The obesity culprit: fast food

Jennifer Maciuba, Staff writer

The perception of the number calories in fast food is skewed in the American mind, as found by a study recently published by the Annals of Internal Medicine and reported by

People, in general, seem to have an easier time guessing the number of calories in a portion when it is smaller. The study also states that since people are always able to get more food, they do not need to have it all at once. Thus supporting smaller portion sizes for Americans.

It seems as though Americans were taught to eat everything on their plates when they were younger, and this has carried over into adulthood. As adults, though, they are not eating what their mothers cooked at home. Rather, they are eating over-processed pieces of “mystery meat” slapped together by corporations.

Eating an oversized helping of green beans is not going to rocket someone into obesity. However, eating an oversized portion of fries, a triple-patty cheeseburger and soda in a cup that does not fit in the average cup holder will produce undesired effects.

To curb the problem of giant servings, suggests that people should use smaller plates to make the serving look bigger. The real question is: are Americans overeating because there is still food in front of them, or have their stomachs evolved to fit the load they now attempt to consume?

Fast food giants should not be allowed to pack their products with unnecessary calories. French fries should be cooked in a reduced-fat oil, burgers should be made out of meat and only meat, and a twenty-ounce bottle of water should not cost more that a super-extra-large soda.

Many would argue that flavor would be affected. So be it. Maybe total consumption would be reduced. Perhaps, just perhaps, there would be a direct correlation between reduced consumption of fast food and fewer cases of heart disease and diabetes.

Americans need to make a decision: either go to your local fast food restaurant and eat your way into an early grave, or choose healthier alternatives. It would not kill Americans to cook something for themselves every once in awhile.