Fat Is Not Your Fault

In this video I hope to shed some light on some provocative issues. First, craving fatty, sugary, high-calorie foods is not your fault. However, it is your responsibility—you have to learn to manage this vestibule pattern passed down through generations of DNA.

I have included a transcription of the video below. Enjoy!

Note: Thanks to too many years in scuba, I continually say “vestibular” in the video. The correct term of course is vestigial. But other than that… ; )

Please press the Play button to start the video…

Note: You can learn more about how to escape the “vestigial loop” covered in this video while still eating your favorite foods and losing all the weight you want by picking up my book The Ever Other Day Diet below…

Every Other Day Diet


Hi, Jon Benson from Jon Benson Fitness dot com. Again, excuse the video-less video… my iCam is busted, but I’m getting it fixed this weekend.

If you missed the first video in this series, “Low Carb Lunacy”, be sure to check that out. Link below:

Low Carb Lunacy Video

Fat is not your fault.

Craving foods high in fat is not your fault.

Craving foods high in sugar is not your fault.

Craving high-calorie foods is not your fault.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Well, it’s a biological and evolutionary fact.


Guess what.

Just as a ruptured appendix is not your fault, it’s damn well your responsibility.

Just as your appendix is primarily useless; a vestigial organ no longer required for daily function, so is… yep.

Your cravings for sugar, fat, and calories.

Picture yourself living on the Savannah countless thousands of years ago. Everything you ate you either hunted or gathered—and for most of your days hunting was far more rewarded by your clan and by the females than gathering.

Gathering was the sign of a poor hunter. In fact, there’s an old joke: Vegetarian in the Cherokee tongue means Bad Hunter.

Turns out there may be more to this joke than you think.

On the Savannah, you might go days without food. Hunger and discomfort was associated mentally with “gathering” — picking up second choice. Is it any wonder so many of us as children seem to have a built-in aversion to vegetables? Our ancestors probably viewed what little vegetables were available during the warmer seasons as scraps from a table — not nearly enough calories, protein or fat to sustain themselves against the ravages of the day.

But bring home a nice tiger or lean game and presto: Hero status. The clan celebrated. The women swooned (great hunters were like rock stars in that day, or so I can imagine.) And the clan ate like crazy. Why? Who knew when the next high-fat, high protein, super-filling meal would come?

Folks, this same pattern, now just a vestigial mental organ if you will, is very much alive in your DNA. The problem? That tiger is now conveniently packed in your grocery’s freezer section. You may expend about 75 calories driving to the store, picking up a nice fatted piece of beef, drive home, cook it, and serve it. Hardly worthy of lavish praises from the female in your “clan”… but again, that genetic memory is a monster. It kicks in. The “provider” is still “worshiped” in the recesses of your DNA guys.

Unfortunately, it’s now a matter of economics, not hunting prowess. And being good with money rarely entails expending calories. So, that same drive to collect high-calorie, high-fat, energy-sustaining food is all but useless in today’s evolved society.

Same with sugars. When sweet fruits were in season on the Savannah, they provided the energy needed for the hunt. They tasted great. They were, as some anthropologists suggest, a type of early aphrodisiac. Sugar can trigger powerful “feel good” hormones, especially in its refined form. So, if you cannot eat filling food, how about a quick fix of feel good food?

Again, you were rewarded for this, albeit probably not as much — and definitely in different ways — back on the Savannah.

So you’re bucking eons of societal evolution folks… countless thousands of years of how humans ate, every time you sense hunger. Every. Single. Time.

Only now, everything is at your fingertips. Ladies, you no longer need a “hunter” — you can “hunt” for yourselves. Unfortunately you expend far less calories than males, both then and now. Some theorize than the females were responsible for preparing the meals. that, in and of itself, was very demanding calorically. Now… er… not so much. Guys, the hunt is over. All that’s left is brining in the cash to pay for the meals — one of the reasons, btw, many psychologists believe women are attracted to security of wealth. Yep — it all goes back to the hunting fields.

The obvious problem is that we now have these foods — but we have them at our fingertips and we have them on steroids multiplied by infinity. Our sugars are 100x sweeter than any fruit ancient man could have ever tasted. Our beef is loaded with hormones and unhealthy altered fats never known in the ancient world.

But our vestigial cravings are still there.

So, while craving foods that are high in sugar and fat makes perfect biological sense, it is no different than your appendix. It is a useless vestigial organ if you will, and it must be removed.

That part is your responsibility. It is the price we pay for societal evolution. But you can do it. As we’ve evolved, we’ve also become far more intelligent. More aware of our actions and their consequences. And we can fool the body quite nicely into thinking it has all the nutrients it needs.

I cover more about how to trick the body out of this historical “loop” of hunter/gatherism in my book The Every Other Day Diet

Every Other Day Diet

Think about it. Comment below. Let me know if this resonates with you at all.


