OT: On Political Stuff

Quite predictably a lot of people got upset about my post on the ban on giant sodas in NY. Politics is not a major subject for this blog so I have no intention of discussing this at length: Anyone disagreeing with me can of course continue to do so.

However, this is my blog and I’ll use my liberty to say what I think: Comparing the ban on serving giant sodas in restaurants to Nazi persecution is silly, ok?

Let’s instead compare it to laws on tobacco smoking. The problem is that smoking (e.g. in restaurants) affects other people too (increased health care costs, suffering etc.). It not just about the person smoking. Thus laws can be motivated. And, believe it or not, in the long run all of us will pay for the effect of fast food companies pushing insane soda sizes in the middle of an obesity epidemic.

If your political views are different (e.g. if you’re an American, not a European) that’s just fine. Don’t worry, I don’t intend to spend much time discussing politics here.

More about the free updates that people get.

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A Week of Groceries in Different Countries 25
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106 Comments

Top Comments

  1. Liv
    USA land of the free ? Do you really believe that yourself in USA? Freedom of what ? Is it freedom to not be able to find food without high fructose corn sugar HFCS ? Its in almost every food item . Or to find food without extra sugar added to it. Or not find natural yoghurt with fat (its seems natural yoghurt in USA is low fat ????) Grocery stores are full with crap food. People depending on food stamps have no choice ! The only food choice they can buy are processed food or/ is full with sugar . Is that freedom ?
    Americans think they are free to decide themselves but its not true about food.Food industry with their lobbyist rule. Brain washing children with advertising. Free refills and toys without asking about it.

    Afraid of fat as hell. Our school serve my children milk with no fat and there is no choice to get full fat . Is that freedom ?
    So I for sure hope they will regulate the use of HFCS and I believe to regulate the size of soda is one small step to begin with.
    I find the food industries actually are poisoning people with the food they produce. Standard American Diet (SAD) is a joke. Look how at least 30 % of the population look like. Like they are pregnant in the ninth month. People have tried to follow the advice they got to lower fat intake and what happen ? Its obvious something is clearly wrong. Industries infiltrate government,or are the politicians that stupid ?

    Who is holding back the truth about fat ( bad science )? Why are they subsidizing corn and soy producing ? To be a farmer today you have not much choice ? Is that freedom ? Its all about money,but USA have to do some changes because current health crisis will cost more every year unless if people start to die real young.
    I really look forward to the Nutrition Science Initiative NuSI launched by G Taubes and P Attia.
    So Andreas continue your good job and express your opinion.
    Freedom of speech is to be allowed to express opinion even in a health blog.

    Read more →
  2. Wow, I didn't even read the comments about the last post because I assumed they would just be positive. Unfortunately, the govt is a lot of the reason why we have so much sugar in our food in the first place, and this ban on large sodas has got to be a step in the right direction. If government control is a problem here, then think about the millions of dollars spent by big business lobbying politicians, so that laws and policies can be passed that benefit big business (rather than our health). Someone needs to speak up and make a stand somehow before we can make change. And, if one politician can do that, then good on them. We need someone to push back on big business and let them know it is not ok to load our food with a substance that is making us sick and killing us.
    Read more →
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All Comments

  1. Chuck Currie
    Well said, Dr. Feinman, well said.
  2. Troy Wynn
    Free markets. It's funny how many view free markets, freedom and government. I think we would all agree that demand for something creates a market. Entrepreneurs fill the market need and soon competition follows to serve the market. The consumer benefits as quality improves and prices are driven down by those entrepreneurs who look for ways to improve products, reduce margins, invest in human and other capital. Not sure why this is a problem.

    Then enter the government: Fat is bad! and entrepreneurs develop products that meet the consumer demand driven by government guidelines or regulations. It doesn't matter if the recommendation is based on sound science, a vegetarian cause, a transfer of wealth cause. Markets are formed and served. Blaming corporations is foolish. They are providing the goods and services the consumers want.

    Remove government from the "role" of dictating how we manage our lives and watch the free market capitalism flourish. Consumers benefit:

    Heinz corporation now sells ketchup with "NO HFCS" on the label in big bold letters. A simple corporation serving the new demand for products free of HFCS. Free markets at work. No government intervention.

    Markets serve those who desire wild caught salmon, range fed beef, chickens and even wild game. No government intervention, just simple demand for these products.

    We need government, but not one that invests itself in managing our lives. It is disastrous, proof? USDA Food Pyramid circa 1977.

    I'll say it again: Never elect some one to government who desires to hold dominion over your private life.

  3. Alan
    Should scientists worry about getting the science perfect before supporting little changes in the availability of our sugary mega drinks? How much evidence is enough?

    Do most corporations worry about our health, well being, and the science supporting their products?

  4. Liv
    USA land of the free ? Do you really believe that yourself in USA? Freedom of what ? Is it freedom to not be able to find food without high fructose corn sugar HFCS ? Its in almost every food item . Or to find food without extra sugar added to it. Or not find natural yoghurt with fat (its seems natural yoghurt in USA is low fat ????) Grocery stores are full with crap food. People depending on food stamps have no choice ! The only food choice they can buy are processed food or/ is full with sugar . Is that freedom ?
    Americans think they are free to decide themselves but its not true about food.Food industry with their lobbyist rule. Brain washing children with advertising. Free refills and toys without asking about it.

