Monday, June 29, 2009

Food Nanny 101:

Step 1: Cause a problem in service of some special interest - Provide ready-made answer to shove down people's throats using legislation
Step 2: Watch new problems arise as a result
Step 3: Pretend you didn't cause the first problem and offer "new" solution - Blame freedom

Learning stuff is fun... Like today, I've just discovered what promises to be an intelligent and interesting documentary called "Fat Head", which takes on some of the premises in Morgan Spurlock's more widely-known documentary, "Supersize Me"

I haven't seen the whole film, so I can't really talk about it in relation to its predecessor, but the one thing about Supersize Me that always bothered me was how condescending it's conclusions were. People aren't fat because McDonald's has good advertisers or because they're forced to cram hamburgers down their throats. Nutrition Labeling hasn't worked in 30 years, so why anyone thinks even more of it will make a difference now is really just kind of silly... And for that matter, what you or I put into our bodies is none of the government's damn business anyway!

That said, the reason I wanted to post this today is because it provides yet another phenomenal example of how using government force to pressure people into changing their behaviors & purchasing decisions ALWAYS results in unintended consequences... At this point, it's another droplet falling in the ocean of evidence on why no politician (and consequently no lobbyist) should have the power to make laws affecting our very basic choices.

Thus, we have the "Center for Science in the Public Interest" advocating the USE of trans-fats instead of saturated (animal) fats at restaurants and in the home for decades, they lobby government to re-write public policy to push that prescription... And... *shock!* it works. So restaurants & home-cooks all across the US adopt their recommendations, subsidies are given to soy and vegetable oil producers to get the supply up and make it cheap, advertising campaigns ensue... Big win for the CSPI right? Except, oops! Trans-fats are actually pretty bad for you!

But now, of course, the CSPI is the main lobbying group advocating bans on trans-fats because they are so horrible for you... And ultimately, they have succeeded in making the fast-food industry into the villains again, all the while ignoring their own involvement in the intial move towards trans-fat usage.

For added hilarity, watch the video then look at the CSPI site on trans-fatty acids:

"The amount of trans fat being put in our food has declined by 50 percent since about 2005! The end is in sight, with both food manufacturers and chain restaurants switching from the most harmful fat of all—the partially hydrogenated oil that is the source of artificial trans fat—to healthier oils. The "end" will be the virtual elimination of trans fat from our food supply, saving roughly 50,000 lives per year!"

I can't recommend Tom Naughton's movie "Fat Head" 100% yet since I've not seen any more than 15-20 minutes of excerpts, but from those - it looks really good and I think it's definitely worth looking into.

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