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Chefs whining about trans fat ban


paulraphael
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I realize that trans fats occur in nature. Those trans fats aren't being banned. They also tend to exist in much smaller quantities than in the artificial substitues. I just bought some french butter that lists 1/2 gram trans fats per serving. Not sure what's in a comparable amount of shortening, but I suspect it's significant.

In one serving of Crisco (1 tbsp.), there are 1.5 grams of trans fat.

I am opposed to a ban on any food product. I think we should stop trying to protect us from ourselves. Where we could end up on this "slippery slope" scares me. Forced exercise, anyone? Have to show proof of your lipid levels before you eat a piece of pie?

Plus as Patrick points out, people are still free to eat a Hardee's ThickBurger, fries, and a shake. Banning trans fats isn't going to stop obesity or heart disease. I don't think it will even be a blip in the radar.

Hopefully I will get a senior citizen exemption from the exercise law when the time comes!

I am just having trouble balancing the benefit of banning trans fats - if any, and see a great deal of detriment in tipping the angle on the "slippery slope" and introducing more paperwork and work load into an already bloated system.

Is this really, seriously, going to be enforced? How and by whom?

Too much room for abuse. Wanna buy some Crisco?

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This is a two pronged discussion: 1) are trans-fats bad?  2) should a local city agency have the power to ban a food substance?

While I'm interested in the studies and data regarding trans fats, I think we may be missing the point; which is can a local agency have the power to ban a food substance? What city agency trumps the FDA or Agricultural Dept.? Is this appropriate at a city level? Is it appropriate at any level?[...]

This is first of all a political question of division of powers between the Federal government of the U.S. and a city government -- the discussion of which I believe would go beyond the subject matter for discussion here. As for the point that was brought up about alcohol and cigarettes being subject to the same objections, alcohol in moderation is shown to be good for some people's health, while I don't know of any studies that show that moderate cigarette use is beneficial. Also, Prohibition of alcohol was tried and failed, so I don't see any risk of its repetition in the U.S.

For what it's worth, I don't have any problem, in principle, with the government banning a substance used in food. Nor do I think any of you would object, if the substance was clearly highly toxic, such as if mercury were being used as an additive in some product. So I think the argument properly is over just how toxic or harmless this particular substance is.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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In general, states are free to exceed federal standards for food safety. They're just not allowed to drop below those standards. Hypothetical example: federal government says cheddar and Swiss cheeses are unsafe and therefore banned, but does not act against any other types of cheese; no state can allow cheddar or Swiss to be sold, however it's fine for a state to ban mozzarella too.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I thought the topic was that chef's were whining.

I must reveal a personal prejudice here. I do 50/50 Crisco/Butter for both biscuits and pie crust. Sometimes Crisco in a cake, depending upon the cake and the results I wanted. Wouldn't do them any other way. Feed it to my family.

Should I be banned from cooking for my family?

Edited by annecros (log)
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Enforcement of this ban will be expensive and most-likely impossible, and a ban without enforcement is absolutely meaningless. However, the worst part of the trans-fat ban is that the government is encroaching on the right of the people to make decisions for themselves. What right does the government have to enforce food decisions? Supporters of this ban and people who think it will actually work are incredibly naive and unaware of history. The 18th Amendment, Prohibition, was completely ineffective because one cannot make a crime of something which was commonplace. What is next to be banned? Butter? Red meat? Driving? Where's the line?

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Enforcement of this ban will be expensive and most-likely impossible, and a ban without enforcement is absolutely meaningless. However, the worst part of the trans-fat ban is that the government is encroaching on the right of the people to make decisions for themselves. What right does the government have to enforce food decisions?[...]

It's right in the Preamble to the U.S Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. [My bolding]

An argument can be made that there are other Constitutional provisions more important than the purpose of "[promoting] the general welfare," but the Constitutional basis for these actions, misguided or not as the actions may be, is right there. Furthermore, it seems pretty clear that the courts will not rule that governments have no right to "encroach on the right of the people to make decisions for themselves." Most every law in fact impinges on that right, which is not absolute; otherwise, murder wouldn't be prohibited (or, if you want a victimless crime, it would be legal to purchase any drug anyone wanted to purchase for personal use). Now, you may be a diehard libertarian, and that's a respectable and logical position, but it isn't really relevant to the reality of the situation, which is that governments (Federal or lower) DO have the power to encroach on people's rights to make decisions about what they put into their own bodies and, therefore, that the only counterarguments that are likely to have any effect would have to do with just how dangerous this chemical is and what economic impact the ban will have. And my guess is that the ban will be tried for a few years or so and then judged as to its actual effects.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Enforcement of this ban will be expensive and most-likely impossible, and a ban without enforcement is absolutely meaningless. However, the worst part of the trans-fat ban is that the government is encroaching on the right of the people to make decisions for themselves. What right does the government have to enforce food decisions?[...]