    Afraid of fat as hell. Our school serve my children milk with no fat and there is no choice to get full fat . Is that freedom ?
    So I for sure hope they will regulate the use of HFCS and I believe to regulate the size of soda is one small step to begin with.
    I find the food industries actually are poisoning people with the food they produce. Standard American Diet (SAD) is a joke. Look how at least 30 % of the population look like. Like they are pregnant in the ninth month. People have tried to follow the advice they got to lower fat intake and what happen ? Its obvious something is clearly wrong. Industries infiltrate government,or are the politicians that stupid ?

    Who is holding back the truth about fat ( bad science )? Why are they subsidizing corn and soy producing ? To be a farmer today you have not much choice ? Is that freedom ? Its all about money,but USA have to do some changes because current health crisis will cost more every year unless if people start to die real young.
    I really look forward to the Nutrition Science Initiative NuSI launched by G Taubes and P Attia.
    So Andreas continue your good job and express your opinion.
    Freedom of speech is to be allowed to express opinion even in a health blog.

  5. Galina L.
    I don't like the results from government's push to promote a low-sodium food for everyone, so they don't have my trust. We used to go the a particular restaurant to celebrate whatever (Carrabas Italian grill), but their new practice not to salt anything because there is a salt on the table ruins the previously perfect taste. We tried to request from the kitchen to prepare our food in normal way, but they can't improve it much because they marinated stakes without salt. The low-sodium initiative was also pushed by Bloomberg. Tom Naughten blogged about it before http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2010/01/26/mayor-bloombergs-a-.... Because of government initiative and due to Michele Obama campaign ,food at schools nowadays taste terrible and children refuse to eat low-fat unsalted food.

    Instead of approving some initiatives and disapproving others, I would rather see a government to stop interfering into people food choices because it is not government's job and instead stop subsidies for corn and soy and reversing the stupid law that requires to make gasoline to be less efficient by adding to it ethanol made out of corn. I am not a member of any party , I have been living in US only last 12 years, and my opinions are based on common sense, not on any ideology.

  6. Bill
    I won't answer any of the ridiculous politics expressed here, except to say that government definitely has a role in food safety regulations and disseminating food advice, and that all the Libertarian worshipping of 'free markets' ain't gonna protect you against that bad raw milk. Anyway, Bloomberg's edict seems to me to be more symbolic, rather than any kind of precedent whereby we're all going to be forced to go vegan soon.

    But what I would like to see is a 'good health' discount provided by health insurers (gov't or private), based on lab tests. This would help offset some of my burden from the higher medical costs of the less-healthy members of society that don't eat all of the lard that I eat (lol). This discount would be a good incentive for people to eat healthier. Of course (and here is the rub) the lab tests chosen would have to be based on good science, not on TC levels, for instance. Thus, I am completely for anyone eating whatever they want, as long as I don't pay the price.

  7. John Myers
    Chuck - Can we have America without the Exceptionalism? Some people think strutting is fugly.
    There's no way that the Founding Fathers would recognize the Conservatives of today as their kind. First of all, they hated powerful corporations. The Boston Tea Party was a revolt against the British East Indies Trading Company, a company that made our Colonist's life hell. Thomas Jefferson said something to this effect "merchants have no patriotism, the only ground they are loyal to is the dirt they stand on." We can clearly see that today with our corporations sending jobs overseas.
    Secondly, they thought that humans, by nature were good. Our Founding Fathers were humanists. That's why they constructed a government of, by and for the people. Conservatives think that humans are born flawed. They are afraid of their own natural impulses (especially when they are sexual in nature) and they're, for some reason easily swayed by fear. They flock to their own kind and are distrustful of anyone different. They love their guns.
    Leading up to the Second Amendment there was a huge debate over gun ownership. George Washington thought we won't need a nationalized military, because we would trade and be friends with all nations - make no treaties with any nation. Friends will all alliances with none.
    The 2nd Amendment was a compromise.
    I think your revisionist ideas come from David Barton, no?
    I agree Progressives had their problems as you mentioned, and what you didn't mention as well - Prohibition. Big mistake.
    We're in the new Gilded Age and corporations are running the show. Conservatives suck up to them. Corporations think they themselves are quite exceptional.
    Maybe it's time for some national humility and humanity.
  8. aviator1945
    @ Troy Winn

    I fully agree with you that one man should not be forcing the behavior of another, but at the same time the consumption of HFCS-laden soft drinks is bad not just for the drinker; it affects society as a whole, for example with health insurance rates or taxes rising since HFCS is likely to further increase obesity rates, with diabetes type 2, cardiovascular disease etc. in tow.

    A solution might be to introduce taxation on HFCS, not just on soft drinks, but across the board. But of course Big Food would use their political clout to stop this, so perhaps a New York-style prohibition is one of the few realistic measures.

