The Obesity “Paradox”

September 4, 2007 at 4:09 pm Leave a comment

The University of Chicago Press published an article on August 29 about the simultaneous rise in obesity and the growing popularity of “health food” here in America.

It turns out that when a consumer is told the restaurant is “healthy,” say Subway, for example, they are then more likely to order a high calorie drink, dessert, or side dish to go with it. Not only is this a problem, but many of those healthy claims made by restaurants are not actually true. The article points out that many Subway sandwiches contain more calories than a Big Mac and then to top that off the consumer will likely order a high calories side dish to go with because they feel they can “afford” the calories since they made a “healthier” choice.

Along the same lines, I have been in stores like Whole Foods, which many might consider a “health food store” and seen people loading up on all sorts of desserts and greasy foods. It seems the perception of Whole Foods for many people is that nothing you buy there can make you fat. Hmmm….I’m pretty sure that whipped cream, cheesecake, and chocolate mousse can make you fat no matter where you buy it, whether its organic or not.

Tip: Investigate healthy claims for yourself. Don’t let yourself be tricked and be perfectly honest with yourself about what you are eating. Rather than trying to estimate the calories content of an entire sandwich, break it down and add up the meat, cheese, bread, and veggies separately. You will be much more accurate this way. Remember, eating at a place that calls itself or appears healthy, doesn’t actually mean that what you are eating is healthy.

If you’d like to read that article for yourself, here it is:


I went into a McDonald’s yesterday and said, ‘I’d like some fries.’ The girl at the counter said, ‘Would you like some fries with that?’

– Jay Leno, TV Host of the Tonight Show


Entry filed under: Nutrition, The Food Industry.

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