It's right in the Preamble to the U.S Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. [My bolding]

An argument can be made that there are other Constitutional provisions more important than the purpose of "[promoting] the general welfare," but the Constitutional basis for these actions, misguided or not as the actions may be, is right there. Furthermore, it seems pretty clear that the courts will not rule that governments have no right to "encroach on the right of the people to make decisions for themselves." Most every law in fact impinges on that right, which is not absolute; otherwise, murder wouldn't be prohibited (or, if you want a victimless crime, it would be legal to purchase any drug anyone wanted to purchase for personal use). Now, you may be a diehard libertarian, and that's a respectable and logical position, but it isn't really relevant to the reality of the situation, which is that governments (Federal or lower) DO have the power to encroach on people's rights to make decisions about what they put into their own bodies and, therefore, that the only counterarguments that are likely to have any effect would have to do with just how dangerous this chemical is and what economic impact the ban will have. And my guess is that the ban will be tried for a few years or so and then judged as to its actual effects.

You have identified the problem.

It is one of degrees. I would argue that we should always err on the rights of people to make their own choices. We do need laws and regulations. It s a question of how far we want to go in transferring power from individuals to the government (the government is really the citizenry).

It is interesting (and way beyond the scope of this web site) that there is a debate over whether or not one has the "right" to take one's own life (suicide bans etc). The transfat banners would seem to be saying we do not. :wink:

The problem is, these issues become overheated and science is often used or worse twisted to support one's position.

I believe that with today's communications, knowledge is power and armed with facts and opinions people can decide for themselves. Should we ban everything that can be proven to be bad for us? Back to alcohol! Regardless of any "paradox's" alcohol directly and indirectly kills many thousands of people, especially children!

I would say the evidence and severity/urgency far surpasses what we know about trans fats. Are we ready to ban alcohol--the regulations aren't working very well as statistics point out.

Should we allow only adults to buy any item with trans fats in it?

Card people before they can enter MacDonalds?

Or how about we make sure any product containing trans fats be labeled and we decide?

As with everything in life, there are tradeoffs, consequences etc.

I suppose in the end, the best thing to do is wait for the zealot we have as NYC health commissioner to leave office--we can't vote him out he wasn't elected. :wacko:

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We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. [My bolding]

An argument can be made that there are other Constitutional provisions more important than the purpose of "[promoting] the general welfare," but the Constitutional basis for these actions, misguided or not as the actions may be, is right there. Furthermore, it seems pretty clear that the courts will not rule that governments have no right to "encroach on the right of the people to make decisions for themselves." Most every law in fact impinges on that right, which is not absolute; otherwise, murder wouldn't be prohibited (or, if you want a victimless crime, it would be legal to purchase any drug anyone wanted to purchase for personal use). Now, you may be a diehard libertarian, and that's a respectable and logical position, but it isn't really relevant to the reality of the situation, which is that governments (Federal or lower) DO have the power to encroach on people's rights to make decisions about what they put into their own bodies and, therefore, that the only counterarguments that are likely to have any effect would have to do with just how dangerous this chemical is and what economic impact the ban will have. And my guess is that the ban will be tried for a few years or so and then judged as to its actual effects.

It's wonderfully vague though, isn't it? That's why attorneys are so successful. The Constitution can be interpreted in many ways, and the statement, "promote the general welfare" is no exception. What qualifies as promoting the general welfare? Where's the line between protecting the people and limiting the choices available? This is all debatable. There's a difference between a ban on drunk driving and a ban on trans fat. While one can have a detrimental effect on many people, trans fat only affects the people who choose to consume it.

