October 7, 2013

Too Much Food Monday

Average daily calorie consumption, 2009

Doesn't anyone read Goldilocks and the Three Bears any more? What ever happened to moderation?

Too much of anything can create problems, as can too little. We should always be aiming for just the right amount. As the idiom goes, "Enough is as good as a feast".

Today too much money usually means too much food. Too little means not enough.

While some countries are experiencing an obesity epidemic, there is still a high incidence of starvation in others.

The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 1400 calories per day. The global average in 2009 was 2,800 calories. A large portion of the population got 900 calories or less. That is too little.

Some rich countries have an average calorie intake of over 3,500 calories. That is too much. Gorging on that much food while remaining sedentary results in negative health and lifestyle outcomes.

It also takes calories from those that need them simply to survive.

The problems at the Global All You Can Eat Buffet mean that the number of people dealing with the negative consequences of too much food outnumber those that deal with the challenges of having too little.

There are people at the back of the line that haven't had any porridge (hot or cold) while a large group of others are going back for second, third, and fourth servings. And it's not hard to see who is doing the queue-jumping.

If we were to stop squandering our extra money on unhealthy consumer driven pursuits, or hoarding it in trophy bank accounts, we could eliminate both obesity and starvation, not to mention a host of other challenges.

Imagine everyone at the global family table getting enough sustenance to maintain a healthy life. No more, no less.

That would be just right.


  1. Throughout the history of, well, history, there have always been haves and have nots. Unfortunately, this will never change.

    1. Scott,

      I guess I am an optimist at heart.

      There is research that gives reason for hope in our battle against greed and systemic inequality. Studies show that providing everyone with a guaranteed annual income (GAI) can eliminate poverty and improve quality of life.

      Both Canada and the US have done studies on GAI, but political interference prevented the completion of the studies and the publication of the positive outcomes.

      Many countries around the world are considering initiatives to make this sensible and compassionate move. By now everyone realizes that poverty, hunger, and starvation don't happen because there isn't enough money in the world to go around.

      Right now Switzerland, one of the richest and most unequal countries in the world, is deciding on whether to provide all of its citizens with a GAI, or "Unconditional Basic Income" as they call it. It would be $2,770/month, or $33,240/year.


      GAI is an excellent idea that would replace existing social welfare programs that are bureaucracy heavy and inefficient. No welfare, no charity, no food banks, no disability payments, no food stamps, no blaming the victim. A GAI takes judgement and stigma from the equation, and allows everyone to live with the dignity and respect we all deserve.

      I think if we can imagine something, we can make it happen.

      I am imagining a world where we all take care of each other and everyone has a sufficient share of the earth's resources. We can all have a satisfying, simple life.

  2. This is something I try to instill in my son at every meal. He will complain sometimes that we do not have the food of his choice available, that moment, in the cupboard, or not want to eat what is provided for him. We live on a fairly tight budget and sometimes we don't have what sounds good to eat, but is that really a problem? In our Western world of instant gratification and excess, we could all learn something from less choice. The people that go without aren't asking for steaks and lobsters, but simple nourishment.

    MarieG LifeSimplyBalanced.com


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