The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final compliance deadline to fast food restaurants to disclose calorie content after three years of extending deadlines.
The FDA slaved over creating the perfect set of guidelines; rules and red tape to make any bureaucrat beam with pride. Although clearly intended for eating establishments that are ‘chains’ with 20 or more locations, it also covers fast food dominators such as McDonalds and restaurants advertised as more upscale, say an Applebee’s or Chili’s Grill and Bar, as well as convenience stores, bowling alleys, movie theatres, and ice cream shops.
Prepare for a cacophony akin to the bellowing of a lovelorn elk in the mountains of Yellowstone as consumers are subjected to fast food facts. Friends, it could get ugly.
Have it Your Way but Beware
Accompanying the unnecessary guidelines was a lengthy message posted on the FDA’s website from Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., explaining why this layer of government is crucial to our survival. As he laboriously details in this tome of explanation:
“Many have heard me cite this statistic, but it bears repeating because this is a driving factor for us at the FDA and for those in Congress who crafted the law: Americans currently eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home. At the same time, rates of child and adult obesity in the U.S. are at historic highs.”
Umm, Doc, most folks already know that a cheeseburger and fries is less healthy than a salad. No one should be surprised to read on the buffet sneeze guard that fried foods, tasty or not, are apt to increase your cholesterol levels and add another pound or two to the sedentary seat. What we have is an addiction to grease, ease, and economy of the dollar menus. That, coupled with sheer laziness and an obsession with techno gadgets, means we’re doomed – unless we manage our own lives.
In Olden Days
Growing up in the 50s and 60s, an eight-ounce bottle of pop was a treat, not a beverage kept around the house. Instead, milk and water, and oft-times iced tea were mainstays in the household. Nowadays, it’s more common to have one or two 44-ounce bladder busters of soda than a glass of water a day. Everyone knows it’s not healthy, but some people refuse to care until their health is at risk. And don’t forget the convenience of the drive-thru – a quick food fix with no dishes to wash. In our fast-paced world, fast food has taken over for a lot of parents – who understand exactly what they are feeding themselves and their kids.
Do the Right Thing
Gottlieb is on a noble mission that will hopefully affect change for those who will read the new placards and adjust their food choices accordingly. But as we all realize, making good food and drink choices is not something that can be altered by alarming the masses. There must be a free will by the people to take control over their own lives. Forcing restaurants to share their fare’s calorie content may or not make a dent, as many establishments have been posting this information for years already. Has there been even an iota of a decline in obesity in America? On the contrary:
“From 1990 to 2016, the average percentage of obese adults increased from 11.1% (for the 44 states and DC for which 1990 data are available) to 29.8%. As of 2016, nearly 38% of the US population was obese, with 8% falling into the extreme obesity category.”
If Gottlieb wanted to scare fools straight when it comes to food and lifestyle choices, he may want to force fast food restaurants to feature this interactive map of obesity rate changes in each state from 1990 to 2016. It’s a stunner.
As flawed and superficial as the law and subsequent regulations appear, at least the good doctor is in the fight—a David and Goliath sort of fight, but credit for the man who gives it a whirl. Now, if he could smarten up the denizens in the drive-thru lanes, we could have a winner. In the meantime, let the bellowing begin in earnest as Americans continue to upsize their combo meals.