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Thursday, July 3, 2014

The battle over childhood obesity won't be over until the fat lady sings

Occasionally, as on this occasion, I treat myself to a therapeutic rant. If you wish to be informed kindly skip this post as it contains absolutely no provable truths, is heavy on intuition and makes no pretense of objectivity.
In bygone days what one ate was considered to be a matter of personal taste and like any other personal activity the sole business of the diner. "Did I ask you what you had for breakfast?" was the question rhetorically posed to gently inform a friend or co-worker that he was prying too much into your personal business.
Normally I'm a good natured cuss and largely immune to daily tribulations that beset people such as Special Ed Schultz and Shawn Hannity who seem to live in a constant state of moral outrage but probe deeply enough and you will eventually hit a nerve. This morning while perusing The Hill I came across a post that I found to be especially vexing. Just what the world needs, I grumbled, one more expert on obesity. Careful! I thought, don't get it wrong; remembering that just a couple of weeks ago Dr. Mehmet Oz was summoned before Senator Claire McCaskill's subcommittee where in the interest of good government and healthy bodies with strong bones and teeth, he was almost ordered to recant is errant notion that green coffee beans might cause weight loss. Not since Galileo and his heliocentric theory! The popular press mooed its admiration for the senator who had her own person struggle with weight gain while I remembered a Twitter pic the senator proudly tweeted exhibiting a suckling pig she had just prepared. How could a mere cardiac surgeon possibly know better than plump Claire McCaskill when it comes to obesity. Let him roast the next pig.
There should be a special place in hell for people who use terms such as "food addiction". It's a pseudo scientific term roughly akin to literary flatulence as exhibited in the post. Who writes this crap? I winced. It wasn't written by a staff reporter but by a contributor, Noliwe Rooks. What the hell is a Noliwe Rooks? A web search revealed Rooks was is an associate professor at Cornell University in Africana Studies and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Wow a regular Renaissance women! You can bet she knows just as much about obesity as Claire McCaskill. They even have the same body styles. She has even written a book about hair but that's for another day as it may be sometime before I read it.

Pardon me, but as someone who has worn tapered shirts most of my adult life I am reluctant to listen to someone about eating healthy who looks like McCaskill or Rooks.
Rooks was upset with the uncaring Republicans who have passed a measure that would allow school districts to opt out of new school-lunch nutrition standards, a key piece in lady Moochelle's fight against childhood obesity. Of course the upshot of the post is that school children won't eat the healthy foods with fruits and whole grain breads so dear to the hearts of liberal Democrats.
My first question would be are the children hungry? If garbage cans overflow with rejected wholesome food how hungry can the students be? Perhaps schools should just drop the lunch program but if we dropped the lunch program we would not have banalities such as food addiction to toss around. According to Rooks there are certain ingredients that cause the addiction- salt, sugar and fat. Never mind they are the only things that enhance food flavor aside from pepper which takes a real adult to appreciate. So now the kids won't eat the food and schools should continue to buy it?
No dietary critique is complete without a rant against the food industry. What the hell is "highly processed food"? If people mean artificial flavors or colors may be added then they should say so. The can of green beans in your pantry is  processed so it doesn't kill you to eat it but its not highly processed. In any event highly processed foods are addictive and it's all the food companies fault for manufacturing food people will buy.
"A new study from Connecticut College shows that Oreos are as addictive as cocaine, at least for lab rats." writes Time.
"Much like humans, rats also prefer the delicious creamy center to the cookie. “They would break it open and eat the middle first,” said Jamie , one of the students who worked on the study.'" So Crisco and powdered sugar are addictive? Who knew? We don't see many Oreo addicts in prison so they must not get caught.
"Addicted to Fat: Overeating May Alter the Brain as Much as Hard Drugs" warns Scientific American. Think about that the next time you are tempted to take a cheeseburger trip.
Like any other economic activity the demand will create the supply of dubious authentic data produced by the demands of the food police vis a vis government grants. Just as is the case with global warming academic researchers will attempt to make science the handmaid of government to give government greater control over what people eat. Rooks' post is simple propaganda.

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