July 30, 2007

The 10 Greatest Advancements in FAST FOOD History

Erik Amonson and Lukas Kaiser tackle the question everyone should ask: What are the 10 top advancements in fast food history. Read all about it in The 10 Greatest Advancements in FAST FOOD History.

I think you can could up with your own list, but I especially liked #6 -- Subway successfully tricks people into thinking they make healthy fast food.
By the time I graduated high school, I was getting close to being borderline obese. I ballooned from a size 40 to a size 44 pants size within my senior year. Things were looking grim. Then I got a summer job that required I be on my feet at all time and an internship that was seven miles from my house that required a 45 minute long bike ride there and back. Oh, also, I barely had any time to eat and ended up quickly making two hot dogs for lunch and two for dinner. Needless to say, by the time I entered college, I was down to a size 36 and I had lost almost 50 pounds (in under three months). I suppose you could say I lost weight thanks to hot dogs in addition to exercise. That'd be a fib...the kind of fib Jared, from Subway, tells every day (his, as you probably know, is that he lost nearly 100 pounds). But it's the kind of fib lazy people who don't want to ride bikes and run and exercise want to believe. Thanks to Jared and his perfect "aw shucks" delivery, Subway is now the fastest growing fast food chain in America (in fact, there are more Subway restaurants in Manhattan than there are McDonalds). Thanks to Jared, every fast food chain (save Popeye's) has "healthy" food items on their menu now. And thanks to Jared, people will continue to believe they can lose weight by not exercising and eating shitty ham sandwiches. And here's something, guys: even if you do lose weight, the sandwiches are still not "healthy" for you. They still don't contain vegetables or nutrients that your body needs and are still mostly packed with bullshit and you'll still die of a coronary. But you'd never know that...because a guy who used to be fat told you he lost weight.

July 29, 2007

Eat like a gorilla

From the The Nutrient Rich Blog Dr. Joel Fuhrman suggests we eat more like a mountain gorilla than a mountain lion.
What would happen if you attempted to eat like a mountain gorilla, which eats about 80 percent of its diet from green leaves and about 15 percent from fruit? Assuming you are a female, who needs about 1,500 calories a day, if you attempted to get 1,200 of those calories from greens, you would need to eat over fifteen pounds of greens. That is quite a big salad! Since your stomach can only hold about one liter of food (or a little over a quart), you would have a problem fitting it all in.

Did you notice that 100 calories of broccoli is about ten ounces of food, and 100 calories of ground sirloin is less than one ounce of food? With green vegetables you can get filled up, even stuffed, yet you will not be consuming excess calories. Animal products, on the other hand, are calorie-dense and relatively low in nutrients, especially the crucial anti-cancer nutrients.

You would surely get lots of protein from this gorilla diet. In fact, with just five pounds of greens you would exceed the RDA for protein and would get loads of other important nutrients. The problem with this gorilla diet is that you would develop a calorie deficiency. You would become too thin.

Researcher’s Unveil Four Factors of Obesity

The researchers at UC Berkeley came up with the four factors of obesity. One of the factors is directly connected to restaurant food (haven't I been telling you that?). Two other factors seem indirectly tied to restaurant's bad fat and sugary sweet drinks.

The researchers didn't mentioned weak minded as a factor, or personal self-control.

Here are the four factors that are most likely to cause overweight and obesity in America according to researchers:

* the consumption of dietary fat, (because of its high calorie content, palatability and efficient utilization by the body)
* sweetened beverages, (consumption of sugar in beverage form likely to result in higher calorie intake, high fructose corn syrup metabolism in the liver favors lipogenesis - i.e. fat production)
* restaurant foods, (the more one eats out the harder it is to avoid weight gain - fast foods and restaurant foods higher in calories and fat and lack other nutrients)
* and a pattern of breakfast-skipping (overweight individuals tend to skip breakfast)

Read more at Researcher’s Unveil Four Factors of Obesity or read the full report at California Agriculture.

July 28, 2007

Calorie pusher comes to town

When the Cheesecake Factory comes to your town, you better watch out!

Calorielab.com writer notes that she's might be the only person in Rochester, NY not looking forward to the opening of another Calorie Pusher. And of course, The Cheesecake Factory won't even tell you what's in its food.

