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My Biggest Complaint About Blaming Fast Food For The Obesity Epidemic

First things first, there is an obesity epidemic, I completely agree.

My biggest complaint about the obesity epidemic is blaming fast food for the problem.

Go to McDonald’s, spend $5.00 on a 1,000 calorie meal, sit down, look around and count the fat people in the restaurant. If you can, try to gauge their level of obesity.

Now go to a Chinese buffet and spend slightly more on a 4,000 calorie, 4 tripper meal that won’t end until you want it to or until you fall over dead at the table with General Tso’s Chicken coming out your ears. Before you quit or keel over, take a look at all the fat people at the buffet. I guarantee you there will be twice as many obese people at the buffet as there were at Mickey D’s and they will be twice as big.

Go to Golden Corral, CiCi’s Pizza or any other all-you-can-eat buffet. The same holds true across the board - the more cheap food the better.

People are animals. People tend to eat what is put in front of them. Bigger portions, more portions, it doesn’t matter - it is instinctive.

So why would a truly obese person even bother with fast food? All you get is a burger, fries and drink.

The truly obese are experts and realize that they will not be satiated by something like fast food. Does the alcholic stop on the way home and grab a six pack (fast food) or do they pick up at least a twelve pack or even a case (buffet)?

The whole thing is simple math really. Why mess around with a $5.00, 1,000 calorie meal when you get four or five times as much food for slightly more money? There is no comparison.

Fast food is a red herring. Buffets are making more people fat and they are doing it the American way - faster, better and cheaper.

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20 Comments

  1. I don’t think it’s quite that simple, but I do agree that we can’t blame just fast food. However fast food’s role in obesity is how the supply meets the demand. You’re on the highway, you’re in an unfamiliar town, you see the golden arches and you feel at home. You can find a fast food restaurant anywhere, while it’s hard to find buffet so easily. In addition, fast food, being fast, is more accessible. You grab fast food and you can eat it in the car, walking, or riding in your electric wheelchair. You can not do this with most other restaurants. Fast food has drive-thru as well. Restaurants like Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and obviously McDonalds are GLOBAL. You’ll find these spots on other continents and the menu hardly changes. They also have corporate marketing, some of the most recognizeable identities, and all of them use bright attractive colors that tell our minds “Taco Bell = Fun Time”. You mentioned “Golden Corral” and “CiCi’s Pizza”. I live in New York and I’ve never heard of these places. I couldn’t even imagine what is served at the Golden Corral. If it were next to a McDonald’s, you can bet in which one I’d feel more at home. In the movie “Super Size Me”, the host pointed out that on the island of Manhattan there were just over 80 McDonalds restaurants. The presence, availability, and in your face marketing is why Fast Food plays a major role in the obesity of Western Culture, specifically America.

  2. D: A “corral” is/was used for cattle, and what is served there mostly bears this definition out. It’s all over-buttered, super-fatty food. The green beans there have about the same amount of fat as a slice of pizza.

    I’m obese and have been since I was 11 — about 11 years ago. I seriously cannot stand the notion that fast food = fat. Skinny people eat at fast food restaruants — but skinny people also know how to balance it with exercise and controlling the rest of their diet. I rarely eat out at all, much less at a fast food restaurant. When I became obese, I was eating exclusively at home and school (school food was a major factor). Over the years I’ve eaten almost exclusively at home. Did I gain a little bit of weight when I started eating out more? Yes, but ultimately I also started losing weight.

  3. It’s also telling that I gained the most weight when I was eating school food on a daily basis — and hit my high weight (325 lbs) while eating at school everyday (I lost weight during summer and over christmas holidays every year). School food is a nutritional nightmare and honestly plays more of a part in childhood obesity than fast food ever will.

    I think cafeterias (school and work) are all around bad news and cause people to consistently make bad food choices because it’s generally the “lesser of two evils” when making portion choices. Few have fresh and cooked vegetables that aren’t drowned in butter or fried. Some have salads, but dressing isn’t that good for you (unless it’s mustard). The need for most people to work while eating (eating at their desks) also plays a part.

