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Re: The KFC Double Down

ff9e1650-b768-4157-83e5-e54642fbb7b2chicken cordon bleu in mushroom sauce.jpg

A reader writes in with more thoughts on the Double Down debate:

Missing in the debate about KFC's Double Down Chicken Sandwich is a comparison of the double down to traditional dishes. The Double Down is a reinterpretation of the traditional French "chicken cordon bleu." Melted cheese and pork between two small breasts of breaded chicken, sounds like a cordon bleu to me.

I wouldn't equate the two. Cordon bleu is usually prepared in a frying pan with oil (maybe in the oven too), the chicken isn't always breaded, the ham and cheese is high quality, there might be a nice cream sauce, and of course a cordon bleu is eaten with a knife and fork. The double down doesn't have those things. All things being equal, I'd take the cordon bleu, but sometimes I need a full meal and only have a $10 bill.

As every blogger has pointed out, the double down only has 600 calories or so, which I would expect would be much less than any portion of cordon bleu.

"Replacing bread with fried chicken for a sandwich" sounds like a culture of obesity. "Fried cordon blue with bacon instead of ham in a paper wrapper" sound like street corner haute cuisine to me. I expect the double down to be terrible because, well, it’s from KFC. But I hope it inspires street vendors here in D.C. to make a better version.

I'd just add a couple of points: First, people feel a lot better lecturing others about the unhealthiness of fast food than the unhealthiness of haute food. The KFC Double Down is a lot better for you than a meal at foodie-darling Animal, though it's also true that the KFC Double Down is priced to be a regular meal while Animal is more of an occasional splurge.

Second, it's always important to remember that the rise in obesity is traceable to the rise in snacks, not the rise in meals. As the cordon bleu example suggests, or the existence of macaroni and cheese proves, we've long eaten large meals that were more about fat and salt than complex whole grains and vegetables. What's changed is our ability to get food between meals: The easy availability of potato chips and soda in the middle of the day does more to explain our national waistline than does innovation in the size of fast food hamburgers.

Photo credit: Jan K. Overweel


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By Ezra Klein  |  April 27, 2010; 3:02 PM ET
Categories:  Food  | Tags: Double Down, Fast food, Fried chicken, KFC, KFC Double Down  
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Comments

I've heard food critics say the culprit is more high fructose corn syrup than rampant snacking. What is your take on that Ezra?

Posted by: nisleib | April 27, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Cordon bleu has chicken, cheese, ham and a cream sauce. If the chicken is true free range, the cream sauce is made with real heavy cream, and the cheese a good raw milk cheese, then what's to object to? Sounds pretty healthy to me. Remember, the real problem with dishes like pasta carbonara is not the cream sauce, eggs, cheese and pork, but the pasta. Good Calories, Bad Calories. The problem with the KFC version is that it's probably fried in some kind of vegetable oil, the chicken comes from a factory farm, and the other ingredients are probably contaminated in other ways. The evidence says saturated fat is not unhealthy, and vegetable oils (corn, canola, etc.) are quite unhealthy (along with fructose and gluten). By the way, you want a great restaurant? Try Pomona's in Biglerville or Sydney in East Berlin if you're ever in the Gettysburg area. Better than Nora, and based on the review, better than Chez Panisse (and much less expensive).

Posted by: johnsonr1 | April 27, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Ditto. Thank you.

Let's also not forget the rise in butt-sitting jobs and the decline of physical labor as a normal part of daily life. My great-grandparents ate what we'd consider ridiculous amounts of ridiculous food for breakfast -- every morning was (at least) eggs, bacon or sausage, a pile of grits with butter, and a big glass of milk. And then they went out and worked their farm all day, every day. Nobody in that family was even slightly overweight (and believe it or not, they also didn't drop dead of heart attacks at 50, either).

Nowadays, I sit in my office on the computer all day. Even if I manage an hour at the gym or on the treadmill, that still puts me, oh, 12-13 hrs behind on the "physical effort" scale.

