Too Much of a Good Thing (Reverend Curtis Black, #2) | Kimberla Lawson Roby

Summary of: Too Much of a Good Thing (Reverend Curtis Black, #2)
By: Kimberla Lawson Roby


In ‘Too Much of a Good Thing’, Kimberla Lawson Roby explores the consequences of our human bodies struggling to adapt to the rapid changes brought about by the modern world. The book summary covers various crucial topics, including the human body’s slow adaptation to environmental changes, the impact of food scarcity in our past, the predisposition to panic and anxiety due to prehistoric threats, and the powerful role our outdated genes play today. The book encourages a thorough understanding of the survival mechanisms that once gave us an advantage, but now contribute to modern challenges, such as obesity and high blood pressure.

The Human Body’s Struggle with the Modern World

The human body adapts very slowly to changes in the environment, and as a result, struggles to keep up with the fast-changing modern world. Our ancestors, who lived in sunny Africa, developed lighter skin through random genetic mutations over thousands of generations so that they could absorb more sunlight and produce vitamin D. However, since the industrial revolution, our society has changed rapidly, leading to an overabundance of food, less physical work, and increased safety. Consequently, our bodies are struggling to keep pace with the modern world.

The Evolution of Fat Storage

In ancient times, food scarcity meant that storing fat was crucial for survival, particularly in cold environments. Today, however, our overabundance of food has led to the development of obesity, which is compounded by our bodies’ metabolism and genetic makeup, as well as hormonal responses. For every percentage of body mass lost, our caloric needs also decrease, and consistent dietary changes are necessary for long-term weight loss.

Deadly Consequences of Dehydration

The human body has developed mechanisms to conserve water and sodium under extreme exertion since the hunter-gatherer period, but these mechanisms pose a threat to us today due to our high sodium intake. Dehydration can lead to low blood pressure, and excessive sweating depletes not just water but also sodium from our bodies. Our ancestors evolved genes to produce more hormones that helped maintain high levels of sodium in the blood, but those same genes, combined with our high-sodium diet, contribute to high blood pressure. The risks of dehydration should not be taken lightly, as exemplified in the story of the ill-fated messenger Pheidippides, who died of heatstroke due to excessive dehydration. While exercise is healthy in many situations, it can be deadly in areas where fresh water is scarce. Today, high blood pressure is responsible for 15 percent of all deaths in the United States.

Panic in Modern Times

Our tendency to overreact to small problems stems from our ancestors’ need to react quickly to danger. This tendency wreaks havoc on our mental health, causing anxiety and depression in modern times. Although we’re no longer at risk of being attacked by predators, our high-speed lives trigger the stress hormone, leading us to believe we’re always under threat. As a result, we exist in a perpetual state of panic. This panic response has become a significant challenge in modern society and affects many people. Despite being aware of this issue, it persists, and people need to find ways to tackle it for the sake of their mental health and well-being.

The Evolution of Clotting Blood

Our blood’s ability to clot quickly evolved through natural selection to aid survival from severe wounds before modern medicine. Platelets are now highly concentrated in our bodies and respond rapidly to injuries. However, an unhealthy diet causes cholesterol deposits in arteries to rip easily, attracting platelets and resulting in blockages that lead to heart attacks. Our outdated genes pose challenges, but will our bodies adapt to our environment?

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