    But yeah, I completely agree that it’s petty for the media to place the blame on just fast food restaurants. It’s silly.

  4. I think the whole viewpoint on food throughout the US should be changed. Lower the fat, get rid of all the preservatives, hormones in the meat, salting the p!ss out of everything that comes down the pike. I work in an area that’s surrounded by nothing but fast food places, and that’s your only option when you can’t sit down for an hour lunch. Granted there are a few more nicer places like McAlister’s Deli, Abner’s, Lenny’s Sub Shop (All Southern Originals), but what you pay for is outrageous. I stick to my cheap-a$$ Subway sandwich which takes about 5 minutes to get and 10 to eat, and my a$$ doesn’t swell up like a balloon from all the fatty mess that everything else at McDonkeys or Taco Hell or Burger Sling is swimming in daily.

  5. There are a lot of things I want to do and have, but have to restrain myself. Life is full of temptations, we have to fight them as human beings. That is the basis of Christianity, human beings are tempted by sin, and because of Jesus, they can sin without fear of major consequence if they repent in front of God (not that I’m a Christian).

    There are lots of temptations I encounter in my daily life, I want to speed to get where I’m going, I would love to sleep with every woman I could. I would love to eat to my heart’s content, and I’m very capable of doing this. I want to sleep until whatever time I want each day. But I don’t do any of these things, I can fight the temptation, I fear the repercussions. There is definitely an element of psychological weakness in the obese. By the way I was obese for 5 years in my life.

  6. It not the food’s fault, it’s the fat asses that eat it. Then when they are fat they listen to the liberal media blaming the food and then go out and get attorney’s to sue the company because they could not control themselves. It’s called the cycle of Liberalism.

  7. Man, I never knew how many conservatives were on this site! Then again, I guess it would make sense since there are plenty of conservatives in America…

    Fast food is not to blame for obesity - everything is fine in moderation. However, society now teaches us that it is acceptable to eat fast food every day for lunch, whereas years ago, going to a fast food joint was like an event. It’s so easy to just “grab” fast food, making it a very appealing option for those without much time. You do not get much food for all the calories you consume, and it is really quite sad.

    The root of American obesity is quite complex. Our foods ARE cooked with a little more fat and sugar than they used to be, but the biggest problem is portion size. Even restaurants served smaller portions, say, 40 years ago, but they soon became in competition to serve more food for less money. Most Americans have a very distorted view of what a “serving” really is.

    People want to eat until they are satisfied, and unfortunately, eating calorically dense food until you are no longer hungry usually leads to weight gain. And anyone who gorges frequently on buffets has more to worry about than just weight.

    You might want to check out my rant here about how healthy eating options might as well be considered obsolete:

    http://mybiggestcomplaint.com/no-healthy-eating-options-anywhere/890

  8. I believe that it’s not the fast food OR the buffets that are doing it …

    It’s the people … I went to a buffet a few weeks ago and I was sickened when I saw A LOT of fat people … no … not just fat people … fat families too … the children were obnoxiously obese, and they were just eating like pigs. These fat people are everywhere in buffets, and I find it sickening looking at them while I eat … just makes me barf.

  9. Ok peopel finally new your journal of medicine, published an article on the research about diets and what is most healthful. Guess what it turns out that the all famous low fat diet is not the heart healthy way to go. The most healthful diet is the low carb style diet with a specific example of full fat peanut butter being better for your heart health then the low fat version. If you look on everything you buy nearly all of it including hot dogs have added sugar or corn syrup. Bottom line is take the fat out you gotta make it edible somehow. The cheapest and easiest way to do that is load it up with sugar of some sort. For those of you who don’t know sugar is a very simple energy form which is quickly converted and stored by the body. Sugars are also implicated in inflamation.

