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'Extreme Eating' the caloric winners are ...


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#1 rotuts

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:37 AM

http://www.cspinet.o.../201301161.html

make sure you check out the .pdf near the bottom.

this reminds me of the fine book series: 'eat this not that'

http://www.amazon.co...t this not that

and 'cook this not that'

http://www.amazon.co...k this not that

if your library system has any of these books you will learn a lot from glancing through them.

esp. supermarket stuff.

#2 Lisa Shock

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:45 PM

At least where the Cheesecake Factory is concerned, they assume that you're taking a lot of the meal home to eat on another day. I recall reading an article about their menu strategy and they said they knew that one of their strong points was that women would eat there because they knew that the next day's lunch would be taken care of with leftovers, and they viewed it as very economical.

#3 mugen

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:28 PM

I don't support paternalism or inteference that effectively absolves individuals from the duty of care that they owe to themselves, but, in this case, I cannot see even the most incidental and remote need for an entree with 3,120 calories to ever be produced or consumed by anyone, and so I wouldn't be bothered in the slightest if chains had calorific restrictions imposed on the foods that they serve.

#4 annabelle

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:36 PM

Meh. No one is forcing anyone to eat at places like the Cheesecake Factory. Obviously, they have a following or they wouldn't be all over the country.

#5 munchymom

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:34 PM

Cheesecake Factory has introduced a menu of lower-calorie dishes which they call "Skinnylicious". I suppose it's a step in the right direction, but it's embarassing to order from it. Like, I'm over 40 and have a certain amount of dignity. Do I really have to say the word "skinnylicious"? It's like ordering the "Rooty Tooty Fresh 'n' Fruity" with a side of self-loathing.
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#6 Baselerd

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:28 PM

These entrees are clearly over the top - but blaming the food industry seem silly. I'll be interested to see if the presence of calorie values on the menus will make much of a difference - my guess is not much. The general public has already voted with their wallets, so instead of trying to interfere with restaurants maybe they should focus on educating the public.

Edited by Baselerd, 18 January 2013 - 01:29 PM.


#7 annabelle

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:11 PM

Educating the public about what? Isn't eating out a treat to be enjoyed and perhaps splurged on?

Personally, I am sick of being lectured to about what and how and where and when and how often we should eat this that and the other. I had a mother, I don't need to be nagged at by the CSPI. If I want nagging, I can call Mom.

#8 Baselerd

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:47 PM

Perhaps that is a bit of an oversimplification of the issue. Some people obviously don't fully (or in any capacity) understand the effect poor food choices can have on them. I wasn't suggesting anyone nag at you, and I agree that nobody likes that sort of thing.

#9 rotuts

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:59 PM

I see this issue differently:

we live in a ( relatively ) free society. so if you want to eat ( fill in the blank ) thats fine. it really is.

however, if for whatever reason, your choices effect your health in an extreme way, those (future) health costs must be borne by you and not by society as a whole.

we are not just the foods we eat, but the choices we make, and should be responsible for them

Edited by rotuts, 18 January 2013 - 03:02 PM.


#10 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:05 PM

I don't support paternalism or inteference that effectively absolves individuals from the duty of care that they owe to themselves, but, in this case, I cannot see even the most incidental and remote need for an entree with 3,120 calories to ever be produced or consumed by anyone, and so I wouldn't be bothered in the slightest if chains had calorific restrictions imposed on the foods that they serve.


