Food for Thought: Is it Time to End the “Endless” Buffet?

Posted: March 17, 2010 in News, The Shelvic Exam, Videos
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I had mixed reactions when I received a press release today from Cici’s, a pizza chain based in Texas. They are celebrating their 25th anniversary by offering an all-you-can-eat buffet for $3.99. One side of me thinks this is a great value for families who are trying their best to put a decent meal on the table during tough economic times. And Cici’s does offer a salad bar and some healthier choices of pizza, according to the authors of Eat This, Not That. But I also know that those same authors aren’t giving their “thumbs-up” to never-ending amounts of those healthy versions. Here in lies the rub.

Buffets lead to overeating…and overeating, regardless of how healthy the offerings, is still overeating.

So what’s the solution? I’d love to get your feedback on this. Should there be a plate limit or a pay-by-the-ounce requirement to limit overeating? I can only imagine that this will be next intervention in New York city in their “endless” war against obesity. What say you???

  1. Good question David!… well, I voted no. If someone doesn’t want a buffet, they can just go somewhere else. What’s a buffet then if the restaurant limits how many plates you get? That doesn’t mean I like buffets–I actually hate them because no matter how much you try to not overeat, you do! Cici’s has good salad collection, but again, people have to choose the salad. I went to a nice Brazilian meat/salad bar buffet last week, and I loaded on the salad–of course everyone made fun of me that I’m not getting my $$ worth of meat!
    Your comment about NYC is funny. I can see them doing that, but I think that’s just way too much control. We have to trust people to make their own decisions

  2. fattieblaster says:

    OMG. Yes, yes, yes. Buffets are a total waste. (Yet it’s so American.) If you’ve ever been to Cici’s and seen the wasted food. It’s either wasting on the table or in someone’s gut. The people who eat there eat way too much–many of the patrons are not just fat, but obese. I think you should pay for what you eat.

    I think the original intention of the buffet was good–sampling different foods or just picking and choosing. But we’ve evolved into eating machines that just heap and stuff. It’s truly disgusting.

  3. guyatitian says:

    Thanks Nour and Fattieblaster for your comments!

    I remember going to a “buffet” in Milan Italy. With my American mindset, I thought buffet meant all you can eat. Instead, what the restaurant meant was eat whatever you want and as much as you want but you will be charged for what you eat. My bill was 2 1/2 times the posted price! And trust me, it wasn’t the toppling over plates you see at buffets here in America. That’s why I thought I’d ask about this “pay to play” sort of approach the Europeans use. Food for thought!

  4. The cafeteria at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science has a salad bar where they charge by the weight. I make sure I load up with healthy but expensive items like artichoke hearts and roasted veggies.

    Still, as people trying to be healthy, we need to learn how to control our appetites even at buffets, make good choices, and limit our portion sizes. That being said, when I go to Vegas at one of those fancy Sunday brunch buffets, I want to load up on the smoked salmon, gigantic strawberries and other goodies because I’ve planned to indulge that day w/o feeling guilty or like I’ve fallen off the wagon.

    Looking forward to seeing you at Fitbloggin, Dave!

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