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Olive Garden

Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Olive Garden Is Why Americans Are Chronically Obese

Olive Garden
Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Olive Garden Is Why Americans Are Chronically Obese

Last week, I ate at Olive Garden for the first time in about 4 or 5 years. Just walking into the premises made me feel like I automatically gained about 20 pounds. The abundance of posters championing their endless breadsticks and gigantic pasta bowls don’t exactly help their case either. But maybe that’s just me. Maybe Americans walk into an Olive Garden and absolutely love the fact that they’re about to consume at bare minimum, 1500 calories worth of cheese and cream. But personally, Olive Garden just adds to the list of things that I already can’t stand about American food culture.

Olive Garden is a legitimate reason for why Americans are obese. No, I’m not talking about just the franchise obviously. It’s more about what the restaurant represents and the culture it promotes within American society. And it’s a culture that not only wants you to be obese but is trying to normalize it. I can’t stand for that. Look I’m not going to make fun of someone for being fat, but at the same time I can promise you I’m not going to try to pretend like there’s nothing wrong with it either.

Unfortunately for them, Olive Garden is my victim today but these points apply to thousands of other restaurants in our country and that’s the fundamental problem. Once you get seated at Olive Garden, you start off with a warm basket of their renowned buttery breadsticks. Naturally, the free food gets attacked and soon enough only crumbs are left in the basket. Not to worry though. You’ll get another full basket soon. And then another one…and then another one. This vicious cycle continues on and on until someone’s brain finally turns on and stomach turns off, letting the waiter know they don’t need their 6th basket.

At least when you’re buying food, the cost limits you. You’re not just going to spend an obscene amount of money on excess food you don’t need. When the food is free though, it’s a pretty different story which demonstrates a massive problem in restaurants like Olive Garden. With no constraints on the goodies they give out, they only exacerbate health problems for Americans that can’t resist the urge of splurging on limitless free food.

But let’s move on to the drinks. Geez. First of all, it feels like people in this country aren’t capable of telling the waiters a simple “We’re good with water.” Some sort of drink is a non-negotiable no matter where they’re eating. I promise you guys, it’s not that hard to go without a Coke or a beer at a restaurant. You’ll live. And your body will thank you.

What makes this even more of a problem is the unlimited free refills. Obviously, now that you’ve paid for your drink, you’re going to want to get the most bang for your buck. Not to mention, when that glass is empty and the waiter asks you for a refill, do you really have the self-control to say no? I didn’t think so.

Finally, the greatest flaw in the Olive Garden experience from a health standpoint is far and away the main course they offer. Every main course gets a salad or soup on the side. Fine. Not a problem with me. Until I saw that the size of the bowls of soup and salad were comparable to entree bowls at restaurants with more respectable portion sizes. I just didn’t get it. What are we doing here Olive Garden? Do you even want people to eat your actual dishes?

Now as you’re working on that massive side dish, here comes your main entree. The Holy Grail of unhealthy parts about Olive Garden. 9 times out of 10, your entree will easily be enough to last you two meals. Especially when considering that you probably just stuffed your face with breadsticks, a couple glasses of soda and some Minestrone soup. Their portion sizes are seriously out of control and needs to be regulated. Ring up the FDA or even the Supreme Court because serving this much wildly unhealthy food to people has to legitimately be a borderline crime.

When restaurants like Olive Garden give endless free food and massive portion sizes on the things people do pay for, they make it impossible for America to become a healthier nation. Until something is done to either change these restaurants models, don’t expect America to change its status as one of the most obese countries in the world. Forget about making America great again. Let’s just focus on making it not morbidly obese.

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