On Sunday night, blogger Lisa Johnson tweeted a post that caught my attention: This is Why You’re Fat – Denny’s Fried Cheese Melt Sandwich. On Tuesday, Denny’s is debuting a grilled cheese sandwich with deep fried mozzarella sticks in it. The CBS Early Show reported that the sandwich has 895 calories and 34 grams of fat.

Oh, no! It’s like KFC’s Double Down all over again! Quick, everyone, proclaim your disgust!

Here’s the thing … what Lisa Johnson referred to as a “shock-and-awe” restaurant meals are not new, and I do not think they are the reason America has an obesity problem.

Since I began my weight loss journey, I know there have been many, many times that my evening meal has topped out at way more than 895 calories. (Margarita, enchiladas, fried ice cream … that’s probably closer to 2,000!) And I have not regressed. I have been losing weight since 2005. Even when I was not losing, I was maintaining. Even though I have eaten indulgent meals every now and then.

Dishes like Denny’s new creation and the Double Down are not causing this country’s obesity problem. The combination of sedentary lifestyles and the junk that most people eat day in and day out — sugary cereals, cookies, crackers, and frozen and processed meals — is to blame. It is highly unlikely that anyone is going to eat the fried cheese melt several times a week. This sandwich is far less disturbing to me than seeing children drink sugary soft drinks and fruit “juices” or boxed foods with a novella for an ingredients list.

It’s been said if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Menu items like this are certainly not going to solve obesity. But until we take a long, hard look at the typical daily diet, the outrage over the shock-and-awe dishes is misguided.

I know that I expressed similar feelings when the Double Down debuted, but it irks me that we can talk about the obesity crisis until we’re blue in the face, but it takes a dish like this for the fervor to spill over.

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