Monday, September 2, 2013


When a respectable news paper publishes some body's statement on the healthiness of a food, it is incumbent on it to check the facts before accepting the same for printing. Unfortunately such things do not happen often leading to misconceptions and spreading of factually wrong information. Latest to hit the headline is the reported claim by some fast food apologists that one of the Cheese Burgers offered by one of the world's leading fast food business giant is the cheapest health food in the US! The fact however does not support such a claim. It may be the cheapest food available to the Americans but it cannot be health friendly if its nutritional content is critically looked at. Loaded with empty calories, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, this much touted sandwich is a right recipe for disaster to make healthy people sick, if taken regularly. Here is a take on this new debate that sounds silly to many informed nutritional and health pundits as well informed consumers! 

"Let's start with the plainest of facts: nutritional content. One McDouble contains 19 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat and 1 gram of trans fat, representing a whopping 29 percent, 42 percent, and 65 percent of your USDA daily allowance intakes, respectively, in just a single meal. The cholesterol content is at 22 percent of daily allowance—so if you've already had more than one egg for breakfast, you're sunk, way before dinnertime. Fiber is at a woeful 2 grams, or 7 percent of the daily recommended intake (DRI). And the sandwich contains 850 mg of sodium, which is a pretty high 35 percent of the daily limit. "It's a pretty extreme claim," Jim White, a registered dietician and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told Yahoo! Shine about Smith's column. "My main problem is it's got 40 percent of the saturated fat for the day," he explained, which can only add to the problem of lower-income populations having higher rates of disease. "I'm worried about heart disease. And I hate to hear a claim like this," he added, "because affordable foods can still be healthy." So, taking cost in to account, what's the alternative? As a guest on the Freakonomics broadcast, Mother Jones food columnist Tom Philpott wisely suggested that you "get a pound of brown rice, organic, and a pound of red lentils for about two bucks each. And a serving size, say a cup of each of those things, would be about 75 cents." And check out the nutritional benefits: That serving size of red lentils contains 57 percent of DRI for fiber, 18 grams of protein (compared with 23 for the double burger), less than one gram of total fat, zero percent sodium and no cholesterol. The brown rice, meanwhile, adds 14 percent of daily fiber and 5 grams of protein, with a scant 1.8 total grams of fat and no sodium or cholesterol". 

No doubt economically depressed population, finding their disposable income rapidly dwindling in the face of inflation and under employment, see products dished out by the fast food giants God-send as they are the only affordable food for them to keep their hunger away. Naturally they gorge on them if they can afford because of the "T-factor", the taste and consequences are there to see in the form of rapid rise in obesity in that country. High calories, high fats and high salt are the villains in the every day life of people as they cause many diseases like CVD, Hypertension, Kidney ailments, cancer etc calling for huge medical expenses to treat them. On top of this the above claim is nothing but atrocious and mean to add insult to injury! Responsible news media should not give respectability to such canards through their publications. 

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