Prohibition Nation

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New York went trans-fat free today. And I now have a new litmus test for figuring out of if you're too much of a meddling, know-it-all, self-righteous ass to grant you any sort of assumption of intelligence: if you say you agree with government bans on trans-fats, ding, you're the next contestant on "Soft Facism TV"!

Aside from the disturbingly twisted logic it takes to think that your publicly elected officials have the right to police your favorite eating establishment's cubbards for things they don't like, let's look the effectiveness of the policy itself. How can we do that? By looking at the first country to make such a ban legit: Denmark.

Even consuming less than five grams of trans fat - the amount found in one piece of fried chicken and a side of french fries - a day has been linked with a 25 percent increased risk of heart disease.

It is still too early to tell if removing trans fat from food in Denmark has improved the country's health.

Although the Danish health ministry reports that cardiovascular disease has dropped by 20 percent in the last five years, similar reductions have been reported in other countries that are making an effort to combat heart disease by measures such as regulating the food and tobacco industries, and by educating the public about the need to exercise. In countries that are making no effort to regulate the amount of trans fat in food, heart disease rates have continued to climb.

So, if you're fool enough to lunch at KFC everyday, this might help your heart. But in the aggregate, it's not worth the greasy wax-paper it was written on. But NYC heard it, and thought it sounded like a good idea.

Something else to stick in your fryer: trans-fat is cheaper to make and lasts longer. So who does eliminating it affect? The people who consume food with high levels of processed ingredients and who do not cosume what they buy on the day they bought it, i.e., the poorer folks in society. Since the yuppies strolling through Dean and Deluca find it just a shame that people don't eat more fresh food have decided that it really is ok for people to pay a premium to satisfy their societal whims, it's now incumbent on those folks consuming fast and packaged foods to pick up more of the bill for a law that has had no demonstrable societal benefits.

Spiffy work, folks.

And if you're part of the "but natural foods are so much healthier" crowd, try this article: "Organic chicken less nutritious."

Don't want the health care system to be burdened with the costs of a generation of obese people? Then don't make me pay for what you shove down your cake-hole. Take a look at the wreck of regulation and subsidy busy-bodies akin to the ban-supporters in NYC have made of the health care system, and start cutting away the red tape.

If the people lamenting the existence of folks who adhere to the myth of creationism think so highly of natural selection and evolution, let people do what they want with whatever foods they want. After a few generations of 20-year olds having heart attacks, I'm betting people will start figuring it out.

4 Comments

I guess NY city believes that people are too dumb to regulate their own health and behavior. Providing education and information to citizens is fine, but let them decide how they act on it. They probably came close to banning butter to promote margarine use a few years ago. We all know how good margarine is for us now (lol)!

"similar reductions have been reported in other countries that are making an effort to combat heart disease by measures such as regulating the food and tobacco industries, and by educating the public about the need to exercise. In countries that are making no effort to regulate the amount of trans fat in food, heart disease rates have continued to climb."

umm. Doesn't that support the ban? It essentially says that regulating trans-fat is no more effective than regulating trans-fat, and not regulating trans-fat results in higher heart disease. Is there a distinction missing?
What is the better way New York can regulate trans-fat?

What Gnarls has failed to realize is that the ridiculous amount of trans fats used in food makes it difficult for even people with substantial means to avoid this dangerous fat. Trans fats are found in everything from that KFC chicken to the pizza served at elementary schools, to the peanut butter packed in another child's lunch.

Sure we could encourage childhood obesity by standing back and doing nothing. We could insist that it's important to be able to pay 10 cents less for a bag of chips and be allowed to sacrifice our health if we want to. But let me tell you, bashing NYC's intelligent decision to regulate food companies who couldn't care less about their comsumer's health (or they wouldn't be serveing trans fats in the first place) is ignorant to say the least.

Many poorer folks who consume these fats don't even know about their adverse health effects. And frankly, there's a good chance that they cannot afford to buy spa quality foods. Banning trans fats may increase the price of food by a couple cents per unit, but the benifits to both the upper AND lower classes should be obvious. There are so many reasons NYC's ban is a positve move, if I wrote them all here, no one would take the time to read them.

And I don't know the last time Gnarls actually entered the produce aisle, but fresh fruit and veggies aren't expensive. I can get a pound of bananas for 32 cents. Did I mention that I'm in the lower income bracket? And I fully support the ban on trans fats and hope that other cities and states follow NYC's example.

Got it Rikku, but what's next thing that the smart guys and gals want the world to do? Am I wearing the wrong shoes? Using the wrong tooth paste? How much of personal liberty are YOU willing to cut loose from your own life? And what's more how much of your own lifestyle habits are you willing to put under the scrutiny of the smart guys and gals from NYC?

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This page contains a single entry by Gnarls Barkley published on December 5, 2006 2:05 PM.

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