This Washington Post article on a new effort to limit fast-food restaurants in Prince George's County is full of the kind of silly statements that makes my inner libertarian want to scream. This one's a classic of the genre:
Turner said that his group identified Panera Bread and Chipotle as preferable alternatives to a fast-food burger restaurant and that he plans to seek similar compromises with other developers.
"I'm not saying it's healthy, but it's more healthy," said Turner, who said he thinks the access to french fries has contributed to his weight struggle. "You don't see any deep fryers in Panera."
1. It's not the access to, it's the eating of french fries. I lost about 35 pounds at the end of last year in large part because I stopped going to McDonald's all the damn time. (Going to the gym helped, too.) It's cheap, it's convenient and it's even tasty, but if you're going to lard-butt in there every day for a large double-quarter-pounder with cheese meal, you have no one to blame but yourself.
2. For what I spend buying a Cobb salad and iced tea at Panera I could feed an adult and two small children at McDonald's. And I'm willing to bet that ingesting a daily Chipotle burrito with guac and sour cream will have the same ass-broadening, girth expanding properties as those french fries -- it'll just make the wallet lighter.
I hold no special respect for fast-food joints -- Taco Bell's recent marketing of a Drive-Thru Diet as a weight-loss option a la Subway's Jared was a moment of spectacular stupidity only surpassed by the fact that some people probably fell for it -- but for the most part they offer edible food for cheap prices.
If there are no grocery stores in a neighborhood, that's possibly something a local government should be looking at, and probably more effective than trying to get people to trade in their Baconators for overpriced (yet tasty!) panini.