I last worked in the restaurant biz over 25 years ago as a waiter at Denny’s, but I understand why restaurants SuperSize meals. Customers are going to take a fixed amount of time, roughly 1 hour, sitting in a seat. The restaurant is only so big, the best way to boost profits is to sell more food, and if you have a fixed amount of customers, you have to sell them bigger portions. It’s almost required that meals are big enough to serve 2 or 3 people now.
The report, requested and funded by the Food and Drug Administration, lays out ways to help people manage their intake of calories from the growing number of meals prepared away from home, including at the nation’s nearly 900,000 restaurants and other establishments that serve food.
“We must take a serious look at the impact these foods are having on our waistlines,” said Penelope Slade Royall, director of the health promotion office at the Department of Health and Human Services.
The 136-page report prepared by The Keystone Center, an education and public group based in Keystone, Colo., said Americans now consume fully one-third of their daily intake of calories outside the home. And as of 2000, the average American took in 300 more calories a day than was the case 15 years earlier, according to Agriculture Department statistics cited in the report.
Today, 64 percent of Americans are overweight, including the 30 percent who are obese, according to the report. It pegs the annual medical cost of the problem at nearly $93 billion.
On one hand, I applaud the effort – I’d love more places where I could get a simple 400-calorie meal (which is about what I can eat without gaining weight.) When I see burger places offering 2400 calorie burgers, I cringe.
On the other hand, if you want to go to McDonald’s, they offer salads and stuff. You *can* eat smaller portions, it’s just that most people don’t. They super-size it bigger and bigger. People are free to eat elsewhere or to cook it themselves. So why should the government get in the middle of consumer choices?
Dagnabbit, I want to be conservative *and* slim.