Hear me out, though. For children, aging seniors, and sensitive and ailing individuals, heavy doses of some fast and processed foods can be downright deadly.
Take, for instance, Taco Bell's Fiesta Taco Salad, my 86 year old father-in-law's favorite go-to fast food.
He relishes the dish because it tastes delicious to him. Because it satisfies his hankering for salty and savory. Because a "salad" seems healthier. Because eating fast food dotted with shreds of tomato and lettuce feels more nutritionally virtuous than quaffing other Taco Bell choices.
Recently, Dad was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and experienced pulmonary edema (i.e. fluid in his lungs). After a five-day hospital stay, he's home and on the fragile mend. But he must make vital lifestyle changes, especially a rethinking of his food choices.
Salt is his nemesis. He must radically curtail his salt intake or fluids will again overtake his lungs and hijack his health. This for a man who's enjoyed blessedly robust health for 86 years. Who's never needed to learn about nutrition, or been advised to cut back on... well, anything.
He believes that cutting back on salt means not salting food at meals, and using less salt in cooking. Like most Americans, Dad is blissfully unaware of massive amounts of salt hidden in fast, processed, and restaurant foods.
Sure, he understands that his beloved nacho-flavored Doritos are salty. But a salad? Salads are good for you, right?
Under the guise of healthy, restaurants and fast food outlets rely on public ignorance to push a panoply of salt-laden "salads" dripping with fatty condiments and sugary-filled dressings. (See KFC, Jack-in-Box, McDonald's: Legal Deception on "Healthy" Choices .)
And, for Taco Bell's Fiesta Taco Salad, nestled in a scrumptious, deep-fried pastry shell. The Fiesta Taco Salad - Beef boasts 1,590 mg of salt, equal to:
- 10 orders of McDonald's small fries, or
- 5 Jack-in-the-Box crunchy tacos,or
- 3.5 large servings of movie theater popcorn
If Dad now regularly partakes of his favorite Taco Bell Fiesta Taco Salad, his health will deteriorate. And yes, he has been cautioned by doctors and nurses that too much salt intake can be deadly for congestive heart failure patients.
For children, aging seniors, and sensitive and ailing individuals, heavy doses of some fast and processed foods can be downright deadly.
I ask you....
Why are these salt-bomb weapons of human-health destruction not required to carry warning labels?
Why are industrial mega-corporations allowed to knowingly hawk unhealthy food products to the public, with no accompanying public warnings?
How is this different than legally mandated warning labels for cigarettes or alcohol?
"Beware the killer salad" may sound like the title of a bad movie or shrill invective from yet another annoying Food Puritan. But for some people, deceptively salty, sugary, fatty fast-food salads can prove lethal.