With the death of their 575-lb. spokesman Blair River from pneumonia, the Arizona fast food restaurant Heart Attack Grill has come under a lot of fire for its glorification of unhealthy eating. It’s hard to argue that the Heart Attack Grill doesn’t know its food is unhealthy- they have menu items like the Quadruple Bypass Burger, flatliner fries (cooked in lard), and Jolt cola (they still make that?). Customers over 350 lbs. get special deals. Those who finish a Quadruple Bypass Burger are wheeled out of the restaurant in a wheel chair by an employee dressed as a doctor or nurse. So is the Heart Attack Grill to blame for the death of its spokesman and the presumably bad health of many of its patrons?
There’s no doubt that a burger with 8000 calories and coated in lard is bad for you. Blair River’s weight certainly didn’t help his health. On the other hand, I doubt many patrons are eating the Quadruple Bypass on a daily basis. And you can’t say the Heart Attack Grill isn’t upfront about the risks its food poses. Growing that obese isn’t something that happens overnight and I suspect that for the unhealthiest of the Heart Attack Grill’s patrons there is a more commonplace explanation- ordinary fast food and processed food from the grocery store.
The Hardee’s Double Thickburger is just a menu item among menu items. No one makes a big deal if you finish it and people probably do it every day, but with 1240 calories (just for the burger, not counting fries and soda), it’s way too much for someone to eat at an ordinary meal. A package of two frosted cherry Pop Tarts has 403 calories and almost no nutritional value. These kind of everyday foods that provide tons of calories with little in the way of nutrients are what make people unhealthy over time. It’s easy to look at Heart Attack Grill with disgust, but a person who eats a diet with a lot of green veggies, some meat, whole grains, and very few sweets can go to the Heart Attack Grill now and again eat themselves silly without having to worry. It’s the day-to-day choices that are the important ones.