Fast food restaurants, in an attempt to appeal to consumers looking for so-called "indulgent" food, are increasingly creating meals that consist of giant portions, despite the objections of nutritionists.
Burger King's new BK Stackers can include as much as four beef patties, four cheese slices, and four bacon strips.
A single Stacker can contain 1,000 calories and more than an entire day's recommended quanitity of fat. Denny's has also recently introduced an Extreme Grand Slam Breakfast, which includes three pancakes, three strips of bacon, three sausage links, two eggs, and hash browns. It totals 1,270 calories, 77 grams of fat and 2,510 milligrams of sodium.The commericals for these products tend to emphasize a kind of pride in eating too much. In a commercial for the Extreme Grand Slam Breakfast, a man announces: "I'm going to eat too much, but I'm never going to pay too much."
Nutrition advocates have called such messages irresponsible in an age of rising obesity rates and diet-related diseases. Only half of the nation's top 300 chain restaurants currently give customers nutrition information, and none provide it on the menu.
Fast food restaurants are not stupid and are aware of the major negative PR they have generated for their role in the obesity epidemic. For a brief moment or two they started searching for, and offering, healthier options like natural chicken and apples, as alternatives to French fries, one of the worst foods you can eat.
Unfortunately, they seemed to have reverted to their former ways and put profit ahead of health.
Chances are good to excellent, unfortunately, that most won't know the details of the damage they're doing to their bodies while cruising through the drive-thru window.
Only about half of America's fast-food chains provide nutritional information to customers, and most of the time it is not at all available in their restaurant. Rather, it is safely tucked away on their Web sites. None of the chains list nutritional information on their menu; there is no law requiring them to do so and they know what a PR disaster that would be.
But that being said, it's impossible to completely blame the fast food restaurants for this one. No one orders a BK Stacker or an Extreme Grand Slam Breakfast believing that it's a healthy choice.
The problem has never been in our ability to distinguish healthy from unhealthy, but instead lies in our desire to choose healthy over unhealthy. The failure to do this is what makes people unhealthy, not what is or isn't available at Burger King or Denny's.
With all the unhealthy ingredients used at fast food restaurants, the key to winning the battle against them is to simply not to frequent them. You can only fool your body for so long. Thus, it is a virtual certainty that if you subsist on fast foods, you are accelerating the aging process, compromising your health and looking for a run-in with some disease you don't want to mess with.
If for some reason you absolutely have no alternative you can try fasting. Better not to eat then to eat poorly. But if you must you can restrict your selections by always avoiding the French fries and soft drinks, especially diet soda. When you choose a hamburger, ask for it without the bun. Many fast food restaurants now offer this as an option.
However, if you want to really get healthy, you, a relative, or someone you pay, needs to spend some serious time in the kitchen preparing your own food.
And if you've been wanting to make healthy lifestyle choices but don't know where to begin, consider my Total Health Program, a book that's guaranteed to make a difference.