    Reply: #72
  9. Wade Henderson
    How about a uniform soda pricing law. Every store and restaurant can sell as large a container as they choose. Each store can charge whatever they like.

    The only regulation is that you must charge a uniform price per ounce.

    If you charge $1.20 for a 12 ounce cup, then you must charge $4.40 for a 44 ounce Big Gulp

    No extra tax. No limit on the size you can sell.

    Watch the portion size self correct.

    Similar to selling gasoline for automobiles. Naturally people choose smaller more fuel efficient vehicles.

  10. John Myers
    We built our Navy. With tax dollars.
    In international waters the USA is a benevolent thalassocracy. Your claim that we're somehow the night watchman for the world on land though is inane.
    We keep trade lanes on water free of threats, only to have megacorporations outsource our jobs.
  11. Evinx
    The reason so many corporations have so much power & influence is because the govt inserted itself into those areas. So businesses have learned that to accomplish certain objectives, they go to the source of power & influence.
    If you sincerely want to diminish the influence & power of the large corporations, then the logical course of action is to diminish or remove the power of govt in those areas these corporations are active in.
    Do you really think a company like ADM ( Archer Daniels Midland) would have so much control & power over corn, HFCS, ethanol, etc if not for its influence on politicians and by extension govt?
    The solution is get govt out of the corn business & then ADM would have to work to satisfy consumers and not politicians and by extension govt.
    Giving govt more control - even if this time you agree with what they are trying to accomplish, is not the solution. In the long term, it will only exacerbate the problem.
  12. John Myers
    ADM should make safe products.
    @ Evinx you're saying that corporations have influence because they are regulated?
  13. John Myers
    Every corporation has to 'satisfy consumers'.
  14. John Myers
    I enjoy this site very much and it's not the place for U.S. b.s.
    We have bigger fish to fry.
  15. Evinx
    @John Myers
    Let's take ethanol as it is less emotionally charged.
    ADM used political influence based on junk science to have it added to gasoline so that more corn could be sold. Big business loves mandates and who legislates mandates? Rrmove the govt enforced mandates and you will remove the crony capitalism so many of us hate.
    Another example: Why did Enterprise Rent A Car lobby so hard for the Cash for Clunkers?
    Because they knew it would ultimately drive up used car prices by reducing the supply of used cars - as mandated by govt by insisting used cars be destroyed. CfC had no long term benefit for the economy but it did drive up used car prices. Govt interference with markets invites and encourages corporate cronyism.
    If govt gets too involved, it starts to go after bloggers (happening now bcs govt of NC doesn't like what a blogger is promoting), it tries to go after vitamins (who do you think is behind that?), and don't you think it could easily go after LCHF as dangerous & unhealthy?
    I 100% agree with Doc about soda & sugar, BUT, govt bans are not the solution. they are in fact, dangerous.
    But, I still love your blog Doc - so I will agree that we have to disagree on this one.
  16. John Myers
    Big Business loves mandates- stop right there - that's pretty hard to swallow.
  17. Carl
    Here's that same one of govt food police mentality gone bad.

    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2008/06/25/57092/lawmakers-nix-plan-...

    NC was actually considering a law that would require farms to dye their raw milk black to keep it from being appealing to humans.

    We need a farm to fork freedom constitutional amendment or, just like with the NY soda law, the government food police will keep taking away our rights one by one.

    Get info out there about how bad SAD is and what a great human diet is. Then give he people the right to have optimal health or be fat idiots.

  18. Government interventions, such as this one, seldom accomplish their goal. It may be well intended but it's not likely to change much. On a positive note at the very least it's gotten people talking! Hopefully it will lead to PROPER EDUCATION and allow the public to make and demand better choices.
    Unless we return to a "value system" where a reward is based on merit and capacity (exercise and correct eating habits anyone?) which are results of correctly applied efforts, we will continue believing that we can eat whatever we desire and either take injections, pills or get surgery to "fix" our bodies.
    How we view things determine what we are willing to do. If exercise and a primal approach to foods is viewed as "hard work" and junk food and a sedentary lifestyle is viewed as convenient there cannot be any change.
    Perhaps we need to have government jump on the bandwagon and promote a message of simple common sense; junk food and "convenient" pre-packaged foods and a sedentary lifestyle always equals much more "pain and suffering" long term than any discomfort temporarily associated with moving your body and eating correctly. There is time in our lives to do these things!
  19. "A solution might be to introduce taxation on HFCS, not just on soft drinks, but across the board."

    "I 100% agree with Doc about soda & sugar"

    I am not the only biochemist who thinks that HFCS is not the demon that people seem to think. This seems to be a remake of low-fat. We are going to do something about HFCS, never mind that the biochemists are telling us it not right.

    How come everybody is so sure about this?

  20. Here's a simple relevant question.

    We recognize a problem with diabetes. Which is worse for a person with diabetes (calorie-for-calorie): HFCS or starch? How about people with metabolic syndrome.