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22 Responses to “Fat Is Not Your Fault”

  1. Makes tons of sense! Thanks for sharing

  2. Kym says:

    Jon: Interesting. I have heard this ‘vestigial craving’ idea before but I like how you empahsise the responsibility aspect. You use it in your M-Power program too and it has been helping me to see that I do actually frequently put myself in binds that I had previously written off as random acts of nature. Starting to see the patterns…

  3. Barbara says:

    Hey, always good info! I have dealt with cortisol and insulin resistant weight….Pain in the A..!!!!

    Low carb, high proten with each meal works……so does making sure your potassium level is high in your foods.

    Getting it by raw vegetables so the natural enzymes will help with your digestive tract….watch you drop a dress size fast!

    It is tough to lose as your older due to hormones contance changes….!


  4. Jeff says:

    I think you mean the appendix is a vestigial organ, not vestibular. Great article nonetheless.

  5. jonathan says:

    Hey Jon,

    Good work!

    The editor in me couldn’t resist… I think the word you were looking for is “vestigial” not “vestibular”. ;)


    • Jon says:

      You know what’s funny Jonathan… I use “vestibular” all the time when teaching scuba, and I caught this last night after everything was edited. Meh… “vestigial” is absolutely correct. Thanks!

  6. Mark says:


    Thanks for the great video and thank you so much for the transcription. It made it that much easier for me to understand.

    All the best,


  7. Markku says:


    Just a quick comment; fat is not unhealthy, on the contrary in most cases. The fact that fat has more calories just means that you have to control your calories.. Fat gives many nutritional benefits.. including satiety and not the strain on the liver like protein..


    • Jon says:

      Markku, I completely agree… but the fat I’m referring to is not dietary fat, it’s body fat. I’m a big fan of higher-fat diets. All my books cover this. Thanks!

  8. Mel, Genetic Decline says:

    Yes, it’s that reticular brain.
    Since I’ve been cycling my carbs I’m getting more sensitive in my reaction. On my feed day I ate what a wanted and ended up sleeping on the couch, napping after each carbful meal. The next day I had a splitting headache and nose bleed, and had 0.4% more fat. I’m going to ‘TREAT’ myself with respect next week instead of sugar.

  9. chris says:

    First class information, thank you.

  10. Nouri says:

    I saw a TV programme a while ago that reported the same thing. They went further and investigated why some people tend to be fat and other skinny no matter what they do. Their conclusion was that we’re genetically programmed for a certain weight and our bodies are constantly trying to maintain that, by controlling appetite and cravings. They made skinny people eat double their daily energy requirements (without being allowed to exercise) and most didn’t gain much weight at all; one didn’t gain anything at all and one gained mostly muscle! They all lost the weight very quickly when they returned to their normal diets. They also did studies with obese people and found that appetite and cravings were a problem even without heavy restricted diets.

    The explanation was again down to our past. Individuals who could put on fat very quickly were at an advantage because they were better able to survive periods of famine.

    They also reported on a theory that there is a type of virus that is responsible for similar behaviour.

    So their message was the same: it’s not your fault your fat. But I think they were really irresponsible in not even mentioning once that it’s your responsibility to make sure your body is in a healthy state.

  11. Chris says:

    Thank you, Jon. You always give great nutritional advice. This whole carb issue is a biggie. I’ve been learning that I lose more weight on my low-carb days, but I need my higher-carb days so I don’t lose energy and motivation.

    • Jon says:

      Chris, sometimes you have to go longer on lower-carbs just so you do not re-trigger the cravings. That’s why Every Other Day Diet (link in the right sidebar) has multiple levels. Thanks!

  12. Claire says:

    Good info Jon! Thanks. Sorry your camera didn’t work, but thanks for the good low carb info as well as the info from the days on the savanna. Stuff we can use!

  13. Michael says:

    Hey, have you seen this news article?
    New details about Michael Jackson’s Death Emerge
    I was wondering if you were going to blog about this…

  14. Keith says:

    I just reviewed your video and I have to agree with the responsibility advise. I have been a traditional 40/40/20 guy that’s Carbs, Proteins & Fat respectively, but I think I may need to change it up.
    Even with eliminating pizza, beer, sodas, candy bars etc. and walking 10 miles per day, exercising on a recumbent bike 1.5 hours per day, and resistance training 5 hours per week, I still have carb cravings between 7 and 10 every night. I’ve managed to lose 55lbs, but I still have persistent belly fat. What do you recommend?

    • Jon says:

      Keith, first of all kudos for the 50 pounds down. Great job! I recommend (frankly) reducing your training. 10 miles a day… wow. I thought I was kickin’ it with 5. Keep that up… great job. But the 1.5 hours a day on the bike along with 5 hours of gym time is just too much. Your body is craving sugars and carbs because of the demand from your training. PLEASE pick up 7 Minute Muscle (link is in the sidebar) as it will give you a plan that you can do in a fraction of that time and get FAR superior results — and nix those nighttime cravings. Keep me posted.

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