Our Opinion: The consumer is responsible

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The latest horror story being reported by those prone to being horrified by food products is the development of the BK Stacker, offered by the fast food chain Burger King.

A mass emailing warning about this supposedly insidious product quotes Jeff Novick, Director of Nutrition for the Pritikin Longevity Center, as saying, "Fast food like this is great if you're in a hurry--to die!"

The BK Stacker is a custom designed sandwich with the number of beef patties and the number of cheese slices, up to four each, specified by the customer. With the optional addition of four strips of bacon, the BK Stacker, at its most extreme, contains 1,000 calories, 1,800 milligrams of sodium and a day and a half's worth of saturated fat.

Actually, a 1,000 calorie sandwich could, on occasion, be acceptable in the diet of a person who spends the day in hard physical labor or in athletic training. A fairly high level of sodium is needed for a person who engages in prolonged periods of exercise and the acceptable amount of saturated fat would be different than normal for such a person.

However, most people, including most people who will likely order this monstrous sandwich, do not engage in daily prolonged periods of strenuous exercise. The BK Stacker can generally be considered a poor food choice but it or other choices like it will be provided to consumers as long as there is a demand.

Singling out a particular product at a particular restaurant seems a bit bizarre. Why not issue a more blanket criticism of restaurants that serve burgers, fried foods and ice cream desserts? Why not include a condemnation of supermarkets that provide such products to take home?

The bottom line is that eating sensibly is the responsibility of the consumer.