Work Title: Spoonful by Spoonful: Digging Graves at the Dinner Table
Work Author(s): Seth McEvoy
Byline: Seth McEvoy
Remember there is always a limit to self-indulgence, but none to self-restraint ... Civilization, in the real sense of the term, consists not in the multiplication but in the deliberate and voluntary restriction of wants. This alone promotes real happiness and contentment, and increases the capacity for service. -- Mahatma Gandhi
We live in an era of excess, in a land of plenty. Everything is abundant, it seems, except time. We buy thousand-calorie hamburgers from ubiquitous fast-food outlets because we can't spare an hour to prepare our own meals. Rather than walk, we are compelled to drive to these restaurants and refuse even to leave our vehicles to eat. Is it any wonder the average adult weighs twenty-four pounds more today than in 1965?
Let's not play games with words and call our nation's fat problem an epidemic. Such terms tend to dignify what is a matter of personal choice. Everyone over the age of twelve realizes how excess pounds accrue on the body. In order to maintain a consistent weight, the human body must consume an amount of food exactly proportional to the energy it expends. Period. Vary that delicate balance at the peril of weight gain or weight loss.
What's perilous about excess fat around the waistline? Two recent studies in The New England Journal of Medicine, one a ten-year study of more than five hundred thousand U.S. adults, and the other monitoring one million Koreans, found that men and women in their fifties who were just moderately overweight were up to forty percent more likely to die in the following decade.
What this country needs is to be sent to bed without supper for a decade or so. Sacrifice, deprivation, asceticism ... this is the stuff of health. If you eat too much poor food for too long you'll be on the short list for heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and other stuff that will eventually kill you, or cause neurological and psychiatric conditions such as depression, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Yes, epicureans, while your waistline expands, your brain shrinks.
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