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All You Can Binge Eat

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All You Can Binge Eat

Offering all-you can-eat meals is a common practice at some restaurants in America. A rap group in the 80s, the Fat Boys, even had a celebratory, if not cheeky, tribute to overconsumption titled, “All You Can Eat.” Some online information even details all-you-can-eat restaurants.

But isn’t this situation in part, really binge eating by another name? One of the more disturbing aspects of this mentality is witnessed in the advertising slogan, “Kids Eat Free.” Isn’t binge eating with children teaching them that overeating is acceptable, and even enjoyable? This style of restaurant eating seems to encourage overconsumption because the goal is to eat as much as possible in one session to maximize one’s dollars. Each return trip to the buffet seems to make the whole experience a better and better deal financially.

I recall visiting a sushi restaurant with a deal of all the sushi you can eat in one hour, for twelve dollars. A companion wolfed down 48 pieces just under the buzzer (so to speak). Who knows exactly what he consumed, (such as mercury or PCBs, or if he even cared). He certainly got a deal at 25 cents per item. As a very active college student he could tolerate such overeating once in a while, but I wonder today if he is not obese.

Another issue is that too often buffet food is not of the healthiest variety to start with, and it is intended to be consumed in large, or very large quantities. Restaurants offering buffets at low prices must be buying the cheapest foods they can find, in order to provide them at such low cost.

It may seem that gorging on a large quantity of food for a lower price is a shopper’s delight, and occasionally it could be. But if it is a regular practice it could be unhealthy, both physically and psychologically.

Binge eating has been listed in the appendix of the DSM as binge eating disorder for almost 20 years, but recent revisions are likely to reposition it in the main part of the manual. Of course there is some controversy over this notion of binge eating being a mental illness, because who decides what makes it that, and by what scientifically validated method?

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Read more: Children, Conscious Consumer, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Family, General Health, Health, ,

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82 comments

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11:46AM PST on Nov 7, 2011

We used to go to this Chinese buffet occasionaly on special occassions, but now it's closed!

4:23AM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

I think I read once that people actually eat less in this type of situation, for fear of being thought greedy!

3:28AM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

good point

5:51AM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

I can't take advantage of all you can eats. I can't fit a lot of food inside me. even if I think I can.

7:37PM PDT on Jul 29, 2010

Certainly all you can eat buffets are an inducement to overconsumption, but true binge-eating is a compulsive disorder that does not only manifest under "favorable" conditions. Indeed, it is often conducted in secrecy. You raise excellent points about the dubious quality of many of the offerings.

5:12AM PDT on Jun 28, 2010

Most of the time, it has nothing to do with an eating disorder. It has to do with boredom or depression. Food can be entertaining and distracting, as well as emotionally boosting (temporarily). Thanks for sharing...

1:01PM PDT on Jun 27, 2010

thanks,good post

11:19AM PDT on Jun 26, 2010

Thanks for the article! Very interesting to read about the negative effects of buffets or All You Can Eat deals. I sometimes eat at those places or on cruises. It's a convenient way to eat things I normally don't cook at home and I can return and eat a few more pieces of my favorites. I do understand (and have seen examples of) that some people can't handle it and understand when enough is enough. But people that eat obsessively, for whatever reason, are everywhere. No matter if they eat at McD/Burger K/KFC etc or at restaurants that offer all you can eat deals, there's is such a thing as personal responsibility to what you do with your body. Having a habit from home and school of eating home cooked meals with plenty of vegetables will have a great impact of your eating behaviour. Thus said, I still enjoy a few "binges" per year, but I save those occasions to x-mas, Springtime and a couple of other times. And I am very picky on where I go to indulge in over-loaded plates.LOL Then I return home to my healthy, homecooked meals.

8:26AM PDT on Jun 25, 2010

thanks

1:36AM PDT on Jun 25, 2010

Thanks for the info. Often times people will heap their plates full of this and that at a buffet, It's as though they have to get their money's worth, or just take advantage of the "all you can eat " enticement. The end result is empty calories, high salt intake, low nutitional value, and fat. It's just not worth it.

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