Posted by: laura33 | April 27, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Snacking is part of the problem, but I would disagree with you about portion size. Here's a news story about a study that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine last fall:
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/17/science/sci-joy17

Portion sizes have been increased in Joy of Cooking over the past 60 years to the point that a modern portion has an average of 63% more calories than the same recipe in the original edition. Yipes. The editor for the first edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking had Child et al change the portion sizes from French portions to American portions (6 French servings equalled 4 American servings). Supersizing is not just a fast food phenomenon.

Posted by: J_Bean | April 27, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

To clarify, meant thank you Ezra. I do get tired of the demonization of fast food. It makes such an easy target. But throwing all the blame at fast food franchises diverts attention from all the other structural problems in our society that also contribute to the problem. We could close down every McDonald's and KFC in the country, and the obesity epidemic wouldn't go away.

But, hey, it's so much easier to scapegoat KFC. Makes us feel all righteous, like we've actually done something.

Posted by: laura33 | April 27, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

If I had to change one thing about our culture relating to health, it would be to institute mid-day exercise (and possibly a mid-day nap, but that's another issue). I have friends whose places of employment have gyms in the office or nearby. A quick mid-day workout (say, 20-30 minutes of cardio followed by a shower) would do wonders for my health and sanity. Not only would it slice a couple hundred calories off my balance sheet, it would also wake me up from my early afternoon sleepies, which always seem to set in around 1-2.

Sitting at a desk all day sucks.

Posted by: MosBen | April 27, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I can actually envision an enterprising restauranteur creating a better version of this on a plate. Some field greens or roasted veggies on the side with risotto might work.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | April 27, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Having been a banquet waiter in the 80s I, too, noticed the resemblance to chicken cordon bleu. My guess is the KFC one is only marginally more gross than the ccb's we served at rich girls wedding receptions.

Posted by: luko | April 27, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree with you on the subject of snacking. Office environments tend to be dry, so we feel a need to get a drink. This is often soda, and we also must get a candy bar too as they are right next to each other and taste so good. So we pack more calories in to go back and sit in our chairs.

Large calorie fast food meals have their purpose. When I worked in construction, I would often get the supersized meal at lunch or else be starving near the end of the shift. Now that I'm a desk worker, I often pass on the fries just to cut out some calories, and I noticed some slight weight loss at the same time.

On a similar vein, I find it interesting that a medium drink at most fast food places is what a large was a couple of years ago. "Supersize Me" demonized the bigger portions, so the chains just changed the names. Now we get 290 calories in a soda when we used to get 210.

Posted by: mskidz | April 27, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

For all those lamenting the "demonization" of the fast food industry, bear in mind that KFC was looking for free publicity from the predictable media circus it expected would accompany the double down.

There are examples at a number of restaurants across the country (Burger King, Hardy's, Arby's, Karl's jr) of fast food chains creating purposely extravagant meals to get attention.

It seems like the media are learning. That's why you are reading so many snarky "That's all, just 560 calorie?" articles in the press. They're caught on to the game.

Posted by: CarlosXL | April 27, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"the decline of physical labor as a normal part of daily life"

That's very true. I was recently struggling in my effort to lose some weight, and was falling off the wagon. So, I decided to fall off the wagon and hit the ground running.

So, I ate whatever the hell crappy food and snacks I wanted to (except trying to avoid caffeine and artificial sweetners), probably consuming 3000-4000 calories a day. And then I did about a half-hour on the treadmill in the morning and an hour on the treadmill at night. I did not lose any weight eating my fattening, processed food diet--but I didn't gain any, either.

Now I'm eating a more restricted, nutritious diet and getting between 20 and 40 minutes on the treadmill a day, and whatever extra walking and whatnot I can fit in, and I'm losing some weight. But if I had been getting the equivalent of 90 minutes of aerobic exercise a day the entire time my less-than-nutritious diet was helping me pack on the pounds, I probably would have put on 5 lbs instead of 50.

I think the sedentary thing is a big deal. We just don't think about it much because we do move around, and in our work days we are often very busy, and feel very harried and over-worked, yet don't stop to think that that doesn't actually translate into much in the way of calorie burn. So we get older, fatter, move less, and our metabolism slows, so we pack on more pounds . . .

