Monday, June 19, 2006

Just a spoonful of sugar

I was trolling the internet for information on High Fructose Corn Syrup in order to scare, educate, or inspire myself enough to want to avoid products with it in them when I came across this site: Obesity Myths. This is a dangerous website because it tells people what they want to hear - obesity isn't that bad and you should eat what you want. Digging not even that deeply - it was just a matter of clicking on the "About Us" link - I discovered that this website is brought to us by the Center for Consumer Freedom, "a nonprofit coalition of restaurants, food companies, and consumers working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.

The growing cabal of "food cops," health care enforcers, militant activists, meddling bureaucrats, and violent radicals who think they know "what's best for you" are pushing against our basic freedoms. We're here to push back.

Consumer freedom is the right of adults and parents to choose what they eat, drink, and how they enjoy themselves. Defending enjoyment is what we're all about!"

By their own admission they are promoters of an "if it feels good, do it!" mentality.

Kind of like the tobacco industry.

I'm all for getting both sides of an issue but when a very fancy looking website essentially forgives you your trespasses and thinks you should continue them because "We believe that only you know what's best for you." I get a little concerned. When you're depressed about being overweight or unhealthy it is very easy to latch onto anything that says it's ok and gives you the easy way out. Blame the doctors! Blame the World Health Organization! You're not eating poorly, you just think you are because of their "arbitrary" guidelines. Heck, you're not even actually overweight. And if you are you're in good company.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. By the way, there is a teaspoon of sugar in a tablespoon of ketchup. Yikes.

1 comment:

Shell said...

There has to be a happy medium somewhere. On the one hand, I'm skeptical about certain weight charts and guidelines because they do change over time and often reflect cultural ideas about ideal body types. I'm also against the government forcing a place like McDonalds to carry healthier foods because they assume people who get fat eating french fries don't understand that the fries are making them fat.

Where does it stop? Are they going to ask 7-11 to stop carrying candy bars? I'm not fat and I try to be reasonably healthy, but when I want Sonic I'm not hankerin' for celery sticks; I want tater tots and a chocolate shake, and if the feds try to keep me from getting them because they want to infantilize me I'm going to raise holy hell.

The addictive properties of nicotine make cigs somewhat different even to a Libertarian like me, and I absolutely support requiring nutritional information for menu items in restaurants so people can make informed choices, but having the government come in and tell restaurants what they can serve makes me very uncomfortable. Can you have Marble Slab Creamery in that world? Baskin Robbins?

Since I'm monopolizing your blog today *wink* I'll also mention that I think we're fat not because of Sonic but because our culture does not encourage--or often even allow for--daily exercise. Unless you're in a major city you probably couldn't walk to work if you wanted to: no sidewalks, cars whizzing by while you hug the curb, everything spread out in suburban sprawl, etc. When I go to England I always admire how walk-obsessed they are--and how they aren't anywhere near as fat as we are as a country. (It ain't the English breakfasts keeping their weight down!)

God, I'm sorry. Shutting up now. Don't hate me!