Calorie pusher comes to town: The Cheesecake Factory hits Rochester

"They refuse to tell their customers what they’re serving. Their web site states that they do not provide nutrition information, and it’s not available in their restaurants, or on most independent nutrition sites, either.

Emails to the company requesting nutrition bring this response:

At this time we do not provide nutritional information, such as caloric values, although we do hope to have that service available to our guests in the future.
I find it extremely difficult to believe that they don’t have the information.
The Cheesecake Calorie Factory is "in"famous mostly for huge plates overflowing with pounds of high-calorie food.

How bad is it? Officially, the Cheesecake Calorie Factory won't say. But a cook at RecipeZaar recreated their Pasta Da Vinci, and came up with 3,736 calories and 165 grams of fat.

That's nearly TWO DAYS worth of calories in one dish.

A slice of their cheesecake has 1,150 calories, and 74 grams of fat. (You'd have to walk for MORE than 5 hours to work off that Calorie/Coronary cheesecake.

Don't expect anything healthy with the "Profit, I mean Weight, Management" salads. The California Salad has 43 grams of fat. (You could eat 10 peanut butter cookies and still eat less fat.)

Next time you see a Cheesecake Fat Factory feel very good as you pass by.

July 27, 2007

Do you know anybody who died of obesity?

Today I was reading this blog, and got to thinking. Obesity is a killer in America. But I don't think I know anyone who died of it. I know, unfortunately, way too many young friends and family who died of cancer. Yet, no one of fatness.

So I'm asking my audience to comment: Do you know anyone who died of obesity? Let me know their story.

Americans think Obesity as Unhealthy as Smoking

WebMD.com reports the tide has turned in America.

Both obesity and smoking are risky to our health.

A new Gallup Poll shows 83% of U.S. adults view obesity as very harmful to one’s health, compared with 79% who said the same about smoking.

Researchers say the results reveal a new view of obesity’s health risks and show that medical knowledge about the negative health effects of being overweight has entered the American mind-set.

In fact, they say the message has come through so clearly that at this point Americans are just as likely to say that being obese is very harmful as they are to say the same thing about smoking, which has long been the target of public health campaigns.

Read more on the poll...

Nutritional restaurant food costs more than junk

There's a reason it's called junk food. Because it's cheap nutritionally, and cheap for your wallet. Good food costs money. But most times the local vegetable farmer is not subsidized like McDonald's and Walmart.

A recent report from the University of Washington compared the weekly costs of eating high- and low-energy-dense food in 1,500 French teens and adults. It found that fruit, vegetables and other lower-calorie fare cost more than fast-food burgers, fried chicken and other energy-dense foods. That suggests, the team concluded in June in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, that 'lasting improvements in diet quality may require economic as well as behavioral interventions.'

Here are some tips from the researchers:

  • Add a first course to lunch and dinner. Make it a large leafy salad with plenty of vegetables and low-fat or nonfat dressing. Penn State researchers have found this practice can cut an average of 100 calories from the main meal without affecting fullness.

  • Sip soup. It's filled with water, which helps you feel full on fewer calories. Stews are another smart option. The exception: Avoid cream-based soups, which are packed with fat and calories.

  • Cut fat but not flavor. Choose fat-free or low-fat cheese instead full-fat varieties, especially in casseroles and mixed dishes where other ingredients can take up the slack.

  • Add fruit or vegetables to cut calories. Diced grapes, celery, carrots and water chestnuts lower the calories in chicken salad or tuna salad and add flavor and texture. Use mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, spinach and other vegetables on pizza in place of some of the pepperoni and sausage. Add spinach, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and other veggies to pasta dishes while cutting back on meat

  • Get more fiber. Not only does it help dilute calories, but it also increases satiety. So add beans to taco fillings, salads and soups. Switch to whole-wheat bread, pasta and cereal.

  • Read more at: You can eat more and still lose weight.

    Restaurants Experimenting with Smaller Portions

    Out West diners are commenting on TGI Friday's new smaller portions for smaller prices.

    Check out their reactions at: Restaurants Experimenting with Smaller Portions.

    Here's a sample:
    "People can be addicted to food the same way some are addicted to alcohol. Unfortunately there is the one difference - we still have to eat. It isn't like we can just stop, like someone who smokes.

