Food Is Not Your Enemy

Happy Meal Toys To Be Banned?

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is going after McDonald’s and demanding that they stop including toys in their Happy Meals, saying that these trinkets lure children into eating unhealthy food.

As with the ice cream truck wars, I have mixed feelings about this. Parents can simply say no to their kids and refuse to go to McDonald’s. But the problem is, too many parents don’t say no, because they don’t really see what the big deal is about eating there. It makes their kids happy, so why not?

The problem is that USDA scientists have found that people eat 500 more calories on days they consume fast foods compared with days they don’t. Eating just one fast-food meal per week WILL lead to weight gain over the course of the year.

So maybe we do need a crackdown here. There are regulations now about advertising junk foods to children on TV, after all. Isn’t including a Buzz Lightyear toy in a box with a fatty hamburger, fries, and a soda a way of advertising junk food to kids?

The Smart Choices Campaign: Froot Loops Are A-Okay


From this week’s New York Times:

“Froot Loops qualifies for the [Smart Choices] label because it meets standards set by the Smart Choices Program for fiber and Vitamins A and C, and because it does not exceed limits on fat, sodium and sugar. It contains the maximum amount of sugar allowed under the program for cereals, 12 grams per serving, which in the case of Froot Loops is 41 percent of the product, measured by weight. That is more sugar than in many popular brands of cookies.

‘Froot Loops is an excellent source of many essential vitamins and minerals and it is also a good source of fiber with only 12 grams of sugar,’ said Celeste A. Clark, senior vice president of global nutrition for Kellogg’s, which makes Froot Loops. ‘You cannot judge the nutritional merits of a food product based on one ingredient.'”

But can I object to all the artificial colors and trans-fats in the cereal, proven to be unhealthy? Given the standards of this food-industry-run program, soon you’ll see candy fortified with vitamins sporting this stamp. Michael Jacobson, head of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said it best in the article: “You could start out with some sawdust, add calcium or Vitamin A and meet the criteria.”

So please ignore this “Smart Choices” seal–it’s just another attempt by the food industry to manipulate us into buying junk food with high profit margins.

Xtreme Eating Awards 2009

Would you like an entrée with your entrée?

“Xtreme appetizers, entrées, and desserts at America’s chain restaurants are making Americans fatter and sicker, and the trendy thing for chains to do is to make already bad foods even worse. Bacon cheeseburgers come nestled inside quesadillas. Half racks of ribs are promoted as side orders to steak. Golf-ball-size blobs of macaroni and cheese are tossed in the deep-fryer and served with creamy marinara sauce and even more cheese.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has just come out with its Xtreme Eating Awards 2009, in which the advocacy group “honors” the chain-restaurant dishes with the most calories, fat, and salt. And let me tell you, it is completely shocking just how many calories some of this stuff has. The Cheesecake Factory Chicken and Biscuits? 2,500 calories. That’s more calories than you should be consuming all day.

These awards make it very clear why posting calorie counts on menus is a good thing–would you really order the chicken and biscuits if you knew it was that much of a calorie bomb?