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Nothing consumes the general wealth of the world like the feeding of its populations, and it is by no means yet completely settled that the majority of men, once above the imperative restrictions of poverty, do not eat a good deal too much. An idea has been very generally spread that it is healthy to eat often, till certain classes, more especially servants, eat five times a day ; and the end of the medical aphorism, that those who eat often should eat very little, is often forgotten. The Lancet of September 4th, in a curiously cautious article, hints that the modern world eats too much in positive bulk of food—a statement certainly true of great breadeaters, a distinct and well-marked type —and thinks the modern regularity of meals has induced us to regard appetite as the guide rather than hunger, which is the true one. Regularity of meals developes appetite, not hunger. We rather question the previous proposition, as a very hungry man is apt to eat too much ; but we believe that the extension of the wealth, and the extreme public ignorance upon the subject, tend to foster a habit of taking too many meals. Men and women eat three in ten hours and a half, breakfast at to a.m., lunch at 1.30 p.m., and dinner at 7.30 p.m.—a division of the twenty-four hours of the day which can hardly be healthy. It leaves thirteen hours and a half without food, while in the remaining ten and a half there are three meals. It would be better, we imagine, for sedentary men to reduce theirs to two, taken at considerable intervals ; or, if that is too worrying, to confine the intercalary meal to the merest mouthful, taken without sitting down, and with no provission to tempt the appetite. Lunch with those who work with the brain is the destruction of laboriousness, and for those who work with the hands is the least useful of the meals. It is very doubtful whether the powerfully built races of Upper India, who eat only twice a day, at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., are not in the right, exactly equalising, as they do, the periods of abstinence, though it is difficult to decide from the example of hereditary teetotal vegetarians, the bulk of whose food is out of all proportion to its nourishment. The great evil to be removed is, however, not so much the mid-day meal, as the profound ignorance, even of educated men, as to the quantity of food indispensible to health, and the quantity most beneficial to it. Vegetarianism, which some among us exalt as a panacea, has been tried for thousands of years, by millions of people, and has, on the whole, failed, the flesh-eating people out-fighting, outworking, apd out-thinking the eaters of vegetables only; but between vegetarianism and the flesh-eating of well to-do : Englishmen there is a wide distance. — Spectator.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 223, 22 December 1880

Word Count

Over-Eating. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 223, 22 December 1880