A restaurant sells the burger you see pictured here at a minor-league baseball stadium in Michigan. Naturally, this has a wing of The Holy Church of Accepted Advice For Living A Long and Healthy Life very upset. I mean, look at that thing! It’ll kill you!

Oh, yeeeaaaahh!!

Oh, yeeeaaaahh!!

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine wants the restaurant to label the burger a “dietary disaster” that will cause heart disease and cancer. Boy, that’ll help with sales.

Well, actually, it won’t help with sales … which is the whole point. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is 1) a vegan activist group, not a bunch of concerned doctors, and 2) comprised of annoying, self-appointed nutrition-nannies who think it’s their job to tell the rest of us how to eat. (Dr. Mike Eades wrote about them recently on his blog.)

Like their brethren (and sestren?) at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, PCRM believes people eat junk food because they’re too stupid to realize they’re eating junk food. But by gosh, slap a warning on that artery-clogger and people will gratefully order something more appropriate for a ballgame, like a cup of sprouts.

When I saw this photo, my first thought was that I’d love to take in a game at that park and split one of these monsters with a couple of friends. It’s a $20 concoction that includes five burger patties, five slices of cheese, a cup of chili and some chips and salsa. Yuuuuummmmeee!

And yes, if you ate one of these every day, it could give you heart disease. But if you tried it once, you’d probably just have to drive home with the windows down.

PCRM’s demand for a warning label reminded me that new laws are about to take effect in several states that will require restaurants to list the calorie counts of everything they sell — right on the menu board. No more asking you to do something insanely difficult, such as walking a few feet to read the nutrition chart posted on the wall, or flipping over your placemat to read the chart printed there.

Nope, the high priests of The Holy Church of Accepted Advice For Living A Long and Healthy Life are convinced that if you are confronted with calorie counts, whether you want to see them or not, you’ll finally stop eating so darned much.

There’s a whole lot wrong with this theory, which I plan to dissect in another post soon. But for now, I decided to piece together a video editorial of sorts, using some extra interview footage, some footage from the film, and some schtick that we cut from an earlier draft.

Enjoy.

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19 Responses to “The Labelizers – Bonus Clip”
  1. TonyNZ says:

    How the heck do you eat that thing? Do you dislocate your jaw or do they provide utensils? Do you just “rough it” and do the trough-handshovel combo? Do I spy avocado?

    The mysteries of life.

    It looks like avocado to me. I’m pretty sure you’d have to cut that baby apart. I’ve never been able to eat anything that’s larger than my head.

  2. “But if you tried it once, you’d probably just have to drive home with the windows down.”

    This sandwich could be a driving hazard because you might have to skip using a seat belt as well. ;)

    Perhaps the ballpark should sell seat-belt extenders like the ones the airlines use.

  3. Holly says:

    Michigan is funny about their food.

    They are also giving away a free t-shirt from the Grand Rapids Press if you can eat the whole thing by yourself in one sitting. However, with it being larger than MOST people’s heads I doubt they’ll have to fork over the t-shirt anytime soon.

    I can’t imagine doing that to my digestive system just to win a t-shirt.

  4. Kelly says:

    There is a restaurant in Seattle called Red Robin. It is a “gourmet burger” joint good for families, etc. They have started including the nutrition facts along with the menu “just in case you wan to take a look.” Instead of reading that information and using it to base our order, we usually take a look at the 189 carb (yes – 1-8-9!!) chocolate malt and laugh. And then we order it – along with another basket of fries…
    Having the nutrition facts doesn’t change the way we order – we know how bad it is for us before we go. And like you said – it’s a CHOICE. I’m not a 3rd grader, I’m an adult who is allowed to go crazy once in a while. And sometimes I do order my burger “protein style” without the bun – when I choose to do so…

    My point exactly. If you’re motivated enough to stick to particular diet, you don’t need the information shoved in your face — you’ll find it anyway. And the people who aren’t interested in sticking to diet will order what they want, period.

  5. Matt says:

    I think it’d be a great idea to put the nutrition facts of the foods served on the menus, as long as they include the entire macronutrient profile and not just the calories and carbs like some restaurants (Papa John’s) do. Then again, I’m too lazy to look at the one posted on the wall, and those damn placements are usually stuck to the table.

    I’m trying to imagine a McDonald’s menu board with all the macronutrients listed. It would have to wrap around the inside of the restaurant.

    Besides, I don’t want to stand there in line while some doofus tries to add up the calories, carbs, fats and proteins before ordering.

  6. Josh Goguen says:

    Thanks for putting in a little extra work and putting this together. I’ve been sending links to your YouTube videos for a while.

    I appreciate that. After finishing post, I had no interest in looking at any footage for a long time, but now it’s kind of fun to dig around and see what’s worth piecing together.

  7. Linda says:

    Actually, if you take out the chips and bun, it WON’T clog your arteries or raise your cholesterol…
    I’d love one of those to share at a restaurant!

