When I voiced my concerns about the marketing campaign for Burger King’s new BK Stacker (see A Mountain of Meat and Cheese), many OrganicAuthority.com readers took me to task. Because this website is dedicated to organic food and living, it seemed a bit perplexing.
My views, however, haven’t changed. As Dr. Rallie McAllister points out in Sobering Stats on Childhood Obesity, 90% of the products food manufacturers hawk to children meet the criteria for junk food.
Jeff Novick, director of nutrition for the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa, doesn’t mince words about the BK Quad Stacker, whose commercials proudly advertise that it contains “no vegetables.” (When did this become a key selling point?)
“With four slices of cheese, four fatty patties and four slices of bacon, this burger might better be called the quadruple bypass special,” Novick says. “Maybe they call it the ‘stacker’ because it helps stack the odds against the long-term consumer collecting much from Social Security. Fast food like this is great if you’re in a hurry—to die.”
I sent Jeff some of the comments on A Mountain of Meat and Cheese and asked him how he’d respond to the folks who are proud of their fast-food habits.
“We live in a very permissible society,” he tells OrganicAuthority, “and unfortunately many of us indulge in self-destructive products and behavior. As a nutritionist, it is my job not only to give people the best education possible on how to live and eat healthfully, but to model the behavior that I teach to our clients, to my children and to anyone with whom I come into contact. But as the saying goes, ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink.’
“I help many, many people every day,” Jeff adds, “but there are some who need to reach rock bottom before they finally decide to make healthy changes in their life. As a society, we are faced with the same dilemma in trying to stop people from smoking. I could show smokers statistics about death rates for cancer, I can show them a lung ravaged by disease caused by smoking, and I can model a nonsmoking healthy lifestyle. But with some people, no amount of information will stop them from smoking until, unfortunately, they are finally diagnosed with cancer. For some people who eat poorly, just as those who smoke, they have to reach a point where their bad habits have impacted their lives so profoundly that they decide to make a change. Then—and only then—can I truly help this particular group.”
- Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World
- Fast Food Nation
- Don’t Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America