In a recent release, Atkins (the ‘low carb’ giant) announced it would be laying laying off an undisclosed number of its 370 employees (check it out here). This came out after an anouncement the previous day about the company’s bank debt being priced down.
Things don’t look good, but (I hate to say it) I’m happy … as it indicates some intelligence creepy (albeit slowly) back into the population. While I can’t argue with people who’ve had success at weight loss and (even more importantly) maintenance after loss utilizing the Atkins system (or similar systems, like the South Beach Diet) … I still have to ask the basic question: Is a diet that cuts a particular type of food out a good thing … or would a better thing be to get off our collectively flabby butts and excercise a bit?
I mean really, folks: low carbs … carbs … things like bread and pasta and such … things that are consumed in abundance in Europe … and I’ve got to wonder what the overall health of the Italian and French populations are when compared to us in the states. I seem to remember articles awhile back that showed that France consumes more wine per person than the US does, yet has lower cholestrol and fewer heart-related health issues than we do. Makes you wonder if it’s because of our lifestyle … not the food we’re packing into our mouths.
Actually, I think it’s a combination of things:
Excercise (it’s all in the mind)
The national excercise of the U.S.A. is the “12-ounce curl” or the “channel-changer flick”. We’ve taken the concept of “picture it in your mind, and it will happen” to an extreme (just look at the plethora of half-hour infomercials touting “lose 30 pounds in 20 seconds just by frowning” or “get six-pack abs … and still drink that six-pack!”). I know I feel more toned after watching 30 minutes of aerobics … guess I don’t really need to do them then, right?
Fast (from lips to hips) Food
It used to be that “fast food” meant “good food prepared and delivered quickly”. If you believe that definition still holds, then have another Big Arch Delux, lardboy (remember those things? I think they topped out at the same amount of fat and calories as the entire daily consumption of Tuvalu). If you want to swear off fast food permanently, check out Fast Food Nation, a romp through the side of the industry you never really wanted to know … but probably should.
My point is simple: “Fast Food” is neither “good food” nor “good for you food”. Period. That’s one of the reasons I became a personal chef, to provide a more wholesome (yet convenient) alternative to the world of “meat” patties (they ain’t real meat … or, at least, not meat you’d really wanna eat) and fries.
“If I can (blame/sue) someone for my problem … it’s no longer my problem”
Let’s face it: American society is litigious … any way we can make money off our own stupidity, by gum, and we’re’a gonna do it! Pour hot coffee in your lap while you’re driving … it’s clearly the fault of the guy who gave you the coffee (not your own clumsiness … never that). And when it comes to food, we’re no different. One guy ate nothing but fast food for a month and gained 30 pounds … another guy did the same thing and didn’t … what’s this mean? Simple: we must force restaurants to put nutritional information on the menus (critical assumption: we actually read and understand it), because the restaurants are feeding us too much bad food … never mind that the concept of “family sized” portions is based on a family of humpback whales, we demand to get our money’s worth.
And if we can’t … sue ’em. It’s the next best thing to the lottery.
Ok, ok … ’nuff of my high horse … I need a bacon double-cheese burger.