Mar 102004
 
Authors: Elizabeth Kerrigan

The low-carbohydrate train is pushing through America and just

about everyone is jumping on board.

It used to be that a person couldn’t turn on the TV, flip a

magazine page or pass a billboard without seeing an advertisement

for junk food. Today, turn on the TV and the only thing advertised

is for low-carb salads at McDonald’s, low-carb sandwiches at Burger

King and low-carb wraps at Subway. Even the Planter’s Peanut is

dancing around reminding us that he is a low carb snack, too.

Go into a fast food restaurant today. You’ll still smell the

unmistakable scent of the french fries getting a grease bath in the

deep fryer and hear the sizzle of thick, juicy beef patties on the

grill, but now there is a new addition – the crunch of crisp, green

lettuce. Large pictures make customers stop and think twice about

ordering what they really want: a triple cheeseburger, biggie fries

and an extra large Coke, and instead order a side salad or chicken

wrap.

“We sell a lot of our chicken salads and we also have been

selling a lot of side salads in place of fries,” said Crystal

Galligan, shift leader at Carl’s Jr.

Not only is Carl’s Jr. selling side salads instead of fries, but

they have also changed the one thing that seemed to be a steady

member of American society – the almighty and sacred

cheeseburger.

“We now sell the Low-Carb Six Dollar Burger, which is wrapped in

lettuce instead of a bun,” Galligan said. “You can order any

sandwich that way though, and we get a lot of people who do.”

Vallen Brock, a junior technical journalism major, believes in

eating healthy as a way of life and if she goes to a fast food

restaurant she’ll order the healthiest thing on the menu.

“I’ll usually order a salad with grilled chicken, or at

Chick-fil-A I’ll order the sandwich without the bun,” Brock said.

“I just try to make healthy eating a part of my lifestyle.”

Americans’ heightened interest in dieting and weight loss has

forced restaurants to adapt to a new, health-conscious society.

Becky Whittenbeck, a sophomore technical journalism major, also

believes in healthy eating decisions.

“I usually avoid greasy fast food all together. (At school) I

usually go to Subway for a turkey sandwich on wheat and a bag of

the diet chips with an iced tea,” Whittenbeck said.

Even places like Pizza Hut and Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake have

succumbed to the pressure. Papa Murphy’s new pizza promises half

the carbs and nearly half the calories.

“Our new Thin Crust deLite pizza has definitely upped business.

I would say that half of the customers order it,” said Justin

Campesino, a Papa Murphy’s employee.

And the craze doesn’t stop there. Not only are fast food

restaurants making changes, but so are sit-down restaurants like

T.G.I. Fridays. The company has teamed up with good old Mr. Atkins

to create an entire menu based on low carbs.

“It is an attempt on our part to make sure that we are doing the

best job we can to keep our customers happy,” said Chris Cosgrove,

general manager of T.G.I. Fridays in Colorado Springs. “The world

has changed to become much more health conscious and we want to

follow in that path. About 25 percent of the food that is ordered

here is off of the Atkins menu.”

So people looking to satisfy a low-carb diet when they are out

and about don’t have to go far to find it, but what about the food

people buy for their homes? Well, King Soopers seems to have that

area covered. From aisle to aisle, it is impossible to miss the

diet foods.

“Bread, bagels, syrup, jelly, chips, you name it, we have just

about everything you can buy in a low-carb choice,” said Vicky

Norwood, head clerk of the King Soopers, 4503 JFK Pkwy.

When Brock goes grocery shopping she tries to only fill her cart

with items that are congruent to her healthy lifestyle.

“I always buy the low-carb EAS shakes and bars, vegetables,

turkey and dry oatmeal so I can have an even and nutritional diet,”

Brock said.

While Americans appear to be becoming a more health-conscious

society, it doesn’t mean that everyone is putting in the effort

they should to stay healthy, said Shirley Perryman, extension

specialist in the Department of Food Science and Human

Nutrition.

“The decisions that restaurants have made is primarily a

business decision because they see that there are a lot of people

interested in things like the Atkins diet,” Perryman said. “The

bottom line for people to stay healthy is to eat things in

moderation and exercise. People may get fast results with a

low-carb diet, but without changing eating habits for good, and

exercising, people will end up where they started, or worse.”

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