I regret having been sedentary for so long and on days when I fall off the wagon (like, say, if in the not-too-distant future I break down and go to KFC to get a chicken sandwich where they've replaced the bread with bacon and included a 5-gallon chaser of gravy), I'm gonna make myself get on the treadmill, just to get some movement in. Because eating unhealthy, calorie laden food is a bad thing--but it's made much worse by doing it in front of the TV, where we sit, until we finally take that long walk to the bedroom.

I had that treadmill for years before I started using it consistently. And now, every time I'm on it for 30 minutes and the endorphins start kicking in, I think about what an idiot I was for not keeping a simple exercise program going all along.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | April 27, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Well lets see the KFC version is two fried chicken breasts so it is probably a bit bigger than a normal serving of chicken cordon bleu,but they probably have a similar number of calories. I'd hazard to guess that the KFC is version is oversalted but given the amount of cream and cheese involved in the French version they probably come out about the same in terms of fat comment. The issue would come where if you got the KFC version for lunch you got it with the other absurdly unhealthy things they serve it with. This isn't news about French food though. You really shouldn't eat French every day at American portion sizes. It will kill you just as fast as a KFC diet.

I'm pretty skeptical of the ability of street vendors to safely make a pounded, stuffed, rolled and fried chicken breast though. Boneless chicken breast prepared that way would take at like 12-15 minutes frying.

Posted by: tmorgan2 | April 27, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

@MosBen: "If I had to change one thing about our culture relating to health, it would be to institute mid-day exercise"

Me too. I'm waiting for the ATC fitness center to open up down the street from where I work. I figure ten minutes down there and to change, ten minutes to scrub up a little and change back, then twenty minutes to exercise with a 10 minute grace period. Then I'm going to institute my own mid-day exercise program some days.

"Sitting at a desk all day sucks."

Yeah. So does having a snack machine filled with tasty processed snacks, and a Coke machine right next to it. I love Cokes. It's a herculean (and often distracting) battle some days to skip some cheese crackers and a Coke. Cue that Homer Simpson drooling sound. I love a salty snack and a Coke.

Although I'm to blame for my Ramen addiction. Cheap, easy, salty noodles. Man, I love the Ramen, but talk about your bad calories.

I work for the county government, so it would be awesome if they instituted some sort of mandatory exercise program. But it's never going to happen. They do offer some free exercise classes, but they are at other areas and just not possible, time wise. But maybe one day . . .

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | April 27, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Another key difference is that Cordon Bleu is supposed to be SLOW food not fast food. That is, not wolfed down on the go, but eaten sitting down at a table with other courses and with table conversation, and fresh water and /or wine to drink, so that you can absorb the experience properly and savor all the nuances of flavor, and not be hungry or thirsty afterward.

Cordon bleu is special occasion food, and not designed to be a staple nor home-cooking (which is traditionally simple and satisfying).

Fast food is deliberately over salted so that you will buy a huge high-markup corn syrup soft drink to wash it down as quickly as possible.

Posted by: harold3 | April 27, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

@MosBen: Moderate exercise does not do particularly well for weight loss. In fact, if you exercise more, you tend to get hungrier and eat more. Don't you remember the old phrase, "work up an appetite?"

And blaming it on snacking, or the availability of snacks doesn't wash with me either. There are plenty of examples of groups of people with no access to snacks and high levels of obesity.

The more important question is why would we even want to snack? If I (and in my experience, most people) stay away from simple carbohydrates, I'm just not hungry. I can look at a soda or a bowl of chips and not have any impulse to drink or eat.

The problem is a damaged appetite control mechanism, resulting from chronic high insulin levels leading to immediate storage of the calories from your last meal, leading to low blood glucose and hunger.

And the reason for all of that, in most people who have a problem with excess body fat, is a diet high in grains and other simple carbohydrates. Give that diet to even very active groups, and impoverished groups, and many of them will accumulate fat and become obese.

Posted by: sbguy | April 27, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

And to continue my heretical rant, I don't think it's about portion size either.

If I eat a huge lunch, and it's not full of simple carbohydrates I'm not hungry for dinner, and I just don't eat it, or I only eat a little.

And if you cut most of the grains and processed carbohydrates out of your diet, you tend to eat just what you need to maintain a healthy weight.

Obviously that's not true for everyone. But for people with an excess fat problem, it's almost always true in my experience.