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We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. [My bolding]

An argument can be made that there are other Constitutional provisions more important than the purpose of "[promoting] the general welfare," but the Constitutional basis for these actions, misguided or not as the actions may be, is right there. Furthermore, it seems pretty clear that the courts will not rule that governments have no right to "encroach on the right of the people to make decisions for themselves." Most every law in fact impinges on that right, which is not absolute; otherwise, murder wouldn't be prohibited (or, if you want a victimless crime, it would be legal to purchase any drug anyone wanted to purchase for personal use). Now, you may be a diehard libertarian, and that's a respectable and logical position, but it isn't really relevant to the reality of the situation, which is that governments (Federal or lower) DO have the power to encroach on people's rights to make decisions about what they put into their own bodies and, therefore, that the only counterarguments that are likely to have any effect would have to do with just how dangerous this chemical is and what economic impact the ban will have. And my guess is that the ban will be tried for a few years or so and then judged as to its actual effects.

It's wonderfully vague though, isn't it? That's why attorneys are so successful. The Constitution can be interpreted in many ways, and the statement, "promote the general welfare" is no exception. What qualifies as promoting the general welfare? Where's the line between protecting the people and limiting the choices available? This is all debatable. There's a difference between a ban on drunk driving and a ban on trans fat. While one can have a detrimental effect on many people, trans fat only affects the people who choose to consume it.

I think it is cut and dried and not vague a bit. Attorneys are successful, and not that many are truth be told, when they have the skills to make a convincing argument regardless.

As a Libertarian (which has been deemed "respectable"), "Common Welfare" means to me that the government will step in when an outside influence is acting in detriment to the public at large. Otherwise, I have a right to life, LIBERTY and the persuit of happiness as long as I do not infringe upon another's rights. Maybe you can make a case that trans fats are a grand conspiracy, but you have a great deal of work ahead of you if you want to prove it. Now, if you want to deprive the vast majority of the population of biscuits because a minority MIGHT have a heart attack at some unpredetermined time in the future, then I'm going to go all Thomas Jefferson on you, not to mention John and Abigail Adams, and wonder why the heck YOU want to cripple the rest of the populace with YOUR concern for a MINORITY of the population? Is that not infringing upon another person's rights?

Just asking.

If somebody else eating trans fats is the biggest worry in your life and hurts your head, then take a trip to Lesotho, or Darfur, or any number of other places. People are starving and dying, and that is a sin. No single person on this planet need go hungry, IMO. A strip of potato fried in trans fat would keep someone there going for an afternoon. Then maybe they can find something better.

END RANT - and noted that I need to stay away from this topic. Too emotional.

One more thing - people's hearts stop for no good reason sometimes, and it has nothing to do with diet, exercise, or anything else. Life is finite. Eat a big slab of caramel cake and shut up.

Now, REALLY END RANT. and I mean it.

:wink:

Edited by annecros (log)
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We're talking about a local regulation, not an exercise of federal power. So the "general welfare" clause of the United States Constitution would not be relvant here, even if it meant the federal government had carte blanche to regulate.

I don't know that these appeals to liberty mean much in the real world anyway. On the issue of whether New York has the lawful authority to regulate food safety in restaurants, the train has left the station. We should also try to be clear on what the trans fat "ban" actually is. Trans fats have not been banned in New York. You can still go buy a zillion products in the supermarket that are made with trans fats. Trans fats have been banned from restaurants. Now, I don't think that makes the regulation any less stupid -- it may even make it more stupid -- but that's what it is.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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We're talking about a local regulation, not an exercise of federal power. So the "general welfare" clause of the United States Constitution would not be relvant here, even if it meant the federal government had carte blanche to regulate.

I don't know that these appeals to liberty mean much in the real world anyway. On the issue of whether New York has the lawful authority to regulate food safety in restaurants, the train has left the station. We should also try to be clear on what the trans fat "ban" actually is. Trans fats have not been banned in New York. You can still go buy a zillion products in the supermarket that are made with trans fats. Trans fats have been banned from restaurants. Now, I don't think that makes the regulation any less stupid -- it may even make it more stupid -- but that's what it is.

Oh, you are so right!

I feel better now. It is just a local anomoly.

Ban in restaurants, and then go next door and buy a barrel of it? Funny, and sort of negates the "its the children" argument as well.

Thank you. I will really retire now. I promise.

:biggrin:

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This is a two pronged discussion: 1) are trans-fats bad?  2) should a local city agency have the power to ban a food substance?

While I'm interested in the studies and data regarding trans fats, I think we may be missing the point; which is can a local agency have the power to ban a food substance? What city agency trumps the FDA or Agricultural Dept.? Is this appropriate at a city level? Is it appropriate at any level?

While the lead paint analogy is thought provoking, why ban trans fats and allow cigarettes?  Surely cigarettes cause more diseases, more different types of diseases than trans fats? Is this because trans fats don't have lobbyists?

