Why do we eat—health, nutrition, taste? In the wake of Michael Pollan’s New York Times essay on diet (registration required), the Amateur Gourmet has his own ideas. Forget nutrition or flavor—we eat for beauty.

In an insightful essay posted to Serious Eats, Adam Roberts (a.k.a. the Amateur Gourmet) gives his thoughts on the topic.

When it comes to making these choices, what worries us has nothing to do with health or longevity and everything to do with a subject that’s much more complex and much more powerful, a subject that makes even the most stable people neurotic (and neurotic people stable once they make peace with it) and that’s the subject of beauty.

Roberts believe that appearance motivates our food choices far more than health or nutrition ever could—and behind it all is the fear of becoming overweight and unattractive. “Fat people are fair game in America, and this affects how we eat much more than any study about which nutrient is most beneficial,” he writes.

Though the topic is serious, there are some great lines that show off the typical Amateur Gourmet flair and humor.

Health is our church and hotness is our hereafter. We castigate ourselves for cheating on a diet the way Catholics castigate themselves for lust, sloth, and all the other deadly sins. And that’s precisely why so many hedonists (and I include myself in their number) rally against the madness of modern day nutritionism. A world without fat and carbs is a world without sex and drinking.

Eat carbs—save us from a world without sex and drinking (‘cause at that point, there’s not all that much left to live for anyway)!

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