    Now that you mention it, if you took away the chips and the bun, I might not need to share it …

  8. Max says:

    I’m usually not passionate about most things… until I’m told I can’t have it.
    I never wanted that burger before, now all I want to do is make one myself (I may have to make my own bun to get one big enough).

    I guess flying from New Zealand to Michigan to buy one would be a bit much.

  9. Don Matesz says:

    Hi Tom,

    Great clip. I just learned that we now have more Spurlock-endorsed bologna on film, as he appears now in Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days, a movie promoting a vegan raw food diet as a “cure” for diabetes. If you want the link let me know. I would really like to do a Simply Carnivorous: Reversing Diabetes in 7 Days (my experience with low CHO is sugars can be normal within 7 days) rebuttal to this promotion of a nutritionally deficient and dangerous raw food diet. If you see the video trailer, take a look at Gabriel Cousins MD–to me he looks like death warmed over, a result of raw fooding for many years.

    Don

    Love to see the link, Don. Send it along. Dr. Jay Wortman adopted a low-carb diet after developing diabetes in his 40s. He no longer has symptoms and doesn’t require medication.

  10. Don Matesz says:

    HI Tom,

    Here’s the trailer, Raw For Thirty Days: http://www.rawfor30days.com/trailer.html

    I have My Big, Fat Diet (video) featuring Dr. Wortman and his work with the Namgis people in Vancouver, WA area, showing how a low carb diet reversed diabetes among them. However, that film has this uninformed “nutritionist” repeatedly questioning the “safety” and “long-term effects” of a diet full of “arterycloggingsaturatedfat”, with only one brief rebuttal by Stephen Phinney, so it seemed the producers valued the opinion of this uninformed nutritionist over those of Wortman and Phinney (the ones with the facts straight).

    Never mind that some of the participants had previously been eating the nutritionist’ s “recommended” low fat high carb diet and getting fatter and more diabetic as a long term result. It bugs me that these “nutritionists” warn about the long term effects of low carb diets while seemingly unable to acknowledge the obvious long term effects of the Pyramid Scheme they recommend.

    Anyway, let me know what you think of the “raw” footage.

    Don

  11. Don Matesz says:

    Hi Tom,

    Here’s the link to Raw for Thirty: http://www.rawfor30days.com/trailer.html

    I have a copy of My Big Fat Diet, recording Wortman’s work with the Namgis tribe. I like the film overall, but one thing bugged me: The producers interviewed the conventional dietitian/nutritionist who opposed the diet and spouted numerous falsehoods about low carb diets and “arterycloggingsaturatedfat” several times, but only interviewed Stephen Phinney rebutting her claims once. So in the end it looked to me like the producers were favoring the conventional view that the Big Fat Diet might work for a short time but it will kill you in the end.

    I could hardly believe the tenacity with which that woman clung to the view that the Big Fat Diet would eventually have long term unfavorable effects, despite the fact that several of the Big Fat Diet participants had been following her Pyramid Scheme Big Bread Low Fat Diet for a long time and only getting fatter and more diabetic as a result. It’s as if the brainwashing she received in her training made reality invisible to her.

    Anyway, love to read your take on the “raw” footage.

    Don

    I’m guessing that since the producer works for Canadian television, she was covering her @$$ by interviewing someone to spout the conventional wisdom. I’m biased, but given the results of the Big Fat Diet, I think most viewers would conclude the lowfat mantra-spouter ended up looking ridiculous.

    Thanks for the links; I’ll check them out.

  12. Wanda says:

    labelizah, label- labelizah youre a labelizah… you, you, you are…lol now thats what i will think of every time i hear that song! Maybe you could spoof it a la weird Al Yankovic?? :) Great post, I agree 100 percent. In fact, my husband *would* eat that alone, minus chips, bun and avocado. He won’t touch that, no matter how good i say it is. Cheers!

  13. Tom Naughton says:

    @Don Matesz

    I watched the clip. I guess I’d have to call it the Dean Ornish method: cut out the things that are killing you, such as smoking, add in some vegetarian meals, then credit the vegetarian meals when your health improves.

    Obviously, if these morbidly obese people developed diabetes by living on french fries and soda, then switching to a diet limited to raw vegetables will help, but it’s because they dropped the fries and sodas, not because they went vegan. I just hope the people who see this film figure that out.

    Have any of these goofs considered the fact that type II diabetes was virtually non-existent among the buffalo-hunting tribes?

    And you’re right, Gabriel Cousens looks emaciated and ill.

  14. Don Matesz says:

    “the Dean Ornish method” — exactly.

    I also hope people figure out that the results come from the absence of refined carbs, not the presence of raw vegetables. Unfortunately I think few people have the Sherlock Holmes tendency to notice what’s missing rather than what’s present. I think the tendency will be to credit the vegetarian diet rather than the absence of fries and soda.

