Monday, July 2, 2007

Super-sizing

This is one of the more popular eateries in our area.

The menu is pretty varied and the food better than average, but the portions are notoriously large. I can never finish my meal. While it might sound attractive to some, this is one reason why 64% of all Americans are overweight. And that's costing our government money for health care.

Last year, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) tried to enlist the help from the nation's eateries to join them in fight against obesity. One of the restaurant chains, Ruby Tuesday, responded by reducing portion sizes and posting calorie information on menus. Within weeks, their sales dropped off dramatically. Few months later, the chain admitted it was a painful error and has gone back to larger sizes.

Lesson learned - if you want to stay in business, never tell an American how much he can eat ;-)

20 comments:

Lavenderlady said...

Now that was interesting commentary. I did not know the Ruby Tuesday story. How is this place at lettingyou share a main dish?

laurel said...

Yeah, we American's love our food. I always find it a little sad when people complain about portion sizes being too small. I mean, how much do we possibly need?

Kate said...

The name of the eatery is interestingly ironic. Obesity in our country (and others) is pandemic. I recently went to a restaurant where people with me raved about the generous portions. I was greeted with silence when I pointed out the correlation between overweight and these "generous portions." I thought any thoughtful individual would be keenly aware and sensitive to this issue. Wrong?!

Rauf said...

Nothing wrong with food, quantity is not the problem. The source of
obesity is in the assembly line of General Motors, Chrysler and other Car manufactureres. Less physical activity. No burning of energy. Jogging, work out in the gym don't help because the mind does not accept it as normal routine. Burning of energy should be a part of your survival. Except for domestic animals, you will not find this problem with animals and birds.

Make petrol 500 dollars a gallon.
you are killing two birds with one stone. You are saving earth's resources as well. Let the very very rich people get fat.

what an expression Isabella, killing two birds with one stone, i don't believe i am using it here.
'you are a sitting duck' i think the language needs new earth friendly expressions.

Rauf said...

Ruby tuesday is a rolling stone song

Rauf said...

Isabella, have a brilliant idea !
comforts and TV also is one big source of problem. Keep showing Mr. George W. Bush 24 hours on the TV.

Jilly said...

That terrace looks a pretty place to eat. I remember when I came to live in America I was astounded at the size of the portions and they've got bigger along with all those obese people. Obesity is a massive problem, as you say - and in the UK too. I don't see it much in France though, probably because the French eat fresh food, not junk stuff in the main, although most big towns have a McDonalds (sigh...)

In the UK a well-known young chef, Jamie Oliver, has been making inroads into serving healthy school food - and I 'believe' the government now have regulations on labelling, showing calories but also the fat, sugar etc content - but am sure someone in the UK will know far more about this than I do.

And Rauf, I'm not sure it's the rich who get fat or want to. They can afford good fresh food, properly prepared. It's the poor who buy cheap junk food, filled with empty calories and so eat more and more.

Olivier said...

J'avais ete surpris à mon premier voyage à NYC, par la taille des plats servis. pas l'habitude en France, souvent un plat = deux personnes.
La fontaine devant est très belle.


I had been surprised with my first voyage with NYC, by the size of the been useful dishes. not the practice in France, often a dish = two people. The fountain in front of is very beautiful.

Peter said...

As stated above, the problem is not yet that accute in France, but it's certainly coming with the younger generations - and sorry to say) American eating and drinking habits being more and more spread, coke replacing wine etc...

Some years ago, with "la cuisine nouvelle" there were complaints about too little on the plates, nicely spread out and decorated, but leaving you hungry...!

Let's fight for better eating, more walking... and reasonable dish sizes! Your post is part of the campaign!

alice said...

Yes, obesity begins to invade France too...Many reasons for that, in my opinion, but snacking in front of tv could be one of them. To prepare three meals a day and share them with the family is a good way of life but more and more French families give it up, like in USA (It reminds me of how my niece was amazed by her American family where nobody cooked even one meal in all a month and falled asleep every night in front of the tv!)