Again, the question is why would your body crave two or three high-calorie meals in a day, day-after-day? For most people, it's because when your metabolism is damaged, and your diet is low in good fats and high in simple carbohydrates, you store more food (as fat) than you can burn. Then you have "room" for another huge meal.

(Also, it appears that simple carbohydrates overcome our natural satiety responses. After a big steak meal, if someone offered you another steak, chances are you couldn't imagine eating it. But bring out the dessert tray, and your brain lights up and you reach for the fork.)

Posted by: sbguy | April 27, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"Remember, the real problem with dishes like pasta carbonara is not the cream sauce, eggs, cheese and pork, but the pasta."

Spoken like a person who will one day be taking Lipitor.

You'll live longer with a nice red marinara sauce. The carbs in the pasta carbonara may be harder on your weight than all of the animal fat in the cheese, cream, and pork, but that does not mean all the fatty stuff is exactly healthy for you.

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 27, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

The most important difference between haute cuisine and fast food is how often people eat one or the other.

My wife and I love at eat at Les Folies, a very nice French restaurant in Annapolis, but at those prices, we eat there maybe three times a year. So we don't get fat from eating there, no matter how rich the food may be.

Three KFC or Hardees', or whatever, meals per year wouldn't exactly make anyone fat either. The problem is when people eat there four or five times a week.

Posted by: rt42 | April 27, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

What is this attack on Animal? We love going there, the pork belly is incredible!!

Its been interesting to watch the visceral reaction we've had to this sandwich, for one, I think its because of HDTV where food commercials now are overwhelming and almost pornographic.

I'm skeptical of the idea of fast food making people obese. KFC, McDonalds and the rest are easy to demonize and blame for the obesity problem in this country, but the reality is far more complicated.

People in 2010 sit around far, far more than anytime in human history, and u can draw a line of the last 30 years of technological innovations we all enjoy, and it tracks right along with the developed world's obesity.

Posted by: zeppelin003 | April 27, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

That's exactly what it is; I hadn't put my finger on it. Cordon Bleu! Kiev!

THAT is why every time I look at a photo of it, I want to put it on a plate, take it apart, and eat it with a knife and fork.

Posted by: ajw_93 | April 27, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

"People in 2010 sit around far, far more than anytime in human history, and u can draw a line of the last 30 years of technological innovations we all enjoy, and it tracks right along with the developed world's obesity."

But wouldn't the same be true of the increased portion sizes, and the increased reliance on fast food in a typical family's diet?

I think it is both a matter of calorie intake and calories burned. People have lived sedentary lives and stayed thin, but if one is both sedentary and eating a super-sized meal each day, that is the recipe for obesity and type 2 diabetes. And sadly that is the way many of are living these days.

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 27, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

The problem of obesity has multiple causes working synergically -- obviously. The fat-salt-sweet combination damages appetite control regulation. High carbs, low exercise, no family meals, riding around in cars, snacking, subsidies to agribusiness, grain-fed meat, fowl, and fish. Fast eating, advertising (especially to children), stress -- all have part to play.

Posted by: harold3 | April 27, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

@Patrick_M: "I think it is both a matter of calorie intake and calories burned. People have lived sedentary lives and stayed thin, but if one is both sedentary and eating a super-sized meal each day, that is the recipe for obesity and type 2 diabetes"

If you are sedentary, your body naturally tends to turn down your appetite, because you're burning fewer calories. Just as when you're active, your body tends to turn up your appetite because you're burning more calories.

So why would a sedentary person want to eat more calories than he or she is burning?

Posted by: sbguy | April 27, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

One additional key difference between the Cordon Bleu and the Double Down is the additives going into the KFC product.

Comparing the two is nominal only, as one is made with real food and the other is a chemical concoction desinged to keep you coming back for more. The KFC chicken breasts have almost certainly been injected with a saline solution, the breadcrumbs provide another opportunity for salt plus sugar if it matches the rest of the chain. Mix these two with a 'healthy' dose of fat and by themselves you have a fat on salt on sugar on salt, and that's just the chicken. The cheese is high salt high fat, if it's not a 'cheese product' that's only marginally related to actual cheese and no doubt loaded. The bacon is... well... bacon, but the smoke is an artificial chemical, the salt will knock you on your back and the fat makes bacon that addictive goodness even vegetarians can love. Oh, and you acutally have to 'make' Cordon Bleu and cook it, not order it and have it pop up in front of you within 3 minutes.

