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Supersized America Losing War on Fat

  • Ted Landphair

This hot dog with all the fixin's (and more) is featured at, appropriately, Fat Johnnie's in Chicago.

This hot dog with all the fixin's (and more) is featured at, appropriately, Fat Johnnie's in Chicago.

What’s a few thousand calories among chubby friends?

First Lady Michelle Obama has been making the talk-show rounds, plugging an exercise program called "Let’s Move." Designed to get America’s young people in motion, it is one of a number of efforts to attack the nation’s obesity epidemic.

Just this month, the federal Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, proposed rules that would require restaurants, fast-food chains, even vending-machine owners, to clearly post the calorie contents of their items on menus and signs.

We can’t yet say this is too little, too late. But we’re pretty sure America is losing the war on fat.

Just a few examples:

This month’s "five-dollar foot-long," or 30-centimeter submarine at a popular sandwich chain, features not only meatballs but also pepperoni sausage and cheese.

One pizza company, not content to double its meat and cheese toppings, began stuffing extra cheese inside the crust. This triple burger, or sometimes a couple of 'em, constitute dinner for some folks, at 1,250 calories per. This triple burger, or sometimes a couple of 'em, constitute dinner for some folks, at 1,250 calories per.

This triple burger, or sometimes a couple of 'em, constitute dinner for some folks, at 1,250 calories per. This triple burger, or sometimes a couple of 'em, constitute dinner for some folks, at 1,250 calories per.

A hamburger chain is touting its "Enormous Omelet" sandwich containing a sausage patty, two eggs, three strips of bacon, and processed American cheese. The clerk will probably ask you if you want deep-fried hash-brown potatoes with your order.

A nationwide diner chain is, in its words, "celebrating" what it calls "baconalia" - featuring seven dishes in which, the company boasts, "bacon isn’t just rationed or relegated to a side dish. Bacon is king." Believe it or not, one of those dishes is an ice-cream sundae, with not one but two layers of ice cream, bacon, and maple-flavored syrup.

We haven’t even mentioned another chain’s 1,420-calorie "Monster Thickburger" with its 107 grams of fat, 229 milligrams of cholesterol, and 2,651 milligrams of sodium. That’s 651 more milligrams of salt in one sandwich than the FDA recommends we eat in an entire day.

And while you can find salad and vegetables in a nationwide chain’s famous "endless buffet," you would have to have amazing willpower to resist its pizza, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese spread before you, not to mention its separate bakery and dessert buffet.

You’ll wash it all down with a diet drink, of course, as a gesture to your commitment to healthy eating - starting tomorrow.


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