Abraham Lincoln said...

I think obesity begins at home and parents provide children with bowls of sugar with flakes of some kind. That and the lunch rooms at school where coke and pop companies have paid big bucks to park fat drinks in cafeterias. And don't forget the pizza. A dish made from leftovers for poor folk is now a fat building meal for teens and then there is the fast food places.

It is a choice we make and then live with. It is really rare to see a person here, where I live, whose weight seems normal.

I like your photograph. It is a beautiful place to just look at and the name is brilliant. I also enjoyed reading your narrative. That tripped my brain...

Abraham Lincoln
American Gold Finch—

Frank said...

The reason for large portions is that Americans are desperately searching for flavor (flavour if you're British).
American foods are all pre-processed, prepared in the microwave and eaten in front of the TV. Any fruit you might buy at the market looks beautiful but tastes like rubber because it was picked green in California and "gassed" into looking ripe. So no one eats any. Everything else tastes like salt, unless you add spoonfuls of sugar.
Then like Alice said, you fall asleep in front of the TV.
Get out of the house!
Do something!

Nathalie said...

Thanks Isabella for this very interesting post. Feeling desperate when I read you!
Where is America going? And leading the world? Sigh!

Sonia said...

Interesting post! Larger sizes and much calories really are a big health problem.

That eatery is very attractive!

Moi said...

This one touched a nerve......I am currently fighting the battle of bulge with my husband ....we are certainly not obese but can be fitter ;)
but yeah the portions served are fairly large at any place that u go and the idea of free refills is something i have seen only in America. My husband calls it "getting bang for your buck"..but then he's the sorts who pursues happiness at the end of his fork ....:))))

Nikon said...

LOL, controversy again, Isabella.
As a man of very modest means, I like to get some food for my $15. or $20. meal. I think fast food is the main culprit in obesity.
There is a Whole Food store near me where the entire buffet is thrown into garbage cans at closing time - it's about $8.00 a pound until then. There has to be a way to get that to soup kitchens.

Fabrizio ikol22 said...

As usual Abraham centered the point and in fact here too children are often overweight. -- Just a question: how much does it cost an ordinary meal in that restaurant?

isabella said...

Lavender - they do let you share and I often do. But a lot of my dinner companions frown on it...

Laurel - that reminds me - the concept of "all-you-can-eat-buffet" - I never came across that in my travels abroad. I wonder if it exists elsewhere?

Rauf - notice I said that the large portion is only one of the culprits. Inactivity is definitely at the top of the list.

And please, do not stone any of my birds or I'll sic Al the alligator on you ;-)

Ruby Tuesday
"Theres no time to lose, I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams
And you will lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"

Jilly - you are right! It's not the rich that get fat (and if they do, they can afford to have it sucked out ;-)), but the middle and lower class. It's hard when both parents are working and don't have time to cook healthy meals... Although my parents worked and we still ate great home-made dinners almost every night.

Nikon - I've seen that waste around here, too. And there are millions in this country alone who go hungry and malnourish each day...

Fabrizio - this place is fairly reasonable. $10-15 for lunch, $15-20 for dinner. That's without wine, however ;-)

JAM said...

Sounds like what happened to Las Vegas a few years back. They tried to turn the city into a family friendly city and the advertisements all courted families to bring their kids, because they had roller coasters and all kinds of kid friendly things to do there.

Sales dropped.

They went back to their sin city ways, and launched the "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" campaign and the kids stayed home and the dollars started flowing again.

Bonita Springs Agent said...

I was out blog surfing and found the photo of Silver Spoon. I just live a two blocks from it and recognized it. Oddly, I watched the movie "Super Size Me" last night. Disgusting. I don't eat fast food, most of my family doesn't either. Consequently we are all quite thin. My daughter is 19 and shops in the childs department and I wear skirts now, because I have such difficulty finding pants/trousers. I think they no longer make clothes for skinny women!