Changing Your Hard-Wired Eating Habits


People have all kinds of excuses for overeating. Have you heard the one that blames it on our ancestors? This one isn’t so far-fetched when you stop to think about it. We have reason to believe that our ancestors gorged on food whenever it was available. And those with the most fat had the best chance for survival. We’re just following our hard-wired primitive brain, right?

Knowing that our ancestors were the most successful group of hunter/gatherers, let’s take a closer look at how they survived and what’s different today. When food was abundant, they ate more. When there was only a little, they ate less. They didn’t eat by the clock because among other reasons they had no clock. But they also didn’t have fast-food restaurants with neon signs tempting them 24-hours a day or food made with artificial tastes, colors, and excitotoxins that are formulated to increase our appetites and the number of our fat cells.

Although our ancestors gorged on food when available, food was often scarce, especially in places where the weather turned cold or dry in winter. They ate very little during these times. Nowadays, this is called either starving or fasting; and it’s typically self-imposed by people attempting to lose weight.

To survive in lean times, our ancestors burned stored fat for energy. Layers of fat that had accumulated by eating large quantities of fruits were reconverted by the body into what’s now referred to as ketones. Ketones are produced by the breakdown of fat in the liver during vigorous exercise, starvation, serious illness, and fasting. These conditions cause the body to metabolize longer chain fats into shorter chain ketones. In The Blaylock Wellness Report, June 2018, Dr. Russell Blaylock says that regular exercise, intermittent fasting, and diets low in carbohydrates help produce optimal ketone levels.

Certain habits regarding food choices stem from hard-wired responses that originate in the primitive part of our brain, but the habit of gorging on unhealthy food should not be condoned. The development of the prefrontal cortex of our brain that had increased in size during the evolution of our species helps us think, plan, reason and make purposeful decisions. We must start using that part of our brain if we are to survive in an increasingly challenging world.

Even something as simple as fasting or dieting requires us to think, plan and understand what we are doing. Our ancestors burned fat for fuel during times of famine (when they were fasting) because they ate clean food, meaning food without toxins. If our body’s fat stores are filled with toxins from food, water, and the environment, it won’t use that stored fat for energy. Instead, it will burn muscle tissue for fuel.

Fasting can be dangerous because the body intentionally stores toxins in the fatty tissues of the body to protect us. If large quantities of stored toxins are released all at once as during a fast, they may damage the heart, the brain and many other organs of the body, especially the filter organs which include the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and thyroid. Even though it’s harder for us to lose excess fat, isn’t it amazing that the body figured out how to protect us by storing its toxins there?

Many people think that by losing weight through dieting or fasting, they will improve their health. Sometimes it’s just the opposite. If you don’t want to harm your body, I recommend starting a good detoxification program. Such a program will support the body nutritionally and provide adequate amounts of healthy fiber for the safe removal of toxins.

Detoxification programs that are tailored to meet individual needs are usually most successful. In my office, we have many programs, including one that begins with homeopathic remedies that allow the body to set its own pace. Another great way to start your detoxification program is with a detoxifying footbath. For some additional incentive, use the coupon in our ad: “Buy One Detox Program & Get One Ionic Detoxifying Footbath Free.”

My nutritional recommendations always include good fats and oils, the body’s favorite fuel source. It’s essential to avoid unnatural sugars, especially high fructose corn syrup, and trans fats which are fats that have been heated past their smoke point and/or turned rancid.

Good saturated fats have little chance of going bad and don’t need to be refrigerated. A great saturated fat to incorporate into your daily diet is high-quality, unprocessed coconut oil. If you want coconut oil without the coconut taste so that it’s more versatile, we found an organic, raw, fermented coconut oil that isn’t available in stores or online. (Call 734-425-8220 for more information.)

Coconut oil goes from the stomach directly to the liver where it’s converted into ketones. The ketones then travel from the liver to the bloodstream where they can be utilized by the organs and cells for energy. The great thing about this is that we aren’t dependent on insulin and glucose as our major energy sources.

Scientists used to believe that the brain only used glucose for fuel. Research now shows that brain cells can use (and actually prefer to use) ketones for energy. Ketones also stimulate cells to produce more and healthier mitochondria. For these reasons, ketones can help improve memory and help people with diabetic-related and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, heart failure, age-related muscle loss, and even aging.

When the body is in ketosis (burning fat for energy), it doesn’t have the same insulin and blood sugar response that burning glucose has. This means that the body has a much more stable and sustainable energy source. This is important for everyone who wants more energy, less inflammation, greater hormone balance, improved brain health, less free radical production, and healthier aging. Does that include you?

The science behind ketosis is fascinating but also very technical so I’ll explain more at our August workshop. Come on by (put it on your calendar now in case you can’t remember wink, wink) and sample some of our delicious coconut oil!

Dr. William H. Karl, D.C., is a Brimhall Certified Wellness Doctor with over 35 years of experience helping people obtain optimal health. Visit for more information.


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