March 11, 2007

You can lose weight eating fast food

“My goal is to change the face of the fast-food industry, not shut it down. Hopefully, it will change what people are choosing to eat, which would therefore change the menu offerings.”

That's what this blog is all about. I'd just expand the fast-food industry phrase to the entire restaurant industry.

Without a doubt, Americans eat more than is recommended or needed. In fact Painter proves that portion size alone may be the cause of America’s obesity epidemic.

The “Super Size Me” mentality, illustrated in the well-known documentary of the same name, has been shown to be hazardous to our health. But is it really only the quantity of food that is the source of the problem?

To address this question, Painter made a documentary entitled Portion Size Me in which he had two of his students, one weighing 254 pounds and the other weighing 108 pounds, eat nothing but fast food for one month, paralleling the Super Size Me documentary. The difference is that the students ate small portions, appropriate for their body types, as opposed to the “super size” that was required in the original documentary.

At the end of the month, both students had lost weight and had even lowered their cholesterol. The vast contrast between this outcome and that of the documentary that emphasized larger portions illustrates that food quality is less of a factor in weight-loss than quantity.

That’s a stark contrast from the experience of the subject in “Super Size Me,” as he gained more than 20 pounds and wrecked his health after eating a steady diet of fast food for a month.

“It wasn’t the food that he ate that caused the problems, it was the portions,” Painter said. “We really showed that you can eat fast food and not gain weight.”

Make no mistake about it, Painter is not recommending a steady diet of fast food. But he’s also not buying the argument that fast food is inherently evil.

Food isn't evil. Companies are. Companies that won't allow calorie information on the menu. Companies who charge more for splitting meals. Companies who serve giant portions in the name of "value". If companies really believe in eater's choice, then why isn't an appropriately sized muffin just 75 cents when a supersized muffin is $1.50.

Give people good appropriately sized food at appropriate prices and people will make the Right choice all the time.

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