One reason I hesitate to give up Facebook entirely: people do post some fascinating articles on there.
Last week, it was one titled, "12 Graphs That Show Why People Get Fat." VERY interesting. Here's the title from one graph: "The Obesity Epidemic Started When The Low-Fat Guidelines Were Published." Heart disease was skyrocketing and scientists believed that saturated fats were to blame, so they started telling everyone to limit their saturated fats . . . and we all started getting chubbier.
Now, the article rightly points out that correlation doesn't prove causation -- just because they happened at the same time doesn't necessarily mean one caused the other. But does it not make sense? When we get rid of the fat in our foods, we need to add something else to make it taste good: sugar. Another graph in the article shows how "Sugar Consumption Has Skyrocketed." My mother used to add a little sugar to canned vegetables; she thought it took away the tinny taste from the can. I still do that. I'm not sure I can eat canned vegetables any other way.
But feasting has always been a feature of the holidays, yes? Why hasn't it been a factor before? I'm guessing because before, Christmas only lasted one day. People worked right up until Christmas Eve and didn't spend the whole week between Christmas and New Year's celebrating. The stores weren't putting holiday items out in October to make you crave those holiday goodies so you have them sitting around for two months. It's nuts.
Here's another good one: "The Social Environment Can Strongly Affect Caloric Intake." We consume more calories the more people we are around while we eat. Putting food into our mouths becomes an exercise in social connection, rather than in staving off hunger pangs. Wow. Human beings are just fascinating, you know?
"People Don't Burn As Many Calories Working." Of course. The problems innovations caused us by making our lives easier. "People Are Eating More Vegetable Oils, Mostly From Processed Foods." Again: processed foods = easy. Easy living = a curse more often than we want to admit. "Food Is Cheaper Than Ever Before." This is starting to remind me of a line repeated often in my new favorite TV series, "Once Upon A Time": Magic always has a price. So does convenience.
But here's the one that hit me the most: "Increased Food Variety Contributes to Overeating and Weight Gain." You know these diets that focus on what people ate in Bible times and all -- "What Did Jesus Eat?" Well, he ate healthier food, yes, but he also probably ate basically the same stuff everyday. So did other people throughout history, I suspect, expect for the exorbitantly wealthy ones. They ate to sustain their bodies; they didn't eat merely for the pleasure of eating. At least not on a daily basis. We eat for the pleasure of eating. And the variety of foods we have to choose from makes eating a pleasure, not just a necessity.
In the four or five weeks of school we've had so far, I've taken the same lunch every day I've had to stay for lunch: an apple and a granola bar. If I were at home, I would never have dreamed of limiting myself to such a scanty lunch -- it would have taken all the self-control I have to do that. But at school, I have fifteen minutes to scarf down a lunch between classes, and I'm only eating to keep my energy up for the afternoon. Lunch is not for pleasure -- I'm getting my pleasure from teaching. So that scanty lunch is completely satisfying; I'm not even hungry for more when I get home.
Very revealing to me, that.