The Pressure to Eat

Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are constantly being pressured to eat. We have unprecedented access to a poor diet: readily available, inexpensive, heavily marketed, great tasting high calorie foods. This produces a predictable and inevitable consequence – an epidemic of diet-related diseases and soaring obesity rates.

Fast food facts:

  • – 7% of Americans eat at McDonalds every day. McDonald’s corporate goal is to have no American more than 4 minutes away from one of its restaurants.
  • – An average restaurant meal has 1000 calories without dessert or appetizer.
  • – One Cinnabon roll has 813 calories with 110 of those from fat.
  • – The average tofu & vegetable entrée at a Chinese restaurant has 900 calories with 2,200mg of sodium.

We’re biologically wired to eat when we are not hungry and to prefer food that is high in calories and fat. In ancient times, that was the way to survive the next famine. But now that we have unlimited access to food 24 hours a day, we can eat even when we don’t need to. Plus, our culture celebrates food and encourages you to eat until the food is gone. Every holiday involves eating with friends and family, eating to escape, eating to celebrate, eating to… well, you get the point.

In the future we will discuss how to survive with all of these temptations. In the meantime, just keep these facts in mind during this busy time. As you are running around, seeing family and enjoying yourself, take a moment to think about what you are putting in your body. One piece of holiday fudge or a quick bite at the food court during your shopping spree will not kill you, but remember that keeping that sort of diet will. Go for the lean meats and vegetable trays at those holiday parties or bring a PBJ sandwich and a protein bar to the mall instead of stopping at the food court.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!

*This post was co-authored by Doug Spratt and Christopher Downey