Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Hypocritical Food Nanny

I've written posts about this issue before. I am a big believer that Americans should read ingredient labels, avoid a lot of processed foods and make other smart dining choices. And I believe the government should pressure food producers to fully and accurately disclose calorie and ingredient info.

However, I am uncomfortable with the government behaving like a food nanny -- i.e., using bans on foie gras, trans-fats or other foods to essentially dictate what we eat.

If I want to eat a chocolate cupcake, damnit, then that's what I'll do. (Frankly, the government's farm subsidies bear part of the responsibility for encouraging the country's less than ideal eating habits.)

It also bothers me that city governments that struggle to provide basic services like garbage pickup and police protection have decided to play the role of nutritional nannies.

This recent N.Y. Times article not only reminds us that N.Y. City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is one of those food nannies; he is also a hypocrite. According to the article:
He dumps salt on almost everything, even saltine crackers. He devours burnt bacon and peanut butter sandwiches. He has a weakness for hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and fried chicken, washing them down with a glass of merlot.

And his snack of choice? Cheez-Its.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has become New York City’s nutritional nag, banning the use of trans fats, forcing chain restaurants to post calorie counts and exhorting diners to consume less salt. Now he is at it again, directing his wrath at sugary drinks in a new series of arresting advertisements that ask subway riders: “Are you pouring on the pounds?”

But an examination of what enters the mayoral mouth reveals that Mr. Bloomberg is an omnivore with his own glaring indulgences, many of them at odds with his own policies.
And so I say to the mayor: "Physician, heal thyself."

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