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You Are What You Eat

The Truth Behind What We Eat
Author: Roxy Brown

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 
disturbing numbers. 
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 
the day!
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-
calorie meal. 
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.