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Why MIT Makes Us Fat

By Tiffany Kosolcharoen
COLUMNIST

It’s dinner time and you’re hungry. The stir fry at Baker Dining is $6.50, so you look for cheaper options. At Alpine Bagel, you choose between the $4.99 juicy burger and fries, or the healthier $5.49 chicken salad. Guilty because of your after-Thanksgiving day splurge at the mall, you go for the greasy burger.

If large caesar salads cost $1.00, you surely would have chosen the greens. Nobody at MIT would be gaining their holiday 15 if MIT subsidized healthy foods.

These days it seems you need to be upper-class to afford to be healthy. Studies have shown that America’s poorest are often America’s most obese, stemming primarily from the fact that the value meal at McDonald’s is cheaper than going to Star Market and buying the ingredients for a low-fat salad.

In countries like Japan, packaged and processed foods are expensive while the noodles, fish, and rice remain affordable. Perhaps that is why Japan set the record for the world’s oldest person, Mitoyo Kawate, who lived until 114 and passed away a month ago.

Welcome to America. This is the land where McDonald’s is in Wal-Marts, Starbucks are at every T-stop, and the distribution system for Cokes and Doritos is more efficient and maintained than that of pasta, salads, and real food.

Notice how it is the wealthy like Sarah Jessica Parker who can afford a personal trainer and is paid for 1.5 hours of exercise a day. Filthy rich socialites such as Paris Hilton have white-jacket chefs to whip up their fat-free angel food cakes when a craving arises.

Sure, most of us are from families that can afford four years of an expensive private school. Yet, we students are still on a budget! MIT needs to recognize that three dollars for a fruit cup or a yogurt parfait is absurd! It’s no wonder that we’re all coughing and wheezing this week -- we can’t afford the food that contains the vitamins to cure us!

While the Coffeehouse remains unfilled because we are still searching for a vendor that does not threaten other food monopolies on campus, vending machines have been set up in prime places like the fifth floor of the Student Center. At midnight, a candy bar with 50% of the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat becomes our only option.

In their “delicious revolution,” the Yale University Sustainable Food Project had the university devote an acre of land to growing organic produce that ended up in their food and hire celebrity chef Alice Waters (chef of Chez Panisse) to create dishes from antibiotic-free meats for college students. Students raved about improved taste, quality, and freshness of the new menu!

It is time for MIT to change what is on our plates. If we had better food, we would actually stay awake in class instead of falling into food comas. Now that’s food for thought.