    I don’t think these raw fooders have awareness of the health of bison hunters, or the fact that the phenomenal evolutionary success of humans is due to bison hunting, not veggie-crunching. Do they ever wonder why chimps never wrote a symphony?

    Don

    True, but let’s give the chimps credit; they never wrote food-label laws, either.

  15. TonyNZ says:

    This woman almost got herself a Darwin award!

    Basically a woman lived off Red Bull for 8 months and ended up in hospital, no surprises there.

    It goes on to say that she maintaining her figure now, but still has some problems from the Red Bull.

    What is she using to maintain her figure? A Weight Watchers diet! Look at how much better she is because of the Weight Watcher’s diet!

    I found comment #41 on that article particularly disturbing.

    Good grief! Of course she lost weight; with no protein in her diet, her muscles shrank, in addition to losing fat. And talk about screwing up your insulin levels …

  16. Kathy says:

    Are these folks going to censor folks like Paula Deen, who thought it’d be a good idea to put a burger between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts? To her credit, at least she claimed that we were only supposed to consume 1 per lifetime. As gross as this sounds to me, food censorship is even more odious.

    My point exactly. It’s one of the reasons I have so much respect for people like Drs. Mike and Mary Dan Eades and Dr. Al Sears. They have strong opinions about what we should eat, but they’re against laws and regulations that try to harass people into following any particular diet.

  17. Laurie says:

    This is a blog I love (in addition to this one)
    “HYPERLIPID
    YOU NEED TO GET CALORIES FROM SOMEWHERE, SHOULD IT BE FROM CARBOHYDRATE OR FAT?” In the comments there is a discussion that maybe high-sugar COMBINED with high-fat is the worst possible synergy. The Ornish diet may help on one minor level by de-coupling sugar from fat. I agree with you that taking away fries and soda is what helps the obese people, and not the exclusive inclusion of greens. So Ornish (and the raw foodies) remove sugar AND fat, when just the removal of sugar is probably the sufficient step. And removing critical brain-food-fat is BAD BAD BAD in the long run. For me this helps clear up some confusion I had and explains why Ornish has a following and, sort of, some results. Not only are the people in the film NOT focusing on what was removed as the reason for improvements ( instead they think it’s the addition of organic mulch to their diets that helps), but there were at least two variables subtracted from their old diets!!! It’s hard enough to attribute cause if you can even control for and look at just one variable. And synergy and ‘emergent properties’ add some very wild, unexpected results.
    The Veganistas, Raw-Foodies and Labelizers are making annoying inroads and affecting my life with their very poor reasoning and bad science purveying. I am trying to reintroduce full-fat yogurt to my diet and to that of my elderly parents’ (I shop for them). I’m busy and I don’t really want to make yogurt, but I might have to because there is very little whole milk yogurt available to buy. There is some for toddlers. EAT FAT, not sugar- is my new motto.

    Yup, it’s annoying. Just to try to find lard or coconut oil at your average grocery store.

    I agree that high-carb, high-fat is probably the worst combination. The carbs encourage your body to store fat at the same time you’re ingesting plenty of fat to store. It’s a killer combo. Almost any diet that avoids this combo is going to look good by comparison.

    Hyperlipid is an excellent site. It’s now on the blogroll.

  18. ethyl d says:

    What the labelizers demonstrate is that people are very good at believing they are “doing something” to fix a problem when they are actually just spinning their wheels and accomplishing nothing. The idea that people are going to change what they order in a restaurant when they see the calorie count is naive at best and the start of the government controlling what we can eat for “our own good” at worst. People who are really taking responsibility about their nutrition know already what they should or should not order in a restaurant to achieve their nutritional goals. Preachy menus will not “educate” people who don’t want to hear the message. People are not going to recover from metabolic disorders until CORRECT nutritional information is much more widely disseminated than it currently is, AND they have that interior conversion that makes them want to do something about their weight and health. All this labeling will do is perpetuate the myth that weight control is only a matter of counting calories. This labelizing effort is kind of like those signs that some types of Christians like to display to guilt people into converting, such as “Avoid hell! Repent today!” I doubt if those kinds of billboards are responsible for very many souls turning to the Lord. And I’m fairly positive all the nutrition labels in the world won’t guilt anyone into joining the Holy Church of Right Eating (to adapt your wonderful phrase).

    You just neatly summarized my next post.

  19. DLM says:

    Tom,

    Loved the DVD and just found your blog. Lost 20 pounds since last week of June just by cutting carbs (no one at work believes it, though). Got a question, if I may: did you try to get an interview with the CSPI pests for the movie? I would have loved to see them explain their 180 on making restaurants ditch tallow, then later slamming them for using trans fats, the only alternative. Thanks, DLM

    Nope. The film was self-funded, I had limited resources for traveling and shooting, so I elected to focus on the people whose ideas I supported. Would’ve been fun, though.

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