All Fed Up With The Food Police

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - June 30, 2010

I am tired of self-appointed food vigilantes who believe they have the right to threaten, coerce and bully businesses (and, by extension, parents) into conforming to their way of thinking.

Don’t these people have anything better to do? Why not take a hike or go for a swim? Your time would be better spent improving your own lives rather than trying to run the lives of others.

Here’s the latest salvo in the Food War.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, the reliable bastion of opportunistic food activism, has issued a warning to sue McDonald’s, the world’s largest and most successful restaurant chain. What is the latest dastardly and treacherous undertaking of the Devil’s henchmen? McDonald’s is deviously exploiting children and luring them into their den of high-caloric madness by offering ... toys in a Happy Meal.


 

The premise of this latest threat by CSPI is that McDonald’s is using deceptive advertising practices to unduly influence children and cause them to want Happy Meals. If McDonald’s does not stop the practice in 30 days, then CSPI will file a lawsuit. It contends the consumption of Happy Meals and similar fast-food fare is responsible for the childhood obesity “epidemic.” McDonald’s says it’s just a fun way to enjoy a family dining experience.

So the food in a Happy Meal is the real culprit behind childhood obesity. Let’s take a look at this devastating “bomb in a bag.”

A McDonald’s four-piece McNugget Happy Meal with fries and 1 percent low-fat milk has 5 grams of saturated fat, 520 calories, 690 milligrams of sodium and 52 grams carbohydrates. A McDonald’s hamburger Happy Meal with fries and 1 percent low-fat milk has 6 grams of saturated fat, 590 calories, 810 milligrams of sodium and 72 grams carbohydrates.

According to the Baylor College of Medicine and netrition.com, the nutritional consumption daily values for children between the ages of 7 and 14 for saturated fats average 20 grams, 1,800 calories, 2,400 milligrams of sodium and 300 grams carbohydrates. You can see that if you eat three Happy Meals a day, you will exceed these recommended levels. But, seriously, who does that?

However, for the sake of comparison, let’s consider the nutritional values of a couple of local favorites that children enjoy, too.

A mini chicken katsu plate (with rice and mac salad) and a POG drink at L&L Drive-In has 18 grams of saturated fat, 1,790 calories, 1,645 milligrams of sodium and 1,777 grams carbohydrates.


A serving of Kraft macaroni and cheese, a hot dog on a bun and a glass of apple juice has 7 grams of saturated fat, 630 calories, 1,183 milligrams of sodium and 97 grams carbohydrates.

A Spam musubi, 8-ounce bag of potato chips (unsalted) and a 12-ounce Coke Classic has 16 grams unsaturated fat, 1,620 calories, 512 milligrams sodium and 186.5 grams of carbs.

We are confronted with food choices every day. Clearly, it’s not the fault of McDonald’s, Burger King or Wendy’s that children are obese. They are not forcing children into their restaurants and cramming food down their throats. Nor are these restaurants holding adults at knife point to take them to their drive-throughs. The decisions affecting a child’s weight are being made by the parents of that child, not by the director of marketing of a fast food giant. What is stocked in the refrigerator, the freezer or the pantry is a parent’s decision.

If your children are obese, then stop feeding them lousy food, get them out of the house and away from the TV and get active! You are the solution to what ails childhood obesity in this country, not some opportunistic “food police” organization that wants us to live a life they, not you, choose.

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