  21. Troy Wynn
    @ Liv

    "USA land of the free ? Do you really believe that yourself in USA? Freedom of what ? Is it freedom to not be able to find food without high fructose corn sugar HFCS ?"

    Ans: Yes. I do it everyday. Fact is, markets for food free of HFCS are already being served: Example? HFCS free ketchup made by the heinz corporation.

    " Its in almost every food item . Or to find food without extra sugar added to it. Or not find natural yoghurt with fat (its seems natural yoghurt in USA is low fat ????) "

    Ans: Yes. I can find full fat yogurt at my local grocery store. My food as no added sugar, and is purchased at a local grocery store. 3 Greek Gods Plain is an example.

    "Grocery stores are full with crap food. People depending on food stamps have no choice ! The only food choice they can buy are processed food or/ is full with sugar"

    Ans 1: Grocery sores are meeting the demand by consumers. Nobody forces you to engage in commerce that you don't want. Gov't nutritional guidelines are influencing demand. Corporations are simply providing what the people want (ala gov't guidelines)

    Ans 2: That is a false statement. Chicken can be purchased for less than $1.50 per lb. Eggs cost 18cents a piece. If one chooses to eat healthy, they can do so on the cheap.

    . Is that freedom ?

    Ans: Yes. I can choose to eat what I want. I can educate myself and overcome the silliness of a few gov't officials who claim to be looking out for my best interest. I choose to follow science, not dogma. Sure I am free to do that.

    "Americans think they are free to decide themselves but its not true about food.Food industry with their lobbyist rule. Brain washing children with advertising. Free refills and toys without asking about it."

    Ans 1: Free markets allow me to purchase the food I want. I can eat range feed beef, feed lot beef, or no beef. Same with chicken, eggs, pork, all the animal based protein. I choose not to eat any wheat food products. I eat cheese that is full fat and no sugar. I can choose regular produce or organic pesticide free. The markets are there to serve me. How am I not free do decide? What lobbyist is forcing me to eat what?

    Ans 2: Advertising what the Gov't is pushing. Why blame corporations? This I don't understand. You have a choice as to what you feed your kid, no body forces you to refill a drink, or accept the free toy.

    No offense, but me thinks you may want to rethink who's been brainwashed into thinking a certain way.

    "Afraid of fat as hell. Our school serve my children milk with no fat and there is no choice to get full fat . Is that freedom ?"

    Ans: Yep. thank the gov't for the fear of fat. Corporations didn't do that, govt did. Here, we have no free market. Government intervention taking away your choice and freedom to choose what type of milk you feed your kid. So, Big Govt, is good?

    Perfect example as to why you should never elect officials to government who desire to control your private life. (progressives)

    Reply: #87
  22. Troy Wynn
    You could apply a tax, or if indeed it is a danger to your health, then a warning label indicating the dangers seems agreeable. You have to get a consensus that it is dangerous :)
  23. Evinx
    @RDFeinman
    Perhaps you are right about HFCS - all the more reason govt imposed bans are a terrible idea. Bans will only keep us from learning more. After all, what would be the point of more research on HFCS if it were banned?
  24. Margaretrc
    I think the Doc has a right to his opinion and the right to voice it, as do those who disagree with him--as I do on this issue. I think Troy Wynn said it best: industry will provide the consumers with what they want. And, as Dr. Feinman said, education is needed to help the consumer want the right thing instead of the wrong thing. And the only education that is free of political ties (at least most of the time) is the education we get here on the internet--at Doc's site, at Dr. Feinman's site, and Tom Naughton's site, and others. And soon NuSI. It's up to us, the consumers, to sort out the good information from the bad, learn from the good, and then tell industry what to provide us. The problem with Mayor Bloomberg's initiative (and I agree that it won't stand a chance in court) is not that it removes consumer choice. It really doesn't. As Chuck Currie said, if people want (and can afford) 32 oz. of sweetened soda, they will find a way to get it. The only people that will affected by this decree is those whose financial resources are limited. I don't even think it will hurt the soda companies or restaurants--they will get more per oz. of soda they do sell. The problem is that, as others have said, it is government over reach. I think government has a role in protecting us from those who would do us harm. I don't think the government has a role in protecting us from ourselves. That is our job.
  25. Margaretrc
    Sorry, I neglected to mention the very valuable education one can get from books like those written by Drs. Phinney and Volek, Dr. Eenfeldt (when is it going to be available in English, BTW?), Dr. Eades, and others and documentary movies such as Fat Head.
  26. John Myers
    Respectfully, Margaret, I think this is a much needed warning shot to the fake food industry.
    People are already educated on this matter. Everyone knows soda is a junk food.
    I have a burning question though for you Margaret - why is 'Peggy' short for 'Margaret'? Can anyone help with this? I've looked around online and found nothing conclusive. Thanks!
  27. Bill
    @Margaretrc:

    I'll have to disagree with you a bit, about the government not having a role in protecting us from ourselves. Unfortunately, humans oftimes have poor impulses, that on the surface do no harm to others, but on deeper consideration may have harmful consequences that can leak over to affect others. Seat belt laws, anti-drug laws, loitering laws, property upkeep laws, etc., are really meant to protect society as a whole (i.e., other people) from the unintended consequences of letting people make what would seem to be personal decisions. 'No man is an island', and unlike the paleolithic village, where we all grew up knowing each other intimately, and wherein immense social pressure could be brought to bear to keep people in line, and we all were indoctrinated in the same mores from birth, in our present society we are very 'disconnected' from each other. We have to substitute laws and regulations for social pressure, and of course, the issues we face are more numerous and complex.

