I am the first to admit that I love food. It's probably the Italian side of me. Food plays an important role in my life that goes beyond its basic purpose as a life-sustaining necessity. Eating is a social activity, and the majority of my relationships are based around food: my family gets together for big meals and my friends meet at dining halls to catch up at the end of the day. I'm even known to plan whole trips around the food I want to eat. (That food, in case you were wondering, is the best fried rice in the entire world, found in Thailand.) Yet even as the major foodie that I am, this whole oversized food trend has me worried.

Oversized Food

I noticed this trend while scrolling through my Facebook feed. It started with a video captioned: "This sundae is made with 22 scoops of ice cream!" The self-proclaimed "monstrosity" can be found at MO & MOSHI in Bangkok, Thailand. In addition to the 22 scoops, the dessert is layered with parfait, strawberries, waffles, and cake. For examples a little closer to home, I direct you to the Food Network show "Ginormous Food." The host of the show travels around the US and eats creations like a sandwich made with an entire loaf of ciabatta bread, a pizza with two trays of lasagna on top, or an arepa stuffed with 15 pounds of meat and cheese. I feel like I need a Costco-sized bottle of antacid just for typing that.

In a culture where over-indulgence has become the new normal, obesity rates have "[exceeded] 35 percent in four states, 30 percent in 25 states, and are above 20 percent in all states," according to the State of Obesity, an annual report on obesity patterns in the United States. In addition, the Center for Disease Control "projects that one-in-three adults could have diabetes by 2050." This is a big deal considering that diabetes is ranked as the 7th-highest cause of death in the United States according to the CDC.

We all know that social media can be a major influence on our opinions and habits and this can become dangerous when it comes to over-indulgence. News site Al Jazeera notes how social media influences food trends. "Cloud eggs, Unicorn Frappuccinos and avocado toast all have one thing in common: social media made them a hit. The price of avocados is at a 19-year high, with the avocado toast trend as captured on Instagram credited as one of the main reasons for this." Clearly social media influences not only what we eat, but how much of it.

Of course, food is not the only way we over-indulge.

Over-Indulgent Drinks

The margaritas at popular New York City restaurant Caliente Cab Co have a unique, if somewhat reckless, claim to fame. Their $100 cocktails have an entire bottle of tequila in each one. And in case you thought this was a one-off, NYC restaurant Broadstone offers a Moscow mule that is a whopping 12 pounds and made with an entire bottle of vodka. Altogether, the drink contains 20 shots of alcohol. These giant drinks are advertised as great ways to begin your nights out, furthering the idea that if you don't indulge to have fun, are you even having fun?

College campuses, in particular, appear very susceptible to over-indulgence when trying to cut loose, specifically with alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, over 1,800 college students die each year from "alcohol-related unintentional injuries." Additionally, every year, around 649,000 students report being assaulted by another student who had been drinking. In 2015, the NIAAA reported that "37.9 percent of college students ages 18–22 reported binge drinking in the past month compared with 32.6 percent of other persons of the same age."

College campuses also struggle with a particular problem: forced over-indulgence. The tragic death of a Penn State sophomore after being forced to drink during fraternity recruitment dominated the news cycle this past summer, especially as 18 members of the fraternity were criminally charged in his death. This type of over-indulgent behavior is all too common within Greek life on campuses around the country. Not only is the tradition reckless and clearly dangerous, the motives are always "to have a good time;" a forced bonding activity that all too often ends in emergency room visits. 

Since the dawn of time, college students have been drinking. I'm not trying to change that. I'm also not trying to preach to you about the evils of having a drink when you want or having dessert when you go out for dinner. But just like the online trends daring you to show off your thigh gap or collarbones can be harmful, the culture of over-indulgence is pushing people to surpass their limits in the name of having a good time. This trend is quickly becoming a dangerous way to prove you're having fun.