A Thin Line

Receive Email Updates

If it's as big as your head, don't eat it

Really, Carl Jr.? Really...?

Carl's Jr., also known as Hardee's, is testing the waters on a new product. A foot-long hamburger. Really. No. I'm serious. A foot-long burger.

The heart-attack-on-a-bun features three meat patties, three slices of cheese and all the fixin's, all on a bun. It costs $4 without lettuce and tomatoes, and $4.50 with. Ironic, huh? The only healthy thing on the sandwich rates a 50-cent price hike. The new sandwich (es???) will be featured at 50 restaurants in Southern California and 50 restaurants in Indiana. Guess they have stronger constitutions there. Perhaps more demanding palates? They'll certainly have bigger posteriors at the end of this test run – the thing has 1,400 calories.

This isn't the restaurant chain's first foray into high fat offerings. They were the guys who offered the 1,400-calorie Monster Burger, and the Monster Breakfast Sandwich, which packed a whopping 47 grams of fat.

And they're not even the first to provide higher-fat, size-does-matter offerings. Mulligan's in Decatur, Ga., offers up the Luther burger, named for singer Luther Vandross. This concoction features a burger, cheese and bacon on, wait for it...a Krispy Kreme doughnut. This bad boy has 45 grams of fat and 1,000 calories. Then there's the bunless Double Down offered by Kentucky Fried Chicken. This bun-less wonder contains 31 grams of fat and 590 calories. Sonic offers a foot-long, quarter-pound chili cheese dog, called a "Coney," which packs 810 calories and 53 grams of fat. There's even a restaurant in Champaign, Ill. that boasts a "burrito as big as your head."

What is this world coming to? Why is it that we can no longer be satisfied with a normal hamburger? Isn't a regular hot dog enough? When will you people ever be satisfied?

If you've traveled to other countries, you know that super-sizing portions is most definitely an American thing. People in other countries just don't seem to be as greedy as we are. But why do we demand super-sized portions anyway?

Some think it's because we believe we deserve it. We work hard. We provide for our families. We do the right thing. So we deserve a bigger burger. It's a reward of sorts. But is it really?

A 2004 study proved that Americans are eating more. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evaluated the caloric consumption of average Americans between 1971 and 2000, and found that men were eating about 200 more calories a day, and women were eating about 335 calories a day, than they did at the beginning of the study. Portion size in both food and drinks has increased drastically, particularly in salty snacks, hamburgers, french fries and Mexican food. The greatest increases in portion size happened at, you guessed it, fast food restaurants.

As a result, obesity has become a pandemic, and incidents of heart disease, diabetes and stroke are up. We have higher levels of bad cholesterol, while we have lower levels of the good cholesterol. We have high blood pressure. And we have a higher risk of cancer, depression and social isolation.

So what do we do? Learn what portion sizes are correct. If you are confused as to what this is, here are some easy ways to visualize what a true portion size looks like.

• A woman's fist or baseball is a serving size of vegetables or fruit.
• A rounded handful is about one half cup of cooked or raw vegetables or cut fruit, or 1/2 a cup of cooked rice or pasta. It's also a good size for a snack of chips or pretzels.
• A deck of cards or the palm of your hand is about the right size for a serving of meat or poultry.
• Golf ball or a large egg – that's the right size for a quarter cup of dried fruit or nuts.
• A tennis ball is about one half cup of ice cream.
• A baked potato, single serving, should be about the size of a computer mouse.
• A compact disc is the size of one serving of pancake or small waffle.
• The tip of your thumb is about one teaspoon of peanut butter, a single serving.
• Six dice represent one serving of cheese.
• Your checkbook is about the size of a single serving of fish.

So the next time you're tempted to say, "super size it" when placing an order, stop and think about what it really means. And don't eat the burrito as big as your head.

Posted: Jul 16 2010, 10:15 AM by Red On The Head | with no comments
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web