'World News' Uses Excessive Example to Impugn Restaurant Food as Unhealthy

Guess what? Sitting down and eating a 6,200-calorie lunch is probably bad for you.


Somehow, this was news to ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson.” In a July 6 segment, “World News” took three items from a recent Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) nine-item list of the unhealthiest restaurant menu selections – from three different restaurants – and made them one meal. It’s unclear why ABC thought this ridiculous scenario would illuminate anything or why the segment didn’t disclose CSPI’s agenda.


“Last month, a consumer group listed some of the unhealthiest dishes served at popular restaurant chains,” “World News” anchor Charles Gibson said. “It’s food packed with calories, salt and fat. And that got us to wondering how unhealthy can this food be and what happens when you make just one meal of it.”


ABC correspondent Yunji De Nies selected The Cheesecake Factory’s fried macaroni and cheese, Applebee’s quesadilla burger and Uno Chicago Grill’s mega-sized deep dish sundae and made them into one meal, as though anyone would eat these three things in a single sitting.


“Deep-fried macaroni and cheese, a bacon cheeseburger wrapped in a quesadilla, a giant cookie smothered in ice cream,” De Nies said. “The Center for Science in the Public Interest calls them nutritional train wrecks. Producer Jon Garcia and I went to the University of Maryland’s Medical Center to see what the effect would be on our bodies,” said De Nies. “Before we ate, researchers took blood samples and gauged the health of our arteries with an ultrasound.”


And as you might expect, adding those three dishes together gives you an unhealthy calorie binge. But what the report didn’t disclose is that the purveyor of the “X-treme Eating 2009” list, CSPI, would have the government regulate these foods based on what might happen if you regularly had 6,000+-calorie meals.


“Our one meal – appetizer, entrée and dessert packed more than three times as many calories as the government recommends for an entire day and almost 10 times the saturated fat,” De Nies said.


Not surprisingly, the University of Maryland physicians post-meal analysis found that consuming so much high-calorie food at once is bad for you.


“The effects of that one meal only lasted about six hours,” said. “But doctors say eaten regularly, this is the food that heart attacks are made of,” De Nies added. And “news” segments like that, produced regularly, are the content low ratings are made of.