Our Big Fat Lives

A pair of In-N-Out cheeseburgers.

Image via Wikipedia

Last week the news reported the latest bunch of experts telling us the nation is going to be full of fatties by 2030 if we don’t stop eating crap food in bucket-sized portions. The experts’ report, which appeared in The Lancet, blamed “changes in society” for our poor diets. The BBC dug up a couple of overweight, tired-looking housewives who, when interviewed, explained that cheap food was “quick and easy, we can’t afford nuffink else.”

I’m curious as to what “changes in society” are being blamed for our awful eating habits.

Excuse No. 1: We’re in an economic depression, money’s tight. Fair enough, McDonalds is cheap. Does that make it a good option?

Excuse No. 2: People are living increasingly busy lives. True. We work, we have families to look after and houses to keep clean, so shall we buy shitty food we can nuke for three minutes in the microwave?

Excuse No. 3: No one knows how to cook anymore. Why? It’s not rocket science. Have thousands of years of Man surviving through his own efforts at hunting and cooking been wiped out in a single generation? Has no one ever heard of cookery books or web sites? I’m not talking cordon bleu stuff here. Just simple meals, basic ingredients, perhaps a vegetable peeler and a couple of saucepans involved.

We’re fat..call the Government?

The government is being called upon to intervene, to introduce a “fat tax” on fast food in order to save us from ourselves. Traffic light labelling will help us make healthier choices apparently.

No it won’t! We’re fat because we’re too bloody lazy to spend time cooking decent food. We’re fat because we sit on our arses, glued to our computers and TVs. We’re fat because Facebook has a higher priority in our lives than getting fresh air and excercise. We’re fat because we make one sorry excuse after another for not doing the right thing.

Don’t blame the government for not educating us. We know that McDonalds isn’t good for us. We know that Coke is full of sugar. We know that oven ready meals are simply plastic trays of nutritionally defunct crap. Don’t pretend it’s someone else’s fault when you hit the scales at 18 stones and get diabetes/heart disease/fertility problems/high blood pressure/all of the above.

Introducing taxes on things that aren’t good for us isn’t going to work anyway. Think of alcohol and cigarettes. Have you ever known a smoker to quit because a packet of fags went up by another 15p in the budget? Will cretinous hoodies and fat bimbos hardly out of school stop puking up their alcoholic excesses outside the pub on a Saturday night (or any night) because of government duty on lager? And once introduced, will the government ever give up a nice little earner like tax on fast food, even if it fails to improve our health? Of course not – tax revenues from fast foods will be the goose laying the golden egg. There’ll be no incentive for the government to reduce our consumption of the things that are killing us; quite the opposite.

So should the government do more to legislate the food industry? In a BBC report on the obesity problem in the UK, Public health minister Anne Milton said the government believed the best way to achieve results was through a “collective voluntary effort”. She cited the food industry’s pledge to put calorie information on menus.

Sorry Anne, that’s not going to cut it either. First of all, no food manufacturer currently making a fortune from our addiction to the fat, sugar and other additives in their products will voluntarily make the level of changes required to make those same products healthy. The taste just wouldn’t keep us addicted anymore. For God’s sake, even a bag of Pedigree dry dog food has sugar in it! Sugar in dog biscuits? If the manufacturers are even trying to get our pets addicted, what are the chances of them voluntarily abiding by a code of practise for human food?

And why would calorific information on food packaging and menus  stop our weight and health problems anyway? We need to take all the nutritional factors into account. It’s all the rage for packaging to scream “LOW FAT” at us. But take a look at the sugar content!

Talk to the hand, the face ain’t listening…

Our diets need to change but so do our lifestyles. Perhaps, as importantly, our attitudes need kicking into touch. We need to start giving ourselves and our kids the right food and be prepared to spend longer cooking it than the 30 seconds it takes to pierce the plastic film and sling it in the microwave. The people that moan about fresh food being expensive are very often the same people that are smoking twenty a day and spending their disposable income in the pub.

We need to make food a social occasion, like they do in other European countries, where time spent together as a family is as much the reason for gathering at the table as the food itself.

We need to get off our fat, lazy arses, stop making excuses and actually take some responsibility for our own health. But I can’t see it happening. As a nation, most of us just can’t be bothered to face up to our big, fat lives.


About Mandy Cochrane

I'm a control freak but I'm also a pushover, I cry too easily but don't cry when I really need to, I'm a workaholic but too lazy to do the things that really matter. I'm a whole mixed up bag of conundrums. I'll work it all out one day. Probably.

Posted on September 1, 2011, in Health and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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