You might have noticed from some of my previous posts that I find the ‘binge’ mentality of today’s society a little hard to stomach (both literally and metaphorically). Call me a prude (I care not), but I have never been able to understand the need or desire to go out and consume copious amounts of alcohol in order to have fun. Nor can I comprehend the need or desire to eat bowl after bowl of ice-cream, packet after packet of crisps, or share bag after share bag of Maltesars…all of an evening! You see, this is exactly what happens in at least 54% of households in the UK, and it’s showing no signs of relenting.
We all like to indulge from time to time…
Granted, there are evenings where I feel I’ve earned the right to have a bit of a treat to reward my discipline over the week. I choose to keep my diet balanced and clean in order to support my goal of obtaining a strong, functional and aesthetic physique, but like many body builders out there I like to observe a cheat day here and there. A cheat day allows you to indulge in large amounts of your preferred food, this might include doughnuts, crisps, pizza or anything that takes your fancy. In fact, a cheat meal can actually invoke certain hormonal shifts (insulin and leptin spikes) which may even support the loss of fat when you return back to your ‘healthy’, balanced way of eating. However, with this ‘cheat day’ in mind, people often abuse this by having a day long binge on anything and everything for no better reason than because they can, and so they will. This is what I have a problem with, if you want to observe a healthy lifestyle then adopt it as such, treat your dietary and training regimes as a lifestyle, that way you will eventually stop craving these sweet or fatty foods and instead start eating in accordance to your ‘needs’, and not your ‘wants’!
Confectionary report raises alarming stats
Our binge nature has led to the introduction of ‘Grab bags’ and ‘Share bags’ which do little more than encourage us to eat more. The larger portions in these bags DO NOT fill us up any more than a smaller one does because sugar and refined carbs have little effect on satiety. So when this confectionary report elucidated the fact that many of us are treating these share bags as a single portion I was stunned. Yes…I agree it is easily done, eating a whole bag once they’re open is not out of the realms of possibility, but the onus is on YOU to have a few and then put them away for a rainy day, or share the darn things! The stats were shocking…nearly 1 in 4 (22.1%) of people who buy sharing bags eat the whole thing in one sitting, with youngsters (16-24 years of age) bingeing the most consuming an average share bag (containing approx. 150-230g of naughty food) in one sitting! Put it like this, one of those share bags is the equivalent of eating 5 chocolate bars in one go... sorry, but we should be ashamed!
Massive amounts of calories in one go
Many of the people consuming a whole share bag themselves will have these on top of their regular meals and other snacks too. When you’re next tempted to consume one of these share bags to yourself remember that these packets of ‘joy’ contain a massive 1000 calories, that’s the same as 1 and a half large roast dinners. That’s also a massive 58g of fat, and as for the sugar…well, that’s 122g, the equivalent of 3 cans of coke which is in itself the equivalent of 30 teaspoons of sugar!!
What are we going to do?
Well, like with most things, there is little we can do other than educate people and advise as best we can. However, initiatives such as ‘The Responsibility Deal’ introduced last December has prompted companies such as Mars to reduce the size of their Mars Bars and Snickers Bars by more than 10%. You’ll notice that a Mars Bar has now gone down from 58g to 51g, and a Snickers bar has dropped from 58g to 48g, yes it’s cutting your bar a little short, but I think the name of this initiative ‘Responsible Deal’ says it all, refreshingly it almost forces society to eat less s**t…sorry I mean sugar per snack. Ultimately, we as autonomous humans should be able to know what’s sensible and what’s not, yes many of us like to let our hair down (so to speak) during a stag or hen do, or have a few more alcoholic beverages than we’d usually have during a special occasion. Yes many of us also like to go out for a birthday meal or celebration and feast on a flaming grill platter of some sort, but if we want to do these things and remain healthy in the process, then we’ve got to be responsible during the rest of the week. I make no apology for sounding like a prude or party pooper, we as a society, a culture NEED to address this ‘binge’ nature that is so readily accepted as normal, because in my humble opinion it isn’t normal, and nor should it be.
The Grocer, (2014). Revealed: one in four binge on chocolate sharing bags. Retrieved 14th August, 2014, from http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/reports/digital-features/confectionery-report-2014/revealed-one-in-four-binge-on-chocolate-sharing-bags/369836.article