Everyone Lying (3 Mac Cheeseburgers Worth Per Day) About Eating
Table of Contents
Lying About Eating
How funny, I thought. LOL. Everyone lying about eating. And refreshing too, just to keep it light for a change — if you will pardon the pun, because this study is about eating and weight.
Or is it? On second thought, maybe this study is really about lying. Reminds me of those SAT reading comprehension questions on what the passage was really about.
In this case, however, we do not have to choose only one, so let’s address both: 1) lying about eating, and 2) lying altogether, because lying, in general, is a pretty troubling issue right now.
University of Essex researchers found that all 221 participants, whether thin or obese, lied about how much they ate.
Why this matters, according to the authors of the study, is that Britain’s health guidelines are based on the notion that people are obese because they lie about how much they eat.
Now it seems from this study that everybody is lying, including thin people, so they will have to focus on something else, e.g., risk factors related to high-energy density foods.
The authors add that there are better ways to measure energy intake, using radioactive water and urine testing, than the self-report measures we now know can be full of lies.
Why People Lie
Consider this from Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, National Geographic:
Lying, it turns out, is something that most of us are very adept at. We lie with ease, in ways big and small, to strangers, co-workers, friends, and loved ones….Being deceitful is woven into our very fabric, so much so that it would be truthful to say that to lie is human.
This makes me sad, and here is why from an earlier post I wrote on “The Truth About Lying”:
My daddy always said, “Honesty is the best policy.” I believed him, have lived my life accordingly, and been proud of it. Now we hear that everybody’s doin’ it, even those of us who say we’re not. One study found that 92% of people who said they didn’t lie admitted they had when asked if they had lied in the past week.
I’m sorry, to the best of my knowledge, I still don’t think I do. I did swear to god about something important once and later on changed my mind. But I meant what I said when I said it, so I don’t think it counts as a lie.
Open to the idea that I am lying to myself about lying somehow, I took a test to determine what kind of liar I am, only in none of the sample situations would I have ever resorted to lying in the first place, not at all necessary, other skills to use, if we can even consider lying a skill.
Researchers actually do. They consider it part of emotional and intellectual development when a child learns how to lie:
From about age 4 on, children lie for many of the same reasons adults do: to avoid punishment, to gain an advantage, to protect against an unwanted consequence, and even to boost self-esteem….to demonstrate power, to maintain privacy, or to protect a friend…. recent research has shown that lying plays a positive role in normal development. Essential human skills — independence, perspective taking, and emotional control — are the same skills that enable children to lie.
Most kids eventually learn that others may stop giving them what they want, or want to be with them at all, if they tell so many lies that lying goes from something they do to something they are.
So, they develop other kinds of skills, conflict resolution and negotiation skills.
And then there are those who just get better and better at lying.
Unfortunately, the more we lie, the easier it gets for the brain (amygdala), then the more we lie and there goes any trust that might have been possible had we found another way.
Ways to Deal With Lying
If you find yourself in frequent contact with someone whose primary life strategy is lying, rather than lose your sanity, you can run for the hills. (Or turn off the TV.)
Lying is a form of gaslighting and can be very bad for your health.
But it is not always possible to run for the hills, and not always necessary either.
Just the other day, someone lied in contradicting emails to put herself in a better light at my expense, I thought.
As I have posted before, a favorite question I like to ask myself when things get sticky is this: “Is there something to be done here?”
In this case, I decided there was not, not with her anyway, because that would bring me closer to energy better to avoid.
Create the world you want to live in, the other thing I always love to say. For me, that world has more truth than its opposite in it, to whatever extent I can help it.
And, if and when we may feel tempted to ever lie ourselves, we can take a deep breath and ask if, in that circumstance and with that person, lying really is our best and only shot.
Practice, Practice, Practice…truth mixed with kindness, and see what happens. True, kind, necessary, beneficial as the Buddhists would say.
Photo by pexels-tioroshi-lazaro