The more we understand about human evolution, the more we are forced to conclude that we were never designed to live the modern lifestyle. We evolved to be bipedal gatherers and hunters on the African savannah; today many of us spend our days hunched over a desk.
We evolved in close-knit communities that hunted together, gathered together, played together, prayed together, told stories together, and made music together. Today most of us see more people every day on a screen of some kind than we meet in real life. We evolved to spend much of the day under the hot sun; today most of us spend nearly all of our time completely protected from the elements.
Modern culture encourages us to see ourselves primarily as consumers and not as fully rounded human beings with diverse interests and abilities. This certainly has its upsides. I wouldn’t know how to survive in the Arctic, but I have been able to purchase food and shelter in Russia despite sometimes having to navigate a language barrier. That convenience can sometimes go too far.
Just as a moth cannot resist the flame that will kill it, many of us cannot resist the seven carbohydrate-rich foods that we know are killing us (albeit more slowly than a moth attracted to a flame).
Modern capitalist cultures can tap into our basest instincts - which ultimately are about a drive to stimulate certain hormonal responses - in the constant push to get us to spend our money. Modern culture tends to pressure us to define ourselves through our job - what we do, how much we earn, and therefore what we can consume - rather than through deeper more meaningful identities.
When it comes to food, our biology is constantly being used against us. Historically humans would not have had access to sugary foods and when they did they would have to battle bees or bears or elephants for it. But those foods were packed with a lot of energy in a world where energy was scarce. That’s a huge advantage. So, if by chance we were able to access those foods, it would be of huge benefit to consume as much of them as possible. Is it any wonder that most of us have a sweet tooth?