Biologically we are very similar animals. Although when it comes to our brains, we are worlds apart and not just in intelligence.
The most significant difference is awareness. Humans are aware of intangible concepts that matter. We know the future exists, it’s doubtful monkeys are aware of the meaning of “future”.
So unlike the monkeys in this experiment,(view post), we are aware that we have a future. Most humans ought to be aware that being overweight or obese plays a significant role in most of the terminal chronic diseases.
So unlike the freely fed monkeys who had no idea that overeating would dramatically affect their future, as humans we are smarter and do know so.
Or are we? Why are so many of us overweight?
Most animals, including humans, have evolved to overeat when food is available to store energy for when it’s not, and this seems to be a natural driver since during our evolution we experienced feast and famine. During good times we stored energy for the bad. The built in drive to overeat during the good times to allow for survival during the bad was necessary and beneficial.
This is not the case in modern western society since it is almost certain that food will be available tomorrow, and the day after that, and so on.
So even though we know food will always be available we are biased to overeat, especially the tasty foods we have available today. The issue is we tend to discount future value relative to instant gratification. Think about what your future is worth? What is an extra healthy day worth, or an extra healthy year, or healthy decade?
Is it worth more than chocolate and cake, or two chocolates and two cakes, or a cake a day for a week?
This human flaw of discounting the value of future benefits when weighed against instant gratification not only applies to eating, it drives whole industries. An example is the credit card industry.
This is not a personal flaw, it is not a personal weakness, it is built into our subconscious, how to modify our subconscious and eliminate this ancient driver is key to successful weight management.