Living to Eat or Eating to Live?
Americans are often stereotyped as consuming disgustingly large portions of food and asking themselves regularly: “Which of the twenty McDonald's in my five mile radius should I go to?” For many Americans, food can relate to more of a hobby than a necessity, and so they cannot help but to live to eat instead of eat to live.
February 3, 2016
Almost two-thirds of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese today, compared to 23 percent in the 1980s. The average American is now 23 pounds heavier than his or her ideal body weight. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute gives the cause of obesity as eating too much, especially fat and sugars and not moving enough to burn off the energy from the foods.Obesity becoming more prevalent in the U.S. stems mainly from Americans’ eating habits.
The world produces enough food to feed all 7 billion people, but 842 million still suffer from hunger every day because of an unequal distribution of resources. Most of these people eat to live, or at least struggle to. Their main purpose for eating is to keep alive, and they do not have the luxury to take food for granted. For example, some Haitians have resorted to eating dirt in the form of mud cookies to stave off hunger when food prices have risen too high. On the other hand, in places where food is abundant and easily accessed such as many parts in the U.S., people eat for reasons beyond simply the necessity to stay alive.
One clear reason that people eat is for pleasure. They may not be hungry, but they still eat because the food tastes good, and it pleases them. Snacks and treats appear and are offered continuously throughout the course of the day for many Americans. Even if they have already eaten, they will take a handful because they enjoy it. Also, people who participate in fine dining pay too much money for small quantities of finely crafted foods, which are not necessarily used to feed their hunger and stay alive, but to enjoy the taste and diversity of the foods.
Another reason people eat is to cope. Emotions instead of the necessity to survive trigger eating in many cases. When people are happy, they might want to celebrate with food. When people are sad or angry, they might eat as an outlet for their feelings. As many Americans suffer under long work hours or difficult classes, they tend to eat to lessen their stress.
Many other factors determine why people eat. The easy access of a variety of foods for many Americans has prompted them to live to eat instead of eating to live. Eating no longer seems to be simply for survival, but a passion, cure for boredom, or even a source of comfort. The physical effects of food on the body no longer appear to be important, and many people indulge in unhealthy foods for the psychological reasons without thinking of the consequences. This current attitude concerning food has caused many health issues like obesity to arise and needs to change in order to effectively resolve these problems.