You are getting closer!

The real issue is much more elemental as you astutely note.

Life is very complex for example there are many known carcinogens and poisons that occur naturally in many foods we eat--in many basic fruits and vegetables.

There are genes--heredity.

there is the environment.

Science does not have many of the answers as to why some people are healthy and some are sick and some live a long time and others do not.

Not long ago we were told that butter is bad so we ate margarine now we are told margarine is bad and natural butter is better.

Bran? remember the fiber fad? There are recent studies that show bran has little or no impact on things we were once told that it did.

We feed mice humongeous amounts of substances in completely unnatural environments and when the mice get sick we declare Ah HA! --another substance is regulated or banned.

(incidently and ironically, mice and rats seem to be impervious to just about anything in more natural environments--we can't seem to get rid of them).

I for one, am uncomfortable with government banning anything. I am a bit more comfortable with regulating.

We happen to have taste buds--certain things provide pleasure. Some of these things have consequences.

In our quest for utopia we are moving toward a pleasureless existence.

I believe that we should be informed and make our own decisions.

All these "bans" seem to follow a pattern. We must ban something to save someone else.

Children, animals, stupid people who can't fend for themselves. --it's always about someone or something else--not ourselves!

I prefer we be informed and take care of our own lives and our children and our animals.

Regulations are fine--regulations that actually achieve intended consequences and respect the rights of adults to chose.

No one wants the government in our bedrooms--should they be in our kitchens?

The same arguments used against cigarettes can be used against alcohol.

Against many things we get pleasure from.

Those who think it is fine to ban or regulate out of existence tobacco should be ready to give up liquor, wine and beer.

Fast food? It is not as big a leap from trans fats to a hamburger as you may think!

Amazingly, with all the so called bad things we indulge ourselves with, we are living longer than ever. We have been ingesting trans fats (and worse) for many many years. I thought we were literally killing ourselves with food and pollution--somehow life seems to go on!

So in our attempts to live longer and healthier will we be living better?

:wink:

It is funny, because I usually find myself at odds with JohnL, although I am sure that he is a fine bloke. :wink: He raises an interesting point, one that is more of a question for me than a declaration. It seems that through the human genome project we find that biologically there is no such thing as race, thus illegitimizing the discrimination that race theory has engendered and currently proffers. However, it seems that isolated gene pools develop similar traits -- certain physical features, etc. Could one of these evolutionary features be the ability to metabolize indigenous fats, like, say those of the Inuits, the southwestern French, those who survive on diets almost entirely made up of reindeer meat, etc. I am not sure that there is an answer to this question, but it could explain why some groups drink like fish or eat sausage at every meal and still make it to at least seventy and others not so much. Food for thought..............

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We're talking about a local regulation, not an exercise of federal power. So the "general welfare" clause of the United States Constitution would not be relvant here, even if it meant the federal government had carte blanche to regulate.[...]

I have to admit I looked at the New York State Constitution and, in an admittedly quick reading, didn't find anything about promoting the general welfare as such. I haven't checked the New York City Charter.

For the record, I would actually advocate making the most-used illegal drugs legal, but I'm in the minority, and I'm also not a diehard libertarian (though I respect libertarianism and have strong libertarian tendencies), but rather a pragmatist. I think that prohibitions that don't work because they create worse effects should be abolished. But I'm not sure to what degree I care about personal choices that are really harmful and preventable. I still think, like JohnL does, that it's a matter of degree. We should keep the cyanide away from people who are suicidal because of depression, rather than terminal illness and the like. I can't get excited about a "ban" on trans fats, one way or the other, but I find the argument that accurate labeling is most important to be a good one. Parents should take responsibility, as much as possible, for what their children put in their mouths, and adults should be able to use accurate information to make up their own minds, within reason.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Labeling is easy to support in theory, because it tends to appeal to folks across a broad political spectrum. And I do believe that nutrition labeling in all restaurants is inevitable -- technology has made it possible because at this point computer software like NutriBase allows you simply to type in your ingredients and get back a detailed nutrition report that can satisfy the regulations (there's no need to test food in a lab in order to derive the nutrition information).

At the same time, labeling doesn't have such a great track record. If your position is "Once it's on the label, if people eat it then too bad for them," then labeling is a solution. But if your position is "We need to reduce consumption of X" then labeling is kind of a joke. I mean, every fast food chain restaurant I know of already provides detailed nutrition labeling -- some of them are now actually printing the nutrition information right on the packaging (the paper used to wrap the hamburgers, etc.). Does this stop any significant number of people from eating these products? Doubtful. And I really don't think the lack of nutrition labeling at Gramercy Tavern is the problem.

