Are You a Glutton?

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Have you noticed how everyone is getting fatter? Nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. I think we need to begin to use the words “glutton” and “gluttony” more. 

Gluttony was one of the church’s seven deadly sins two or three hundred years ago. The entire list includes: Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. Gluttony includes more than eating too much food.  

Thomas Aquinas expanded the common view of gluttony to incude an excessive anticipation of meals, which is craving for food. Aquinas developed a list of six ways to commit gluttony including:

  1. Eating too soon. (This would include all snacks and grazing on food while preparing meals.)
  2. Eating too expensively. (Some higher priced foods that are particularly nutritious may be appropriate to buy for a balanced diet, but many prepared foods are full of empty calories and cost a lot of money. Examples include: cake, cookies and ice cream.)
  3. Eating too much. (Too many calories and too much volume.)
  4. Eating too eagerly. (These are people whose lives revolve around food including excessively elaborate preparation of food as well as excessive concerns about the presentation of food.)
  5. Eating to daintily. (Too focused on the nutrient content of specific foods. They may include an obsession with expensive “organic” foods and excessive worry about “genetically modified” foods or undue concern about “irradiated foods.”)
  6. Eating wildly. (Bubba ravenously feasting on Buffalo wings comes to mind.)

If you are overweight, do you consider yourself a glutton? In which of these ways do you indulge your appetite? Do you have the power to change your eating habits? What are the factors that most contribute to gluttony in the United States?

(This article is part of a series on gluttony. View: Next>)

Author

Dr. Adams is a graduate of Loma Linda University School of Medicine. His MPH is from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Adams is retired from the position of Medical Director of Tarrant County Public Health in Fort Worth, Texas. He is the developer of the Best Weigh nutrition and weight loss program. He is also the author of the Handbook of Health Evangelism and Jesus Was Thin: So You Can Be Thin Too.