    I think it is a wonderful idea to have smaller portions as an option. It is difficult to stop eating when there is still food on your plate."

    July 26, 2007

    Friends, family may make you fat

    Friends, family may make you fat

    In my "best 10 ways to lose 100 pounds" I pointed out that your friends and family pose a threat when you are trying to lose weight. This research proves it.

    July 24, 2007

    Soda (diet or regular) linked to heart risks

    Last blog I told you McDonald's wants to sell you a soda the size of Siberia.

    Now researchers from Boston University's School of Medicine finds a link between all sodas -- diets and sugar-laden -- and increased heart disease risks. (The author of the study emphasized the findings don't show diet sodas are a cause of increased heart disease. But cigarette makers have argued for years that cigarettes don't cause cancer either.)

    Without a definitive explanation, researchers offers only this advice to diet soda drinkers: "consume in moderation and stay tuned for more research."

    I'd say if you are serious about your health stay away from colas.

    more...Diet soda linked to heart risks - Yahoo! News

    July 21, 2007

    McDonald's wants to make you HUGO fat

    McDonald's was starting to offer more appropriately portioned food lately. But that ended today.

    The Hugo, a 42-ounce drink is now being offered for as little as 89 cents. One cup of the Hugo Coke has more than 400 calories. Some are calling it the Tubbo.

    Of course, the Hugo ads are in both English and Spanish, making sure that Latin minorities have an equal opportunity to be obese.

    Today's NY Times comments:

    When McDonald’s opened in 1955 the largest soda was 7 fluid ounces, according to Ms. Nestle and Ms. Young. Now a small soda is 16 ounces, and a child’s soda is 12 ounces. And what was once considered a normal adult meal is now a child’s portion. A patty the same size as the original McDonald’s hamburger and a serving of French fries, for instance, is now offered to children as part of the Happy Meal, Ms. Young said.

    The problem with bigger portions has been well documented. They are undoubtedly good deals. But put simply, if people are offered more food, they eat it.

    I don't remember going to McDonald's in the 60s and saying to myself, this place would be pretty good, if the sodas were 6 times bigger. Or that the hamburgers needed to be have twice the fat, or the fries needed to be 4 times larger.

    Why did those "appropriately sized" meals in the 60s satisfy us, but now they don't?

    Of could it be the 60s-sized profits don't satisfy Wall Street and McDonald's executives (whose bonuses are all tied to making Americans as fat as possible).

    And I just can't believe they call it Hugo. Wasn't that a hurricane?

    Hurricane Hugo was a destructive Category 5 hurricane that struck Puerto Rico, St. Croix, South Carolina and North Carolina in September of the 1989 Atlantic hurricane season, killing 82 people. It also left 56,000 homeless. The storm caused $10 billion (1989 USD, $16.3 billion (2006 USD) in damages, making it at the time the most damaging hurricane ever recorded, surpassing Hurricane Frederic.

    Doesn't sound like something I'd want my summer drink associated with.

    July 20, 2007

    The 10 best ways to lose 100 pounds (continued)


    After you have lost the 100 pounds, now start living. Not by eating everything, but only the best, healthiest, local, greatest tasting food every day. I stopped eating everyday red meat. That’s the hamburgers, steaks, sausage, ham, pork, bacon, roasts that come from Kroger’s or Stop and Shop. I love a beautiful slice of prosciutto around the ripest melon, or an appropriate portion of Ruth Chris filet mignon occasionally. I live for beautiful local vegetables grilled perfectly with just a touch of the tastiest Italian olive oil and hand-harvested sea salt from France (with some herbs from my garden). Or the freshest catch of the day in my favorite American restaurant. In other words, live it up, live it well, but live it appropriately.

