Mom, Why is Santa so fat?


“Mom, Why is Santa so fat?”

Big P asked this question as we read Christmas-themed books. I quickly answered, “When we eat more fuel than our bodies can use, it is stored as fat in our bodies.”  He was satisfied with the answer and told me that he was leaving a glass of water and pistachios out for Santa this year. He also informed me that carrots for the reindeer, even though I pushed gently suggested for Santa to get the carrots.

I’ve never really thought about Santa’s weight. I just accepted the fact that you must be chubby to be jolly. But now that I have kids and understand the power of role models (and marketing) I thought a little more. I kept thinking about his BMI. I kept thinking about the fact that a belly that resembles a bowl-full-of-jelly doubles his death risk, according to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Santa’s abdominal fat impairs his body’s regulation of insulin, blood sugar, and cholesterol, oh and it also leads to heart problems, according to Harvard Medical School. Poor guy.

Santa is an awesome role model for my kids. He is a hard worker. He is selfless and kind. He’s even good to Mrs. Claus. I also think he’s capable of teaching moderation. Millions of cookies doesn’t translate into a special treat. It translates into a binge of empty-calories. All because we think we’re being nice.

What are we setting out on Christmas Eve at our house? One serving of satisfying pistachios. That’s 160 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 12% of Santa’s daily recommended fiber. Oh, and a glass of water.

Thanks, Big P. You’re not just helping Santa, but Santa’s local helpers, too.

Check out this article from Mental Floss on how Santa gained his excess weight.

Want to check your BMI? Head over to LiveWell Colorado’s Gut Check.

Nutrition information from Nutrition Data.