Thou Shalt Not Overeat

Most religions have strong injunctions against gluttony.

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Buddhism encourages avoidance of sensory excess. The third Buddhist precept is the avoidance of excess of sex, but many Buddhists interpret this precept as avoiding gluttony in all areas. Buddhists try to transcend the senses but this is not necessarily achieved through suffering.

Though overeating is not propers, the Buddha warned that complete lack of eating is not proper either, and advised appropriate attention to the body's needs. The Buddha said: "You should lose your involvement with yourself and then eat and drink naturally, according to the needs of your body. Attachment to your appetites--whether you deprive or indulge them--can lead to slavery, but satisfying the needs of daily life is not wrong. Indeed, to keep a body in good health is a duty, for otherwise the mind will not stay strong and clear." (Discourse II)

Christianity: General


The book of Proverbs states, "Be not among winebibbers,or among gluttonous eaters of meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21)." The New Testament also encourages moderation. St. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)."

The Christian diet craze has been in full force in the past few years, spearheaded by writer Gwen Shamblin, whose recent books include "The Weigh Down Diet" and "Rise Above: God Can Set You Free from Your Weight Problems Forever." Shamblin's work is rooted in basic Christian theology about gluttony: overeat and bear the consequences.

Christianity: Catholic

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Rebecca Phillips
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