The sandwich chain Subway has recently been sued for purportedly selling 11-inch long “Foot long” subs. Far from suing the pants off the chain for compensatory damages and deceptive advertising, The Spear thinks the chain, if the short-coming proves true, should be given some type of medal for services rendered to the nation.
Did we ever really need that twelfth inch? The Spear doubts that many Australian or American citizens, whose populaces make up the sixth and third fattest countries in the world respectively (some adjustment may need to be made for genetic factors), have ever found themselves short on spare calories, about to collapse from starvation, due to being short one-mouthful of a mayonnaise laden sub with all the toppings. If anything, that missing bite may have been the only thing standing between them and Type 2 Diabetes.
It is worth keeping in mind that it is the marginal calories that are doing us the damage. We put on weight slowly over time because we are continually consuming more energy – not necessarily a hell of a lot more energy - than we are burning off through activity. The Spear has himself been practicing the ‘subway diet’ for some time, whereby he never quite finishes any purchased meal unless he is absolutely ravenous (in stark contrast to the post-war era of his parents’ generation where food was sacred and to be fully consumed in any way possible).
Portion sizes in Australia, while not nearly as bad as those The Spear was subject to in the USA, are still overly-generous. On a recent trip to Japan he saw a noticeable reduction in portion sizes and sugar contents, with reduced waistlines to match. He guesses the average Australian is larger than the average Japanese person, but that the size differential is not equally matched in the culinary sphere.
There is a clear difference between eating until one is no longer hungry, and eating until one is full. In Australia, The Spear would propose that if at all possible, most people will tend to eat until they feel full. This is done on such a regular basis that it is a long forgotten fact that until around fifty-sixty years ago, being full was indeed an oddity far removed from the norm. There was never enough food to go around, except for rare celebratory occasions, when the precious beasts would be slaughtered for a feast. We now live in the age of the perpetual feast – aisles and aisles of more food than we know what to do with. A recent study has proposed that up to half of the world's food is going to waste.
With that in mind, it may be more correct to say that Subway is at worst short-subbing its customers half an inch – the other half inch contributing to wastage anyway. And what’s half an inch between mates?