Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Junk Food? There's NO SUCH THING!

Recently there's been a lot of hype surrounding so-called 'junk food'. Headlines - "Childhood Obesity - Junk Food to Blame"; books and movies - "Fast Food Nation" and "Supersize Me!" Socialist busy-bodies, trial lawyers and opportunists of every other stripe are trying to get a piece of the action.

Well, IMHO, there's no such thing as junk food. All food has a useful place in a healthy diet. Potato chips, chocolate bars, soft drinks as part of any balanced meal are all good for you. And you can wreck your body by eating too much of any food. The problem, if there is one, is junk DIETS, junk eating habits. But with all the media hype and political posturing one thing seems near certain - the nanny state will step in to slap a tax on the latest scapegoat - food.

There are so many ways this seems wrong it’s hard to know where to begin but here's the short list:

One, it’s unlikely to work. Since poor eating habits are the problem, those few who may be deterred by ‘junk’ food taxes will more than likely shift their overeating to other foods. Or, in accordance with the law of unintended consequences, they’ll sacrifice ‘healthy’ food to enable them to afford their ‘junk’ food habit.

Two, it’s a regressive tax that hits the poor the hardest. One more simple pleasure under seige by government.

Three, it’s doubly unfair because while it targets overeaters, a minority, it penalizes everyone. Why should everyone, including the poor, suffer a penalty aimed at deterring people with poor eating habits?

Four, the scientific basis for assumptions about weight and health is murky at best. Mortality is a reasonable measure of health and the results of at least one study showed that "Overweight was not associated with excess mortality." Statistically overweight people live no shorter lives than do those of normal weight. Only for the obese and the underweight is there an effect. Perhaps the 'junk' we need to be most concerned with is the ‘junk science’ being peddled to support ‘junk’ food theory.

Five, but not least, this is nanny-statism taken to a new height. Even assuming it were workable, it’s still an arrogant, totalitarian, one-size-fits-all measure. It’s state interference with one of our most basic personal responsibilities - eating habits. And children’s diets are parents’ responsibility.

People should be outraged by the gall of politicians and government bureaucrats attempting to micro-manage their lives, and with the media for its over-enthusiastic hype. Following this path to its ultimate conclusion will lead to government regulation of every aspect of our lives - everything being decided for us - everyone treated like an errant adolescent or serf - what isn’t forbidden is compulsory. In the broadest sense of the health of the citizenry, this is can hardly be a healthy state of affairs.

And, please, let’s not hear the tired argument that this is the government’s business because of the supposed $billions ‘junk’ food consumption costs the health care system. If anything this is one more strike against state monopoly healthcare which is being used to justify ever more interference in our personal lives.


Unknown said...

we can not deny that junk food can be delicious and catch our attention specially when we go out with some relatives or friends. But the junk food can be harmful for our welfare or health, resulting in a obesity or even affecting our sexual development. So the relation ships are affected too. We need to change eating habits,start exercising frequently and if you have erectil dysfunctions the better alternative could be buy viagra. But the most important thing is take care our health.

Unknown said...

I think the obesity is very danger for everybody, is like a pump that can explot any time. So is necesary to take care exercising and taking good and healthy food and stop eating junk food for ever!!!!. The life is too short, so we need to take care of us every single day for enjoy the things that the life gave to us. I bought my house through costa rica homes for sale and i enjoy it every day.

Anonymous said...

Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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