usage. This happens within specialised cells in our bodies that are able to turn carbohydrates and proteins from food into fat: a high-energy, yet light and stable molecule. This way your weight doesn’t increase much as the battery fills up (though your circumference will).

Energy storage is something all organisms do. It is essential to survival, given the fact that in all natural ecosystems the availability of food fluctuates tremendously by season, weather conditions and competition with other species. In fact there are even species who never eat throughout their lifetime, not once. They actually have no mouth or digestive tract. Some moths and other insects belong in this category, and are instead born with a single-use energy battery which is enough to last just a few days for them so that they can mature, mate and complete their lifecycle. Other animals have such a longlasting and efficient battery that they can survive without eating for a whole season, like bears, or for as long as a year. For all the negative hype that they get for being savage, crocodiles fall into this category. Wouldn’t you be a “messy” and aggressive eater if you hadn’t had a meal in 12 months?

An average human today has at least 2-3 weeks worth of fat energy reserves on their body at any given point in time. We are biologically designed to be able to stay pretty much starved most of the time, bar the occasional lucky encounter with a particularly prolific fruit tree or animal that we happened to catch. Although there is a new theory almost every week about how our metabolic system is supposed to work, one thing is for sure: it was never meant to stay on all the time, and in fact not even everyday. It functions pretty much like an oven: there is a lot of energy involved just to turn it on, so you should only use it every once in a while. The time in between meals is essential for our body to rest, our enzymes to fall back down to normal levels, and for essential repair work to be done. This quiet period, also called our “fasted” state, is actually much more important than the time around meals, our “fed” state: it is when we have the most energy, the most clarity of thought and creativity, and get the most work done. A constant surplus of food on the other hand, makes us constantly dumb and lethargic: keeping our oven always on, always busy, until our metabolic system eventually falls into exhaustion and we succumb to diabetes, a metabolic disease created exclusively by humans and which draws direct parallels with the hyperglycemic state of our planet’s economic system: capitalism. If fat is the energy storage currency in our bodies, then the trillions of unused cash sitting in banks across the world is the fat of Capitalism.

At the molecular level, our cells behave in the same way humans behave under the influence of greed: As more and more surplus food keeps coming in through the bloodstream, the cells become desensitised to it, much like a rich person falls into deeper and deeper existential sadness the more money they acquire. To be more specific, the cells actually become desensitised to insuline, which is the “voice of reason” of our metabolic system: it decides whether food will be converted into fat or used right away. In both Type 1 and 2 diabetes insulin is either low or non-existent. The voice of reason is gone, and the process eventually becomes self-destructive: blood, tissue, organs become flooded with unused glucose that is not able to get where it is really needed. In the same body you have arteries being clogged by glucose, and cells who are starving unless insulin is injected – much like Capitalism, where the money accumulates in invisible banks around the world, without any voice of reason to direct this money to where it is needed the most: the starving areas of the planet.

Just like most forms of diabetes, Capitalism is preventable. It is prevented by resisting the urge to eat everything in front of us and destroy resources. By listening to the voice of reason that tells us we don’t need to store and accumulate our food. It will still be there for us tomorrow if we need it. Instead we have converted the Earth into a food conveyor belt system that serves just one, fat species. Our circumference is the equivalent of an extinction black hole: multiple now extinct species, such as the Passenger Pigeon, have been converted over the ages exclusively into human fat.

As half of humanity goes into hyperglycemic sleep, and the other half of it into hypoglycemic convulsions, the planet suffers with it. CO2 is the excess sugar in the planet’s metabolic system. It is a life-giving molecule that, under normal circumstances, is food for the plants of the planet. Just as we are suffocating ourselves with food, we are suffocating the planet with an oversupply of CO2. Just like our excess sugar, it has nowhere to go. It just sits there, wreaking havoc on the climate system.

Our profit-driven food industry has committed crimes against humanity, sending millions of people to their early deaths by knowingly manipulating their naturally low resistance to temptation in a world that is now made exclusively out of sugar and its other substitutes: fossil fuel, fake renewables, fake goals, fake jobs, fake happiness.

But this house that we have made out of candy, our civilisation, is starting to melt in the heat of its own by-products. The only solution is to close down the candy factory and start over.

to be continued…(or not)

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