NEWS

Fast food, takeouts and snacks all push overweight to binge

They can’t resist the offers of restaurants promising «buy one pizza, get one free,» and when they’re in the supermarket, they can’t keep their hands off all the unnecessary snacks on display on the shelves. They eat at least one full meal a day and often order takeaway food rather than prepare something fresh to eat. These are but some of the basic traits of the eating behaviors of Greece’s obese population according to a recent study conducted by the Panhellenic Association of Dietitians and Nutritionists, presented in the context of Nutrition Week, which began on Monday. According to the findings of the study – conducted on 400 individuals who have consulted dietitians – one in two obese people (approximately 47 percent) admit to being seduced by the offers posted by restaurants and fast-food eateries (such as buy one item and get French fries and/or a soda for free), as opposed to 12.9 percent of people who do not suffer weight problems. Furthermore, one in two people suffering from obesity (48.6 percent) will, when shopping at a supermarket, purchase non-essential foodstuffs that contain high calorie levels (such as candy bars, cakes and chips), while the corresponding percentage of people of a regular weight who are compelled to do likewise is just 24.7 percent. It is worth noting that the consumption of one chocolate bar or one packet of chips a week can result in an annual weight gain of eight to 10 kilograms a year. According to the study, 35.1 percent of obese people eat just one main meal a day, and as a result lose track of just how much food they consume over the course of the entire day. One in two will finish a full meal in under 10 minutes, in contrast to the 24 percent of people of normal weight, who generally take longer. Weight fluctuations One of the greatest problems faced by overweight and obese people are constant weight fluctuations, due mostly to futile efforts to lose weight through some «miracle diet» or another. Some 73.7 percent of people who suffer from acute weight fluctuations, moreover, have visited a weight-loss center at least twice, while 66 percent have tried taking weight reduction pills at least once. The secretary-general of the association, Yiannis Chrysos, notes that the only effective means of weight control is a radical alteration of eating habits and the realization that overeating is not just a repetitious habit of overconsumption.