At least once in the majority of people’s lives, they decide for whatever reason that they are unhappy with either their physical appearance, how they feel on the inside, how they are eating or maybe they are tired of people cracking down on them about how they are going to get cancer and die if they continue how they are eating. When any of these things happen, one thing usually comes to mind, a diet. I have mixed feelings about diets personally. I like them because they can get people to really clean up how they eat, leading them to have more energy filled, productive and less miserable days ahead of them. Some people may even spread the results of their diet to their friends who do not believe that they really work, causing the effect of a healthy diet to continue spreading. Not only can they make people happier, but they can also save people’s lives, because there is an enormous amount of people in the emergency room with severely swollen joints, at high risk of heart attacks and death, all because of a poor diet and lack of exercise.
On the other hand, I dislike diets because most people do not know how to properly implement them into their lives, especially when they are first starting. For example, how many people do you know or heard of who say they are going to start a diet, and then end up cracking within the first week or three days? I bet there is quite a few. This is a fairly educated guess on my part, but that usually happens because of a process that I will quickly explain. First, they create an unrealistic amount of calories that they must follow day in and day out. In reality, they were probably eating anywhere from two thousand five hundred calories to four thousand calories give or take during their care free eating habits. When the diet starts, they most likely restrict themselves to something ridiculous, such as one thousand calories to one thousand five hundred. This is of course a standard and generic guess, I understand that there are people who try to eat even less. Next, they abolish all good tasting food and sauces from their diet, so they are stuck with bland, tasteless, and unappetizing food. After they are done suffering for four, five, or how ever many days that they can actually sustain these unrealistic expectations, they feel like they have been working so hard and they go check the scale and how they look in the mirror with their shirt off or check upon whichever body part they want the fat to come off of, only to be hit with a harsh reality. Nothing has changed. This is the part where people break down, binge eat all of the foods that they ate in little doses before because it feels like they have been deprived of it for what feels like forever, and then give up altogether, protesting that diets are a sham and that they do not work at all.
There is another element to this whole diet concept that has been ignored up until this point, and that is restaurants. Many people do not put that much thought into this, but whenever they have a “cheat day” or “cheat meal”, where they permit themselves a day or meal to eat whatever they want, restaurant food is usually on the brain. The one thing that they do correctly when it comes to this aspect of dieting usually, is not even think about how many calories are in what they are eating at the restaurant and enjoy it. Even if they wanted to know, a lot of restaurants do not carry a record or label on how many calories their meals contain.
The Food and Drug Administration is starting to crack down on some establishments for having absolutely no record on what kind of nutritional information comes with their food. For a lot of these restaurant chains, if they do not start making their nutritional information more apparent by 2016, the FDA claims they could face some serious penalties.
Keep in mind that this is just my opinion, but I do not think it is that important for chains to have these calorie charts on their foods for one simple reason. With the amount of times that people should be going to these fast food chains or restaurants, the amount of calories should not matter. To make that simpler, I mean that people should be visiting these establishments rarely, so when they do go, it should not matter. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There are plenty of people who eat at these places daily, multiple times a day. On the far end of the spectrum, I would argue that there are cons to having nutritional labels on restaurant foods before someone orders. Sure, these labels may make someone think twice about eating at these places so often, and that is likely all people think about when they shout “We do not know what we are eating! We need to know!” But there is a downside to this. There are many cases of people who take up diets without going into the fine details of counting calories and such. By this, I am talking about the person who replaces their snacks of cookies and chocolate milk with a piece of fruit, the person who begins baking their chicken instead of frying it, and that person who drinks water with their meals instead of coca cola. Then when they go for their cheat meal at a restaurant, order their favorite meal that they have always gotten only to find out that it has a whopping three thousand calories excluding whatever they have to drink, they have an extremely unhealthy meltdown. Since this person has no idea of how many calories they are eating, they think three thousand is crazy, when in reality they are likely eating something like two thousand three hundred. This begins a dangerous spiral of counting the calories in everything, which then leads to eating disorders, anorexia or bulimia, depression, and an overall unhealthy relationship with food.
Many people obviously are aware that places like McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Five Guys, Swish Chalet, and Red Lobster are unhealthy for them, but those same people are likely not very aware of the amount of calories in these foods. For example, let’s take the classic McDonald’s restaurant and choose a few items on their menu. To keep things realistic, I will put together an order that the everyday adult is likely to eat if they go there. Someone may get a big mac combo, a regular sized Mcflurry, and a baked apple pie. Would you think I was crazy if I told you that these few items together exceed two thousand calories? If you do, well, I am not. If you do not, then you are a bit more aware than the majority of people who eat this food. There are over five hundred calories in a big mac, five hundred and thirty to be exact, three hundred and fifty calories in the medium fries that come with the combo, make that five hundred and sixty if you upgrade to a large, anywhere from two hundred to two hundred and forty calories in your drink unless you are one of those people who get the diet varieties or water. Then there are the five hundred and ninety calories in your Mcflurry that you are having for dessert, and let us not forget the two hundred and seventy calories in that delicious apple pie you wasted no time eating. When you put this all together, if you are on the lower end of the spectrum, meaning you got a diet drink, stuck with the medium fries, and got a snack size Mcflurry, you have got a fifteen hundred calorie meal in front of you. If you are on the larger side of life, you are looking more toward the lines of two thousand, two hundred calories.
So in the end, I believe that there should be two kinds of restaurants out there. Places where the health conscious can see their precious calorie labels, and factor what they are about to eat into their diets, but at the same time, I think that there should be places where the calories simply are not counted. However, with a system like this, the people who end up going to places like these are aware of the unhealthiness that they are about to indulge in, but the numbers will not be there to guilt them. This of course will never happen, because people out there do not have enough self control to use a system like this properly. Why? Because people who do not care about their health are going to always go to the places that have better tasting food, and not stop for a minute to think about why it tastes so good to the point where it addicts people. Hopefully people can see that eating at restaurants daily is simply not a good option health wise.