Portion Control and Regulations

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AP Language, period 5
16 October 2012

Supersizing: The American Way

McDonald’s sells over 75 hamburgers every second, and who eats a hamburger without a drink. (Lubin). Who gets a drink without fries…I’m sure you see the problem. It’s a violent cycle, and it’s the buttocks and thighs that take the brunt of it, not to mention the heart. The term supersize has been coined by the McDonald’s franchise, it refers to enlarging the sides on a standard combo meal--what they fail to mention is you too will be supersized. These treacherous “extras” add up to about 850 calories (Matthews). If every hamburger was sold with supersized sides, McDonalds’ would output 2,010,420,000,000 calories a year off of fries and sodas alone. It is no coincidence that America is now dealing with a major health epidemic--The rate of obesity and type two diabetes have spiked dramatically in the American population over the past 60 years. This isn’t a silent killer. It’s a self-inflicted condition and the cure starts with self-restraint when it comes to those empty drink calories. Since the year 2006, not a single state has reported an obesity level at lower than ten percent, and the majority of states considered over 25 percent of their population to be obese (Bird). New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has taken the first step to bring American portions back down to reasonable volumes. In passing a law banning sugary drinks over 16 ounces, he attempts to lower obesity and related health problems. The Federal Government should follow New York City ordinates and ban high sugar drinks over 16 ounces for the benefit of American health. Drinks high in sugar need to be limited in portion sizes because the rate of consumption is exceeding the amount one’s body can healthfully handle. The sugar found in soft drinks, juices, and most processed food is fructose. A high rate of fructose consumption is a metabolic disaster for one’s body. Unlike glucose (blood sugar), which is used in every cell and organ of the human body, fructose is only metabolized in the liver. This leads the body to become resistant to insulin eventually causing obesity and diabetes. It can also cause a dangerous growth of fat around vital organs resulting in high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer, and arthritis (Mercola). A recent study at the University of North Carolina found that 450 calories are consumed through beverages daily (Zinczenko). That is about 22.5% of the daily calories needed. The main source of soda calories comes from fructose, and “120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat” (Mercola). This means that one big gulp from 7/11 is approximately 120 calories of stored fat. The calories obtained through beverages are empty calories, meaning they provide no nutritious value to one’s diet. The 120 calories of fat accumulate in one’s body and eventually leads to weight gain. Not only is the obesity issue a function of the quality of food ingested but also the quantity of food ingested. Americans eat with their eyes not their stomachs, and tend to stop eating when their plates are empty not when they feel full. When asked, Americans said that they know they are full when “Their plates are empty, everyone else is through eating, or when the TV show is over.” (Wansink). This perspective on fullness results in over eating. With large portion sizes, Americans are eating more than one serving size without realizing it because it is presented on the plate as one. It makes us sound more like animals than logical human beings. The truth is most Americans treat food much the same way a goat would--eat until you burst--an analogy we unfortunately have proof to relatively validate. A study known as the endless soup bowl shows that Americans eat with visual cues to determine their fullness (Wansink). The experiment rigged a soup bowl at a restaurant so it would never be empty. The study showed that the people who ate from...
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