The new fad: Mukbang

When hearing this word for the first time one can barely pronounce it correctly. Initially it appears to be some kind of new hairstyle related to bangs… Surprise! It isn’t so… Lol!!

Do you know it is the most viral and viewed videos on YouTube??
Yes, it is, “MUKBANGS”

Mukbang pronounced as “mook-bangs” originated in South Korea, which means eating broadcast. The whole concept of Mukbang was introduced by Simon Stawski, a Canadian blogger who started mukbanging in 2014.

Therefore, it is a live audiovisual broadcast in which mukbangers eat large portions of food while interacting with their audience. An important aspect of mukbang is the noise they make while eating like slurping, smacking, gulping noise and chewing.

Earlier, people felt ashamed of themselves for eating large portions. However, binge eating has become a source of money for you tubers.

Sadly, reality isn’t hitting them apparently. They are so engrossed in making money that they forget the amount or portions of food they are eating is hazardous for their health.

Talking about our country India, according to Google trends, the term mukbang has become three times more known on YouTube and on Google search here.

The father-son duo from Tamil Nadu claims to be the biggest mukbang sensation, which is run by Sabari Kumar, 25 years old, a doctor by profession has more than 345000 subscribers and total of 84 million views. They make mukbangs on large portions of food like mutton, chicken biryani, rice, papad etc. Their video comprises of no form of music in the background, the silence is broken through their smacking, slurping, gulping and chewing. Eating in huge quantities and given them a title like “5kgs of Mutton Biryani Eating Challenge” gets them a lot of views and subscribers.

Initially, their purpose was to earn money at that point in time as they were in need but, then it became their mode to earn money.

Another such Mukbanger from our country is Deepika Verma, 20 years old. She is currently pursuing law. She claims to be India’s first female Mukbanger whose aim was just to spread Indian cuisine wherever she can.

Do you know??....that majority of mukbang audience falls in the age group of 18-35 years. In today’s times, as we all are aware of the increasing loneliness, lack of communication and people turning into introvert, mukbang helps them stay connected with people only if done in a healthy manner..!!!

Around 70% of mukbangers have Binge Eating Disorder (BED). People with binge eating disorder lose control over his or her eating. They eat large portions of food and are often obese and overweight.

This disorder is most common in the USA. People with binge eating disorder don’t have fixed quantities to eat. They eat until they are uncomfortably full. They tend to gulp food without even chewing it.

You don’t have teeth in your stomach, therefore if you don’t chew your food properly your digestive system will be unable to break it down further.
Adding to it, it causes several other problems like:

• An overproduction of stomach acid.

• Bloating

• Slows down your digestive system

Symptoms of binge eating disorder (BED):

1. Eating large portions of food in specific time.

2. Eating in spite of being full.

3. Fast eating

4. Eating until uncomfortably full.

Treatment of binge eating disorder (BED):

1. Individual should take adequate nutrition

2. Achieve healthy eating habits
There are various types of eating disorders like:

1. Anorexia Nervosa : Nowadays, people specially teenagers have an obsessive fear of gaining weight so, the best alternative they have picked for themselves is that they tend to skip their meals and starve themselves. Adding on to this, they even exercise excessively to lose weight. They never feel satisfied in spite of the fact that they have lost their weight and achieved their target. They still continue to feel that they are fat and refuse to eat normal meals. Many societies emphasize on physical appearance or attractiveness for females far more than for males. It becomes very difficult for teenagers and growing girls to live up to the image of beauty shown in media. From teenage they figure out that if you do not have an "ideal" figure then you are not accepted in the society. Further, body shaming, harassing, being mocked at becomes a part of their life which leads to depression. It also leads to undernourishment with skeleton like appearance with haunting eyes. If they continue with this, it will further lead to irregular menses in girls, kidney failure and lastly, death.

2. Bulimia Nervosa: It is a serious type of disorder, as in this type of disorder an individual eats large amounts of food within short period of time. Which is followed by attempts to rid the body of food and weight by using laxatives, enemas or by vomiting. Youngsters mostly females report purging about twelve times a week or more. Cause of this disorder is similar to anorexia nervosa. Fortunately, frequency of eating disorder tends to decrease in women as they grow older, whereas, on the other hand eating disorder is increased in men with age. Adolescents suffering from this disorder may develop swollen salivary glands, broken blood vessels in face, irritation of throat, kidney disorders and dehydration.

3. Obesity: It is a very common disorder these days. It is defined as having excessive fat in your body. It may be caused due to heredity or dietary habits and same causes as in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. The food that we consume today is high calorie and sweet which leads too many diseases like diabetes, heart problems etc. Too much snacking in between meals and wrong choice of fatty foods leads to gain in weight. Obesity may lead to high blood pressure, heart diseases, and poor body image, depression, diabetes and knee problems.

Mukbang can also be healthy, in healthy portions and with right choice of foods, as that would encourage a lot of viewers to adapt to such healthy foods

Young boys and girls look upto successful adults as a role model, therefore, influencers should be recalled for the change they inspire and not for the disease they encourage!!

About the Author

Palak Chadha
Psychologist.

Ms Palak Chaddha holds a Masters degree in Psychology.

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