Sugar, Salt, Fat, and Data

02022-05-16 | Uncategorized | 3 comments

We know why we crave sugar, salt, and fat. All three are relatively hard to obtain in nature and so humans have a great appetite for it. The craving is built into our genetic makeup. Sugar came in the form of fruits, fat in the form of nuts or meats, and salt was even harder to obtain, depending on where one lived.

We have had virtually unlimited access to sugar, salt, and fat only for a very short time – relative to how long humans have been around. Our bodies still crave it even though we now get too much of it. Genetics don’t change that quickly.

It seems to me that we also have a built in craving for data or information. Information was a precious commodity until recently. For our foraging ancestors, information gleaned from a scout, or a stranger, about the location of a clear brook or a natural bridge across a river, or a shortcut through a landscape, was very very useful. For millennia human curiosity thrived on data like that. Until the trickle of information became a landslide, an avalanche, a wave ten stories high.

The amount of data that the average person consumes each day is equal to reading more than 200 newspapers. Each. And. Every. Day. Perhaps our system can’t handle that and, like getting too much sugar, salt or fat, we get overloaded. Data does to the brain what sugar does to the body.

3 Comments

  1. Steve

    There does seem to be a kind of information based malaise across the general culture doesn’t there? I think these phones have rewired our brains. I have no scientific evidence- Just a perception of what I observe from my students and colleagues. It could be confirmation bias, I admit, but that is my working hypothesis.

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  2. luna

    Yes, seems interesting how it’s all expounded out of equilibrium…
    And interestingly, like you mentioned, our bodies not just crave but actually need sugars, salts, and fats to function in equilibrium.
    It is important, though, the TYPE OF sugar, salt, and fat we consume.
    And even more interesting is that each person has a unique metabolism that can break-down and use certain types of sugars, salts, and fats easier. For example, eating potatoe chips for fat versus eating an avocado for fat (and protein). Also different metabolisms need different types and amounts of salts to best support their body. So no body is exactly a “cookie-cutter” and needs the exact same diet…
    So now translate that to the TYPE AND AMOUNT of information that is consumed daily…
    Are we consuming “healthy sugars, salts, and fats” that our bodies actually need and use, and are we registering consciously when we “have eaten enough?”
    Do our bodies-brains even consciously alert us anymore when they are “full”, or has “eating-consuming” these “sugars, salts, and fats-Information”—albeit however healthy they may be, become an addiction?
    And who would even call it that in public—a library, grocery store, post office, etc.? It seems that one gets almost silently or not, scorned and judged if they don’t have their “device”, or if something with their device is “too slow or not loading” something that’s not a quick fix but requires patience. So it almost seems like a societal pressure to conform to this “addiction” of too much, too fast, no patience, not really fully giving attention-to detail or attention at all—cashiers at grocery stores (unless you go thru-self check.out) will even apologize to customers behind the one they are Presently With if it appears to be taking “too long.” People act as if waiting is somehow not a normal part of being human and living.
    Just an opinion, but this seems to Be a “root cause” of this whole subject.

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  3. luna

    …one other thing that just came to me that seems important “food” for thought….like the foragers would rely on the scouts and strangers for important information, ancients all over the planet would also rely on mystics and astrologers for important “interpretations” for “non.written” information and guidance about everything from planting crops to whom to trust.

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