Diners, Drive-Ins and Death
Some people wonder why so many Americans are overweight or obese. The answer is very simple. An abundance of low cost, high calorie foods.
A popular program on the U.S. Food Network cable channel is Diners, Drive-ins and Dives hosted by chef and restaurant owner Guy Fieri. Yes, he is Italian.
The show has a different theme every week and featured three restaurants that specialized in that particular food. After watching a few episodes, it was obvious this show wasn’t about lean cuisine. Some diners weighed enough for two people.
Portions sizes are usually huge. Red meat was served in abundance like full rack of ribs, 8-ounces of pulled pork, and 10-ounce hamburger patties. Add fried potatoes and you easily have a 2,000 plus calorie meal. Just one meal! Even if your body needed 2,000 calories per day and you ate just one meal, most foods were still high in saturated fat and sodium.
If you were looking for a heart attack or stroke on a plate, this is the show to watch. It is like so many other cooking shows on American television; large portions, lots of high saturated fat foods, lots of meat protein and low on heart healthy vegetables. White potatoes, baked, boiled, or fried are not the healthiest accompaniment to a meal, when eaten in moderation there is nothing wrong with white potatoes. The problem lies with the fact potatoes for many Americans is their main vegetable.
As I watched the show, the overweigh customers of the featured restaurants, and the unhealthy food eaten my many on a regular basis the only thing that came to my mind was that the program was incorrectly titled. It should have been called Diners, Drive-Ins and Death.
Why does American media keep promoting unhealthy eating and lifestyles when healthcare costs continue to spiral out of control, cancer and diabetes are on the increase, and many serious illnesses are directly attributed to diet? The answer is simple. Popularity and profit.
Perhaps someday their will be more responsible television programs, featuring restaurants serving healthy foods and reasonable portion sizes. I can dream, can’t I?
As I’ve said before, casual restaurant food is affordable and the portion sizes huge, enough for two and sometimes three meals, because food costs for most restaurants is a small part of doing business. Restaurants can serve 12-ounces hamburger patties because it doesn’t cost them much more than serving a 6-ounce patty. Whenever you dine out, about 25 to 30 percent of what you pay, excluding tax and gratuity, if for the food. That isn’t a lot, but it is less than it would cost you to make the same meal at home from the restaurants point of view. You can’t buy 1 egg, or a slice of red onion. But you can make additional meals using what’s left over.
The real cost of eating unhealthy foods on a regular basis comes later when you find yourself in a hospital emergency room following a heart attack or stroke, or on blood pressure or cholesterol medication for the rest of your life.
Eating wisely does not end at home. Whether you are on vacation or business travel, there are health choices you can make by following a Mediterranean style diet and controlling portion sizes. You can occasionally enjoy food at a diner, drive-in or dive without it being the death of you.