Is intentional eating fast food to have health problems a sin?

Is intentional eating fast food to have health problems a sin?

Let’s do a situational approach:

Case A: Thomas works from sunrise to sunset. Throughout the day, he eats very unhealthily. He consumes coffee, plus added sugar and milk, on a daily basis. His diet is high on saturated fats and trans fats and empty calories due to consuming a lot of candy bars, soda pops, and cheeseburgers. His office job does not allow him to exercise or travel much. But because of his high-calorie, low-nutrient, low-fiber diet and low-exercise lifestyle, Thomas probably has high risks for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease and other health problems.

Case B: David has suicidal thoughts. He wants to commit suicide but is too chicken to do it. So, he intentionally decides to eat himself to death by feasting on fast food, hoping that one day he would die of heart attack and stroke and not let anyone know that the true reason is to commit suicide.

Both seem to be intentional. Case B is more like planning your own death in an unique way. Case A is intentional but the individual feels trapped in his own situation.

This thread is not moral theology; it is how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I have better things to do than become involved in this silliness; I hope the rest of the catholic.com posters have the same perspective.

“Suicide by Big Mac” is not very effective. I have been a fast food regular for forty years and, although overweight, I am still amazingly healthy.

agree

Yup, this goes for quite a few people I know, actually.

It seems like abuse of the wonderful gift of our body… I’d say sinful.

You’ve got a problem here. The items I bolded are not, in my opinion (nor in the opinion of many others), unhealthy. Being a diabetic on a low-carb, high-saturated fat diet, who also drinks coffee & soda (sugar-free), and is, by necessity, low fiber, and by inclination, low exercise, I’m a little offended you think I’m harming my health. I’m actually in better health than I’ve been in years. I have low blood pressure, no risks of cardiovascular disease, and my diabetes is under control with diet alone.

So maybe you’d better come up with a some truly unhealthful foods. The only 2 you mentioned are sugar & trans fats, and there are people who would consider them to be fine in small doses; kind of like arsenic.

As for B - Kurt Vonnegut claimed he was committing suicide by cigarette. But he didn’t succeed. He died from a fall at age 84. Best laid plans & all that.

Most adults know that eating poorly can cause health problems, yet we still eat those mashed potatoes, drink those beers, consume that red meat and delight in those cookies. Every time we pass on the salad entree in favor of the pasta, we are choosing to satisfy our desires rather than maintaining our health. Whether we do it because we are suicidal (case B) or because we are weak (case A), it doesn’t matter. In both scenarios, we know the right choice yet we chose to take the other path. There is no difference.

Anyone who is intentionally planning their death in this or any other way may very well have psychological problems. So even if the behavior itself is sinful–and I’m not entirely sure of this–it is probably less so due to mitigating circumstances.

+2. :rolleyes:
Honestly…

Suicide by Big Mac. LOL!

Yeah, I guess I see your point. At the time, I figured anything that was about “Is X a sin?” had to do with morality, which had to do with moral theology. I didn’t really intend to be silly, but I can definitely see how it can be interpreted that way. I suppose a serious discussion would be something along the lines of applying St. Augustine’s words and thoughts to modern-day Catholics. Sorry if I bored you. :shrug:

HJ3822 -

You might want to try your question again, but with unambiguously risky behaviors substituted for the food behaviors: skydiving, racecar driving, mountain climbing, skiing, are a few that come to mind.

The overarching topic would be risky behaviors in general. “Is it a sin to take risks?” I suppose such a question would be complicated, because taking risks can be productive as well as counter-productive.

I’m not an expert on the matter. Nevertheless it seems to me that the intentions are grossly different in the two situations.

In situation B, David is intending, however bizarrely, to commit suicide. He is more likely than not committing mortal sin, since it seems intentional, the matter is grave, and he probably has knowledge of it. This would have to take place over a long, long time, long enough to clear his head at least once.

In situation A, Thomas has no such intention of committing suicide. His unreasonably unhealthy diet (whatever it is) is irresponsible and rife with poor judgment on his part. He could possibly just be that ignorant, but more likely he just doesn’t put things in perspective and ignores the problem. I’d say it’s a lot less clear-cut whether this is mortal or venial, but nevertheless, such gross negligence of the body is sinful, as is gluttony.

We do not believe in a cult of the body, where all individuals must maximize the health of their body and glorify their earthly bodies at the expense of other things. But we do need to take at least reasonable care of ourselves. Since eating unhealthily may be addictive or influenced by other circumstances, it’s a lot less clear how culpable the individuals are.

Also I realize this line of questioning can be frustrating, but it is a line of questioning I was very interested in sometime before I became a Christian. I often asked questions, and far more contrived, because of an interest in the subject.

I wonder if I would have been so likely to convert if my friend had shut me down every time: “another dumb question? Stop bothering me.” It may be that I would have stopped taking an interest.

Again, though, as far as risks, etc… they have to really be processed on a case-by-case. We’re talking risk vs. reward, necessity of the risk, intentions behind it, and above all, moderation.

We might conclude in one scenario that the individual is sinning because he is taking on excessive risks, like climbing a sheer cliff face with no safety gear. But this is not a permission to go full-throttle the other way, and start asking if it would be better that we all wore helmets all day long. It’s unreasonable, it’s immoderate, we can fall into error on one side or the other. Not that wearing a helmet all day would make you a sinner.

Yes. If you intend to harm your health then you are sinning. If you eat poorly but do not intend to harm your health you are not sinning. If you eat poorly out of convenience, poverty or other reasons you are not sinning.

Regarding food it is challenging to know what is truly bad for you. Many health claims are without substantiation and later refuted. Part of sinning is violating what you believe to be true. It would not be sinful for a man to eat a low carb diet just because others think that diet is bad for his health. If the man thinks low carb diets are healthy he would not be in danger of sinning simply because of his food choice.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.