Does university really make you fat?

investigates the effect of the university lifestyle on eating habits



The only disciplinary exclusion that I heard about in my first year of University was that of a student who caught and killed a duck. Anyone who goes to the University of York will know that touching the waterfowl for any purpose is a definite faux pas. I can only assume that poaching one with the intention of serving it with plum sauce and an aromatic glaze is also heavily frowned upon.

It would, however, be fair to give credit to the unfortunate student for actually making an effort to cook from scratch. It is commonly joked about that students survive solely on Pot Noodles and Heinz Baked Beans. The truth, however, is slightly more dire. All students are aware that Pot Noodles, and any branded food for that matter, are far too expensive. So really, the joke should be more focused on Lidl’s “Not Poodle” and other similar foods. This requirement of students to get value for money does not lead to the best food choices; fast food, microwave meals and sweets are all easily available, and cheaply.

Let’s look at a typical night out, and how much your eating habits will have changed by graduation. A typical night for me would consist of around 10 pints. Ten pints of Doombar would give you an extra 2030 calories, and scarily, Doom is one of the lighter ales served in the North. That’s already your daily allowance and we haven’t even considered the Viking’s pizza you collect on the way home, or the fact that you will have already had a full days worth of meals before you go out.

Of course, the more frugal students know that upon showing your student card at McDonald’s you receive a free cheeseburger. You will give in to this junk food, because its free, even if you had no prior intention to indulge in grease after being chucked out of Tokyo. So, a big night out can quite easily double your daily dosage of calories, even if you do dance like a maniac in Willow. Even Willow encourages a culture of late night snacking with its offering of free prawn crackers to the more hardcore party goers.

Make an effort. For those of you not fortunate enough to be catered there is a lovely ‘grow your own’ area in all of the colleges. Here you will find plenty of herbs and vegetables to cook with. Scrap the take outs, crisps and junk food and cook yourself a proper hearty meal.

That’s my advice. Of course, you are at University, probably living away for the first time. You’re going to get take outs because you are lazy; who can resist an Efe’s pizza? My mum gave me some advice before I left for uni—that if I wanted to stave off becoming fat I should drink white wine spritzers in the place of my pint. Did I listen to her? Oh no. I can’t go to the pub and order that, the locals shout enough abuse when ordering shandies and half pints.

In my first year I drank more pints than I care to remember, ate so much rubbish and even as I sit here now I have a packet of Doritos open, yes, the large bag, and a Snickers bar ready for consumption. I could be skinny, but beer and food are just too good. As for sport, well, I race cars. So I’ll leave it with you to speculate my physique, and once you have done that you can weigh up whether my opinion means anything. No pun intended.


  1. 10 Doombars is a typical night? Somehow I feel this article doesn’t quite represent the ‘typical’ student…

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