Organisation - October 6, 2005

Humans have no in-built ‘eating brake’

Humans have no in-built mechanism to stop themselves eating. It is a human characteristic to want to eat large quantities of calorie-rich food. Handbooks that teach fatties to listen better to the signals their own bodies give off lack scientific foundations. This was the message of Wageningen nutritionist Dr Kees de Graaf this week during a course on communication and nutrition at the graduate school VLAG. His research on eating behaviour shows that people who get more food automatically eat more. Professor Lawrence Green of the University of California at Berkeley gave a lecture on the lessons that nutrition workers can learn from the anti-smoking campaign. This unhealthy habit is disappearing as a result of smoking prohibitions, price rises and campaigns on the effects of smoking on health. According to Green, a similar broad offensive against eating sweets and snacks is the only thing that will work in the fight against obesity. ‘Situations where eating is regarded as normal will no longer be tolerated in forty years’ time.’ / WK

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