The Death of Moderation

In a New York Times op-ed titled “The Land of the Binge,” Frank Bruni laments the death of moderation in all aspects of American culture, and most especially food. Prompted by a friend who tells him, “favored restaurants give her no option other than gorging,” Bruni, a former restaurant critic, gives a perfect description of restaurant culture that defines an obesogenic environment.

Order kale, and you find it comes fried with candied pancetta for good measure. Bacon is everywhere: brussels sprouts,  martinis, chocolates, sundaes. Bruni observes that “cooking in trendy restaurants has never been fattier, while the trend of ‘cleansing’ with a severe regimen of liquefied fruits, vegetables and nuts has never been hotter. Feast or famine. Binge or beet juice.”

“Work Out So Hard You Vomit” was the headline on a article with a breathtaking review of extreme fitness programs enjoying popularity. Moderation is nowhere to be found. Instead, extremes rule the day — political philosophies, interest groups, pastimes, and the latest health routine that becomes a health religion. And in the process, reason, dialogue, evidence, and real health fade from view.

It’s worth a read to provoke thinking about how we make policy, how we decide what works for health and obesity, and perhaps why the progress is disappointing.

Click here to read Bruni’s op-ed in the New York Times.

Pineapple Bacon Cheeseburger image © Marshall Astor / Wikimedia