Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


Fast foods’ low-carb items are still fast food

Remember when people used to think fat made you fat? Store aisles were stocked with low-fat cheese, low-fat salad dressing, low-fat yogurt – everything was low-fat. But that was a long time ago, the ’90s. We know better now. Clearly, the reason people are so fat isn’t fat. Oh, no. It’s the carbohydrates.

It is doubtful that in 1972 Dr. Robert Atkins knew this low-carb thing would become such a craze. That year he published his landmark “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution,” which served as the genesis for the current movement. In the book, Atkins states by limiting carbohydrate consumption, including eliminating processed carbs such as sugar and white flower, and eating a good mix of fats and proteins, one can achieve rapid, sustained weight loss.

Since Atkins’ death April 8, his follow-up book, “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution,” has picked up steam despite serious doubts raised by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, among others, about the diet’s long-term effectiveness and its overall health value. It has grown so popular that even those paragons of unhealthy living – the beer and fast food industries – are trying to cash in. But while the diet is controversial, what these companies are doing by attempting to associate themselves with Atkins can only be called a dishonest bastardization of his vision.

The worst offender is Kentucky Fried Chicken. Clearly, when one thinks of health food, the first thing that pops into one’s mind is fried chicken. Salad? No thanks, I’ll take the Colonel’s Extra Crispy Chicken bucket. At least, that’s what marketers would like. In one commercial, two friends see each other. When one asks what the other is doing to look so good, he replies: “Eatin’ chicken.” In another, a wife places a bucket of fried chicken in front of her husband and proceeds to tell him that tonight will be the night they start eating right.

Both commercials exclaim, “The secret’s out. Original Recipe Chicken has 11 grams of carbohydrates and 40 grams of protein.” Well gosh! I didn’t realize Ö wait a minute. What does that fine print on the bottom of the screen say? Fried chicken is not a ”low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-sodium food.” Further investigation on KFC’s Web site reveals that one piece of Original Recipe Chicken has 19 grams of fat (29 percent of the daily value), 6 grams of saturated fat (30 percent), 145 milligrams of cholesterol (48 percent), 1150 milligrams of sodium (48 percent) and 380 of the recommended daily 2,000 calories. But it only has 11 grams of carbs!

I don’t know who they are trying to fool, but if the people I see eating when I go into KFC are getting smaller, then they must have carried the body weight of a Volkswagen Beetle beforehand.

Almost as offensive is the recent string of beer commercials proclaiming the healthy, low-carb benefits of their wares. It all started with Michelob’s low-carb Ultra brand. You’ve seen the commercials. They’re the ones that look like Gatorade advertisements. Attractive, well-toned people are shown doing everything from playing tennis, aerobics to swimming. When it comes time to take a break, they reach for a refreshing bottle of Michelob Ultra.

For a second, forget about the carbohydrate issue. What about the hydration issue? One would think of water as the best beverage to drink after a bout of strenuous exercise. But according to the ads, one would think wrong. Now it seems as if every other beer commercial tells of the beer’s carbohydrate level, and Coors is about to release its own “ultra light” beer.

Sure, the title sounds cool, but who knew rapper Ludacris’ most recent album, “Chicken-N-Beer,” would also serve as a guiding light to health-conscious people everywhere?

So remember: If you want to lose weight, forget about a low-calorie balanced diet with a steady exercise regimen. And next time you see a salad in front of you, don’t eat it. Instead, put down that fork and pick up a bucket of chicken and a six-pack.

Matt Graham is a second-year journalism major. He welcomes comments at [email protected]

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *