Growing Comfortably Deficient

Julian A. Cox

October 09, 2013

Pollan (2008) speaks of the works of biochemist Bruce Ames and how “He’s convinced that our high-calorie, low nutrient diet is responsible for much chronic disease, including cancer” (pg.  122). It is also noted by Ames that the missing macronutrients from the diets in adults in children that can lead to the destruction of DNA are supplied in fruits and vegetables that are lacking greatly in their daily diet (Pollan, 2008).  The concern here is the reasoning for such disdain for the consumption of fruits and vegetables.  According to Douillard (2000) “Throughout evolutionary history, the human body burned primarily fat, reserving sugar stores for those emergency situations [such as avoiding potential animal dangers]” (pg. 50).  The point here is that since the industrial revolution and the growing demand for convenience over the centuries there has been a great shift in consumer demand no from nourishment to comfort, as in stress relief.  According to Adam & Epel(2007):

Stress as well as palatable food can stimulate endogenous opioid release. In turn, opioid release appears to be part of an organisms’ powerful defense mechanism protecting from the detrimental effects of stress by decreasing activity of          the HPA axis and thus attenuating the stress response. Repeated stimulation of the reward pathways through either stress induced HPA stimulation, intake of highly palatable food or both, may lead to neurobiological adaptations   that          promote the compulsive nature of overeating (Stress, eating and the reward system, Abstract, para.  1).

All of this stress is a result of the ever growing demands placed upon people from the rapidly moving society; created to provide maximum comfort and ease.  In this society of comfort people find themselves always plugged in and never escaping the latest prevailing stressful events taking place somewhere in the world, which media outlets thrive on ensuring society, is abreast of.  Aside from this the family institution is in tatters and on many occasions both parents work and children are in the care of themselves or another due to nonstandard work hours that their parents share.  The work of Andrew et. al. (2012) have proven through the review of several research studies have given much credibility to the link between these work hours and things such as negative impacts on child mental health, behavioral problems cognitive development, and even childhood obesity.

In conclusion, heavy reliance on technology and demand for greater comfort caused a shift in our societal foundations all the way down to the family level.  In exchange for the satisfaction of such health and family structure along with basic morals and accountability.  In a song by Pink Floyd he mentioned how he had become comfortably numb; in the case of our society today and the rise of western disease we have become comfortably deficient, nutrient that is.


Adam C. T. & Epel S. E. (2007) Stress, eating and the reward system Retrieved from

Andrew S., Dockery M. A., Johnson S., Han, W., Kendall G., Li J., Strazdins L., Parents’

nonstarted work and child wellbeing: A critical review of the existing literature Retrieved from

Douillard J.  (2000)  The 3-Season Diet, New York, NY: Three Rivers Press

Pollan M. (2008) In Defense of Food New York, NY: The Penguin Group

About the featured image: This image is in the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the Agricultural Research Service, the research agency of the United States Department of Agriculture.