The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

No fat-free from the Fry Guys

 No fat-free from the Fry Guys
No fat-free from the Fry Guys

No fat-free from the Fry Guys

Like so many other Americans, I’ve been informed that I have a problem with high cholesterol. A fairly significant problem at that: I sprinted right past the “borderline” marker and have settled in comfortably in the “high risk” zone. This means that a health professional has uttered one of most terrifying sentences in the English language to me: “It’s time to watch your diet.”

To some people, embarking on a new diet that cuts fat (also known as “flavor”) out of every meal is only a small adjustment. To a college student, that’s as absurd as trying to cut out that afternoon nap on days with an 8 a.m. class. It is simply not an easy task.

My first step in becoming a sleek, cholesterol-free machine was to visit the campus nutritionist, Ms. Sue Duncan. I was hoping she would reveal a little-known health secret to me that would make the whole thing easy. In my heart of hearts, I wanted her to tell me that McDonald’s has started putting a secret sauce on its burgers that is not only tasty, but makes the burger and fries so healthy that you should eat them for every meal of the day.

Tragically, this wasn’t the case. I held out hope that I could keep eating at fast food places, since I’m a health-conscious fast-food eater. I often order a simple Quarter-Pounder with Cheese, rather than the McThree-Pounds-of-Meat-and-Some-Bacon. I don’t even Super Size the fries, unless I am really hungry.

Ms. Duncan said that it would be best to avoid the fast-food thing, and to order carefully when I do give in to the urge. Order a grilled chicken sandwich, and have them substitute mustard for mayo. Of course, that’s far easier said than done. There’s usually more mayo than there is chicken on grilled chicken sandwiches. And convincing McDonald’s to make something to any particular outside-the-ordinary specification is hard to do. I usually have about a one-in-five chance of success when I ask them to hold the onion or the tomato. Not a great average.

I’m not sure when my love-hate relationship with fast food places began, but I believe it was at an early age. Despite a messy incident in which I fell off a Fry Guy on a McDonald’s playground at the age of 3, cutting my head on a metal bolt that was on the ground, I continued to bug my parents to take me to McDonald’s. I didn’t really like the food then, but I liked the toys and the Happy Meal boxes. To this day, I still get a special little feeling when I walk into a McDonald’s. It’s like a happy place. It boggles my mind. I still often have the urge to order a Happy Meal, even at the age of 23. Brilliant marketing strategy those McDonald’s people have – hook the easy-to-influence kids, and you’ve got a customer for life.

Part of what makes watching food intake so difficult is trying to keep up with crazy scientists. There used to be just fat. Then scientists discovered there’s unsaturated fat and saturated fat, and that depending on the phase of the moon, one is worse than the other (though neither are good). Now they’ve decided to add another wrinkle: They’ve discovered some stuff called trans fat. At first, they encouraged using margarine instead of butter because it didn’t have saturated fat, but now they’re saying that margarine is even worse than butter because it has trans fat. I’m sure that within a couple of years they’ll discover something called anti-fat, which at first they think reduces your cholesterol, but is later discovered to not only raise your cholesterol levels, but also gives you cancer and causes baldness.

But at least the scientists are trying to make us healthier people. The problem is that as foods and society advances new issues keep coming up. Early humans would have loved to be able to go to McDonald’s for all the food they can eat, rather than having to hunt and gather. Let’s just hope scientists work on that special McDonald’s sauce. Otherwise, I might have to learn how to cook.

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