What constitutes gluttony?


Specifically, under what circumstances is eating gluttony?

Often times I will feel what I perceive as being mild hunger and will want to satisfy that hunger with a snack. The problem is that I can’t determine if eating in this state is gluttonous or not.

Also, when I am not hungry and want to snack on something, is this gluttony?

What about when I eat a heavier-than-normal lunch in order to “hold me over” until I eat again at a very late hour in the evening (in order to prevent hunger until then)?

I briefly looked-through something on New Advent on gluttony, but found it too thick and hard to read.

Pax Tecum.


I’m looking forward to hearing peoples’ answers to this question! I’m kinda fat and trying to lose my glutinous ways and all that goes along with it. :smiley:

Lately I’ve been eating just one “real meal” a day, with the rest of the day consisting of small snacks (like a small portion of steak this morning) or a shake. I also try to drink a soda (I drink Diet Rite, which has no sugar, carbs, sodium, or caffeine so it’s not really bad for you - except for the free radicals from the carbonated water) and I find that holds me over for a lot longer than water, since it helps to sate my desire a little better.

All that said, I’m sure I could be doing better as far as gluttony is considered, but I’ve made improvements since graduating from college and feel more confident in my ability to put aside food when necessary and keep it from interfering with my relationship with God. :slight_smile:

In Temperance (I hope!),


Look at CCC2290,1809, 1886 for gluttony and temperance. The Catechism goes into.

This has good explanation on gluttony:



Well, apparently, even snacking is Gluttony. Enough food to “hold you over” is just fine.

Gluttony would be eating more than you can handle (i.e. being greedy with food), eating anything more than three meals a day, getting drunk, or getting high.

…Yes, drugs and alcohol play parts in Gluttony as well.

Ironically Yours, Blade and Blood


Would smoking hookah be considered gluttony in-and-of-itself? I don’t use other forms of tobacco, but I go to a local hookah lounge once in a while (my favorite is owned by a Catholic friend of mine discerning a vocation to the priesthood, so it’s not like it’s a den of hooligans, though I am careful who I associate with while I am there). I was thinking of going tonight, and after reading the link margya shared I started thinking about whether or not I should, especially since I went already this week (last night).

Is this something I should worry about if done in moderation? It’s not addictive (I used to use other tobacco products and I know what addiction feels like, praise be to God for helping me to overcome that!), but I just started thinking…

Pax Christi!


This is all I saw that referred to snacks:

Gluttony is a very addictive sin. If we can control our eating habits and our spending habits, we will then have a greater ability to live the virtue of chastity. Gluttony needs to be mortified by a strict spirit of self-control. Acts of mortification include not snacking between meals, eating smaller portions, eating healthy foods, saving deserts for Sundays and special feast days, and exercising moderation in the use of alcoholic beverages.

It sounds as if snacking isn’t gluttony, but eliminating snacks for a time can be a good mortification (optional). Other ideas include eating smaller portions (so it’s obviously a list of optional extra mortification practices, because “smaller” is comparative, and some people don’t eat enough as it is, so of course not everyone should eat smaller portions). Eating healthier foods is a way of bringing the purpose of eating back into the picture. As with certain other biological functions, eating seems to become dangerous and sinful when its positive purposes are forgotten. The positive purposes of eating are nutrition, stabilizing blood chemistry, social bonding, celebration and consolation, as far as I have been able to reason and discover, and when these are forgotten, it becomes a secret, self-destructive overindulgence in a world that could use that extra food to nourish and cheer folks who actually need it.
I believe if you’re within those guidelines, you aren’t being gluttonous at all. Of course, if you eat cake and ice cream socially and you eat five times as much of it as most people at the party, that can be crossing a line.
If you’re thin, gluttony is probably not your biggest pitfall.:twocents:


If it’s something addictive, useless, harmful to your attention span and/or body, or some combination of the three, then, it may be, but I couldn’t be sure because I don’t even know what this “hookah” is. :shrug:

Ironically Yours. :heart:


Actually, C.S. Lewis would definitely disagree with you! He describes gluttony as being a thin but picky eater, also, in Screwtape Letters.


I would describe gluttony as unnecessary overindulgence in anything. As far as food goes, there is nothing gluttonus about sitting down while watching TV with a bowl of pretzels, or grabbing a snack or two during the day even though you might not be very hungry. Doing things like that can lead to gaining weight but do not necessarily imply gluttony. We are allowed to enjoy food simply for the sake of enjoying it. Jesus love dinner parties.



(From Lat. gluttire, to swallow, to gulp down), the excessive indulgence in food and drink. The moral deformity discernible in this vice lies in its defiance of the order postulated by reason, which prescribes necessity as the measure of indulgence in eating and drinking. This deordination, according to the teaching of the Angelic Doctor, may happen in five ways which are set forth in the scholastic verse: “Prae-propere, laute, nimis, ardenter, studiose” or, according to the apt rendering of Father Joseph Rickably: too soon, too expensively, too much, too eagerly, too daintily. Clearly one who uses food or drink in such a way as to injure his health or impair the mental equipment needed for the discharge of his duties, is guilty of the sin of gluttony. It is incontrovertible that to eat or drink for the mere pleasure of the experience, and for that exclusively, is likewise to commit the sin of gluttony. Such a temper of soul is equivalently the direct and positive shutting out of that reference to our last end which must be found, at least implicitly, in all our actions. At the same time it must be noted that there is no obligation to formerly and explicitly have before one’s mind a motive which will immediately relate our actions to God. It is enough that such an intention should be implied in the apprehension of the thing as lawful with a consequent virtual submission to Almighty God. Gluttony is in general a venial sin in so far forth as it is an undue indulgence in a thing which is in itself neither good nor bad. Of course it is obvious that a different estimate would have to be given of one so wedded to the pleasures of the table as to absolutely and without qualification live merely to eat and drink, so minded as to be of the number of those, described by the Apostle St. Paul, “whose god is their belly” (Philippians 3:19). Such a one would be guilty of mortal sin. Likewise a person who, by excesses in eating and drinking, would have greatly impaired his health, or unfitted himself for duties for the performance of which he has a grave obligation, would be justly chargeable with mortal sin. St. John of the Cross, in his work “The Dark Night of the Soul” (I, vi), dissects what he calls spiritual gluttony. He explains that it is the disposition of those who, in prayer and other acts of religion, are always in search of sensible sweetness; they are those who “will feel and taste God, as if he were palpable and accessible to them not only in Communion but in all their other acts of devotion.” This he declares is a very great imperfection and productive of great evils.




As Fr. John Riccardo observed, Jesus willingly chose to be born Middle-Eastern, a culture that loves food, not just for the cuisine but especially for the fellowship.


I’m a glutton, but the German Chocolate cake MADE me eat it.:smiley:


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