When I studied in the States, at Columbia University in the 80s, the Reagan Administration had put out a huge campaign called “Say No To Drugs”. As I come to visit America in the 00’s, I can´t think of a better campaign to start than one that simply says “Say No To Food”.

My weight has fluctuated between 76kg and 80 kg over the last 10 years, but when I visit America coming from Spain, and stay for a while (this time for a month), I invariable gain weight.

During the last few days I have found a solution and that is to simply say NO to food. I don´t take the breakfasts they offer me, I don´t eat the whole meal in a restaurant, I protect myself as I have never been offered so much food in my life as in America. And not only is there a tremendous quantity of food available, but its quality has improved to the point that I would argue that the best restaurants in the world are now not in Europe, but in America, and this makes food even harder to resist.

In Spain nobody offers you food during business meetings. Indeed, I would say that in Spain nobody eats when others don´t eat as well. It is rude to eat alone. And, of course, there are obese people in Spain, but simply many less than in America. Now as there is so much food available in America all the time (at Google –my investors at FON– there´s simply food everywhere all the time and of great quality) I think it´s time to simply say no to it.

I may be wrong, but I have the impression that food is becoming more of a health threat than drugs in this country.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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Killy_the_frog on July 25, 2006  · 

When we see the success of the campaign “say no to drugs” I am not sure that starting a campaign “say no to food” will change something.

In USA better food than in France?
Hard to believe for a french like me 😉

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Juan Navidad on July 25, 2006  · 

Perhaps Google Inc. will have to “suffer” in a middle term so much “generosity”. If they continue the politics of gifting with food, maybe time will be too weight for them to carry 🙂

They could learn from the japanese companies that make some breaks every day to practise some sport. People at work have to keep fit!

Nevertheless, I think that technologic companies in the near future will have creativity spaces where people can stop to create manually. As has been showed by some scientific research, to alternate manual with psiquical work develops productivity and also turns work into a grateful time.

Juan Navidad
Dinamización de ideas

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XL on July 25, 2006  · 

I remember that when I use to go to USA I used to do just a meal per day…

Well now as I’m completly out of control… I don’t care too much… But is true that a lot of people has problems of weigth staying some time in th states…

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Henrik Ahlen on July 26, 2006  · 

The western world is indeed eating itself to death. I recommend seeing the new movie “Fast Food Nation” based on the famous book by Eric Schlosser, it explains why this has happened.
But the main culprit is not that we eat too much, but htat we have removed most physical activities from our lives.

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Michael Gebert on July 26, 2006  · 

Those heaping portions at restaurants — and doggie bags for the leftovers — may be a thing of the past, if health officials get their way.

The government is trying to enlist the help of the nation’s eateries in fighting obesity. One of the first things on their list: cutting portion sizes.

With burgers, fries and pizza the Top 3 eating-out favorites in this country, restaurants are in a prime position to help improve people’s diets and combat obesity. At least that’s what is recommended in a government-commissioned report being released Friday.

The report, requested and funded by the Food and Drug Administration, lays out ways to help people manage their intake of calories from the growing number of meals prepared away from home, including at the nation’s nearly 900,000 restaurants and other establishments that serve food.

The 136-page report prepared by The Keystone Center, an education and public group based in Keystone, Colo., said Americans now consume fully one-third of their daily intake of calories outside the home. And as of 2000, the average American took in 300 more calories a day than was the case 15 years earlier, according to Agriculture Department statistics cited in the report.

Today, 64 percent of Americans are overweight, including the 30 percent who are obese, according to the report. It pegs the annual medical cost of the problem at nearly $93 billion.

Consumer advocates increasingly have heaped some of the blame on restaurant chains like McDonald’s, which bristles at the criticism while offering more salads and fruit. The report does not explicitly link dining out with the rising tide of obesity, but does cite numerous studies that suggest there is a connection.

The report encourages restaurants to shift the emphasis of their marketing to lower-calorie choices, and include more such options on menus. In addition, restaurants could jigger portion sizes and the variety of foods available in mixed dishes to reduce the overall number of calories taken in by diners.

Bundling meals with more fruits and vegetables also could improve nutrition. And letting consumers know how many calories are contained in a meal also could guide the choices they make, according to the report. Just over half of the nation’s 287 largest restaurant chains now make at least some nutrition information available, said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

“If companies don’t tell them, people have no way of knowing how many calories they are being served at restaurants. And chances are, they are being served a lot more than they realize,” said Wootan, adding that Congress should give the FDA the authority to require such disclosure.

But the report notes that the laboratory work needed to calculate the calorie content of a menu item can cost $100, or anywhere from $11,500 to $46,000 to analyze an entire menu.

That cost makes it unfeasible for restaurants, especially when menus can change daily, said Sheila Cohn, director of nutrition policy for the National Restaurant Association.

Instead, restaurants increasingly are offering varied portion sizes, foods made with whole grains, more diet drinks and entree salads to fit the dietary needs of customers, Cohn said. Still, they can’t make people eat what they won’t order.

“It’s not really the responsibility of restaurants to restrict the foods that they offer,” Cohn said.

Survey data suggest that consumers are sticking to old standbys, even when offered healthier fare.

When Americans dined out in 2005, the leading menu choices remained hamburgers, french fries and pizza, according to The NPD Group, a market research firm. The presumably healthier option of a side salad was the No. 4 choice for women, but No. 5 for men, according to the eating pattern study.

Government officials, scholars, industry representatives and consumer advocates contributed to the report.


On the Net:

Food and Drug Administration: http://www.fda.gov/

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Martin Varsavsky on August 1, 2006  · 


Should the US begin taxing calories in food as fuel is tax around the world?

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Desiree on November 20, 2007  · 

i do not like boys that do drugs.boys usuily think that if they smoke,drink,or even do drugs that more girls will like them but that is not a fact at all.so if there is any boys out there that is thinking about risking their life over girls,DONT’becuase your really wrong about that one.

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