Skip to comments.The Assault on Food
Posted on 04/25/2012 3:34:04 AM PDT by Kaslin
Instinct tells us to fear poison. If our ancestors were not cautious about what they put in their mouths, they would not have survived long enough to produce us.
Unfortunately, a side effect of that cautious impulse is that whenever someone claims that some chemical -- or food ingredient, like fat -- is a menace, we are primed to believe it. That makes it easy for government to leap in and play the role of protector.
But for every study that says X is bad for you, another study disagrees. How is a layman to decide? I used to take consumer activists' word for it. Heck, they want to save the world, while industry just wants to get rich. Now I know better. The activists want money, too -- and fame.
To arbitrate, it's intuitive to turn to government -- except ... government scientists have conflicts, too.
Who becomes a regulator except people who want to regulate? Some come from activist groups that hate industry. Some come from industry and want to convert their government job into a higher-paying industry job. Some just want attention. They know that saying, "X will kill you," gets more attention than saying that X is probably safe.
I don't suggest that we ignore the experts and eat like pigs. But the scientific question should not overshadow the more fundamental issue. Who should decide what you can eat: you? Or the state? Should government decide what we may eat, any more than it decides where we live or how long our hair will be? The Food Police claim that they just want to help us make informed choices. But that's not all they want to do. They try to get government to force us to make healthy choices.
The moral issue of force versus persuasion applies even if all the progressives' ideas about nutrition are correct. Even if I would be better off eating no fat and salt, that would not justify forcing restaurants to stop serving me those things. Either we live in a free society or we don't.
It is no coincidence that the push for more food regulation came at a time when Congress obsessed about the rising cost of medical care. When government pays for your health care, it will inevitably be drawn into regulating your personal life. First, politicians promise to pay. Then, they propose to control you.
Where does it stop? If we must control diet to balance the government's budget, will the health squad next ban skydiving and extramarital sex? How about another try at Prohibition?
Government attracts do-gooders and meddlers who believe that, as Mark Twain put it, "Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits." Or, as Twain's spiritual descendant, H.L. Mencken, said about Puritanism, government health officials seem to have "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."
Often the Food Police strike an innocent pose, claiming that they just want to give people information. Information is good. But it's not free. Mandated calorie signs in restaurants cost money. Those costs are passed on to consumers, and the endless parade of calorie counts and warning labels make us numb to more important warnings -- like, "This Coffee Is Scalding Hot."
It's not as if dietary information isn't already available. Health and diet websites abound. Talk shows routinely discuss the latest books on diet and nutrition. TV diet gurus are celebrities. That's enough. We have information. We don't need government force.
Let the marketplace of diet ideas flourish. Let claim meet counterclaim, but let's not let government put its very heavy thumb on one side of the scale.
The assumption behind so much of government's policy regarding food (and everything else) is that everything good should be encouraged by law and everything bad should be discouraged.
But since everything is arguably helpful or harmful, this is a formula for totalitarianism.
Thomas Hobbes assumed an all-powerful government was necessary to protect us from violence. He called it Leviathan. But he never imagined Leviathan would plan our dinners
As a celiac, with two of brothers and at least two of my kids also celiacs, I support those laws/regs which encouraged manufacturers to accurately label foods with regard to ingredients. Aside from that, I’d be happiest if the government would keep it’s collective (in both senses of that word) trap shut. I have enough challenges finding foods appropriate, nonlethal, and fitting for a Catholic family. I have no wish for caterwauling from a large contingent of bureaucrats about how much fat of this type or that my children ingest. Mr. Stossel wrote well.
Are you Irish, by any chance? Just curious.
The government has been so successful at ramming its toxic propaganda into minds of mush via public schools, Hollyweird, and the rest of the media that it's more than eager to shovel garbage down everyone's throats as well.
Manufactured faux food products labeled "Heart healthy" "whole grains" = good, steak and eggs = bad. But of course. After all, it's not the healthy who clamour for Obamacare, but the sick (in mind and body).
