May 1, 2008
Labeling Restaurant Menus
Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience that we should mandate menu labeling in all California restaurants.
Central Idea: Current health problems commonly faced by Americas today can be attributed to uninformed diners and nutritional information should be provided with every restaurant’s menu.
I. Attention Getter: Which of these four items has the most calories at McDonalds? A Big Mac, 2 sausage McGriddles, a large chocolate shake, or 4 hamburgers?
II. Listener Relevance Link: That being said, how many of you have ever gone to Denny’s for a late night snack, or stopped by McDonalds or In-N-Out when nothing else is open? Fast food, and even restaurants in general have many unhealthy items. Most diners do not know the danger they are putting themselves in by eating these products. Even products that seem healthy contain ingredients high in sodium or cholesterol, which can decrease your life span and cause many problems in the future.
III. Speaker Credibility: I have spent the past couple weeks researching the dangers in dining out ignorantly and have become well versed in the subject.
IV. Thesis: In this speech, I will tell you all about the hidden dangers associated with obesity, and heart disease.
(Transition: A huge problem with fast food and dining out in general is the effects it has on our bodies.)
A. Obesity is a common health ailment in America’s society today, and it is often overlooked and pushed aside. Many people do not realize the hidden risks behind this health issue.
1. Almost all fast food and dine in restaurant meals are high in calories. Many people are unaware that when they are eating a simple cheeseburger from In-N-Out, they are putting over 450 calories in their body, not including the fries and soda that many people get to accompany their meal.
B. According to the book The Obesity Epidemic, the obesity rate in the world has been increasing steadily since the 1990’s. The most extreme danger related to obesity is heart problems. Fast food consumers can have strokes and heart attacks due to the extra pressure put on their heart. According to Mayoclinic.com, liver and kidney cancer can also develop by becoming obese. Another disease that can be easily developed from even a two pound weight gain is osteoarthritis. According to ObesityinAmerica.org, for every two pounds a person gains, it increases the chances of developing osteoarthritis by eight to thirteen percent.
C. Many people believe that because they are not overweight, it is ok for them to eat what they want. People do not take in to account how horrible the food they are eating is. Much of the food eaten out is very high in sodium content, which can lead to many heart problems that follow weight gain.
1. According to Americanheart.org, the average amount of sodium that should be consumed a day is 2,300 mg. The average American however, eats up to 4,300 mg of sodium. Foods products that are very high in sodium are things such as ketchup and mustard, cheese, seasoned salts, and MSG. Fast food mavens go for the French Fries at a restaurant, not realizing how much sodium is actually going into their body.
D. Another problem associated with eating out is the cholesterol that comes along with these fatty and fried foods. Cholesterol is a huge deal and when too much is consumed it drastically increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
(Transition: Now that the problems associated with fast food and dining out are clear, what is the solution?)
A. I propose that every restaurant in California should provide FDA approved nutritional information on it’s menu. This action would take the guesswork out of ordering healthy food seeing as all nutritional information would be clearly listed for the restaurant consumer.
B. California would not be the first and only state to require such action. According to Time Magazine, as of July 2008, New York City’s Health Department requires restaurants with standard menu items to make calorie information publicly available at the point of purchase by posting it on menus and menu boards, where consumers can see it when they order.
C. In today’s society, dinning out has become more than a way to satisfy hunger. It has become a social event. If restaurants were forced to put the nutritional information on the menu, people would be less likely to dine there because they would be aware about the unhealthy facts about their meal.
1. This in turn would help lead restaurants to change some of the ingredients in their items and make them healthier for customers. They would be forced to use foods with fewer calories, less fat content, and fewer salts and MSG.
D. I know some of you in the audience might be thinking, “I don’t want to be bothered with nutritional information on my menus and the food I put into my body is my choice.” It is important for people to know what they are putting in their bodies. They need to be conscious of how many calories and how much fat and sodium they are putting into their system. This is turn will assist people in living longer healthier lives.
(Transition: Let’s visualize some of the benefits that mandating menu labeling will provide for the average Californian.)
A. Imagine a world where people are more educated about the food they are putting in their bodies. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. Many people enjoy a salad, often thinking that they are extremely healthy for you. In some restaurants, I found that it was actually better for you to get a hamburger or even greasy chicken fingers than some of the salads, taking into account the calories and fat content of the dressing. Almost all of the foods were extremely high in sodium.
1. For example, an excess of 5,300 mg of sodium is found in a Chili’s quesadilla, keep in mind that the amount that should be taken in is 2,300 mg. Keep in mind, this is only a appetizer. This doesn’t include the amoung of sodium in the pasta or burger the average consumer may order along with that appetizer.
(Transition: So what can you do to action?)
A. There are many blog sites that attract other people who support this legislation. I will write the web address of one of these blogs on the board after my speech.
B. I have also brought with me pamphlets from a bill that is in Congress right now. These pamphlets will tell you what you can do to get involved, including the addresses and phone numbers of your local state officials to contact about this growing problem.
C. So are you guys still curious to hear the answer to the question I posed at the beginning of my speech? I am sure that many of you will be surprised to know that the answer is a large chocolate shake, containing over 1,100 calories and 27 grams of fat. So next time you think that you are aware of what you are putting into your body, make sure you really know.
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