Thou Shalt Not Overeat

Most religions have strong injunctions against gluttony.

Those who deem the United States a gluttonous nation have a lot of evidence on their side: "Fast Food Nation," Eric Schlosser's chronicle of Americans' love affair with Big Macs, is on the New York Times bestseller list; millions of Americans tuned into Fox television recently for "The Glutton Bowl" (in which contestants vied for the title by gorging on revolting foods); each year, there are dozens of contests in pursuit of what the International Federation of Competitive Eating has termed "gustatory supremacy."

Stunt eating that glorifies gluttony should not be confused with simply eating too often and too much. For instance, Takeru Kobayashi, winner of the

recent "Glutton Bowl"

and who shattered the record for hot-dog consumption at Coney Island's annual contest last year, demonstrates that being overweight is not necessarily directly linked to gluttonous eating: Kobayashi weighs in at a bare 130-pounds.

But the faithful should still be concerned--for their souls, if not their wasteline. Nearly all religions have strong injunctions against gluttony and overeating, and don't often make much distinction between the two. A 1998 Purdue University study found that religious people are more likely to be overweight than other Americans. The Purdue researcher called overeating the overlooked sin in religion, compared to other fleshly sins like lust or adultery. Read on to see how gluttony is viewed in all religions.

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BUDDHISM | CHRISTIANITY | CATHOLICISM
EASTERN ORTHODOXY | MORMONISM | HINDUISM
ISLAM | JUDAISM | PAGANISM


Buddhism
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Rebecca Phillips
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