Eat Like the Animals: what nature teaches us about the science of healthy eating
Animals from cockroaches to baboons in the wild instinctively mix a healthy, balanced diet. Why can’t we? In this lecture I describe my 35-year research journey with colleague David Raubenheimer to discover the answers to this question. Our scientific detective story involves (among other things) a mediaeval woodland in Oxford, biblical African swarms, cannibal Mormons crickets, a new explanation for the human obesity epidemic, the gift of a Picasso painting, and the establishment of a cathedral to multidisciplinary research in Australia. We show that mixing a nutritionally balanced diet relies on a small number of nutrient-specific appetites, which are universal across the animal kingdom. We discover that we too have these appetites, but they have been hijacked in the modern industrialized food environment, causing the epidemics of obesity and the serious diseases that come with it. We need to listen to our appetites and to place them in a whole-food environment where they can guide us towards a healthy balanced diet - without the need for apps or diet fads.