Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nutrition Bitchin'

Keep your nutrition bitchin' out of our kitchen!*

* I borrowed the opening line from the host of a local dining and restaurant review program, The Phantom Gourmet .

Check out this catchy headline:

Obama Picks Hamburg to Head FDA

President Obama named his pick for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner: Food safety and bioterrorism expert Dr. Margaret Hamburg.

Disclosure of nutritional information must be done in a context that allows consumers to make an informed dining decision. Consumers understand that calories are just part of the information necessary to make smart food choices.

Consumers should know about a broad range of nutrition information, including sodium, fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates and protein as well as calories.

While it is difficult to challenge the contents of the above italicized paragraphs, it falls short of discussing the impact Hamburg (pardon the pun) could have on the food industry as a whole.

Legislators, no doubt to be influenced by the new head of the FDA, will be tackling more than nutrition of the food being served in our school systems. Their sights will also be targeting the restaurant industry, especially those franchised establishments.

Disclosure is the operative word. I've read that our government legislators want restaurants, all restaurants, to provide a list of all of the ingredients on all of their menu selections. Such lists would also have to include dyes and colorings added to foods. (I've never read anywhere that Blue Dye № 1, Yellow № 5, etc., have ever been mentioned as being harmful to anyone's health.)

Their potential laws would require that such information would have to displayed on those menu boards over the heads of the fast food workers and on their signage in the lines to the drive-up windows. The sit-down-and-be-served eateries would be required by law to include the list of ingredients on their menus.

I'm not suggesting that this would be a bad thing, but there would be a trickle-down effect. The fine restaurants, as well as the fast-food franchises would have to bear the expense of updating their menus. One doesn't have to a rocket scientist to know that the cost of such an endeavor would be eventually passed on to the customer in the form of higher prices.

Invariably, legislation equals consumer burden.

<-- Having polished off two Big Macs, a large soda and super-sized french fries, Jesse Michelin, son of the Michelin Tire Man, asks the person seated across from him, "Are you going to eat the rest of those fries?"

I'm sorry, but this not where legislation should be aimed. It's not the food or its ingredients. No one is holding a gun to this kid's head and forcing him to eat it! This is a domestic issue. When are the parents going to be held responsible? (I'd say that little brother is heading in the same direction.)

Posting the ingredients on a menu board is going to prevent obesity? Hell no!

I feel a song parody coming on ... a gastronomical anthem ...

You won't hear this version by Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music."

My Favorite Things

Fat droppings in gravy made by my mother
Golden hot biscuits topped with melting butter
Brown greasy marinade on my buffalo wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Double deck hamburgers and crispy french fries
Large shakes and sodas that come in super-size
Glazed donuts and batter-coated onion rings
These are a few of my favorite things

Some fried chicken and mashed potatoes piled high
A slice of chocolate cake and a piece of apple pie
Steaks smothered in mushrooms and blue cheese dressings
These are a few of my favorite things

When the chili burns
When the sauce stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad.

Pepperoni and cheese on the pizzas they're makin'
Fried eggs over easy and plenty of fatty bacon
And hot dogs tied together on strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Fat droppings in gravy made by my mother
Golden hot biscuits topped with melting butter
Brown greasy marinade on my buffalo wings
These are a few of my favorite things

When the chili burns
When the sauce stings
I'm never feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite foods
And then I am feeling so good.

I'm sure that in this era of "Super Sizing," a suggestion of smaller portions would be entirely out of the question.

In a lot of schools across the country, the snack and soda vending machines have been removed in attempt to get the students to purchase nutritious and healthy cafeteria meals. Have you ever been to a Burger King, Taco Bell, McDonalds, Wendys, KFC, etc., after school lets out? Yep! Loaded with hungry school kids spending their lunch money!

There is no escaping the facts, no matter what the ingredients, no matter the nutritional content, fast food tastes good! So what will the fast food franchisees, those restaurateurs of fine cuisine have to say to the legislators?

Keep your nutrition bitchin' out of our kitchen!

Oh, by the way, three of McDonalds' healthy salad specialties have more calories than their Big Mac sandwich! (They may have contain less fats, but are they really healthier than the burgers?)

Personally I don't eat at the fast food franchises that often, maybe once a week. A second visit is rare. I figure I'm in no serious health danger for those rare visits. I'm on the road all week and those places are convenient. Yes, the food tastes pretty good too.

For the record, movie theater popcorn has never been the same since the movie houses were forced to change the oils and butter they use! Healthier perhaps, but it doesn't taste as good as it did in the old days!

When it comes to health and obesity, maybe some simple math will cause some people to think before they inhale that large submarine sandwich:

Fat Math

In closing, riddle me this: When eating fast foods, WTF is with the DIET cola?



Jack K. said...


Hale McKay said...

I hope that wasn't brought on by the first cartoon.

kenju said...

I drink diet soda because regular soda is too sickeningly sweet.

One of the good reasons for full disclosure is for people with food allergies (like peanuts or shellfish) that can kill.

Nankin said...

I could have done without Blimpo in the leopard print tights. But your point is well taken. We've given up control to the government to mmake us well and it ain't workin. Can you imagine the lines at the drive thru while we read those lists of chemicals?