Dear McDonald’s, This is How Many Fries Should Come With a Burger, According to a Harvard Scientist
Always eating on the go? Consider radical action, scientists say.
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Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
The people who sell us fast food are very clever.
They know how to appeal to some our deepest vulnerabilities.
We want it now and we want it to taste of those meaty, salty things we cannot resist.
Somewhere deep inside, we know it's not good for us, but deeper inside rest those burger, nuggets and fries, massaging our bellies with their badness.
An additional problem for so many businesspeople is that fast food is there when they need it.
You've been running around all day, you've been on the phone constantly between meetings and now you're at the airport with a Wendy's logo beckoning.
The large fries look good, don't they?
How many of them, though, should you really eat?
Eric Rimm, a professor in the departments of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, has definite, data-driven ideas about that.
He told the New York Times that fries are "starch bombs."
Wendy's, McDonald's and the rest of the Fast Food Temptations should, therefore, be offering you a rather small number with your burger.
I think it would be nice if your meal came with a side salad and six French fries.
I think it would be nice if ice cream grew in the garden and was the healthiest thing you can eat.
Still, Rimm and his fellow scientists explain that your large fries have almost the same number of calories as your Big Mac.
Worse, the nutritious part of the potato is the skin. With that gone, you're eating something that, if you succumb two or three times a week, will make you more likely to leave this mortal coil than if you ate potatoes that haven't been fried.
The problem with all this, of course, is that, somewhere in our bleak heads, we know.
We may not know the exact numbers, but we know we're not doing our bodies much good.
I fear, though, that some might wish to be gratuitously subversive.
They might ask whether anyone ever calculated the psychological benefits of, just once in a while at least, allowing yourself a heap of fries.
A simple retort might be that fast food chains like it are becoming increasingly aware of the deleterious nature of their fare.
McDonald's, for example, has spent much of the year touting the allegedly improved healthiness of its food.
It's removed the cheeseburger from its Happy Meals and insisted it'll begin to offer healthier ingredients.
Ultimately, of course, the problem is our willpower. And our lifestyle.
We grab. We go. And go. And go.
Of course, fries are just one part of a potentially unhealthy lifestyle. Everything else in our diet, exercise and, yes, our psychological health contribute hugely.
Imagine, though, that customers were restricted to six fries an order.
Would we respect those fries more? Would we savor them, allow them to linger in our mouths longer?
Would they become a delicacy?
It's a tantalizing thought.