Are The Restaurant Chains Really On YOUR Side?
Lately I’ve been reading Morgan Spurlock’s “Don’t Eat This Book; Fast Food And The SuperSizing Of America”. Morgan, if you remember, is the guy who did the “SuperSize Me” movie — which you absolutely must see, if you haven’t already (“SuperSize Me” is a documentary movie where Morgan consumes nothing but McDonalds “food” for thirty days straight, all the while having his vitals monitored by a series of medical professionals).
Anyhow, I’m about a third of the way through the book and I’m sure I’ll have something to say about it once I’ve finished it up. What makes me bring this up now, however, is the fact I just came across an interesting piece on the CSPI web site.
You see, in Morgan’s book, he makes the argument that the fast food industry is largely responsible for the growing obesity crisis in the U.S., and the assorted health issues that accompany it (Of course, we are responsible for eating sensibly. The fast food companies, Spurlock argues, are doing their best to make sure we remain uneducated about what we’re really doing to ourselves when we consume their products. If we aren’t properly educated, there’s no way we can act responsibly, right? They also market aggressively to the most vulnerable and impressionable audience of all — your kids. Get ’em hooked while they’re young… just like big tobacco used to. Anyway, I’m simplifying the argument for the sake of this discussion, but that’s the gist of it).
Any-whoo, Morgan argues that the fast food industry is acting much the way big tobacco did when confronted with the fact that their products caused cancer and a myriad of other diseases: they fought back. They denied everything. They fabricated the truth. They hired lobbyists disguised as members of official sounding consumer groups to “reverse spin” the truth.
Now as I say, I’m only a third of the way through the book, so I can’t really tell you how it all plays out. All I can tell you is that when I read that “Judge Upholds NYC Law Requiring Calories on Menus & Menu Boards” it struck a chord, and added real credibility to Morgan’s argument.
Seems that when several chain restaurants in New York City were informed of the law which obliged them to disclose the amount of calories they were actually serving their guests (on menus and menu boards) they went ballistic, and tried to fight the ruling in court, arguing that posting such information would violate their First Amendment Rights.
As a customer, how does it make you feel that some of the people who feed you will go to such lengths to prevent you from having access to the nutritional information of their food? Like a sheep, perhaps? Like a mindless, senseless sheep who’s only purpose is to arrive, stuff your face, pay your bill, and not ask any questions?
The restaurant industry doesn’t want to reveal this information to you, because in all likelihood, you’ll be horrified by it. Few of us rarely have any idea how many calories we are consuming at a sitting, and I’m sure the majority of us would be stunned to find out if we were about to consume a whole day’s worth of calories on one sitting — ’cause it’s easy to do.
So you can understand why some in the restaurant industry don’t want you to know. Heck, you might opt to eat something else. Something more healthy. Something with less fat. And if such alternatives didn’t exist at your regular dining spot… GASP… you might have to go somewhere else.
Heck, if the restaurant industry really cared about your health, they’d have saved the money they spent on all those high cost lawyers and lobbyists and instead, hired some good chefs to come up with tasty, healthier, lower calorie alternatives to their current dining fare.
Yes, high calorie, great tasting, nutritionally deficient foods are cheap and easy to prepare, while low calorie, nutritious foods cost more and take more work. And the restaurants will need to work a lot harder too… reducing portion sizes while maintaining the “value for money” mindset in their customers.
That however, is in both your and their long term interests.
Their actions speak loudly.
They don’t care about you, your health, or your children’s health.