Sunday, November 11, 2007

Do you really need the gov't to tell you fries make you fat?

I just posted a comment on this qusetion posted on NYU's Washington Square News.

Do you really need the gov't to tell you fries make you fat?

I have been writing on nutrition issues since 1973. In that year I coauthored “The Supermarket Handbook,” a guide to the hidden ingredients in processed food.

Terms like “food police” are common today, but you would not want to do away with governmental agencies that monitor the purity and safety of the food supply. The history of food adulteration is ugly. (Check out “Food in History.”) Food information is vital and it extends way beyond trans fats. If you care at all about yourself, you’ll want to nourish that person properly just as you would anything you love – a plant, a pet or a person.

It is relatively easy to understand the nutritional values of traditional foods whether they are beans, bananas or beef. (I seem to be in an alliterate mood.) This is not just a question a fast food. When you buy a preprepared food, no matter whether it is from a restaurant (fast or fancy) or factory it is impossible to know ingredients or their quantity without a label. This applies to trans fats, total fat, balance of fats, sweetener, sodium, food additives or constituent ingredients. Its basic information that must be required and which consumers must pay attention to – at their peril. (Question: You eat every day and will do so for the rest of your life, have you ever had a course on human nutrition, food science or the like. Something so important - I’ll bet the answer is “no”.)

By the way, one can minimize researching menu offerings by sticking to eateries that don’t tart up there offerings - but stick to basic wholefoods.