A Calorie Counter blog has gone to the trouble of compiling the absolute worst fast foods from all American chain restaurants. The author looked through every single item offered at every single restaurant from McDonald’s to White Castle to Burger King to Taco Bell to KFC to Wendy’s – whew!
Why 88, you ask? Why not! Though there are hundreds more health offenders, these 88 were determined to be the worst foods based upon their trans fat content. The vegans over at Taste Better were horrified to learn that onion rings serve up nearly 30 grams of trans fat (daily recommended allowance: zero). But meatasauruses don’t get off so easily: fish is next on the list of dangerous, deadly fat portions. It’s not a good day for fast food in the blogosphere, but it’s a really bad day for White Castle (both the onion rings and fish are from this trans fat triumph of a food chain).
Mayor Bloomberg has been fighting – along with city health commissioner Thomas Frieden – to force chain restaurants to display calorie information more prominently. Though he’s been labeled the “nanny mayor” by critics, Bloomberg insists that in a city where over half of the adults are overweight and a third of restaurant meals are taken at greasy, high-calorie establishments like McDonald’s and Burger King, people need to know what they are eating.
We’ve done quite a bit of ranting and issued endless criticisms of the FDA and the food pyramid. There, I said it. We did it here, and here, and talked about what you should be eating here. I’ve even offered up my own food pyramid (for carbs).
But whose food pyramid is it, anyway?
Though I regularly rail against the government’s grain-based, dairy-laden, sugar-rich recommendations, I have to wonder if anybody’s really following it anyway. Does the food pyramid make a hill of beans in the nutrition wars? We know the standard American diet is high in grain, dairy and sugar, but is this because those things are on the pyramid refrigerator magnet? Seems the other way around to me: Big Agra has an express interest in promoting cheap, unhealthy foods such as cereal and bread, and the government is simply the acquiescent mouthpiece. Marketing and advertising overwhelm the average American; the food pyramid merely reinforces the barrage.
In defense of the Twinkie (wait, haven’t we heard that one before?), the Important People at Hostess explain exasperatedly that trying to understand what the Twinkie is made of is just like trying to understand the entire universe. Look, this miniature sticky cake of chemicals is as mysterious and magical as the very cosmos in which we exist. Duh. Don’t you feel silly now?
Unfortunately, the Important People are not delusional in the slightest. Twinkies are made of dozens of chemicals and at least 5 different rocks, so in truth, these little loaves of limestone really kinda are the universe. It appears you can manufacture irony, and it requires only 39 ingredients. I feel the welling up of an existential crisis of the sort not experienced since I watched my landlord wear a Dolce & Gabbana jacket to fix the toilet. There are some things money can’t buy, but for everything else, there’s rent.
Is cheese healthy? I get asked this question a lot, and I do want to preface it by stating that if there were a definitive answer, we’d probably know it by now. I’m not a big dairy advocate, especially not in light of the way so much of it is processed and manipulated to death, but I don’t completely avoid cheese, either. My personal view of cheese is that it’s on the “okay” list. I eat it occasionally, but it’s not a major source of my calories. But let’s consider the issue further. This post is by no means the last word on cheese, but I hope these thoughts will be helpful to you if you’re debating whether or not to keep cheese in your diet. (And I welcome your thoughts as always. Even you vegans.)
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