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The Over Weight's dilemma

Shakespearean times never allowed much room for discussing eating habits, apart from differentiating manners and diet between kings and peasants, between slaves and free men.

Nearly half a millennium later, feasting appears to be more popular than ever. All sorts of food are available everywhere at accessible prices. The poor, who used to die from famine, now dies from overeating and obesity related diseases.

Statistics show a 54% of over weight's among 40 year olds or older. I don't believe that the poor are overly better off.

The problem is the type of food available: According to a recent TV survey, one can feed a whole family on $2 worth of sausages, which has a very high fat content. The same amount of lean meat would cost $9. The same survey showed a 2 litre bottle of soft drink for $1,89, which has a very high content of sugar, and the same amount of milk for $2,90.

One who is rational about eating could ask: Do I have to eat sausages? Do I need soft drinks? Sausages and soft drinks are relatively new. A medieval person would've never heard of them. However, I wonder if they would not buy, after being lead to believe they need them, by the heavy marketing campaign behind any product in a supermarket shelf.

In the Middle Ages kings were presented with all sorts of overseas gifts. Sugar was a very special treat, imported from Africa. Many people would dream of having a meal with the king just to taste the marvelous present. With the economical developments of our times sugar has taken a special place in almost everybody's diet, as well as chocolate. Everybody has access to these treats. Exchanging them as special presents became a tradition. Children learn to eat sugary foods since a very early age, and grow up believing that if they are good they are going to get lollies or chocolate. They grow up attaching a very special, emotional value to them. Once adults, feeling sad, upset or bored are good excuses to eat these treats, in an effort to restore their emotional well being.

(In the digestive process the body breaks down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. With eating pure sugar, the body becomes unable - unwilling to digest food properly and this creates a physical dependency on refined sugar and sweets. At this point, hypoglycemia and diabetes result. Ed

Refined sugar is highly concentrated, in another words, the water content is missing. So to complicate things, the body often fails to tell the eater he/she had enough. Now imagine an emotionally upset adult, eating a sweet treat to recover him/herself, without being able to know he/she had enough... This is why one could  to eat a whole 500 g bar of chocolate at once without realising it. It only takes one small effort for a person to generalise the emotional sugar/chocolate eating to eating just about anything when feeling upset.

Once this pattern is developed, it is also easy to start eating for any reason: tiredness, excitement, happiness, sadness, too much or too little energy, feeling too cold or too hot, anger or calm, annoyed or contented...  However, not all overweight's are emotional eaters. Some of them do show a cold attitude towards any food, sweets or savory. In this busy modern life, they rush around, in the hope to get ahead in life. Time for sleeping, eating and exercise sometimes can be even considered a luxury. If they happen to have time to eat, their meals will be either fresh fast food, straight from the shop, or frozen fast food, straight from the freezer, quick to defrost and eat.   Ignorance also plays a big role. Many overweighs do not know that they should include in their daily diet:
  • a) Lean meat, fish, poultry or eggs,
  • b) Fresh Leafy vegetables,
  • c) Fresh Raw fruit,
  • d) Whole grain Bread, pasta, rice or potatoes.
  • Vegetarians should include nuts and other foods with high protein content.
Despite of lack of information, what appears to be more common among overweighs is the struggle to spare a little more time to earn that little extra money and buy a little more things, for home, themselves, and their family. For many this means to get ahead in life. If you are always so busy, to the extent of not having time for exercise, sleep and a healthy diet, I suggest that you find time to do all the things you really enjoy. Indulge yourself, because unless you change your habits, you are going to die much earlier!

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