Friday, July 16, 2010

Restaurants Propose Even More Insane Food Options

As if the super-sized portions that already contribute to ever expanding waistlines aren't enough, two restaurant chains are introducing even larger burgers.
The fast-food world has proof positive that size matters: a foot-long cheeseburger.

A cheeseburger sold as a foot-long sandwich, with three burgers and three cheese slices, is being tested at 50 Carl's Jr. restaurants in Southern California and 50 Hardee's units in Indiana. That's the same chain that introduced the world to the 1,400-calorie Monster Burger and the Monster Breakfast Sandwich, with 47 grams of fat.

The move comes at a time fast-food chains are focused on concocting more items intriguingly low in price but large in size. This summer, there's serious foot-long-on-the-cheap mania.

The Carl's foot-long fetches $4 without lettuce and tomatoes, $4.50 with.

Sonic just added a $2.99 foot-long hot dog this month. Subway, the king of the $5 sub, will roll out a line of spicy foot-longs in mid-August. Quiznos is eyeing a line of premium foot-longs early this fall — one made with prime rib — for $5.

"We live in a society that's fascinated with all things big," says Scott Hume, editor of, an industry trade site. "It's inherently American to push for something bigger and better than anyone else has."
Who the heck needs that much food (1,400 calories) at a single sitting? It's more than half a daily recommended intake and unless your name is Michael Phelps or competitive eater Kobiyashi or Joey Chestnut, there's no reason to eat that much (and even then - I wonder about those competitive eaters).

Restaurants continue pandering to who exactly with these huge sandwiches and heart attacks on a plate?

Portion control should be a given for the individual, but that doesn't mean restaurants shouldn't try exercising portion control as well. They could make money selling reasonably sized portions at a lower price while still feeding the bottom line. However, since most people seem to attribute value with size, restaurants continue to supersize portions, even when they aren't healthy.

Foot long sandwiches aren't necessarily a bad thing - if you're sharing them between two people. These new burger concoctions aren't meant to be shared.

And if you think that fast food restaurants are bad, consider the fast casual restaurants like Chili's, Red Robin, and others, who dole out monstrous burgers with eye-popping sodium counts:
Last month, Adams Reynolds of released a list of the Worst — as in unhealthiest — Burgers in America. The Worst Healthy Burger: Ruby Tuesday’s Veggie Burger, with 1,007 calories and 53 grams of fat. The saltiest burger? Red Robin’s A1 Peppercorn Burger, with 5,784 milligrams of sodium.

Worst Burger in America, according to Reynolds? Chili’s Smokehouse Bacon Triple Cheese Big Mouth Burger with Jalapeño Ranch Dressing, which is a mouthful to say, much less eat. The burger packs 1,901 calories, 138 grams of fat and 4,201 milligrams of sodium, with more saturated fat than 15 large orders of McDonald’s french fries and more calories than 19 sticks of cotton candy.

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