The most-fattening foods, and fattest people, in the land
Take, for instance, Maryland's Smith Island cake, the state's official dessert. Here's what "Health" has to say about that delicacy:
In 2008, the Old Line State adopted the Smith Island Cake as its official state dessert. The cake gets its name from a remote island in the Chesapeake Bay, home to fewer than 100 year-round residents, and yet the decadent treat became so popular the governor signed the cake into law.
- Ingredients: At least 10 layers of cake, which can be made from scratch or from a packaged mix, with layers of chocolate icing in between
- Fat content: Most recipes have around 26 grams of fat per serving, enough for an entire day.
Virginia fares a bit better with its legendary Smithfield ham:
The Smithfield ham is defined -- by law -- as ham that is processed and cured in a certain way and only in Smithfield. While it's not the worst food for you in the entire country, ham isn't one of your healthiest options when choosing a meat.
- Ingredients: Ham, salt, often with sugary glaze
- Fat content: A serving of ham generally has around 7 to 9 grams of fat.
By contrast, some states are known, according to the highly subjective list (Maryland's represented by a cake, not a crab dish, for instance, while Connecticut's represented by a hot dog, for Pete's sake, and not for its exquisite and ground-breaking Pepe's pizzas).
Let's compare the "Health" list to the statistics in "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future," a new report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Among other things, that report, issued Tuesday, ranks states according to obesity rates.
The most-obese state, Mississippi, has as its favorite food a native mud pie. Alabama and Tennessee, tied for second place, are represented on the Health list by bacon-wrapped meatloaf and Ruby Tuesday's Triple Prime Bacon Cheddar Burger, respectively. (Ruby Tuesday's started out in that state.) On the other hand, least-obese Colorado is the land of the seven-pound breakfast burrito (!), while second-least-obese Connecticut has that hot dog. (D.C. was the third-least-obese jurisdiction, but it's not included in the "Health" roundup.)
To their credit, the folks at "Health" don't recommend steering clear of these local favorites altogether but rather to sample them in moderation. That's good, because summer vacation is prime time to indulge in destination-specific dining. I, for one, couldn't go a summer without a bite of Thrasher's french fries on the Ocean City boardwalk, calories be damned!
What local favorite foods will you be enjoying this summer? Do you pay attention to their nutrition profiles or just eat with abandon?
Speaking of vacation and eating, I'll be in Italy for the next 10 days. Look for guest blogs from Pam Peeke, Brian Wansink and Post intern Leslie Tamura in my absence. And when I get back, I'll let you know whether I managed to maintain my weight while away.
Jennifer LaRue Huget
July 1, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Nutrition and Fitness , Obesity
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