The Obesity Menace and Kosher Foods


menachem-lubinskyBy Menachem Lubinsky

The perception that kosher foods are healthier than other foods has led many Americans to embrace kosher fare. While it is true that kosher products certainly do not use pork and in most cases today are devoid of animal foods, it would be incorrect to say that kosher foods are by and large healthy. The recent national obsession with fighting obesity might also target those who observe kashrus. Many observers of the Shabbos would make the case that their diet was high in saturated fats and perhaps not so healthy only on Shabbos. It was as if they made the spiritual case that Shabbos calories simply don’t count. But then came the fad of eating cholent, kishke and kugel on almost every night, and certainly from Wednesday on, and that tore the one day calorie splurge theory to shreds.

With the Jewish community suffering from high rates of hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, there is certainly a new awareness of eating healthier. The kosher community has responded in kind with a broad range of low fat, sugar-free, and gluten-free products that offer the kosher consumer an unprecedented choice of healthier items. A KosherToday reader recently wrote: “As an Orthodox Jew, I feast every seventh day, on numerous Jewish holidays and a seemingly endless stream of organizational dinners, bar mitzvahs, weddings and sheva brachos. It is virtually impossible to control my weight.” Another begged for healthier snacks for his young children from kosher manufacturers. As is the case with every medical or social problem, awareness is the first step towards coming up with a solution. That first step has seemingly been taken by many kosher consumers. It is now time for action. The health of the kosher consumer deserves a serious response!

{Kosher Today/ Newscenter}


  1. SOVEYA is a non-profit organization which raises awareness about the obesity epidemic in the Jewish community and the urgent need to address the issue. Our approach is based on Jewish principles for personal growth and healthy eating, as well as sound scientific and nutrition guidelines.

    Over 70 Yeshivos and Bais Yakovs are currently participating in our SWITCHH program (Soveya Wellness Initiative to Create Healthy Habits) which is a Torah-based educational initiative for Jewish Day schools, educating parents, teachers and students about proper nutrition and the Torah imperative to take care of our bodies through healthy eating habits.

    We are also starting a kosher weight-loss camp for girls this summer, Camp Soveya.

    Soveya can be reached at 1888-8-SOVEYA (876-8392) or or visit or webstie,

  2. The problem is not the snacks or the food manufacturers, rather it is the volume of those products that people eat.

    people need to learn that one needs not to feel stuffed at the end of a meal, just “not hungry”

  3. The parents are destroying their kids by stuffing them with the worst kind of nosh.
    Go into any kosher supermarket and look at the shopping carts of the young mothers.
    Their shopping carts are filled with candies,soda( the most deadly product on the market next to cigarretes),fruit rollups,etc.
    These children are going to be obese ,toothless,diabetics when they reach adulthood.
    The lollypop man in shul should be stopped.
    Something has to be done about this problem.

  4. Wasn’t there mentioned that the problem with anorexics might be an emphasis on food and diet? There needs to be a balance.

  5. One helpful change might be the one that I grew up with. My mother a”h insisted that we eat only sitting down at the table. No wandering around the house with a cookie in our mouths (incidentally also trailing chometz crumbs everywhere.) No snacking off the kids’ plates when clearing the table for her, either. From the beginning of eating solid food, we were told – sit down at the table like a civilized person.

    This may sound a little too “European” for some, but it makes it possible to keep track of how much one is eating, and to make sure that a smaller percentage is junk food. And after all, isn’t the table a mizbei’ach, so that we eat l’shem shomayim?

  6. There are plenty of healthy snacks and it is up to us to buy only that which is good for us (Ve Nishmartem and all)
    Just because the stores sell bisli and more doesnt mean we have to buy it.

    He is part of the shule mesora. One lollypop a week is OK for most kids and the shule experience is richer for it!!!

  7. why not: stop eating disgusting packaged foods–anything that comes from a package, even if it claims to be healthy, is likely made of PURE garbage. eat fruits and vegetables and don’t eat white, refined flour and sugar. learn to appreciate the natural food that HaShem gave you, instead of eating laboratory produced products that are so far removed from real food that i wonder if you should even say a bracha on them.