    Food and other consumables (e.g., smoking) regulations are complicated by the fact that some of these concern substances that are addictive to one degree or another; do we not owe it to our fellow man to regulate addictive substances? I would hope so; if you don't give a rat's ass about most other people as individuals, that's fine, but you should care about other people in general, and their overall welfare, since we are all in this together.

  28. Bill
    @Margaretrc: That last sentence of mine above may sound a little hostile, so let me clarify that the 'you' was directed at people in general, not YOU!! Sorry about that...
  29. Margaretrc
    @John Myers, I have no idea how Peggy became short for Margaret. :) It's as much a mystery to me, who is a Margaret who goes by Peggy, as to you. You'll have to ask someone of Irish origin, I think, as that is where the tradition started. My grandmother (of Irish descent) dubbed me Peggy when I was 3 and the name stuck.
    @Bill, And how has regulating addictive substances such as heroine "helped our fellow man"? Are we free of addicts who use heroine/cocaine/Marijuana? Hardly. All it did was push the sale and use of it underground so that drug cartels and other unscrupulous people benefit from it's sale and create addicts who then have to rob and steal to get enough money to support their habit. Do you think it's the regulation (taxation) of tobacco that has reduced cigarette smoking? or education? I think it's more the latter. Yes, humans sometimes do have poor impulses and those impulses, when acted upon, can affect those around them, but I'm not convinced that regulation is always the answer. Sometimes, yes. I'm very happy to see smoking restricted in restaurants, airplanes, and other confined public spaces--I don't smoke and don't want to breath someone else's smoke. I'm even okay with taxing cigarettes--source of income for the government from something that is not necessary for anyone's well being--it's a luxury (albeit an unhealthy one) and, like other luxuries, can be taxed to raise revenue. But trust me, people who want to will find the money to buy their cigarettes and smoke them, no matter the effect on their health. I'm also okay with laws that prevent people from driving under the influence of anything--because that is dangerous not only to the drunk/influenced driver, but others. That is a valid law. But uneducated people will do what they want to do, regardless of regulation or cost--to themselves and others. The key is education. People are only just learning how bad HFCS and other refined sweeteners are for them. When the news is more widespread, the majority of people will be less inclined to buy stuff that contains them and the market will start providing alternatives, as it has already started to. But there is really nothing the government can do to keep someone who is determined to harm themselves from doing so, whether it be from using drugs, smoking, drinking soda, or anything else. And just because I'm against the government meddling where it doesn't belong doesn't mean I don't care about my fellow man. I care about my adult children, too, very much, but there is a limit to what I can or will do to protect them. When they were in my care, it was my job to protect them as best I could--and educate them to protect themselves when they left the nest. Now it's their job to protect themselves and, much as I might want to still protect them, I can't. I can only hope that what they learned growing up will serve to protect them now. Likewise, it's not the government's job to protect adult citizens from themselves. Sorry. If you're worried about having to help foot the bill for someone else's health care who makes poor decisions, then find a way to deal with that. Personally, I'm fine with an insurance system in which I help pay others' medical bills, even if their illness is a result of their own stupidity or lack of education. Because they help pay for mine. And my son's. And his illness, though expensive to treat, is not of his own choosing. (He's type 1 diabetic.) Would the world be better if no one made poor choices that cost the rest of us? Of course. Is that ever going to happen? No. It's called picking your battles, something I learned to do as a mother and as a teacher.
  30. Bill
    @Margaretrc:

    Unfortunately, we cannot wait for the ideal society where everyone is educated, has access to the complete set of facts, and is mature enough to prevent themselves from making an error. People will not always take the best path, for whatever reason. So people will fall into addictions, for instance, and be literally incapable of getting out of them (I'm not talking about an 'addiction' to sugar, here). We are supposed to allow free and easy access to what are now controlled substances, and not try to make it harder for people to get addicted? You would rather pay for an extensive rehab after the fact? People look at the war on drugs and assume things would be much better with no drug laws; I say that is rose-colored glasses.

    I'm all for education, even in the case of the food pyramid-gone-wrong. But the government has a major role in education. Again, we're not like the paleolithic village (unfortunately), where everyone is pounded intensively from birth with what is needed to survive. We educate both in the home and in public institutions (government), and I agree that the way we educate our kids and adults is inadequate in many, many ways. We apparently believe that it is more important to pay bankers than teachers, so education is not going to be able to handle the job by itself. Well-crafted regulations are a necessity; there is nothing wrong with school-lunch requirements, they are just out of whack. Make sure you are attacking the right problem.

