Friday, June 25, 2010

The Medical Pay Day Loan

(Friendly's Cheese Burger Melt) The original title of this post was "Poisoning America" but I wanted to add the economic distinction. Too much sodium increases the risk for stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and renal disĀ­ease. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 recommends that middle-aged and older adults, and all blacks should limit intake to 1,500 mg/day of sodium.. That's about 70% of the U.S. adult population. For the other 30% (i.e. the young) the recommended limit is 2,300 mg/day of sodium. A recent CDC study suggests that less than 10% of Americans meet this dietary limit.

I'm not talking about calories and the rampant obesity epidemic, but I'll include the recommended calorie intakes (2400 for men and 1850 for women) and list calories in the numbers below. My emphasis here is on sodium. The low estimate is that excessive sodium kills Americans at a rate of two 911 bombings a month. The obesity numbers are worse.

(KFC Double Down) The list below provides the portion size in grams, the calories, and the sodium content in milligrams. Remember, daily sodium intake should not exceed 1500 mg for all but the young.

Arby's Medium Roast Beef-210-450-1380
Arby's Medium Beef&Cheddar-251-530-1640
Taco Bell Double Decker Taco-156-330-820
Taco Bell Mexican Pizza-213-514-1030
Wendy's Double w/cheese-337-750-1370
Wendy's Regular Fries-142-410-370
McDonald's Big Mac-214-540-1040
McDonald's Regular Fries-117-380-270
Burger King Whopper-290-670-1020
Burger King Medium Fries-116-440-670
KFC Chicken Breast-176-510-1010
KFC Double Down-253-540-1380
Pizza Hut 14 inch pepperoni (3 slices)-384-1140-2520

If you think it's only fast food, think again. In fact, it gets worse. The above are almost little league compared to restaurants like Denny's or Friendly's, which serve meals almost designed to kill.

Denny's Grand Slamwich-1320 calories-3070 mg
Denny's Spicy Buffalo Chicken Melt-870 calories-3820 mg
Denny's Cheesy Three Burger-1930 calories-4120 mg
Friendly's Grilled Cheese Burger Melt-1500 calories-2380 mg
Friendly's Zesty Questo Burger Melt-1380 calories-2410 mg
Friendly's Sirloin Steak Tips-1140 calories-3350 mg
Friendly's Clamboat Basket-1710 calories-3340 mg
Friendly's Waffle Fries-570 calories-1840 mg

Oh, but it gets so much better if you go to a more respectable place:
Olive Garden's Chicken and Gnocchi Veronese-1030 calories-2580 mg
Macaroni Grill's Chicken Scaloppine-910 calories-3030 mg
Red Lobster's Maui Luau Shrimp and Salmon-760 calories-2640 mg
Red Lobster's Wood-Grilled Lobster, Shrimp and Scallops-500 calories-3220 mg
Outback's 10-oz Ribeye-787 calories-2389 mg
Outback's Baby Back Ribs-2013 calories-2600 mg

I could make this list a lot longer, and if you think I'm cherry picking anomalies, then by all means examine the data yourself.

So if you stop into Friendly's and have the Cheese Burger Melt with the fries, that's 2070 calories and 4220 mg of sodium in a single meal, the medical equivalent of a pay day loan and another shining example of the optimal solutions produced by the magic hand of the free market, the same delightful mechanism that gave us pay day loans, the credit swap meltdown, and a clean, clear Gulf of Mexico kept safe by responsible corporations committed to safety. Friendly's, AIG, BP, and United Health Care are the same wolf wearing different shades of sheep. With this shade, the fattening of the flock IS the slaughter. Free market economics rest upon the assumption of informed consumers.

Of course the people eating this food know what they're doing. Is it an exaggeration to say we are being poisoned? Perhaps, but how much of an exaggeration? Seriously.

Addiction is rampant in this conversation.

Arby's Nutrition Burger King Nutrition Denny's Nutrition Friendly's Nutrition McDonald's Nutrition KFC Nutrition Taco Bell Nutrition Wendy's Nutrition


Anonymous Dustin said...

For added fun check out cheesecake factory and claim jumper. I started watching my food intake more closely, and both of those places have menu items that would meet your caloric intake for the week.

I have to say though, that cheeseburger at the top would have been right up my alley.

6/26/2010 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. If it is established medical knowledge that excessive sodium causes high blood pressure and other health problems, how does it make sense for restaurants to serve meals with twice or even three times the healthy amount? Don't you dare smoke a cigarette, but have another cheeseburger.

X4mr did just take a sample of what is epidemic. Dustin is right about those two restaurants. The Claim Jumper country fried steak, as just one example, has over 4100 mg of sodium. Michelle Obama is trying to create some consciousness in this area, but I remain skeptical.

This is a great example of where the free market just cares about profit and exploits any weakness, any vulnerability. The pay day loan is an excellent match.

Let's hope it's killing off the bubbas of the tea party faster than the other groups. I hear Cheney is in the hospital. Someone send him a Cheeseburger Melt.

6/26/2010 9:36 AM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

X4mr is pointing to a serious issue. The market has no ethics and pursues profit, period, no matter what happens to whom. Restaurants put exorbitant amounts of sodium in the food because sodium stimulates the taste and sense of satisfaction. Restaurants also serve oversized portions because that has also been found to stimulate sales. It is a classic case where the assumption of informed and aware consumers does not apply. This is really no different from cigarettes during the 40s or 50s.

Thanks for this post. I knew about the situation but did not realize the numbers were so insane. Just like oil, just like the banks, we have private corporations raking in profits while the rest of the public incurs the cost of their operations.

6/26/2010 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you're saying Obama should regulate our restaurants?

Well, that's just great.

This country is going to hell. Now people can't even fucking eat without nanny state's permission.

6/26/2010 7:55 PM  
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