You were the one who first pointed out to me "The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Diet" and this comparison really fits the bill.

On a side note, in the last season of Top Chef, I remember seeing the challenge that required the chefs to create their own triple-protein wrap goodness. The episode was a hit and had a lot of Turdunken jokes mixed in... really not that different from the Double Down. I'll expect Carl's Junior to come out with something like the Triple Play or the 4x4 next.

Posted by: Jaycal | April 27, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

" I expect the double down to be terrible because, well, it’s from KFC."

Wrong. KFC has traditionally been the one fast food outlet that served "real food."

Perhaps it does not match your traditional meal, but that is not a fault - just the way it is.

Most will not agree this time.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | April 27, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"So why would a sedentary person want to eat more calories than he or she is burning?"

sbguy,

I think it has become part of the lifestyle, partly because people have less time to cook for themselves, and partly because of the way that kids now grow up programmed to crave fast food.

People are typically trapped in front of a computer screen all day, they guzzle soda and eat salty and sugary snacks, and because of personal convenience they may opt to dine on a delivery pizza or a super-sized MacDonalds meal at the end of the day.

In our culture, kids are conditioned to see the fast food place as the best source of tasty food, and so they grow up with the association of that stuff as the modern version of "comfort food." That psychology is very powerful, especially when time is at a premium, and so the time and effort of shopping and cooking that goes into preparing a good meal at home is a disincentive to eating right.

It may be natural for appetite to be reduced when a person is less physically active, but (if that is true) I think the psychology of our junk food culture trumps any such natural mechanism for many persons who struggle against weight problems.

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 27, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Portion size increases because restaurants are for-profit businesses and they want to give customers the impression they are getting their money's worth. Compared to service and other things such as special local food and skilled preparation and labor, increasing the amount served is is a relatively low cost way to do this. When some restaurants do it, the others have to follow to keep cutomers coming back. It doesn't take long for people to come to think of huge portions as "normal."

Posted by: harold3 | April 27, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

"Wrong. KFC has traditionally been the one fast food outlet that served "real food.""


Maybe they are different now, but years ago when I last sampled the Colonel's fare, KFC mashed potatoes seemed to have been made from some sort of powder or flakes, and they bore little relationship to any mashed potatoes I have encountered in the real world.

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 27, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Patrick_M: I don't understand your confusion. Eating isn't just about satiating hunger, it's also about pleasuring oneself. A reasonable person will try to pleasure themselves whenever they can, and eating food is a fairly fast and efficient way to do so.

Posted by: usergoogol | April 27, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Er, I meant sbguy. I was originally replying to both of you.

Posted by: usergoogol | April 27, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

@Patrick_M
"The carbs in the pasta carbonara may be harder on your weight than all of the animal fat in the cheese, cream, and pork, but that does not mean all the fatty stuff is exactly healthy for you." Let me make this clear: the carbs are bad for you and lead to weight gain and the saturated fat is healthy for you and leads to weight loss. Read Taubes and Ravnskov, and take a look at the following scholarly blogs:
http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/
http://conditioningresearch.blogspot.com/
http://www.paleonu.com/get-started/

The science is pretty clear, even if the conventional wisdom is wrong. Saturated fat has never been associated with heart disease; polyunsaturated fats will ruin your health.

Posted by: johnsonr1 | April 27, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

"Saturated fat has never been associated with heart disease; polyunsaturated fats will ruin your health."

Never been associated with heart disease? Bacon and and eggs and cream and cheese are all health food with zero impact on coronary disease?

Don't get me wrong, I love a nice pasta carbonara once in a blue moon, but I eat my saturated fats in moderation.

Cue the American Heart Association's Scientific Position:

"Saturated fats and trans fats raise blood cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol also raises blood cholesterol. A high level of cholesterol in the blood is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which leads to heart attack, and also increases the risk of stroke.