No one 'needs' a double bacon cheeseburger or even a plain old 'cheese and beef puck between two slices of whitebread' kind of cheeseburger. No one 'needs' cheesecake. I mean, a slice of cheesecake every now and then--or, yeah, a bacon burger--isn't going to ruin your grand plans of not dying at sixty years of age, but maybe you'd be best off not having it at all. Ever. Drawing a line in there somewhere, where, oh, now it's just become excessive, we can't let people do that ... I'm not a fan of that. You draw the line there but plenty of people would draw it at the cake. I get where you're coming from. Especially in lower socioeconomic areas, some people do make poor choices. They'll eat poorly and smoke and take a significant portion of their limited income and 'invest' it in gambling. And yet, even so, I think the role of the state is only to educate (and to ensure companies are honest enough to make readily avaliable information about ingredients, calory counts, et al) and not to enforce diet plans. On a similar note, I don't think people should be able to come back at McDonald's/Cheesecake Factory/KFC later and attempt to take legal action on the basis of, well, I got really fat and then got really ill. Keep in mind that a fine dining degustation (or meal in general) probably also includes an excessive amount of fat, salt and other 'bad things'. Depending on what you order, a steakhouse or BBQ joint might also cross well over that line of horrifying excess. Sure, there are restaurants that really do make an effort to serve very healthy food (or are serving something there's pretty much good for you to begin with) but it's often very much a 'treat', whether you're paying $10 or $200 per head.

Incidentally, in the States are sweet potato fries typically billed as a more interesting and 'healthy' alternative to regular fries in the way they often are here?

Edited by ChrisTaylor, 18 January 2013 - 03:08 PM.

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#11 rotuts

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:17 PM

this book has opened many eyes , ok mine:

http://www.amazon.co...ywords=fat land

you wont be able to put it down: the economics and corporate profit motive for "fat"

McD and the superzied fries was a business stoke of financial insight, but paid for by others.

#12 Baselerd

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:21 PM

I think this subject expands to our fundamental view of how involved government should be in our lives - I don't think anyone wants the government to tell them how to eat.

However, it is pretty clear that obesity and poor diet habits have become a large public health problem in the US (albeit overly dramatized by media) that causes huge costs to the public health sector, causing our medical insurance and health costs to rise. Obesity is only second to smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in the US, causing a laundry list of expensive, potentially fatal complications. It seems pretty obvious, but when one third of the population is incurring massive medical costs, it is a problem that has gotten out of hand. And clearly nobody has found a good solution yet.

All I'm saying is that putting calorie counts on the menu isn't going to solve this. The real problem is probably deeply rooted in our psyche (and how lazy we are), I figure convenience foods have really only exploded to dominance in the last 50 years, and now we're seeing the inevitable result.

#13 annabelle

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:32 PM

Obesity is indeed a problem. However, every night there are commercials showing little children and some celebrity intoning about how many kiddos are going to bed hungry every night. Blah blah number of children don't get enough to eat and we need to donate money to whatever the program is that feeds the tykes. Why? Why are these kids going hungry if there are tens of millions of people on food stamps? Are we too fat because we like french fries and soda pop or are our kids practically starving to death because they don't get enough to eat?

I disagree that we are a lazy people. However, that has nothing to do with food so I will leave it at that.

#14 rotuts

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:37 PM

this is not a problem of being lazy. this is a problem about being responsible. today and in the future. this is a culture that finds it easy to point the finger elsewhere.

#15 annabelle

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:52 PM

Humans are big on the finger-pointing. I don't know that I'd confine it to Americans.

#16 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:02 PM

I don't think it's so simple as to say, oh, you're engaging in risk-taking behaviour so we'll exclude you from the public health care system (or universal health care system if, you know, you're residing somewhere that has one or a subsidised medication scheme or something similar). Sure, private insurance companies, they'll charge you based on a number of risk factors. If you smoke, for instance, you pay more for insurance. And that's okay. That's private enterprise doing what it does. If a private insurance company (and do they do this already?) wanted to say, hey, if you're above a certain BMI we'll sting you an extra $x per year, I'd have no problem with that. Find another insurance company if that's really so offensive to you. When it comes to healthcare that's paid for at least in part by the state, tho', no, that's the state's responsibility. I mean, you could drive down the cost to the state by saying to people that, oh, if you live within 2 kilometres of a train station or bus stop you're not allowed to drive. And, too, you're not allowed to drive interstate: you need to take the train or plane. Air travel and rail travel are, after all, significantly safer than driving. Driving when you don't have to is engaging in what is measurably excessively risky behaviour. It really is. And yet it's not up to the state to either disallow driving for certain portions of the (sub)urban population or turn them away/charge them more when they're carted into the emergency room after a car accident. You could also level this against people that, say, own firearms or opt to live somewhere unsafe (high crime rate or some sort of environmental issue, such as prone to bushfires or extreme heat) ... but you shouldn't. They're all behaviours that are bad for your health/maybe bad for someone else's health but none of them justify the state cutting you off. If you want to think of it another way, people that eat poorly also (probably) pay tax. Yes, they might use the system more than you do, but you probably use the taxpayer-funded road network or library or some other taxpayer-funded service/facility a whole lot more than other people. It's no justification for regulating behaviour.

