2009 November: Commentary

Jeremy WhiteEight years ago, I found myself despicably overweight. That’s right, this former high school and college athlete was fat! This was not familiar territory for me. Since I was a young child, I’ve been involved with sports. You know that kid in your neighborhood that was hitting a baseball towards your house or using your fence as a goalpost and kicking a football into your back yard after dark? That was me. As a result of this constant motion, I was always fit.

I ran track in college. My interval training was so intense that I could rarely complete it without vomiting. At that time, I was supremely fi t. Then I entered the working world. I sat in front of a computer in an offi ce for hours at a time. I injured my hamstring running and had to sit on the sidelines for a while. I ate like I used to eat when I was training. Over time, I gradually added the pounds. I knew I was in trouble one holiday season when my grandmother said to me fl atly, “You’re getting fat.” It was a wakeup call. After all, grandmothers — at least mine — never have anything negative to say to their grandchildren, right?

Once I determined to get fit again, it was remarkably easy. I didn’t need any gimmicks or trendy no-this, no-that diet. I simply needed to exercise and eat right. I found out that a typical adult male of my age needed 2,000 calories per day. Since I’m 5-foot-8, I reasoned I needed fewer. I guesstimated that I needed 1,800 to maintain my weight. I began eating no more than 1,600 calories per day and making sure I burned more calories than I consumed. I lost two pounds a week, sometimes three. Before long, I was fit again. I could see my abs, for crying out loud. It was nice.

The beauty of it all? I still ate pizza or cheeseburgers whenever I wanted to. And, as you can imagine, I eat a lot of pizza. The trick? I had to be sure to balance out my diet. If I had two slices of pizza at lunch, I needed to make dinner healthy and reasonable.

I couldn’t have done any of this, however, without first knowing how many calories were in the foods I consumed. This wasn’t overly difficult thanks to the Internet and its many health-conscious sites. But it wasn’t an exact science, because several restaurants — including every independent pizzeria in my area — didn’t make that information available to me.

That is changing. Across the nation, various states and counties are beginning to mandate that restaurants provide nutritional information on their menus or menu boards. I can understand why you, dear Pizza Today reader, would oppose that type of requirement at first glance. After all, it’s going to cost you money and take some time to analyze your recipes. But I can tell you fi rsthand that your customers want this information and will appreciate you giving it to them.

What are you waiting for? You may as well get started compiling and publishing your nutritional information now, because the day is coming when you’re going to have to provide it whether you like it or not.

Best,

Jeremy White, editor-in-chief

jwhite@pizzatoday.com

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