Sometimes, Even a Half Portion is Too Much

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • What are the latest fast food delights? French fries topped with melted cheese, bacon and sour cream....Pizza crust stuffed with cheese and topped with meat and extra cheese.....Cheese stuffed meatballs on pasta with a creamy sauce....Burgers topped with fried eggs, pork belly, mayo and fixings. Yes, these foods and more recently won the honors offered at the Xtreme Eating Awards, according to a recent USA Today news column,


    Based on some calorie and fat evaluations performed by experts at the Center for the Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C., popular food chains are competing to create the latest "crazy calorie" foods. Some of these meals clock in at a whopping 2500 calories or more, meaning that even sharing a meal leaves way too many calories for one feeding in a balanced diet. Sure, you can decide to just have the entrée and skip appetizer and dessert, but you need to know how many calories are in that main course, so you can choose to share it with more than just one friend. Of course the restaurant or fast food chain will tell you that consumers want options. They will also suggest that the consumers can now avail themselves of healthier offerings on the menu. Are you kidding me? I just finished sharing blogs on a host of studies that indicate that fast food is like a drug....that some people are especially susceptible to the binge-like qualities that certain high fat foods instigate...that a palate that becomes accustomed to high fat food will continue to want high fat food.

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    In a free market, these fast food chains and restaurants have the law on their side. So all bloggers and health experts can do is sound the alarm!! And one alarm you also need to be aware of is that the calorie counts you see posted may in some cases be correct, while in other instances can be off by as much as 1,000 calories. A Tufts University researcher assessed 269 dishes from 42 restaurants. Many of the dishes had "spot on" or even less calories than the posted amounts. Fast food companies seemed to rate more precise counts, possibly because many of the items they offer are mass produced and measurements tend to be uniform. Restaurants that prepare food from scratch seemed to have more variability on calories. I've often wondered how some items can be measured in precise sizing, considering that different human chefs or food preparers create the dishes or portion out the amounts of food. There is a huge opportunity for variability in those food situations.


    So the next time you are given a serving that looks bigger than the calorie count, assume it is!!

Published On: August 09, 2011