Last week, The University Star ran an article promoting eating competitions in and around San Marcos. Restaurant managers and those who have attempted food challenges attest to the fun atmosphere while people race to finish a near impossible amount of food, but there’s a dark side to this social activity. Each year, billions of pounds of food are wasted in the United States alone.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 133 billion pounds of food were wasted in 2010. That number only accounts for food thrown away or lost; there’s little data for how many calories are consumed in excess.
In an age where climate change is a rising concern among young voters, with policies such as the Green New Deal being proposed and the undeniable fact that animal agriculture is a leading cause of climate change, wasting food through overeating is something to be shunned, not celebrated.
College students battle food insecurity. According to the Hays County Food Bank, 1 in 7 Hays County residents is food insecure. When statistics show that nearly 70 percent of students in San Marcos ISD qualify for free or reduced lunches, it’s morally irresponsible for people to eat themselves sick.
Eating when one isn’t hungry is throwing money down the drain and throwing food in the trash.
People who have the means to eat out should be grateful for that simple fact. They shouldn’t be quick to eat all they can. Continuing to eat solely because one has the ability to do so is not only bad on a health level, but on an ecological level, too.
Food should be satisfying. People should feel full, content and re-energized after a meal. Binge eating contributes to waste, to climate change, shows no empathy for the hunger epidemic and detaches people from good, pure consumption.
Though eating competitions are a playful activity for people to bond through, gorging oneself on salty, fatty foods for the purpose of bragging rights shows the disgusting side of consumerism.
– Naomi Wick is a journalism senior