Lisa Tillinger Johansen Makes Her Case at the College of Charleston

From the Charleston Insighter

March 31, 2013

Grilled instead of fried, lite on the side, and apples instead of fries. These are options to opt for when going to fast food restaurants.

Although these choices exist, people love to eat fast so much that in no time we will skip the overweight category and automatically be in the obese classification. But is it fast food or American ignorance? Should fast food be blamed for people’s own responsibilities or should government take the blame in no educating people how to eat healthy?

Johansen talking to CofC

Lisa Tillinger Johansen has come to the College of Charleston to defend fast food companies. A former McDonald’s executive board member and now a nutritionist and dietician, Johansen says you can eat healthy at fast food joints. In fact you can eat healthier that you could at sit-down restaurants. Mozzarella, BBQ sauce, bacon, sautéed onions, mushrooms, fried egg, and a fried tomato on a gourmet burger adds up to much more calories than what is on the value menu.

A survey by ScarborughResearch of over 210,000 people found that 96 percent of adults in the United Sates eat out at a restaurant at least one time in a typical month. In the average 30 day time frame studied, 91 percent ate at a fast food restaurant and 84 percent dined at a sit-down establishment.

When eating out, our portions are also to blame. The bagels used to be three inches in diameter but are now six. Theater popcorn went from five cups (about 270 calories) to 11 cups (around 630 calories). Her husband believes the opposite, “I’ve been gypped. There’s no way I’m going to be full from this,” said Roy Johansen, commenting on Paris’ dishes while they were visiting Europe.

Johansen brings out a point on the reason for fast food: “if people don’t buy it, they take it off the menu. You guys are the driving force of what stays on the fast food menus. Most people who go to fast food spots want the taste of fast food,” said Johansen.

“I was always taught, there are different body types, and you really can’t help it that you’re fat. But I guess Lisa Johansen’s argument is valid. We, partially, do it to ourselves,” said Zeb Virkus, a senior at the college.

“There’s a difference between giving you the nutritional information and telling you what to look for,” said Caroline Walden, another senior at the college. She is concerned that fast food companies are not educating, they are just covering their tracks.


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