  31. grinch031
    Since the government does not understand what is driving the obesity epidemic, they are NOT in a position to make such a ban. Next they will be banning consumption or red meat. This is NOT going to set a good precedence.
  32. Dr. Eenfeldt:

    Politics should be a partial focus of your blog. It is highly ingrained in why people eat they way they do - and why they will continue to do so for a long time. Leaving it out is like speaking through a megaphone and then sitting on your hands. It will take a large swath of public outcry, learning and change in political culture/paradigm to get the United States (and the world) back on healthy ground.

    Comparing the ban on sodas to Nazi persecution is not simply silly, it is ignorance in the highest degree and categorically shameful. It completely trivializes the holocaust and all of it's attributable horrors.

    I'm not a smoker, don't want my children around smokers or smoking environments so I choose not to go to some places. It doesn't mean you ban it or increase taxes on it. I am 100% for choice of smoking. Government is deciding what is best for you when they tax. The focus should be on education.

    Same goes for hard drugs. Look what happens when you criminalize them. Thousands of people die, millions sucked into trade. When you begin to tax anything enough, it is well on the road to becoming criminalized - and everything that goes along with it. We may have black market sugar cane factories in the future.

  33. Patrick
    The next thing they will ban will be high fat foods like butter, red meat, eggs, etc., because the conventional wisdom still tells us these foods are not healthy.

    I simply don't trust the government to make good decisions for us.

    Replies: #85, #86
  34. eddie watts
    i like the fact that this post has more comments than the post that caused all of the comments in the first place :)
  35. Troy Wynn
    It's not the government. It's men and women we put in positions to legislate. No man or woman should ever dictate any policy on how citizens manage their private lives. What gives them the right? Who are they? They work for us!!!! The world is upside down.
  36. Bong Kim
    Please don't be stupid. Sodas ARE NOT banned. Only giant sized ones are banned. This is good because if you want sodas, you can still buy them, and it helps to promote public awareness of the health risk of sodas.
  37. Liv
    @ Troy Wynn Life to a modern hunter &gatherer seems to be to search for the right food in different grocery stores for a couple of hours every day and sometimes if you need to travel and cant get "paleo/LCHF food" you just have to starve (intermittent fast ) like in the stone age :) But to be honest it is not so easy to make stores take home products containing fat. They tell me there is no demand for it !! I have to promise to buy a certain amount of fat yoghurt every week in my grocery store.Sometimes I even buy Sour Creme instead of the sugary junk they sell as yoghurt. So do not tell me its easy to be paleo/LCHF in USA .
    Reply: #90
  38. Troy Wynn
    Hi Kim,
    I am the government. I want you to limit the amount of television you allow your kids to watch, and you can only eat fast food 1 time a week. We have installed this new technology that scans your eyes so we will know each time you visit a fast food restaurant. We will manage your TV remotely.

    Thank us for watching out for you. we know better than you.

    Reply: #91
  39. Bret
    It's a silly law. It was designed to control others' behavior (which is wrong to begin with), but that is never going to work. Someone who wants that much soda can do just as Dr. E pointed out and buy more than one. Or he can visit the convenience store or a restaurant outside the city limits and get the same amount of soda for a cheaper price--i.e. this is not going to improve metabolic syndrome or diabetes and thereby reduce health care costs; it is just going to harm the city's restaurants' business.

    But I imagine a lot of New Yorkers are grinning ear to ear, flattered that their benevolent government cares so much about them that it is willing to try to control their behavior, instead of simply leaving them alone to make their own choices.

    The "cost to all" argument only works if you take for granted that it's even appropriate to force some people to pay for others' health care. It's a noble intent, but it damages market forces so badly that it ends up growing into a cancer (forgive the analogy). That's why our governments are all running out of money, in both Europe and America...we are trying desperately to give everyone wealth we cannot pay for. In any case, such a paradigm does little more than breed a population that is dependent on the government to pay for their lifestyles, as well as tell them how to eat, think, and live. At that point, what's the purpose of even living at all?

    The comparison to Nazi Germany is not that far off. Governments gain too much power by gradually implementing measures to control their citizens' behavior. And those measures are always pushed as being "for your own good." That's exactly how the Nazis became what they did...a gullible people kept letting little things slide, until one day, their society was unrecognizable.

    None of us have the right nor are prepared to bear the responsibility of exerting control over others' decisions, with the obvious exception of our own children.

    Reply: #93
  40. Troy Wynn
    Agree you have to be a modern day hunter gatherer. seek out, obtain, prep and store your food. No doubt about that. I just don't have any trouble locating high fat food, cooking oils, etc. sorry you have such a hard time with it.
  41. Bong Kim
    FAIL because you can buy as many cups of soda as you want. Stop being stupid. If you have to lie (i.e. Sodas banned or 1 hour limit TV) to support your argument, it is because you are wrong.
    Reply: #95
  42. Liv
    If you live in a small town in the midst of all corn fields in Indiana its hard,but I have found a farmer who has grasfeed meat :)
  43. Bong Kim
    It's interesting that I've never heard from someone like you that your government runs out of money because of a huge defense budget. If you want to protect lives of citizens, you need healthcare as well as armed forces. But only healthcare causes your government's budget deficit problem. Just imagine how many lives of citizens could be saved by spending more in healthcare instead of bombing other countries.
    Reply: #94
  44. Bret
    That's just the problem, though. We're all too obsessed with the idea of "protecting lives," which balloons way out of proportion into a monster we can't control. Instead, maybe we should all admit to ourselves that we're all going to die one day, and maybe we shouldn't waste trillions of dollars trying to keep ourselves in this fictional, sterile protective bubble we think we can create with both socialist programs and an oversized, busy-bodied military.