EDIT

And no, it's not confined to Americans. In Australia we've had (altho' not lately) calls from various 'interest groups' and whatnot to regulate what McDonald's and other fast food chains can sell, when/what they can advertise (i.e. not during times when children are likely to be watching--because we all know how many six-year-olds independently jump in the car and go through the drive thru to load up on cheeseburger happy meals) and how many 'healthy alternatives' they need to include on the menu. Because, you know, it's Ronald's fault that you're fat and you have no control over your own behaviour or what your children eat.

Edited by ChrisTaylor, 18 January 2013 - 04:04 PM.

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#17 rotuts

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:14 PM

no. they are not excluded. but those you have gone on a different path, by luck or insight, should not be overwhelmed by others choices.

what has been proven to work for the majority, and not everybody, is to make understood choices that will lead in the direction of poor health expensive

tobacco is the case thats been studied

Edited by rotuts, 18 January 2013 - 04:17 PM.


#18 annabelle

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:17 PM

Bravo Chris. There is ever more argumentum ad verecundiam being done by our government(s), usually staked around a "It's for the Children" theme.

I will decide what my family eats. I don't want others deciding for me and I will extend that courtesy to others and I will thank our government to remember who pays their salaries.

#19 mugen

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:21 PM


I don't support paternalism or inteference that effectively absolves individuals from the duty of care that they owe to themselves, but, in this case, I cannot see even the most incidental and remote need for an entree with 3,120 calories to ever be produced or consumed by anyone, and so I wouldn't be bothered in the slightest if chains had calorific restrictions imposed on the foods that they serve.


No one 'needs' a double bacon cheeseburger or even a plain old 'cheese and beef puck between two slices of whitebread' kind of cheeseburger. No one 'needs' cheesecake. I mean, a slice of cheesecake every now and then--or, yeah, a bacon burger--isn't going to ruin your grand plans of not dying at sixty years of age, but maybe you'd be best off not having it at all. Ever. Drawing a line in there somewhere, where, oh, now it's just become excessive, we can't let people do that ... I'm not a fan of that. You draw the line there but plenty of people would draw it at the cake. I get where you're coming from. Especially in lower socioeconomic areas, some people do make poor choices. They'll eat poorly and smoke and take a significant portion of their limited income and 'invest' it in gambling. And yet, even so, I think the role of the state is only to educate (and to ensure companies are honest enough to make readily avaliable information about ingredients, calory counts, et al) and not to enforce diet plans. On a similar note, I don't think people should be able to come back at McDonald's/Cheesecake Factory/KFC later and attempt to take legal action on the basis of, well, I got really fat and then got really ill. Keep in mind that a fine dining degustation (or meal in general) probably also includes an excessive amount of fat, salt and other 'bad things'. Depending on what you order, a steakhouse or BBQ joint might also cross well over that line of horrifying excess. Sure, there are restaurants that really do make an effort to serve very healthy food (or are serving something there's pretty much good for you to begin with) but it's often very much a 'treat', whether you're paying $10 or $200 per head.

Incidentally, in the States are sweet potato fries typically billed as a more interesting and 'healthy' alternative to regular fries in the way they often are here?


Like all things, it is a question of degree and involves subjective judgments. Ingesting 3,000 calories in the course of a degustation menu is a qualitatively different thing from ingesting 3,000 calories of deep-fried sludge that has been produced from low quality, industrial-grade ingredients. I didn't mean to suggest that the state should proscribe acts that are risky and are not in some way needed: I wouldn't actively support restricting diets, but if governments did so, there is such a complete absence of any positive aspect to the examples the CSPI gave that I (and many others, I suspect) would struggle to be bothered to hoist the flag for individual choice and liberty.