    July 19, 2007

    The 10 best ways to lose 100 pounds (continued)

    9. FIGURE OUT WHAT FOODS WORK FOR YOU. The foods that work for me are:

    a. Spinach – World’s best food. Nutritious and it must have the highest weight to calorie ratio. Can be used for all three meals. Spinach in eggs, spinach salad and sautéed spinach for dinner.

    b. Salt, pepper and spices – Just because you are eating correct portions doesn’t mean you can’t live dolce vita. Use generously, it makes the little food you are eating so much better. Buy the best salt and pepper.

    c. Mushrooms – Again, one of the best weight to calorie ratios. Everyday I have a spinach and mushroom salad for lunch.

    d. Pico de gallo (salsa) – Falls under the heading of spicing up every meal for very little calories. Don’t buy the national brands, but real fresh stuff in the product department.

    e. Fish – Any and all kinds. Shellfish as well. Enough said.

    f. Egg whites. Breakfast is so important. And everyday I have scrambled egg whites with mushrooms and spinach with a little salsa.

    g. Bananas and strawberries – Everyday at 10 am I have a banana. For dessert after dinner I sometimes have strawberries. Both are perfect foods. Sweet, nutritious, low in calories and satisfying. Both are great in a smoothie, I treat myself to on Saturday mornings.

    h. Almonds – The perfect snack in the right portions. Extremely healthy for you and very tasty.

    i. Walden Farm’s No-Calorie Salad Dressings – Most salad dressings are part of the weight problem, not a solution. These great tasting dressings should be part of every person’s diet whether or not they are trying to lose weight.

    j. Metamucil - It's the best way to get lots of fiber into your diet, and it fills you up. I mix it with water in the morning and drink it like Tang. (Like the astronauts.) On the website, the company says the fiber in Metamucil helps modulate blood glucose levels after meals. I don't know how any of this works for me, scientifically, but after losing nearly 100 pounds, I do know, it works.

    July 18, 2007

    The 10 best ways to lose 100 pounds (continued)

    7. URINATE. Every diet is going to tell you water is your best friend. Maybe your only friend at this point. You should drink lots of water, but not to fill up your stomach. You’ve heard this a hundred times, and it’s boring and stupid. Water doesn’t fill up, despite all those health nuts and diet claims. But it does wash away the impure fats in your body. None of the magazines or TV commercials want to tell you how it really works, but you’ll soon be urinating your weight away. (How else is it going to disappear?) Forget the gym, every time you go to the bathroom, you are literally losing weight. Keep going to the bathroom!

    8. READ. Read every blog and book you can on obesity. Read about healthy food. Read about local food. Read about bad food. Read about bad American marketers. Get knowledgeable. You probably know more about baseball or football, than the food you have been sticking in your mouth for the past 20 years.

    9. FIGURE OUT WHAT FOODS WORK FOR YOU. All calories count, so find the foods that you like with the lowest calories. I focus on the foods with lots of bulk and little calories, and if they have moderate calories, then the foods should be very healthy for you – at least on the top 10 lists of healthy foods. For me the foods were very easy to find and to eat nearly everyday. The foods that work for me are:
    (continued tomorrow).

    July 17, 2007

    All of America demands calorie information

    Today's NY Times succinctly describes how and why Americans are demanding calorie information at restaurants.

    Calorie Labels May Clarify Options, Not Actions

    If you were watching calories, would you go for the chicken Caesar salad at Chili’s or the classic sirloin steak? Subway’s tuna or roast beef sandwich? A Starbucks chai or a cappuccino?

    Demand for calorie labels on restaurant food is sweeping the country. New York City is ahead of the trend — a law requiring calorie counts to be posted next to prices in some restaurants went into effect July 1, though it will not be enforced until October. But some 20 other states and localities are considering measures that would require chain restaurants to provide calories or detailed nutritional information right on the menu or menu board, often next to the price and in the same size lettering.

    “Do you think people will stop eating McDonald’s French fries and Big Macs?” asked Rick Sampson of the New York State Restaurant Association, which is suing New York City over its law. “It doesn’t keep me from eating a candy bar even though the calories are listed on it right in front of me.” (A Big Mac has 540 calories; a medium order of fries, 380.)

    But public opinion polls suggest that consumers are overwhelmingly in favor of menu labeling. And a 2005 survey of 5,297 adults by the food services company Aramark found that 83 percent of them wanted nutritional information in restaurants.

    “Often, people are trying to do the right thing and make the healthier choice, but they’re just guessing at what the best choice is — it’s not always obvious,” said Margo Wootan, director of nutritional policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the advocacy group that is leading the movement for menu labeling. “Because there’s no nutritional information, they’re not getting what they think they’re getting.”

