The Sweet Tooth Syndrome
© 2016 Sarfaraz K. Niazi
Human body craves for things sweet as a survival instinct, having figured out in the days of foraging that the only storage of calories available was the body itself; we never knew when we will come across another tree full of sweet hangings. From the earlier apes 10 million years ago to first bipeds 5million years ago, to first humans about 2.7 million years ago, to about 100,000 years ago when we, the Homo Sapiens, came out of East Africa, the history of evolution teaches us one lesson: while our abilities have come a long way, our capabilities remain the same—100,000 years is too small a period to change our hardware. We are still the foraging species that lived in groups of about 100-150 and began the day looking for food and kept moving. With no storage facilities, the only thing we could do was to gorge ourselves, for we never knew when we would catch the next deer or come across a fig tree. Our ability to domesticate crops changed the game rapidly—suddenly we can now go to the next Marianos and fill up our shopping cart with a million calories for a small investment. But our hardware remains the same, evoking survival response. And that explains why we crave for things sweet—it is hard-wired into us. And that goes for the rest of our eating habits as well.
So far, I have said things that you have heard enough times and wondering, there goes another pundit. I will not tell you that you can cheat your survival instincts, but I can surely tell you on my personal experience that abilities have flourished over millions of years because we have built-in capabilities to learn how to fool us. Instead of fighting the sweet tooth syndrome, feed it with worthless sweets—sugar-free Jello (10 calories), pieces of water melon, often a small piece of ice cream (yes, that is mostly fat), and when in need licking Splenda. And if that does not work, don’t despair you are only a couple of years away when you will not drool at the freshly baked chocolate chip cookie.