Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and teenage son are both overweight. I’ve been trying to get them to cut back on the junk they eat, but telling them about calories and fat doesn’t have any effect. Is there some other way to get through to them?
A: My youngest daughter and I recently stopped into an IHOP. We hadn’t been there for a while so I was surprised to see that each menu item included calories and fat grams. The numbers were so huge—in some cases a single dish included several weeks’ worth of saturated fats—that I immediately lost my appetite and had nothing but ice water (my daughter, however, thoroughly enjoyed her pancakes and scrambled eggs). On the way out, I asked the manager whether business had taken a hit since putting calories and fat information on the menu. Not in the slightest.
I started looking into this and discovered the problem: Most people don’t pay attention to calories and fat numbers because they simply have no idea how much of either they’re supposed to be getting every day—or how much is too much. No wonder you can’t turn on the TV or read a newspaper without hearing about the epidemic of obesity.