THE BLOG
11/17/2010 12:26 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Genius of the Heart Attack Grill

The Heart Attack Grill's latest promotion -- obese people eat free! -- is one of the best weapons in our current health crisis.

Change.org's Sustainable Food department recently sent out the news that Arizona's Heart Attack Grill is offering their Double Bypass Burgers and Flatliner Fries free to customers weighing in at 350 lbs. and over. Change.org has a petition protesting the way this gimmicky restaurant undermines America's current health crisis.

However, after watching the HAG's video for "The Heart Attack Grill Diet Program," I have to wonder whether HAG owner Jon Basso is actually working for the American Dietetic Association. This faux commercial is genius: It outlines exactly what will happen as a result of eating at the HAG, including "sudden weight gain, male breast growth, loss of sexual partners, stroke... In some cases, mild death may occur."

I understand why Change.org is up in arms about HAG's latest shock value gimmick, but at least HAG is being honest about exactly what will happen when customers choose to indulge in their food. What the Heart Attack Grill serves up is just a larger version of what used to be considered an occasional treat, yet what most American eating establishments offer, and people eat, every day -- despite hearing time and again that this kind of food is unhealthy.

It's not that HAG's patrons, referred to as "patients," don't know what they're getting when they order a Quadruple Bypass Burger and Flatliner Fries that are served by a woman in a nurse's uniform. Imagine the heart attack lawsuit courtroom scene: "But your honor, I thought the commercial with the 570-lb. man and all that talk of food-related diseases was a joke."

The HAG is a joke -- the surgeon general's warning sign at the restaurant's door, the chef wearing a stethoscope, the wheelchair out to the parking lot for anyone who finishes the HAG's largest meal. And, like some jokes, there's truth in the punchline. The Heart Attack Grill isn't hiding anything, and their fake diet plan commercial is a warning about the "side effects" -- like "mild death" -- that come when we choose to eat the typical American diet.