    The chicken Caesar salad at Chili’s is one of those items that might appear to be a healthier choice, but brace yourself: it contains 1,010 calories and 76 grams of fat, while the sirloin has 540 calories and 42 grams of fat (not counting side dishes).


    And the NY Times also asked its readers if menu nutritional information would affect what you ordered at restaurants?

    The answer was overwhelming yes!

    Some of the comments:

    • Calorie labels would absolutely affect what I order at restaurants. I am no saint, but I often do try to think about what would be a healthy option when dining out. If I had the added information of a calorie count, it would be much easier to make that decision.

      — Posted by Mark

    • Yes, it would affect what I order. I travel to Japan often, where many restaurants note in their menus the amt of calories each item has. I find it helpful.

      — Posted by TonyD

    • not only would it affect what i order, it would allow me to go out to restaurants more often. I currently try to avoid eating out more than once a week.

      — Posted by estefanía

    • YES, please put labels on restaurant food. Restaurants are famous for adding in tons of fat and I think it would make them more aware. Not to mention me more aware when I eat a steak and wonder why it tastes so good! Well it has a ton of butter rubber all over it! Besides, then when I diet I can actually go out to eat so I have a clue what I am eating!

      — Posted by Linda

    July 12, 2007

    The 10 Best Ways to Lose 100 pounds (continued)


    If you are 100 pounds overweight, then everybody will be trying to sabotage your diet. Your spouse, your friends, your kids, your company, your car, and especially your TV. Don’t eat with them. You’ve been eating with your family and friends and colleagues for years, and now look at you. Eat by yourself. Don’t torture yourself by watching others eat what you’d like to eat. Don’t go to restaurants. The portions are much too large. And fast food restaurants are what got you fat in the first place. Don’t go to parties. No one respects your diet. Every appetizer will try to blow up you up.

    Don't cook for your family. Everybody nibbles. You can't nibble if you are going to lose 100 pounds. Too many times I finished my wife's dinner or my kids' dinners. I eat my too-large of portions and then another portions. You can't do that if there's no other food there.


    At 7 pm you’re going to be so hungry, that you’d eat the magazine you’re reading. Go to bed. There’s nothing to relieve the hunger pains except sleep. Plus when you wake up, you can eat breakfast. Now this pain -- in the scheme of things -- is not that bad. It's not as bad as living in poverty in Africa, or fighting in Iraq or living with cancer treatment. Suck it up and live with hunger.

    Rejoice in it. Every night I have felt hungry, the next morning, I found out I had lost a pound. Every night I remembered that.


    Caffeine makes you hungry and destroys your willpower. No body that drinks caffeine can lose 100 pounds. I don’t know why, it may not be scientific, but it’s a fact.

    July 11, 2007

    The Best 10 Ways to Lose 100 pounds (continued)


    If you think you’ll going to lose 100 pounds by exercise then see #1. Stop fooling yourself. Exercise makes you want to eat more. You’d have to exercise hard for an hour just to burn off the calories of one donut. You’d have to exercise hard for 48 hours to burn off a large pizza.

    How many people do you know that walk, run, step, bicycle, row and are still overweight? Nearly all of them. Exercise doesn’t help you lose weight. Now maybe it helps maintain your weight. Maybe it tones your muscles, so you look better. But it's the exception that proves the rule.

    Don't keep eating what you have always eaten. Don't keep doing the exact same thing, you have alway done -- and add in just a little exercise -- and think you are going to lose 100 pounds. It's not going to happen. Forget exercise...for now.


    Only one thing causes you to lose weight: less food. And it’s a lot of less. It’s a lot more of less than you can ever imagine. For me to lose that much weight, I started with Nutrisystem, which packaged all my meals in the appropriate portions. At first, it took only about two bites to eat the entire breakfast, maybe, three bites for lunch. By the time dinner came, I ate so fast, I don’t remember eating.

    Start measuring your food. Get a scale. Get a bunch of measuring cups and spoons. I thought I was using just a teaspoon of olive oil, but in reality I was pouring 3-4 tablespoons. I thought I was eating, maybe, a ½ cup of eggs, but in reality I was eating 2 cups of eggs. At dinner, I thought I was eating just a couple of helpings. Turned out it was 8 portions of meat. And forgetaboutit when it came to pasta. An appropriate portion is 1-2 ounces. I was eating nearly a pound (with meat sauce). That’s 8 portions of pasta!