The creepy government food "suggestions" have a purpose alright, and that is to create a populace dependent upon the government. Mix in enough truth about, say, fruits and vegetables, and victims will swallow the poisons too.
Serious question here - How does a Catholic family diet differ from other Christian's diets? I thought that, "no meat on Friday" thing was eliminated a long time ago. Other than that, I didn't know there were any differences.
Nope. One my dad’s side, Scottish (Gunn clan) and swedish (we’ve often referred to this as being “Skweedish”), on my mom’s side, mostly Melungeon and Cherokee (Watts family). But dad’s family did spend some time in Ireland, late 1600’s.
FYI, the Chief Deputy, Raylon’s boss, on Justified is named Mullins.
I don’t know what that means, either. Perhaps avoiding veal? But the fish-on-Friday was never abrogated, that’s a major mistake. It was made permissible to substitute an alternate penance . . . And the “spirit of VCII” crowd misinterpreted that as “it’s not important”. That was another major mistake.
I was in the military from 1963-1967 and at that time my Catholic friends told me that military members were exempted from the no meat rule, still every Friday, the mess halls had fish...and other options.
The larger assumption is that the FDA knows what it is doing! Their 'guidelines' have resulted in fat being taken out of foods, but food without fat tastes like cardboard, so sugar was added, and now obesity and heart disease and diabetes are an epidemic!
Just eat real food, without added ingredients
“How is a layman to decide?”
1. The government is almost invariably full of sh*t.
2. If in doubt, refer to number 1.
I agree with the person above that there should be laws that force correct (as it were, rueful lol) labeling on foods, and that is it.
News abounds. You need to freely research studies on your own to know what to believe about health. The government needs to stay completely out of it.
People need to be free to live to their own standards of health.
Government interfering has hurt more than it has helped. Officials don’t know whom to believe. Their stupid pyramid for 20 years caused massive obesity by its I sistence on so much starch and bread. Whole grains are worse than wonder bread for their intestinal and immune negative effects. Fat is seen as evil when it is the essence of health, if it’s from healthy sources.
And the insistence that raw milk must be banned everywhere is crazy. Anal sex is seen as a lifestyle choice, though it kills a lot faster than normal milk. Sushi is too. But raw milk, which kills massively less people a year than those things, must be stopped.
Get out of our kitchens, government. Other than forcing honest labeling. I do want to know if my fish is really from country x or wild caught.
I totally agree with you. As long as ingredients are listed, I want government to stay the H-— out of my selection of foods and stop making stupid nannie-state laws.
I am allergic to tomatos and they cause my windpipe to swell up and make it difficult for me to breathe. That does not mean that I should prevent you from enjoying a pizza with lots of tomato sauce. It’s the same for those people with peanut allergies where the school bans everyone from bringing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.
Government should only do the minimum necessary to insure that the food is not adulterated and properly labeled; anything beyond that is overstepping their bounds.
You guessed correctly. I was referring to no meat on fridays. Still in effect. People are allowed, as of 1983, tobsubstitute another penance for it, though.
I have observed that the quality of packaged food has become inversely proportional to the amount of "nutritional" information mandated on labels. The garbage faux food manufactures can honestly say, "Well what's the problem... it's on the label". I have the ability and time to cook my own recipes with real food and individual herbs and spices (hopefully the real food is still real food - I am not so sure these days), so I avoid all of that junk.
When it really matters - say if fish is sourced from Chicom septic tanks - there's probably a loophole in the labeling laws (think cheap olive oils, honey, even faux fish).
And don't miss this thread on MDA:
"This is Why America is Obese!"
It's about company health assessments and being rewarded for following the party line re low fat and whole grains. Even more insidious than the horrid dietary advice, it that these companies "train" employees to be comfortable in submitting details of their private activities. Either that or the employees simply get used to lying.