Friday, December 5, 2014

The Exponential Benefits of Eating Less

eating-less 

Eating less food—whole food and junk food, meat and plants, organic and conventional, GMO and non-GMO—would do a lot more than just better our personal health.

There’s one T-shirt in my drawer that I don’t wear, mainly because I think it’s sort of offensive. It reads: Eat Less You Pig.

A nutritionist gave it to me. She had the shirts made because she was tired of the endless hand wringing over what it meant to eat ethically, eat environmentally, eat to optimize personal health, and so on. Rather than debating the fine points of the carbon sequestration of grass-fed systems or the amount of glyphosate sprayed on GMOs or the yield potential of organic agriculture versus conventional or whether animals suffer on “humane” farms, she simply wanted a few choice words that would cut through the fog and free us from the burden of culinary complexity. Hence, Eat Less You Pig.

The more I engage with the politics of the plate—specifically, the more I consider what it means to eat ethically—the more I appreciate the spirit of this message. The most obvious benefit of Eat Less You Pig is the fact that, if only as a common sense measure, you can’t really disagree with it.

By virtue of where our calories derive, a reduction in daily calories would disproportionately lower our intake of foods that are the most resource intensive.

Obesity rates have more than doubled since 1980; today, more than two-thirds of adults are considered overweight. The percentage of Americans with a BMI over 25 doubled between 1950 and 2000. The average American now eats a literal ton of food—1,996 pounds—per year. Between 1970 and 2000, Americans increased daily caloric intake by 24.5 percent. That’s the equivalent of an extra 530 calories—a Big Mac—per day. It’s thus an empirical fact that the vast majority of Americans—hearty folk who consume about 3,000 calories daily—should cut back. Even our crash test dummies have become fat.

For the rest of the story: http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/portion-size-the-exponential-benefits-of-eating-less-food-weight-health-94849/

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