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The Unspoken Dangers of 'Mukbang' Culture

Ever wondered why you can't stop clicking on these addictive, self-made eating shows?

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Unless you've been living under a rock for the past five years, you've probably heard of the internet trend commonly referred to as a mukbang, or "eating show." These self-produced video clips typically involve one hungry individual, their filming device, and an obscene amount of delicious foods.

Though these broadcasts originated all the way from South Korea (hence the foreign vocabulary), the growing popularity of eating videos has taken the internet by storm. Nowadays as you scroll through YouTube, you'll find an outrageous amount of uploads with titles like "10,000 CALORIE PASTA MUKBANG," "EATING EVERYTHING ON THE MCDONALD'S MENU," or "THE ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE CHALLENGE."

Popular 'mukbangers' such as Peggie Neo, Megan McCullom, and Steven Sushi have made a sizable profit off of their viral eating shows, some collecting tens of thousands of dollars in revenue.

So, what's the big deal you say? You order a large quantity of food, indulge in said food, film yourself completing this menial task, and upload to the internet for money and fame. On the outside, this may seem like a luxurious lifestyle, but behind the camera lens sits an individual battling their own demons and influencing the world of social media to partake in their harmful behaviors.

Mukbanger Livia Adams ("Alwayshungry" on YouTube) has opened up about her unhealthy relationship with food in the past, praising herself for fasting several hours in order to justify her over-indulgence on camera.

Similarly, internet sensation Trisha Paytas claims to diet and starve herself for weeks just to be able to satisfy her subscribers with epic mukbangs, which are essentially binges.

In all actuality, these social media celebrities are negatively impacting (and possibly triggering) vulnerable viewers.

Many fans only see the highlight reel of YouTubers shoveling bowls of cereal or boxes of doughnuts into their mouths, yet remain completely unaware of what truly goes on behind-the-scenes. Messages saying:

"I'm on a diet... watching this is giving me some sort of satisfaction, like as tho I ate, you know?"
"I watch these videos because I know I physically can't afford to eat like this because I gain weight too easily."
"When having an eating disorder, watching Trisha's mukbangs is sorta comforting in a way omg"

flood the comments sections of Paytas' videos. Quite obviously, fans young and old are heavily influenced by this content and continue to support these creators to fulfill a self-destructive need.

Additionally, famous mukbang accounts never seem to include the painful after-effects of their ginormous feasts in videos. Fitness model Stephanie Buttermore flaunts her slim physique just days after consuming over 10,000 calories for a challenge, giving the impression that her previous overindulgence had no repercussions on her health whatsoever. Because Buttermore is a trained, athletic young woman, she was able to quickly bounce back after a series of workouts and low-calorie meals.

On the contrary, if a sedentary woman of about the same age were to attempt this challenge, she would most likely feel sluggish, irritable, bloated, stomach discomfort, and even vomitous post challenge. Eating regularly like this could lead to bigger issues such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. Unfortunately, because topics like these aren't glamorous and attractive to subscribers, mukbangers often edit them out.

Now don't get me wrong. Though not everyone who uploads a mukbang to the internet has an eating disorder or an evil agenda, they have to realize the kind of audience they're appealing to. This generation is more susceptible than ever to emulate the actions and words of their favorite celebrities. Young boys and girls look up to successful adults, and influencers should be remembered for the change they inspired, not the disease they encouraged.

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5 Breakfast Foods That Can Actually Help You Lose Weight

Did you know that eating breakfast every day can actually help you in your weight loss journey?

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You heard it from your mom and your doctor, you read it on every dietary guideline poster pasted on the walls of your elementary school cafeteria growing up... Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! So why do so many people still skip it? I can't speak for everyone, but in the dieting world, there is a stigma around the idea that the fewer calories one eats in a day the better. Therefore it isn't uncommon to see people who are watching their weight opt for a black coffee in the morning rather than reaching for any actual food.

On the flip side, maybe you LOVE breakfast! Maybe it's your favorite meal of the day! Unfortunately, you might be going a little bit overboard on the calorie load for first thing in the morning, and you might also be choosing the wrong kinds of foods that lead to sluggishness and sugar crashes by early afternoon. Don't worry, this article is for you too. You don't have to give up your favorite meal of the day in order to accomplish your weight loss goals, just simply adjust it.

The deeper we look into the way that our bodies actually work and function, the more clear it becomes that skipping breakfast can actually harm weight loss goals just as much as eating too big of one. Breakfast helps to control the cravings that cause us to make poor decisions later on in the day regarding portion size and health quality of food. Additionally, many studies show that there are healthy breakfast choices out there that will actually jumpstart your metabolism when consumed, allowing your body to burn more calories throughout the day than it would have if it was left empty.

So, breakfast-eater or not, you may want to consider modifying your morning routine to incorporate some of these healthy choices listed below.

1. Oatmeal

Morning oats are loaded with a unique fiber called beta-glucan which promotes a feeling of fullness and as an added bonus is known for reducing cholesterol levels. Especially if you're a morning cereal eater, you should consider switching over to oatmeal for a lower sugar option that will keep your energy up for longer and make you feel satisfied more quickly. If you tend to find yourself in a time crunch in the morning, try overnight oats which will allow you to actually prepare your breakfast the night before so all you have to do is open up the fridge and grab them on your way out the door.

Try this easy, healthy Overnight Oat Recipe.

2. Eggs

Eggs are loaded with protein and healthy fats which have been proven to keep you feeling full for longer, while also keeping insulin levels in check, therefore, reducing overeating at the next meal. As an added benefit, the omega-3s found in the yolk of the egg can help encourage stabilized moods and may improve risk factors for heart disease. What else is great about eggs?

There are hundreds of different ways to eat them which means you can get as elaborate as your heart desires, or keep it simple with the perfect hard boiled egg.

3. Berries 

Whether you're tossing them in a smoothie or eating them plain, berries are a low-calorie breakfast option loaded with fiber which will keep your digestive system working, and vitamins that will reap their benefits throughout your entire body. For glowing skin and a satisfied tummy, add a cup of fresh or frozen berries to your morning routine.

4. Greek Yogurt 

Greek yogurt, with a higher protein and lower sugar content than regular yogurt, will keep you feeling full, help build lean muscle, and support a healthy bacteria level in your gut. Greek yogurt is also high in calcium increasing bone health. Try eating it plain, adding it to a smoothie, or topping it with granola and berries and served parfait style.

5. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are high in calories which is why so many dieting guides warn against them. The trick is to make sure you aren't going overboard on your portion sizes. As long as you're eating the correct amount (check this portion guide), these are some of the most wholesome and beneficial foods out there. It's better to stick with whole nuts and seeds rather than reaching for the butter. Nut butters often have extra oils, sugars, and other unnecessary additives hiding in them. Pre-measure out your portions and keep them in baggies to grab on the way out the door, or toss them on top of your oatmeal or yogurt to create a heartier meal.

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