Yes, I would like fries with that.

“The federal government wants smaller portion sizes at restaurants and nutritional information listed on menus.”

This is the lead from an article that appeared in The Washington Times on Saturday, June 3, 2006. Unfortunately I cannot find a link to an online copy of it.
Here’s a summary: The FDA commissioned a report, which was conducted by the Keystone Center, to examine the eating habits of Americans. In this 136-page report, the FDA asserts that we eat more food away from home, 64 percent of us are overweight and 30 percent are obese.

Yay. Government money spent to tell us that we like food.

But what is even more disturbing than this asinine excuse to issue a report is what the FDA is calling for. The agency wants restaurants to “take the lead in cutting fat”. It wants restaurants to cut the portion sizes of the meals they serve. It also wants nutritional information displayed on the menus.
If you walk into a McDonald’s, chances are that the nutrition information will be posted somewhere in the building. If you ask, most restaurants are willing to fork over the nutritional facts of that steak and potato dinner you just scarfed down. (And you loved every bite) If you go into Applebee’s, there is a special menu for those on the Atkins Diet and Weight Watchers. So, the second suggestion is pretty much covered. Even still, the last time I checked, the purpose of restaurants was to sell food, not make sure that we eat healthy.

Call me crazy, but I have faith in the American people. Since we were born, we have had the ability to determine when we are hungry and when we are not. When we are hungry, we eat. When we eat, we get full. If we eat too much, we get fat. That is just the way it works. I guarantee that if you poll people who make New Year’s Resolutions, an overwhelming majority of them will be either: 1) lose weight, 2) eat healthier or 3) go to the gym more often.

The FDA has no legal ability to police the portion sizes that restaurants serve, but the mere suggestion of such is just another example of how the government is invading my life and my dinner table. If I go to a restaurant and order a bacon-cheddar burger with seasoned fries (my favorite!), I want that burger to be as big as possible. It’s not the responsibility of some bigwig at a government agency to tell me how big my burger should be. I consider myself responsible. I consider people, as a general rule, responsible. I consider it the right of the owner of the restaurant to determine how much food they want to serve.
Apparently, the FDA doesn’t agree with me.

1 comment

  1. i think this shares a lot of elements with the libertarian argument for why cigarette and liquor taxes should be repealed, and hardcore drugs should be made legal, because after all, it’s your body, you should do what you want.i dont know if oversized portions are as dangerous as illegal drugs. i definitely dont think they pose the same kind of moral questions. your chemical balances and ability to reason and/or think clearly are obviously not jeapardized by a big mac.but if americans are getting fatter, and links can be shown between more people eating out and food portions getting larger, then i think the gov’t might have legitimate ground to stand on when it suggests to the private sector that perhaps it should think about public health and limit its sizes. (after all, the government is set up in the public interest; private enterprises, to my knowledge, are not).however, the point to which government should be allowed to enforce this “suggestion” is up for big debate. tax breaks for fast food chains that offer healthy menus? taxes on french fries with trans fat content beyond a reasonable level?i think the solution is somewhere in the middle, but this issue is in its infancy, and nowhere near a definite answer.

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