business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports on a new study from Boston University and Tufts researchers concluding that even as fast food chains have positioned themselves as having healthier offerings, “many options grew in size and the calories and sodium in them surged.” As a result, the research suggests, “even with lighter items in the mix, fast food menus are less healthy than they were 30 years ago.”

The Times writes that “the fat and salt content and the sheer size of fast food meals have long been a public health concern. They are often blamed for pushing up the obesity rate among adults in the United States, which rose to 40 percent in 2016 from 13 percent in the early 1960s.

“The new study suggests the problem is getting worse.

“Across the 10 chains, the researchers found, the average entree weighed 39 grams more in 2016 than in 1986 and had 90 more calories. It also had 41.6 percent of the recommended daily allotment of sodium, up from 27.8 percent.”
KC's View:
The story notes that while “local governments have adopted menu-labeling initiatives that require fast food restaurants to list calorie counts for the items they sell,” these efforts have “faced substantial opposition, including from the Food and Drug Administration.”

Which I find extremely annoying.

First of all, I don’t trust anything that fast food restaurants say. I don’t eat in them much, but when I do, I don’t kid myself that anything they are serving is the least bit healthy.

Example: The Times points out that “Carl’s Jr. recently added a plant-based burger, the Beyond Famous Star, to its lineup.” Even that option, with cheese, “has more than 700 calories.” If I’m going to order it, I’ll do it for the taste or the convenience, and just jog a little farther or faster or both tomorrow.

What I really hate are efforts from the food industry to prevent transparency, and to hide the information that people need to make intelligent, informed decisions. It is just a crock, and positions the industry as being at odds with their customers.