Fat Planet: How Capitalism Invented Obesity

Fat deposits in our body work exactly like a battery: whenever there is a surplus of food in our bloodstream, insulin hormone is released which diverts food into storage. This happens within specialized cells which are able to turn carbohydrates and proteins into a molecule which is the perfect battery pack: incredibly light and chemically stable, fat is deposited anywhere and everywhere in our body.

Energy storage is something all organisms do. It is essential for survival. In fact there are even species who depend 100% on their energy storage throughout their lifetime. They actually have no mouth or digestive tract. Some moths and other insects belong in this category. They are born with a single-use battery pack which is enough to last just a few days for them to mature, mate and complete their lifecycle. Other animals still, have such long-lasting and efficient batteries that allow them to survive without food for a whole season or even a year. Crocodiles, bears and many more fall into this category.

An average human has at least 2-3 weeks’ worth of fat reserves on their body at any given point in time. We are biologically designed to stay pretty much starved most of the time, bar the occasional lucky encounter with a particularly prolific fruit tree or an animal. Although there is a new theory almost every week about how our metabolic system is meant to work, one fact is certain: it was never meant to stay switched on all the time, as it does today. The time in-between meals is essential for our body to rest, enzymes to fall back down to normal levels, and essential repair work to take place. 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 which exists only in humans.

The obesity epidemic is a direct result of the permanent fed state that our economic system is in. Greed and addiction to growth have led to hyperglycemia in both our economy and in our bodies. In order to cater to this ever-hungry economy, capitalism has created the perfect consumers: always hungry, depressed, insecure, always unsatisfied, searching for the latest fashion. Their appetite is voracious.

There is no difference between economic and biological diabetes. At the molecular level, our cells behave in the same way as our system behaves under the influence of greed. As more food surplus comes in through the bloodstream, the cells become desensitized to it, much like a rich person becomes desensitized to profit: no amount is ever enough, yet at the same time money itself has lost its purpose and meaning.

In both Type 1 and 2 diabetes, insulin, our body’s defense against greed, is either low or non-existent. Without insulin, our body’s “voice of reason”, food 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 – much like on our dysfunctional Earth, where money accumulates in invisible banks around the world, while other areas of the planet are starved of funding. 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.

Just like most forms of diabetes, Capitalism was preventable. It could have been prevented by resisting the urge to eat absolutely every resource on the planet. Rather than pacing ourselves, we have converted Earth into a food conveyor belt system that serves just one, fat species. Our circumference has become the equivalent of an extinction black hole. Multiple species that we ate into extinction have been converted over the ages exclusively into human fat. As half of humanity goes into hyperglycemic sleep, and the other half into hypoglycemic convulsions, the planet suffers. CO2, the toxic side effect of profit, 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, products we don’t need, bullshit jobs, fake renewables, fake happiness. This is the sugar that we need to get our of our system. This house that we made out of candy, our civilization, 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.

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