Attention Citizens: Fast food is bad for you

This Monday, Hardee’s unleashed its latest culinary monstrosity – a breakfast burrito that potentially doubles as a bludgeon if someone tries to jack your car while you drive to work.

I’m as human as the next man. Even though the McDonald’s Filet O’ Fish throws me into a nauseated spiral of shame, I can’t help but find it morbidly fascinating and order it every now and then. But at 60 grams of fat and 250 percent of your daily recommended dose of cholesterol, this burrito is wholly inappropriate.

Hardee’s marketing chief Brad Haley said in an Associated Press story: “We don’t try to hide what these are … This is really designed to fill you up,” probably while chuckling pompously and burning an American flag. This kind of logic calls to mind the unsavory picture of a witless glutton, concerned with nothing more than packing his horrible self with the greatest mass of food he can obtain for four greasy, crumpled dollars.

It is commonly understood that foods high in fat and sugar are used for psychological comfort. Marketers and fast food executives know exactly what they’re doing when they offer fast, cheap items to an impulse-driven community. They do this for money and they belong in hell. For instance, Hardee’s Big Country Breakfast Platter with chicken has 61 grams of fat and the entire suggested daily allowance of cholesterol and sodium.

How can any company claim to be responsible and conscientious while peddling this garbage in a country where obesity is an epidemic? Let me reiterate a highly touted statistic: according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than two-thirds of Americans are at least overweight. One-third of Americans are classified as obese and (the real kicker) one-third of American children are overweight.

These figures are a significant increase over the levels of obesity America has seen in the past. Personal responsibility is part of the equation, but any crack dealer will give you the age-old rationalization that his customers make their own decisions and that he is simply providing a service. Does this argument hold some water? Are citizens responsible for deciding what to consume? I would say yes. Does dealing crack to addicts – or big bags of fat to the morbidly obese – in the name of profit make you a horrible swine?

Yes again.

In addition to catering to people with eating disorders, fast food restaurants attempt to lure the over-worked. As a college student, I spend a significant portion of my week frantically pressed for time and money and am forced to eat on the go. I pass a Wendy’s, two McDonalds and a Burger King on my way to Evos to buy something decent. Is it so hard to imagine that the proliferation of unhealthy restaurants is contributing to the poor health of Americans?

Fellow Americans, we have to fight the corporate scum by hitting them in the one spot that isn’t cold and calloused – their wallets. So put down your double-fudge peanut butter chunk pint of Ben & Jerry’s – it’s time to go for a run. In response to this plague, I pledge to eat healthily and exercise three times a week. I implore you to do the same.