    July 10, 2007

    The 10 Best Ways to Lose 100 pounds

    (This list was complied by me. Not a heart doctor who’s never had to lose a pound, but a real-live weight-challenged 54-year-old. Forget the weight-challenged part, I was obese.)


    Stop the madness, and stop fooling yourself. You know you want to do it. You know you’ll feel a thousand times better. You just have to decide this is the day. Only you can do it. Sometimes it takes a scary heart attack or just angina. Sometimes it can just be carrying your 5-year-old to bed, and realizing you have to catch your breath after just a few stairs. Sometimes it’s just the effort in bending over to tie your shoes, or maybe the embarrassment of asking for the seat belt extension on the airplane. Whatever is your private hell, use it...to change your life forever.

    And it’s difficult. It’s one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do in your life. Have you ever been poked in the eye by a stick? Be prepared to be poked in the eye everyday for at least a year, and then jabbed in the nose for the rest of your life. It’s more difficult than having a baby. What’s child birth, 4 or 8 hours of pain? This is pain that will last a year.

    And it’s going to take a least a year. Don’t believe, not just for a minute, one of the hundreds of lies told by diet companies, celebrity magazine and doctors’ books. (We all know Dr. Phil isn’t a medical doctor, right?) Don’t believe any of those claims of “Slim in 6” or those magazine covers of “lose 30 pounds in 30 days.” Visualize one year, 365 days. Visualize two years. Visualize the rest of your life. One year seems so long and yet it’s just a 1/80 (1.3%) or 1/90 of your life. You didn’t gain 100 pounds in one year. So naturally it’s going to take a while to lose that fat.

    But it’s going to be more rewarding and more empowering than any raise or job promotion. You might even get a raise or job promotion, since discrimination against obesity is hidden and widespread. But mostly I’m talking about the kind of positive feedback that family and friends will give you once they see the pounds shedding.

    And the difficult part is just not the hunger, the lifestyle change or self-doubt. Be prepared for no one noticing. You’ll lose 25 pounds and people will ask if you changed your hairstyle. I lost 35 pounds and no one noticed. And these are caring, attentive work colleagues. No one noticed for the first 3 months and I had lost 50 pounds.

    To change your body, you’ll need to change your mind. Both are difficult. Both are possible. You are stronger than you think.

    Tomorrow: Exercise doesn’t work.

    July 9, 2007

    How to lose 100 pounds

    After losing 94 pounds, there's just one question everyone has for me: how did you do it?

    I thought I'd answer that question with the details of my journey for the past 10 months.

    The easy answer is that I changed.

    I changed everything. I changed how I thought about food. I changed how I ate. I changed what I ate. I changed how much I ate. I changed when I ate. I changed on what I read about food. I started this blog to encourage other people and to help change America.

    I'm exactly the same husband, father and brother I always was, but I'm totally different than the obese alien that took over my body.

    It must have been that alien that forced me to eat a large pizza 10 months and 1 day ago. My mind was saying stop, but those alien hands kept shoving that pizza in mouth.

    That night I weighed myself (why?). Two hundred and ninety pounds. Just a biscuit (and gravy) away from 300 pounds. Morbidly obese.

    I could play with my 6-year-old, but after five minutes I was tired. I’d love to do yard work, but after 10 minutes I’d have to rest. I hated to go any where. The seat belts on the plane were too tight. My shirts were too tight. My belt was too tight. Even my shoes were too tight.

    That night 10 months ago, as I headed to bed the angel of weight came and visited me. My wife and son were in Florida, and I was finishing the rest of the pizza. (I’m already 290 pounds, what’s two more slices?) I looked up and the angel said, “lo, behold an obese man.”

    And I was suddenly changed.

    I got on-line with Nutrisystem. I had seen their ads and even had a flyer from one of the mailers, but I suddenly found myself picking out food on their website. Now I had thought of all the excuses: it’s too expensive, the food won’t taste good, it won’t work, I won’t have any energy, I’ll cheat anyway…you've heard them all before. You've made them all the before.

    So I’ve decided to share my secrets on what works for me. And I’m convinced these same techniques will work for you. For the next few blogs, I’m going to tell you the best ways to lose 100 pounds.

    Continued tomorrow.