The Upside: Food fight and living beyond our seams


The restaurant industry should have seen it coming. After all, when President Obama was Candidate Arugula he actually lost weight by avoiding fatty photo-ops, going so far as to order pancakes to go. (I know, who eats take-out pancakes? No one. Which was exactly the point.)

I can relate. I used to be the perfect weight -- if I was 6'4". I'm not sure of the exact number because once the scale tipped over 210 I stopped looking, mostly because I couldn't see past my gut. But I can tell you that my size 38 relaxed fit jeans were so relaxed they were practically comatose.

Now that I'm a snack-sized 151 pounds of fun, I've watched with a vested interest as the President chose Dr. Thomas Frieden to helm the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- and not just because vests are slimming. You see, Frieden's the guy who, as head of the New York City Department of Health, forced chain restaurants to post the calorie content of their food, sparking a national trend.

Naturally, many in the restaurant industry oppose anything that would stop consumers from emptying our wallets as we fill our bellies. Alfredo Sandoval's small New York chain of Mercadito Restaurants isn't affected yet, but could be as it expands. "It is a waste of time for restaurant operators and unnecessary information that the customer probably doesn't want to see," Sandoval says. "People go to restaurants to enjoy themselves, eat good food, have good drinks and have a good time."

But at whose expense? High calorie fast food may cost little monetarily, but will drive up health costs as Americans become the size of, in the words of Vogue editor Anna Wintour, "little houses."