AHA Recommendation

Limit foods high in saturated fat, trans fat and/or cholesterol, such as whole-milk dairy products, fatty meats, tropical oils, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and egg yolks. Instead choose foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. Here are some helpful tips:

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Eat a variety of grain products, including whole grains.
Eat fish at least twice a week, particularly fatty fish.
Include fat-free and low-fat milk products, legumes (beans), skinless poultry and lean meats.
Choose fats and oils such as liquid and tub margarines, canola, corn, safflower, soy bean and olive oils.

Saturated fat intake should not exceed 7 percent of total calories each day. Trans fat intake should not exceed 1 percent of total calories each day.

Total fat intake (saturated, trans, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated) should be adjusted to fit total caloric needs. Overweight people should consume no more than 30 percent of total calories from fat."

for more information:

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4582

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 27, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

There is no "national waistline". The idea that there is a WE in this matter, as in we have to eat healthier, is part of the new collectivism. And we can't all afford to eat at Alinea like the tribunes of the people(the Emanuels) do.

Posted by: truck1 | April 27, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Fast food doesn't mean bad food. Salad Works is fast. Healthy food comes in nice easy to eat packages too- just get a protein bar instead of a candy bar.

I get so sad in line at the snack bar at work when the person in front of me has a donut, a bag of chips, and a non-diet soda.

Posted by: staticvars | April 27, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

staticvars,

saladworks is still only in nine states, unfortunately. There are a zillion fast food places near me, and they are all bad news, with the exception of a couple of sandwich chains that have some good stuff.

But you are right, there are plenty of healthy snack options.

truck1,

Give it a rest, dude. Making reference to our "collective" health and fitness is not a socialist plot, and your comment makes you sound like a parody troll.

Perhaps you did not see the retired generals and joint chiefs of staff who testified before Congress last week about the fact that increasingly large numbers of American teenagers are becoming medically unfit to serve, thanks to obesity, and that in the next twenty years (if trends don't change) this problem will become a genuine threat to national security.

There are perfectly valid reasons to look at our problems as a society connected to health and well being.

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 27, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

There are overweight teenagers, and there are very fit, buff teenagers. That has always been the case. But what is new is the sorry lack of education in US history and civics, which would enable people to determine what is a national issue, and what is a personal issue.

Posted by: truck1 | April 28, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

A comment for those blaming a sedentary lifestyle:

Sitting behind a desk all day certainly doesn't help. However, we've been living suburban lifestyles ever since the '70s. If anything, statistics suggest that people exercise slightly more now than we did then. Yet obesity, as you're all aware, is a vastly bigger problem now than it was then.

If you follow Ezra's link, you would find that he's referencing this article:

http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/jesse.shapiro/research/obesity.pdf

Basically, their finding is that calories consumed have increased, whereas calories expended have remained roughly constant over time. Based on a variety of evidence, they conclude that the core issue driving the increase in consumption is that it's much easier to go from being hungry to having food in your mouth now than it ever has been before.

Make sense?

Posted by: jeffwacker | April 28, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

@Patrick_M
Following the AHA (ADA, AMA, USDA, in short, the conventional wisdom) guidelines is a one-way ticket to poor health. Read Taubes, Krauss, Ravnskov, Weston Price, anyone not owned by big pharma and industrial agriculture. The conventional wisdom has been regurgitating Ancel Keys for over 50 years and Ancel Keys' work was discredited many years ago.

Posted by: johnsonr1 | April 28, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

johnsonr1,

I am aware that there is alternative science to the "conventional wisdom," but I am not yet convinced that the basic argument (that saturated fats elevate cholestorol and that high levels of cholesterol lead to clogged arteries and coronary problems) is entirely wrong.

My overall philosophy is that the best way to avoid a "a one-way ticket to poor health" is to take all things in moderation, so that one stays a "moving target" for whatever the bad stuff really is. And when I look at the AHA recommendations for diet, they seem to be very much in that spirit. So I will go for a bacon and egg breakfast now and then, but not every day.

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 28, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

or for about the same amount of calories in a double down, you could have a bran muffin from dunkin' donuts (which I consider to be a much more devious and malicious food item- with the double down, at least, one knows what one is getting).

Posted by: kleinman | April 28, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

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