    School lunches specifically used to be designed for high nutrition. This means They packed the calories in they packed the vitamins and minerals in needed for digesting these calories. This means very little food goes a long ways.

    You got it large portion size = fat people. It does matter what you eat but the bottom line is calories in - calories expended = calories stored = wieght gain or loss.

    Your right most of those fast food gurus are not fat!

  10. Mark,

    Could you please provide the name and issue of the “new your journal of medicine” to support your claims?

    Thanks.

  11. Yes actually it is the new england journal of medicine and here is the reference.

    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/359/3/229

    Hope it is up to your level of understanding mr. squeeky!

  12. Mark,

    I don’t think it is asking much to ask for a reference. People might actually be interested in where you got your facts, not because they don’t believe you, but because they want to read the whole article. Anyway…..

    Much of what you said (as best I can tell as I understand what you wrote) seems fine. My major problem was with you stating, “The most healthful diet is the low carb style diet with a specific example of full fat peanut butter being better for your heart health then the low fat version.”

    I found it odd because I follow nutrition research and I had never heard this claim.

    I read the entire full text of the reference you gave and nowhere does it discuss peanut butter. Likewise the article was not measuring heart health directly, it was measuring weight and some lipid/cholesterol blood levels. Of course the two are often related, but it is not accurate to infer that from this study.

    Nevertheless, like I said much of what you say on general terms was fine with me.

  13. BTW I have no problem in giving references as you can tell I am virtually the only one on this forum to ask for or give references. It is indeed your attack on the understanding you have on my comments on other threads on this forum which are clear and concise and easily understandable which brings the comment: “Hope it is up to your level of understanding mr. squeaky!”

    and I will quote you mr. squeaky

    “Seriously, where do you guys get your facts? How do you connect things and events in your minds? These things you quote usually aren’t even related in any logical or historical manner. I have asked Mark about this before. Do you really believe the garbage you post here or do you just spurt it out without processing it? Please post something that actually makes sense.”

    So mr. squeaky if you don’t want abrasive comments then do not be abrasive. If you can’t understand my comments just ask for clarification.

    As for the comment about the peanut butter.. no it was not in the NEJM article its was the original new article from the TV media which was brought forth in their medical analysis of this article. I suppose they had some more specific dietary specs from the diets tested.

    You are correct in that the study was specifically addressing weight loss, however if you did indeed read the report and associated data the low carb style diet had a benefit of nearly double that of the low fat diet in cholesterol reduction. A commonly accepted indicator of heart health.

    Glad I could be of service!

  14. Sorry I misstyped here is what is should be. thanks.

    As for the comment about the peanut butter.. no it was not in the NEJM article its was the original broadcast from the TV media which this was brought forth in their medical analysis of this article.

  15. “Ok peopel finally new your journal of medicine, published an article on the research about diets and what is most healthful. Guess what it turns out that the all famous low fat diet is not the heart healthy way to go. The most healthful diet is the low carb style diet with a specific example of full fat peanut butter being better for your heart health then the low fat version.”

    Mark,

    You are the one that chose to present yourself as a knowledgeable authority on this.

    1. You chose to support your point by quoting a scientific reference that doesn’t exist: new your journal of medicine.
    2. You presented a “specific example” that was not in the study (and is inaccurate)
    3. You then try to explain it by claiming that you heard it on a TV broadcast. Not exactly what you had said originally (and pretty weak scientific support).

    When people do things like this, it raises a red flag and it should. I don’t think asking for a reference when you evoke a scientific study is inappropriate.

  16. So mr. Squeaky you think the new england journal or medicine is a weak scientific support do you? Im sure the researchers and contibutors to that publication as well as the scientific community itself would love to hear you state that opinion.

    Yeah as I do not subscribe to the NEJM I did see this originally on the news. Their medical analysis stated specifically “full fat peanut butter is better for your heart health then the low fat version” And this is certainly truly accurate if not present some facts with sources and references to idicate that it is not accurate.

