It’s Not the Burgers’ Fault
I stumbled across a firestorm of a forum thread about a charming little place called The Heart Attack Grill this afternoon. In addition to the burgers of death pictured above, the Phoenix-based restaurant offers beer, cigarettes, and French Fries cooked in lard. Predictably, the forumites in question were incensed about the Grill’s unapologetically unhealthy chow; the usual “places like this are why we’re getting so obese” line came up, as well as a topic-within-a-topic about the poor dumb souls who eat McDonald’s every day.
Except… when it comes to selling unhealthy, body-punishing cuisine, this place is actually on the right track. Think about it: it’s called The Heart Attack Grill. Every item on the menu, it jokes(?), will kill you. It uses sarcasm and sexy nurse outfits to sell burgers, yeah, but beneath that layer of sleaze there’s a point: this food, eaten in abundance, can be terrible for you. Minimize Me results notwithstanding, that’s pretty true. Places like this are not the reason we’re obese; people coming to these places multiple times per week are the reason we’re obese.
When people start dieting or at the very least paying attention to what they eat, they tend to put food into “good” and “bad” categories. While there are some truly despicable foods out there (transfats, anyone?), for the most part no food is truly bad. You can have that hamburger with bacon occasionally and still live a long, healthy life! The human body is a flexible thing, and as long as you’re–and this is key–treating it right the rest of the time, it’ll take in that extra burger or pizza with minimal fuss.
What’s especially ironic here is, since all of The Grill’s frying is done in lard, it’s actually healthier than the transfat-laden fried junk at most fast food outlets. And most of those outlets are trying to update their image to appeal to more health-conscious Americans, putting forth the image that eating their food regularly is a good idea. I wonder who’s more insidious here: the proud Las Vegases of food joints, or the clean-cut snake-oil salesmen?
Eat what you want to, people, but do so in moderation, and exercise enough to work off whatever indulgences you allow. Sticking to a balanced diet and plenty of physical activity are what keep you healthy–not prohibiting the occasional hamburger.
-Jim will eat these molten cupcakes, for example, and then go running every day to compensate