#20 rotuts

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:24 PM

good for you. and I agree completely.

"I will decide what my family eats. I don't want others deciding for me and I will extend that courtesy to others"

however, some things might be a lot more expensive. i

Edited by rotuts, 18 January 2013 - 04:26 PM.


#21 mugen

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:27 PM

Bravo Chris. There is ever more argumentum ad verecundiam being done by our government(s), usually staked around a "It's for the Children" theme.

I will decide what my family eats. I don't want others deciding for me and I will extend that courtesy to others and I will thank our government to remember who pays their salaries.


As has already been pointed out, that's only a fair expectation to the extent that your choices do not ultimately impose costs on society. If you choose to feed your children burgers (... a righteous proof and the best possible exercise of your liberty :rolleyes:) and that directly (Medicare or increased claims via private insurance) or even indirectly (seating and fuel costs on aircraft) costs others, I can't see any reason why you should be indulged.

#22 rotuts

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:34 PM

close, but no cigar. your free choice should be reasonably costly at the point of your choice, that reflects true total costs. not later.

then on personal reflection and your personal budget, help yourself!

Edited by rotuts, 18 January 2013 - 04:35 PM.


#23 mugen

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:36 PM

Err, what?

#24 annabelle

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 05:23 PM

mugen, first welcome to eGullet.

Second, calories are calories. 3000+ calories of pork belly plus globs of foie and butter and bottles of alcohol are certainly as bad for us as are cheeseburgers and fries. Burgers and fries are not hipster food at the moment and fast food outlets are sneered at. It is a ridiculous posture and one I hope you grow out of soon, if not in years than in attitude.

Thirdly, how I choose to spend my time, spend my money, feed my family are no concern of yours as you don't know me from Adam's housecat. Likewise, I do not know you and you are free to spend your money on tasting menus or library paste. Whichever you see fit.

Edited by annabelle, 18 January 2013 - 05:25 PM.


#25 mugen

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:23 PM

mugen, first welcome to eGullet.

Second, calories are calories. 3000+ calories of pork belly plus globs of foie and butter and bottles of alcohol are certainly as bad for us as are cheeseburgers and fries. Burgers and fries are not hipster food at the moment and fast food outlets are sneered at. It is a ridiculous posture and one I hope you grow out of soon, if not in years than in attitude.

Thirdly, how I choose to spend my time, spend my money, feed my family are no concern of yours as you don't know me from Adam's housecat. Likewise, I do not know you and you are free to spend your money on tasting menus or library paste. Whichever you see fit.


You'll forgive me if your welcome sounds contrived or as a way of intimating juniority to your length of membership or number of posts.

The second point is deliberately obtuse: I don't know why you're at egullet if your interest in fine food is so limited or your palate so crude that you actually can't or won't distinguish between 3,000 calories in an exceptionally well executed bistro meal with foie gras and 3,000 calories in a Big Mac, large fries and a Coke.

As for the third, I don't claim to know you, but what you feed your children is my concern if I have to directly or indirectly bear the costs of your choices. I derive not the slightest benefit from you feeding your children badly, so if that is the choice that you make, it is entirely in my interests to see that the government prevents you from doing so, because it vitiates the risk that I will have to bear the social costs of you doing so.

Again: what an excellent subject you've chosen for a red-blooded expression of your American liberties - the freedom to feed yourself and your children bad food. :rolleyes:

Edited by mugen, 18 January 2013 - 06:29 PM.


#26 annabelle

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:32 PM

I've not said what I feed my children. They are grown. They feed themselves.

I've said I don't think it is the business of anyone to tell me or you what we may or may not eat.

#27 mugen

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:52 PM

I can't tell whether you're selectively reading the sentence, so that you're entirely ignoring the qualification "if the choice results in costs to the rest of society", or you do in fact think that your freedom shouldn't be bounded at all, no matter how much it might harm or cost others. Which is it?