    Yeah yeah I misstated the name of NEJM but hey you really don’t need to be a brain surgeon to figure out what I was refering to.

    You mearly want to use it as a personal attack on me.

    You probably have lived the lowfat lifestyle for years and refuse to acknowledge that it is junk science just like global warming.

  17. Mark,

    I’m not even going to address your response again other than to point this out.

    You continue to confirm and reaffirm what I say with respect to the questionable arguments you put forth. Do you even read what I, or anybody else, on this forum writes?

    Although I enjoy the end result of it, I’m completely embarrassed for you.

  18. http://www.organicconsumers.org/foodsafety/msg091405.cfm
    i don’t think people can be blamed completely. read the article in this website about MSG that the FDA and President Bush know about and care to do nothing about.
    -fast food chains add MSG to make their foods to make them addictive
    -is included in foods such as Campbell’s soups, the Hostess Doritos, the Lays flavored potato chips, Top Ramen, Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper, Heinz canned gravy, Swanson frozen prepared meals, Kraft salad dressings
    -MSG goes by the names of ‘Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein”, Monosodium Glutamate, Accent’ -’Aginomoto’ - ‘Natural Meat Tenderizer
    -used in all foods by Burger King McDonalds Wendy’s Taco Bell, TGIF, Chilis’, Applebees and Denny’s Worst in Kentucky Fried Chicken
    -manufacturers support use of MSG b/c it makes them eat more of their products –>they know the side effects –>it causes obesity and is highly addictive
    -FDA says it’s safe to eat in any amount
    -MSG is linked to Diabetes, Migraines and headaches, Autism, ADHD and Alzheimer’s
    -President Bush and his supporters are pushing the “Cheeseburger Bill”; this law bans anyone from suing food manufacturers, sellers and distributors. Even if it comes out that they purposely added an addictive chemical to their foods.”

  19. I live in New York State and there are 2 Golden Corrals in the state. One in Colonie and one in Saratoga Springs. I’ve never been to the one in Colonie, but it’s only 45 minutes away. Soon there will be a third in Queensbury NY, which is the town next door. The one in Saratoga Springs is 20 minutes away and is very good. I do have a MSG sensitivity so I do not go there very often and especially when I have things to do the next day. I quit GC for about 10 months because of the overuse of MSG and the terrible pain it gave me. I joined the GC Facebook page and every time they posted something, I made a comment that I’d love to go but they use MSG and it makes me sick. I asked one of the managers and he told me the seasoning they use on the steaks is full of MSG and they are marinated 24 hours in it. I avoid the salad bar too as most dressings have MSG. The GC in Saratoga has gone through some changes and since I am planning a trip to Las Vegas in August, I had to be sure it was the MSG that was making me ill. I went last night and had a little pain, but I think that was because I over did it. I had to have a sample of everything and it was all good. The steak tasted different too like it had less seasoning on it and you could taste the beef, for a change. But I only had a little bit of that, just to be safe. I went up twice and only put a few things on the second plate. Thankfully the ribs were mostly bone because I feel guilty wasting food. Okay, I went up three times including the strawberries and fresh pineapple. I somehow had room for those!
    I am obese and I do have fatty liver. Another reason I am careful what I eat. (Atkins and Splenda will do it to you! There is no quick fix!) Everything was so wonderful, the desserts are still on the lousy side, but the new BBQ line is unbelievably delicious! The fresh fruit was great and everyone was amazed with the quality of the huge strawberries!
    It makes no sense to me why a buffet restaurant would use MSG. It makes people eat more and that seems rather counter productive to profit! My father ran restaurants and the idea is to give your customers a good meal and then get them out the door. You don’t want them to linger when their seats could be filled with more paying customers. So, if GC and all the other places don’t really care about the health of their patrons maybe they should realize their bottom line could be bigger instead of giving us a chemical that only serves to make our “bottom lines” bigger!

  20. i love fast food and im not fattt

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