The Truth Behind What We Eat
People really donít want to know what theyíre eating.
When asked, nobody wants to know the conditions in
which their food was prepared, or how long it sat
under a heat lamp before they bought it. Do you?
Well, you can choose whether or not you want to know
that stuff, but what is important to know is if what
you are eating is adversely affecting your health.
How many of you reading this are between the ages of
thirteen and twenty? Do you get at least three
sessions of strenuous exercise a week? If not, you are
among the 20% of American youth that fail to do so.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) conducted nation
wide tests in elementary and high schools in 2002. It
was concluded that 26% of US school-aged children
watch at least four hours of television a day, not
including time spent playing video games or sitting in
front of a computer. These statistics (lack of
physical activity, and too much vegging out in front
of the TV) are the leading causes of obesity in teens
today. However, there is one more aspect adding to the
picture of obesity: what we eat.
According to health officials, a 2,000-calorie a day
diet is recommended to maintain a healthy weight. (You
can find calorie information on any given food item in
your kitchen that has nutritional values on the
Hereís the deal on calories: human beings need energy
to live, breathe, pump blood and blink our eyes; it
all takes energy. Where do we get that energy? We get
it from food. Do you know what a calorie is? A calorie
isnít actually a ďthingĒ itself; itís a measurement of
the amount of fat, carbohydrates, and protein.
A gram of carbohydrates supplies the body with four
calories worth of energy, a gram of protein also
supplies the body with four calories worth of energy,
and a gram of fat supplies the body with nine calories
worth of energy. So we measure how much energy the
food supplies in these three building blocks and that
energy is called ďcalories.Ē
I conducted an assessment of a couple fast food
restaurants and calories, and Iíve come up with some
Say you go into McDonaldís for breakfast and order a
Spanish Omelet, medium fries and a McFlurry with
Butterfinger pieces. Added up, thatís a 2,000-calorie
meal! That means to maintain a 2,000-calorie a day
diet, you couldnít eat anything else for the rest of
Hereís another scenario: The next day you walk into a
Burger King for lunch, and you order a Whopper, medium
fries and medium Coke. Added up, thatís a 1,300-
That means if you had at most a 300 cal. breakfast,
you can look forward to a 400-calorie dinner. Need
help sizing that up? That means you better pick dinner
somewhere other than a fast-food joint, because you
couldnít even eat a medium order of fries! Fries = 450
Lastly, you go to Jack In The Box for dinner. You
order a Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger, a medium Coke,
medium fries, and a strawberry-banana ice cream shake
for dessert. This is a scary one: added up, thatís a
3,100-calorie meal. The scariest part isnít even that
itís so far over the recommended 2,000 calorie a day
diet. The scariest part is that that it is a very
possible and popular dinner meal option.
This article is not meant to put anyone down or make
you feel like you have been naive. This is simply
information that can help you not join the large
number of obese Americans. I also wanted to let you
know what it is that you are eating each day.
After looking at my three little scenarios, how many
of you end up eating more than 2,000 calories a day?
Be honest with yourself, how many of you eat three of
my little hypothetical meals in one day? Or do it four
or five times in one week? Anyone end up eating 3,000
to 5,000 calories in one day? Is it you? Donít do that
to your body; you have a choice! Donít let your
current eating habits, or the amount of money in your
pocket, or your friends persuade you to eat poorly.
Because if you do, you will not be happy when youíre
twenty something and youíve joined the 22% of
Americans in their twenties that are obese. Overall,
31% of adult Americans are obese, however, our
generation is the future, and we can change things!
If you are concerned that your diet is a 2,500-calorie
diet or somewhere in that general vicinity, and you
are under the age of 20, do not worry, you are a
growing young person, just exercise and stay fit, and
donít be too concerned about the exact 2,000-calorie
diet, because calorie intake can be higher if you are
still growing and maturing.