    I have a particular distaste for socialized medicine, because a sickeningly overwhelming majority of people do not understand how fatally disruptive government intervention really is to free market stability. They are convinced that governments can participate in the business just like any other customer and not ultimately cause excessive bribing, competition stifling, extreme runaway inflation, and of course the absolute inability to ever balance the national budget. As a society, we let our emotions rule over our brains in our desire to extend everyone's lives, but we miss the forest for the trees every time, not seeing that the more power we give government to solve issues like this, the more opportunity we are giving government officials to abuse that power. Unethical rich people do play a role by bribing and buying off government officials, but they would not be able to do that if the government didn't have the authority to be bought in the first place.

    Defense spending is a huge waste of money indeed. Every unit across the entire military spends frivolously. We employ civilians that more or less can't be fired, so they end up just being unproductive because they know they have job security. And we have bases stuck all over the world, sucking up tax-payer money and making us vulnerable in the long term due to the financial situation. In criticizing my country, I don't give defense a free pass. It's a big part of the problem. Just like the USDA. Just like government-employed scientists. Just like the IRS. All of these entities waste huge amounts of money by being functionally worthless and damaging the economy instead of supporting it.

    Where you're wrong is to suggest that if we just reduce defense spending, we can spend more on health care. Absolutely not. We have to stop spending on both, and now. Look at the American debt. It is $16 trillion (that amount of money does not even exist!) and growing by nearly 4 billion a day. We don't have ANY money to spend. Downsizing the military will not free up more money to waste on socialized health care...that is just a fantasy. Greece and Italy do not have big, overly active militaries, and look at their money situations.

  45. Troy Wynn
    Well, I was trying to articulate that freedom to choose can be confiscated anywhere and in many places. Just using TV and fast food as an analogy. whoops!

    A simple man or woman telling me the size of a soda that is good for me is pure BS. Perhaps they should listen to me, perhaps I know whats best for them. How did they become the manager of my life? How hard is that to understand? Why not seek out policies that protect freedoms, but accomplish the objective? I suppose if you are a busy body it is not possible. If HFCS is dangerous, then say so. Put a warning label on the product and let me decide how much I choose to consume. Freedom protected, education used as the basis for the policy. No busy body insisting on managing the lives of ordinary citizens.

  46. Bill
    @Bret:

    You say "...to control others' behavior (which is wrong to begin with)".

    Absurd. Controlling other's behavior is completely appropriate, that's what laws are for. The devil is in the details. Or are you an anarchist?

    Your glorification of free-market (it'll never happen) forces makes me think you are young (with no appreciation for history) or a Tea Partyer. The only thing I can agree with you about is the need for less corruption (money influence) in government. Or are you one of those that believes corporations are people?

    Reply: #99
  47. Evinx
    Wow - I thought this blog was about diet and low carb -- not about Kool Aid!
  48. finn
    It's funny most of the people pick up smoking. What about traffic in a big city? Exhaust gases are way more harmful than smell of a cigarette. Especially diesel fumes. But then you can't blame anyone, and you like to drive too.

    I am not a smoker but I find topic ridiculous. People in the middle of toxic fume environment blames smoking. :)

  49. Bret
    Hello, Bill.

    "(in regards to controlling behavior) Absurd. Controlling other's behavior is completely appropriate, that's what laws are for. The devil is in the details. Or are you an anarchist?"

    I'm a lot closer to an anarchist than a fascist, which is exactly what you sound like.

    Laws exist to keep one person or party from harming another. But if someone voluntarily says "I choose to be harmed" (as in the case with drinking large amounts of soda), then you are no longer protecting him by trying to control his behavior; you are meddling in his life and stealing his freedom.

    "Your glorification of free-market (it'll never happen) forces makes me think you are young (with no appreciation for history) or a Tea Partyer."

    Your inaccurate generalizations are of no concern to me, but thanks for sharing.

    And history is on my side, not yours.

    "The only thing I can agree with you about is the need for less corruption (money influence) in government. Or are you one of those that believes corporations are people??

    I'm glad we agree. Unfortunately, you are sorely misled on how to reduce that corruption.

    Corporations are groups OF people. What you do not seem to understand is: so is the government. Hardcore liberals/socialists tend to think of government as some kind of genuine, benevolent, messianic entity, led by people who desire to serve and have no ability or inclination to succumb to greed and lust (for power or otherwise). History has constantly proven the exact opposite is true.

