Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Politics, Common Sense, and Food Recommendations

I just read an interesting essay by Gary Taubes (of Why We Get Fat and What to Do about It fame).  The article goes into the history of food policy as it relates to sugar.  It's a long bit of web reading but if you're interested in that kind of thing (which I am -- always up for a good conspiracy theory!) it's interesting.

After reading the whole article (and a couple of Gary's other books that talk about the politics of food recommendations), it all comes back to -- you can't trust the government.  Sorry to disabuse you of this notion but near as I can tell, the government's job is to serve the masses.  And the mass need is much different than your needs as an individual. 

That's not to say the government doesn't do you any good -- police, fire, clean water, roads that are in good (or at least passable) condition -- the government does that for all of us -- and I for one appreciate it!

But -- when it comes to food recommendations, the USDA is a political organization.  Its recommendations are influenced by special interest groups, senators, congressmen, and industry pressures.  Remember the Food Industry is a highly profitable industry (click here and here if you are a numbers person!) --and we know how government works!  Those with money can use it to buy a bigger voice.  The USDA is not immune.

So if the government does not have your back (or waistline) on this, what should you do??

Use your common sense.

We eat too much sugar -- you need to look no farther than our national diabetes rates (and the fact that it has climbed from 2.5% of the American population in 1980 to 6.8% in 2010).

We overeat -- more often than not -- you need to look no farther than our national obesity rates (15% of the US population in 1980 and 35.7% in 2010).

We are smart enough to get these HUGE health problems under control -- but we're going to have to think (be mindful) of our eating behaviors until we change our environment enough that it supports our health.  This is something each of us needs to do for ourselves (and each other).  It's not something the government can (or will) do for us!

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