Do you want a gallon of soda with that? America’s Love Affair with Food


A SUBWAY Club 6" sandwich.

Subway sandwich, courtesy of Wikipedia

 My husband and I seldom eat fast food. In fact we only do when we’re traveling and have no other choice. On a recent trip back from Chicago we found ourselves in the car at lunch time. We decided to look for a Subway, because of all the fast food places, that has always seemed like the place where one might avoid a fat and calorie-laden meal. After all, it is Jared’s place. Well, apparently things have changed since Jared lost all that weight and since the last time we were there. Subway has joined the super-size-meal-deal-value-dollar  club just like all the other fast food places.   

We found a Subway at a combination truck stop, gas station, food mart in Indiana, aka the vice state (fireworks, gambling and cheap cigarettes. Sorry Hoosiers, that’s just how it seems to we Michiganders when we’re passing through.)  Anyway, this turned out to be more than just a Subway – it was a food mecca, with altars to all the usual fast food suspects. We stood in the line for Subway and scanned the menu for something healthy. Other fast food patrons always hate us because we don’t go there often enough to know the menu choices and take forever to order. We finally decided on 6 inch subs, chips and cookies (I know, not all that healthy) and got in line. When we went to order, we discovered that it cost less to order a sub, chips and a drink because that turned our order into a “meal” which is cheaper than ordering individual items. But we didn’t want to buy a drink, we just wanted water. Ironically, they would charge a dollar for a cup for water, but if you got the “meal deal” the soda was almost free. The server became impatient when we insisted that we didn’t want drinks, and she insisted that we were idiots because of course, more is less, at least there. So finally my husband succumbed and ordered the drink, which made his meal with the drink cheaper than mine without. So the server proceeded to hand my husband an enormously large bucket, er  cup for the soda. All it needed was a handle and we could have used it to water the garden, carry sand toys at the beach, or bring milk in from the cow barn. A bucket of soda. For one person. Along with all the other calories we were eating. Turns out when we measured it later, it wasn’t a gallon (128 ounces) after all, only 40 ounces. Whew! If you fill the entire cup as most people do, that’s about 466 calories just in liquids. And don’t forget there’s free refills. Add 300 or so calories for the sandwich (and that’s without mayonnaise or dressing), 210 for the cookie, 120 for the chips and that’s, well, we basically cannot eat for the rest of the day, and maybe part of the next day too, at a whopping 1,096 calories for one meal. So much for eat fresh.   

Well, this article is not really intended as an affront to Subway, but to reinforce what David Kessler purports, that the food industry knows that filling us up with sugar, fat and salt (remember we couldn’t pass up the chips) will keep us happy and coming back for more.  The thing is we weren’t happy. Getting out of our eat-at-home bubble into the fast food world, where thousands of Americans  are eating every day, was astonishing. Why should it be less expensive to eat more food rather than less? In our present economy, most folks are going to opt for the money-saving deal, but end up eating more than they need, which isn’t a bargain in the long run.  Sure you’ll save money at the check-out, but in the long-term, the extra calories add up. Some folks can get away with eating more, say Michael Phelps for instance. But for most of us the extra calories here and there collect over time to cause obesity and expensive health problems in the future.   

Is there a solution? One could opt to be restaurant hermits like us, and only eat fast food on rare occasions. Or buy the 1,000 calorie lunch and split it with  your companion, or take half of it home for later. The restaurant industry will frown on that one, but it’s something to think about.   

Next: more on how to circumvent overeating. 

© The author and Huffygirl’s Blog, 2010 to 3010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and Huffygirl’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



American’s Love Affair With Food


Americans love food. That’s obvious isn’t it. We have fast food restaurants on corners, in strip malls, university campus buildings, indoor malls and in front of big box stores. We have full service restaurants, diners, delis, cafes, and drive-through restaurants. Gas stations, establishments that once sold gas, are now called “food marts” or “convenience stores” and sell hot dogs, hamburgers, doughnuts, and packaged foods in addition to gas and cigarettes. In most American towns and cities, remote areas excluded, there is no shortage of places to buy food.

So what’s wrong with that you might ask? On one hand, nothing. Our bodies need food to survive. We need carbohydrates, proteins, and even fats for our bodies to rebuild cells, keep bones strong and function in our every day capacity. And we need the right balance of all three to make everything work right. We get sleepy and sluggish if we don’t eat carbs, our kidneys get overworked if all we eat are proteins.

What’s wrong with food is not so much that a lot is available. It’s that we are often bombarded with the wrong kinds of food, or the wrong amounts, or at the wrong times. We’re given way too many opportunities throughout the day to buy food when we really don’t need it. Most people need three small meals, and one or two snacks. We don’t need to eat late at night, or every time we buy gas, or on the way to work. We don’t need food to eat before meals (aka appetizers – food you eat that makes you more hungry). We don’t need alcohol or soda (although to have them occasionally is fine for most people.) The food that is readily available tends to be high in fat and sugar. It tastes good and makes us feel good, but in excess, is not good for us.

Next: What happens to our bodies when we eat high fat and high sugar foods? We’ll take a look at what David Kessler, former head of the FDA has to say.

Photos courtesy of Google.

© The author and Huffygirl’s Blog, 2010 to 3010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and Huffygirl’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.