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How Western Diet And Lifestyle Drive The Pandemic Of Obesity And Civilization Diseases

Authors Kopp W

Received 23 May 2019

Accepted for publication 13 September 2019

Published 24 October 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 2221—2236


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonio Brunetti

Wolfgang Kopp

Retired Head, Diagnostikzentrum Graz, Graz 8043, Austria

Correspondence: Wolfgang Kopp
Mariatrosterstraße 41, Graz 8043, Austria

Abstract: Westernized populations are plagued by a plethora of chronic non-infectious degenerative diseases, termed as “civilization diseases”, like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and many more, diseases which are rare or virtually absent in hunter-gatherers and other non-westernized populations. There is a growing awareness that the cause of this amazing discrepancy lies in the profound changes in diet and lifestyle during recent human history. This paper shows that the transition from Paleolithic nutrition to Western diets, along with lack of corresponding genetic adaptations, cause significant distortions of the fine-tuned metabolism that has evolved over millions of years of human evolution in adaptation to Paleolithic diets. With the increasing spread of Western diet and lifestyle worldwide, overweight and civilization diseases are also rapidly increasing in developing countries. It is suggested that the diet-related key changes in the developmental process include an increased production of reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress, development of hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance, low-grade inflammation and an abnormal activation of the sympathetic nervous system and the renin-angiotensin system, all of which play pivotal roles in the development of diseases of civilization. In addition, diet-related epigenetic changes and fetal programming play an important role. The suggested pathomechanism is also able to explain the well-known but not completely understood close relationship between obesity and the wide range of comorbidities, like type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, etc., as diseases of the same etiopathology. Changing our lifestyle in accordance with our genetic makeup, including diet and physical activity, may help prevent or limit the development of these diseases.

Keywords: diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, insulin hypersecretion, oxidative stress, paleolithic diet, pathogenesis

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