Wild Animals Don’t Count Calories or Sign Up for Step Aerobics

Have you ever seen an obese wild animal? Look at these wildebeests in Krüger National Park in South Africa. There’s no cellulite on their thighs! Wildebeest weigh only 40 pounds at birth, but then they gain weight rapidly. By the time they’re a year old, they weigh about 200 pounds. The females reach a peak weight of about 350 pounds at 4 years of age. The males peak at 500 pounds at 5 years of age. Yet after that, their weight stays remarkably stable. Why do they stop gaining weight? Since they don’t start counting calories or taking step aerobics classes in adulthood, they must have some built-in mechanisms that regulate their weight naturally. Do humans also have in-born weight-control mechanisms? If so, why have so many people been getting so fat lately?

To keep our body weight at a normal level, we are told to engage in unnatural behaviors. We’re told to eat less and move more. Yet wild animals never limit their food portions, and they do only the amount of activity they feel like doing. I think that their secret for staying slim is that they eat the kind of food that is appropriate for their species. If you trapped some wildebeest in a pen and fed them a diet that was much richer in calories than what they ate in the wild, they’d probably get fat. That’s what has happened to human beings in industrialized societies. To cure our weight problems, we need to escape from our cubicles and start eating a more natural diet. Go play outside, and eat low-fat unrefined plant foods instead of eating animals and processed foods.


When you look at populations all over the world, you’ll notice that the people who eat a diet based on unrefined plant foods stay naturally slim and remarkably free of heart disease and diabetes and other chronic diseases. For many generations, most of the world’s population ate like that. Only the rich could afford to eat large servings of rich foods, such as meats and butter and honey, on a regular basis. As a result, only rich people suffered from obesity, gout, and atherosclerosis. Because of agricultural policies, those foods have now become cheap while fresh fruit and vegetables are still relatively expensive. As a result, the “diseases of affluence” are now a particular problem for poor people in the United States.

Photo by h.koppdelaney

Behind Barbed Wire_PrintNote: In my book Thin Diabetes, Fat Diabetes: Prevent Type 1, Cure Type 2, you can learn more about how a low-fat, high-fiber, high-carbohydrate diet helps people lose weight and reverses their type 2 diabetes.

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