Here in America we continue to fight the battle of the bulge. Recent new recommendations, guidelines and legislation are attempting to get calories and nutritional breakdowns posted in fast food restaurants so that consumers are aware of what they are buying and consuming. Many of these fast food manufacturers are making an effort to swap out trans fat ingredients for healthier fats, lower the sodium, and introduce some healthier choices or lighter calorie menu options. So it comes as a bit of a shock that in other countries, these same fast food companies are actually super-sizing menu options and offering new menu choices that are a far cry from healthier options.
In Japan, a country we typically associate with slimmer consumers who eat fish as the protein of choice, McDonalds has taken the American food called the burger and rolled out five new recipes with gargantuan portion sizes and calorie loads. These burgers are named after 5 states in the US that invoke the ingredients used. The new Texas 2 burger is made with chili, three buns, cheese, bacon and beef patties and weighs in at a whopping 645 calories. The Idaho burger has a quarter pound of beef, fried hash browns, strips of bacon, melted cheese, onions and a special sauce. It clocks in at about 710 calories. The Miami burger is a bit less hefty at 556 calories, but offers crushed tortilla chips in the sandwich. Of course, as homage to New York, there is a burger with pastrami, onions, mozzarella, and sour cream sauce. The big Mac sounds pale in comparison - two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce cheese, pickles onions on a sesame seed bun (I know that one by heart).
Certainly McDonalds in the United States has its fair share of caloric menu options but it also offers a variety of salads, oatmeal, fruit, and lower calorie yogurt parfaits. In Japan there's just one salad choice. So as we attempt to do battle with our yen for hefty fast food, Japan seems poised to follow our descent into obesity by indulging in the very foods we demonize as obesity instigators. Just a little crazy, don't you think??
Published On: February 11, 2011