Monday, November 17, 2008

Can I Get Fries With That?

This weekend David and I watched "Super Size Me". For those of you who haven't seen it, it is a documentary about a guy who eats nothing but McDonald's for thirty days, causing him to put on twenty-five pounds and sending his cholesterol through the roof, among other issues.

It was a fascinating documentary, and it upset my stomach enough that I nearly committed myself to a life of eating nothing but wheatgerm and lemon grass. Of course, this morning I came to my senses, but I was nonetheless extremely grossed out by the whole thing.

And annoyed. Not at McDonald's for making such disgusting food (which they certainly do, though I must admit a fondness for their cheap hot fudge sundaes and breakfast sandwiches), but at the lawyers and the people who insist on blaming the fast food industry for their obesity. I'm certain that every person with half a brain knows that deep-frying your over processed food is not the way to enjoy bodily harmony. And yet they keep eating, and they keep blaming. It reminds me of an article I just read talking about the toddler response to adversity. When he gets hurt, out of embarrassment or anger he will often walk up to his mother and slap her to shift attention and assign blame (boy am I familiar with that response). It seems the obese are doing the same thing, walking up to McDonald's and slapping them - with a lawsuit.

I have noticed that there is a much greater push for nutrition information in NYC. Calorie counts are included on most menus, and the ban on trans fats is still in force. But does knowing that a plate of delicious cheese-drenched, bacon-sprinkled delectably-seasoned fries contains enough calories to feed a small third-world country stop me from eating them? Um, no. It just reminds me that I shouldn't eat them every day.

Which is how people should treat McDonald's. It is something to be enjoyed on occasion, but should never be visited on a daily, or probably even weekly, basis. This seems to be one of those obvious, common-sense things that everyone is hardwired to figure out.

Of course, I'm positive these lawyers (and most certainly their clients) don't actually think McDonald's is the sole responsible party for their sizable girth. They merely see dollar signs among the double cheeseburgers. And why take personal responsibility when you can shift the blame and walk away a gazillionaire? After all, doesn't sitting in piles of money make you feel better about yourself?

The reality is, our actions have consequences. No one is dragging people into McDonald's and forcing them to eat a Big Mac every day. (Unless the lawyers are right and we've all been conditioned through some sort of hypnotic, subliminal advertising to become addicted to this fast-food junk. And if that is the case, maybe we should all start turning off the TV now and then).

Wouldn't it be great if we could get personal responsibility on the menu? (And yes, you can order fries with that).


Sara said...

Agreed. What puzzles me more is a genuine sense of nutritional idiocy that some people seem to have. Having my own infant-morphing-to-toddler, I am continually startled at what people feed not only themselves but their kids.

And then turn around and blame everyone else while asking for fries with that.

Julia said...

Hmm... I wonder who I can blame my sugar addiction on...