Monday, November 01, 2010

Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends soda taxes and eating out

Last week saw the release of two announcements from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

The first announced the findings of a task force struck by Heart and Stroke. Their report discussed economic incentives and disincentives that may help reduce the burden of obesity and specifically recommended that our government adopt a sugared soda tax.

The second announced that Casey's Bar and Grill was now a proud member of the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Health Check program.

Their messaging couldn't be more different,
"We live in an obesogenic environment that increasingly promotes a high energy intake"
states the Heart and Stroke Foundation task force, while Samara Foisy, Heart and Stroke Foundation Health Check dietitian states,
"We are delighted Casey’s Bar and Grill recognized the importance of offering guests healthier dining choices and took the initiative to develop, with Health Check, a selection of Health Check menu items to offer its guests. All four items are delicious and healthy options for dining out."
Truly, I can't think of anything in our obesogenic environment that promotes high energy intakes more than meals out.

The 4 Health Check items at Casey's range in calories from 410-660. There are no Health Check appetizers, desserts, or beverages. Appetizers at Casey's range from 282-1,108 calories. Desserts from 100-746. Caloric beverages figure on between 100-300. The likelihood is, even were a person to choose a Health Check'ed item, with appetizers, drinks and potentially desserts, they're likely to consume at least 1,000 calories and a full day's sodium at Casey's.

And what if you decide to take your kids to Casey's? Are they going to have, "healthy" options?


They'll be offered, "bottomless" soft drinks, ice-cream and the usual fast-casual restaurant fare. Even if your kid's odd enough (or you're mean enough) to order themselves the vegetable stir-fry with milk they'll be putting away half a days worth of calories and 2/3 of a day of sodium (783 cals, 735mg sodium).

Bottom line? Putting 4 main courses on a restaurant's huge menu filled with nutritional horrors and then encouraging people to go that restaurant is an intensely stupid, irresponsible plan, and one that belies the hard work of folks like those on the task force trying to find any which way to help reduce Canada's burden of weight.

Sadly it's also par for the course for the obesogenic, fast and processed food promoting, seemingly ethically challenged, Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.