Armed with the latest findings from behavioral economics politicians have been trying to take control of what you eat.
It’s in your best interest, don’t you know?
Americans are in poor health. They are living longer, but they are living unhealthier.
Those who believe that government must solve all problems have set out to restore American health. How can you argue with people who want nothing but good health for you?
Then again, how can you not argue with people who want to control you and your children’s metabolism?
The politicians want to nudge you in the right direction, toward healthier living. Invariably, they end up pushing and shoving you to do as they want you to do.
It’s as American as that cherry pie you are no longer allowed to eat. Obviously, it’s an offshoot of the American mania about dieting. People have been trained to ignore what their bodies are telling them and to follow the this or that diet. Is it any wonder that Americans have serious problems with food?
Now, the government is trying to solve the problem by dictating a new healthy American diet. Doesn’t it feel like institutionalizing, even validating the problem?
Now we discover that much of the science that has been invoked to deprive people of more of their freedom is… how can we put this nicely… wrong.
Just as the climate change crowd has been trumpeting “scientific consensus” as “settled science,” so too have the food police latched on to scientific fads.
Some of the fads make sense. Still, they are junk science.
A few years back New York’s Mayor Bloomberg decided that salt was bad. He had been told that salt caused high blood pressure, heart disease and God knows what else. So he launched a campaign to remove much of the salt from everyone’s diet.
The Daily Telegraph told the story in 2010:
The city's Health Department has announced that it is coordinating a nationwide effort to reduce salt in restaurant and packaged foods by 25 per cent over five years.
The National Salt Reduction Initiative, a coalition of cities and health organizations, hopes the food industry will back its campaign to combat high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes by voluntarily reducing the sodium in the US food supply
It must have seemed like a good idea, but yesterday the Centers for Disease Control reported that there is no advantage to be gained by reducing the amount of salt you consume. Besides, having too little salt might be bad for you.
A recent report commissioned by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reviewed the health benefits of reducing salt intake and the take-home message is that salt, in the quantities consumed by most Americans, is no longer considered a substantial health hazard. What the CDC study reported explicitly is that there is no benefit, and may be a danger, from reducing our salt intake below 1 tsp per day….
It may be that we're better off with more salt than less, up to 2 or even 3 tsp per day
And this does not even consider the fact that salt makes food taste better. When food tastes better, we eat less… but don’t let that get in the way of another of Mayor Mike’s crusades.
And then there’s skim milk. You may have missed it but in 2010 Congress passed and the president signed something called: The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
Naturally, it prescribes skim milk for everyone. Everyone knows that cholesterol is bad for you. Unfortunately, no one seems to be aware of the fact that not-enough-cholesterol is not very good for you.
Time Magazine reports other salient facts:
In an editorial in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, Ludwig and nutrition expert Dr. Walter Willett, chair of the department of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, argue that there is actually little data to support the idea that skim and low-fat milk lead to better health outcomes than whole milk.
Why should that be so? It happens that children who are forced to drink skim milk feel nutritionally deprived. They compensate by eating more high calorie snacks.
Reduced-fat foods and drinks may not be as filling, so consumers may end up compensating for the lack of calories and eating or drinking more. In a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood in March, scientists found that kids who drank lower-fat milks were actually more likely to be overweight later on.
“Our original hypothesis was that children who drank high-fat milk, either whole milk or 2% would be heavier because they were consuming more saturated-fat calories. We were really surprised when we looked at the data and it was very clear that within every ethnicity and every socioeconomic strata, that it was actually the opposite, that children who drank skim milk and 1% were heavier than those who drank 2% and whole,” study author Dr. Mark Daniel DeBoer, an associate professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the chair-elect for the AAP Committee on Nutrition, told TIME in March.
Today, an Indiana school district is losing government funding because it has not been providing healthy lunches to its students.
Apparently, when the school started providing vegetables that the children did not want to eat, the children threw the food away. Whoever imagined that children could exercise their freedom not to be nudged? Thanks to the “hunger-free kids” act, children are hungry and malnourished.
The Washington Times has the story:
School officials in Carmel Clay, Ind., said they lost $300,000 last school year because students are rejecting the healthy menu changes brought on by First Lady Michelle Obama’s federal lunch regulations.
“I’ve had a lot of complaints, especially with the little guys,” Linda Wireman, a food service director for North White School Corp., told JCOnline. “They get a three-quarters cup of vegetables, but if it’s something they don’t like, it goes down the garbage disposal. So there are a lot of complaints they’re going home hungry.”
As soon as they get the chance, these starving children repair to fast food restaurants to load up on junk food:
“I’ve got kids who can stop at Panera and pick up a sandwich that meets none of these criteria. I’m not maybe your typical school district, and they’re assuming that every student doesn’t have access to food, and that’s incorrect in this community,” Amy Anderson told the paper. “Our kids can just wait and just hop in their BMWs and go to McDonald’s, which they’re rebuilding, making it bigger.”
So, Michelle Obama’s signature piece of legislation is making kids hungry and obese. But, it is doing great things for McDonald’s.
Let us not forget Diet Soda. Everyone drinks the stuff. Everyone feels virtuous while drinking it. How can something called “diet” be bad for you? It must be healthier than the sugary stuff.
The latest science tells a different story. The New York Post explains:
Zero-calorie beverages may seem appealing – but a new paper argues that artificially sweetened drinks could actually throw off your metabolism, affecting the way your body processes regular sugars.
Published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, the report argues that artificially sweetened beverages are not only linked with ill health effects similar to those associated with consuming regular soda – but they may even cause worse long term health outcomes.
“In lots of ways, (artificial sweeteners) have been given the benefit of the doubt just because they don’t have any calories,” lead author Susan Swithers, of the department of psychological sciences and ingestive behavior research center at Purdue University, told FoxNews.com.
“[But] when the body responds normally to sugar, it signals that an intake of both calories and sugar has occurred so the body can release the hormones needed to prepare,” Swithers said. “(This) prevents big spikes in blood sugar, and those same hormones are thought to have direct effects on satiety,” Swithers said.
Yet, when people eat something that tastes sweet – but introduces no real sugar into the blood system – it may throw off the body’s response mechanism, Swithers noted.
How come that no one thought of that?