    The government is way more corruptible than a corporation. Where a corporation bears only wealth, the government bears power. We need corporations to provide services we all want at competitive prices (I would love to see you argue otherwise). Corporations cannot buy off those in power (government) if they do not have that power to begin with. Without government to give them unfair advantages, we the people with the buying power can run corrupt corporations out of business by not patronizing them anymore. This is actually a very simple concept that is completely lost on those who insist on being helpless and want the government to save them from every imaginable circumstance of life.

    Your attempts at being pithy are quite amusing. Unfortunately for you, they are completely unsupported by either historical fact or basic logic, and thus it's pretty clear you're simply indoctrinated. Feel free to continue this debate if you dare. This will be a lot of fun for me.

  50. nostents4me!
    The debate seems to have gone off course somewhat.
    We individuals have never had any influence over soda bottle size, before or after the local NY legislation. The "freedom to select bottle size" was only reserved to corporations. When governments restricted the freedom of corporation's market department it seems to mean that individuals actually got more freedom: Option to buy 2 or 1 small "portion" instead of 1 twice the size.
    But government restrictions FOR CORPORATIONS could go much further:
    To restrict current practices of lobbying would make it difficult for corporations to buy policies they want or need: Subsidies, FDA regulation, etc.. That this de facto bribing is permitted to go on is hard to believe. This corruption can be reduced big time through regulation.
    Who is arguing that corporations are protecting our freedom by being allowed to buy decisions?
    But since the regulators -elected politicians- often (?) have to get corporate sponsorship to get elected at all, the system is hard to change. Catch 22.
    The NY soda bottle size regulation is therefore a welcome first step to REGULATE CORPORATIONS which succeeded this time in spite of massive lobbying.
    It seems to me that it is corporations that run governments and it is actually mostly their messages we hear through too many political marionettes. That is bad government.
    Replies: #101, #103
  51. Bret
    Lobbying is indeed a huge problem in the political system. But there is a simple fix for this issue: How about we not let politicians accept money, gifts, meals, or anything else from lobbyists. Remove the source of the problem (which, as always, is the G.D. government), and it goes away. You can bemoan wealthy corporations all you want, but if the government is set up to be corrupted, it's going to be corrupted, no matter who's doing the buying.

    Your comment about not having a choice over your soda size is common among people who insist that they are victims, when they are anything but. You have the power to refuse to purchase soda from any company, restaurant, etc, if you disagree with the proportions, ingredients, or anything else they are offering. That's between you and the company. Pretty easy, ain't it?

    Now bring in the government. Those in power decide that you, the consumer, for some reason ought not to be allowed to make that decision. The undeniable implication from this interference is, obviously, that you and the other consumers are stupid. Too stupid to make your own decisions. I can't understand the prevalent attitude that welcomes government's interference with freedom of commerce. Nobody knows what's best for me except me. Not my neighbors. Not my friends. Not my family. Not my boss. And not a group of elected or appointed officials, who all bear the same human flaws that anybody else does.

  52. murray
    Reading this thread, I suppose one should rank "diet" with "religion" and "politics" as topics to avoid in polite company. It is fascinating to watch the polarization of people through in-group out-group bias.

    As in politics, with diet people seem to want a demon, to better define the out-group. Sugar seems to be the demon-de-jour. I guess many people need one to feel good about themselves,. Is sugar that harmful? In massive portions surely it is, so I can't get too excited about discouraging massive portions. Can such discouragement be implemented intelligently other than through education? I doubt it. Top-down measures typically generate distortions with side effects worse than the original problem. And as Dr. Feinman aptly observed, the top-down diktats tend to double down their clamp down when things aren't working. Doing the same thing over and expecting a different result, I recall Einstein saying is insanity. Yet the government persists with the low-fat mantra. A government figurehead was on the David Letterman television show recently touting grains, skim milk and plenty of fruit as a solution to the obesity epidemic. Insanity.

    Reply: #104
  53. @nostents4me
    "The NY soda bottle size regulation is therefore a welcome first step to REGULATE CORPORATIONS which succeeded this time in spite of massive lobbying."

    Also succeeded in spite of popular sentiment. Welcome by you but not by me...most of all, if this is the first step, what is the second?

  54. Bret
    (RE: murray)

    And yet, we see countless people who want the same government that dragged science and public health through the gravel for the last 60 years to continue making our decisions for us. Talk about insanity.

  55. Brigitta
    If the govt truly wanted people to quit smoking, they would raise taxes such that cigs were $100 per pack. Nevermind that there would be a black market for tobacco, but you get the idea.

    Soda: If the state of New York bans bigger sizes of soda, what's to say that the consumer won't just go for a refill if they're at a fast food place. How about buy two smaller sodas instead of one big one?

    If the govt taxes soda like they do cigs, there will be a public outcry. It makes no difference to me though, because I don't drink them.

    Maybe what they (govt) could do for starters is STOP SUBSIDIZING AGRICULTURE. It won't solve the problem entirely, but soda prices will go up without any taxation involved.

  56. Sarah
    I'm not going to cheer any government decision to ban large sodas any more than I'd cheer a government decision to make school lunches low protein and low fat.
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