Indeed, when you combine labeling with the fact that nobody cares what labels say, it can actually wind up benefiting the manufacturers more than the consumers, by protecting the manufacturers from responsibility. The warning labels on cigarette cartons are the classic example.

Public health regulators are quite aware of all this, which is why they don't see labeling as a real solution to anything. They don't see their jobs as providing information. They want to be in the business of getting results. And they don't really acknowledge personal choice as legitimate, because to them any choice that harms health has a public cost in terms of government-funded medical care, lost productivity, etc.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The problem with regulating consumption of any particular item is that it is applied in a blanket fashion, controlling consumption for those who have no need to limit fats along with the morbidly obese. I can think of a couple of young actresses who could stand a double fisted size hamburger and a super sized order of fries and a milkshake from time to time. Ironically, the ones that come to mind most readily are quite often photographed in New York.

Our public health regulators should focus on contamination type issues, not taking out a weight watcher's scale and a set of calipers to see if they can pinch an inch every time a person sits down to eat. That is the role they are meant to fulfill as far as concern for the welfare of the public. They aren't doctors, for goodness sake.

Labeling empowers people to make informed choices. If they choose to ignore the warning label, well it's a free country. I don't think that anyone in this day and age that chooses to smoke should have a basis for a lawsuit against the manufacturer, and they don't. But being a self supporting adult, they have a right to smoke if they find it enjoyable, and it's nobody elses business. The same for alcohol, chocolate, etc. etc. Those who are determinedly self destructive with their personal habits, well prohibition is no solution either. They'll get what they need one way or another, in one form or another, regardless.

I'll be picking up my rib roast for Christmas today, and looking forward to the yorkies, bernaise sauce, caramel cake and cheesecake on the 25th. Probably lots of carb laden bread slathered with butter as well. You can take that meal from me when you can pry it from my cold dead hands!

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That is the role they are meant to fulfill as far as concern for the welfare of the public. They aren't doctors, for goodness sake.

Plenty of them are medical doctors, and their mandate is broad. Here's a brief organizational overview of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:

#

Division of Health Promotion & Disease Prevention

# • Tobacco Control

# • Chronic Disease Prevention

# • District Public Health Offices

# • The Asthma Initiative

# • Clinical Systems Improvement

# • Workplace Wellness

# • School Health

# • Maternal, Infant & Reproductive Health

# • Day Care

#

Division of Disease Control

# • Emergency Management

# • Communicable Disease Control

# • Public Health Laboratory

# • Immunization

# • HIV/AIDS

# • Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention & Control

# • Tuberculosis Control

#

Division of Mental Hygiene

# • Early Intervention

# • Planning, Evaluation & Quality Improvement

# • Program Services – Mental Health

# • Project Liberty

# • Mental Health Disaster Preparedness & Response

# • Community Liaison & Training

#

Division of Environmental Health

# • Environmental Disease Prevention

# • Food Safety & Community Sanitation

# • Poison Control

# • Veterinary & Pest Control Services

# • Environmental Sciences & Engineering

#

Division of Epidemiology

# • Epidemiology Services

# • Surveillance

# • Injury Epidemiology

# • Public Health Training

# • Vital Statistics

#

Division of Health Care Access & Improvement

# • Health Insurance Services & Medicaid Managed Care

# • Oral Health

# • Correctional Health

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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If your position is "Once it's on the label, if people eat it then too bad for them," then labeling is a solution.

That's my position almost exactly. I don't see it as my right, or the government's right, to force anyone to make healthy food choices, but I could readily support labelling for ingredients for which they are well-established health risks. If people know what's in it and eat it anyway, then yes, too bad for them. But its their health and their body and their life. . .

Labeling empowers people to make informed choices.

Exactly.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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That's not the prevailing theory, though. Regulators (and those who support the regulatory state, aka almost everyone) take for granted that a healthy lifestyle should not be a personal choice. They reckon that the taxpayers and society at large bear the costs of poor public health -- those costs are the "second hand smoke" of so-called bad dietary choices, justifying most any regulation, such as the ban on trans fats.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Indeed, when you combine labeling with the fact that nobody cares what labels say. .  .

Emphasis added.

You ruin an otherwise valid point when you exaggerate like that. I don't doubt that most people aren't much influenced by labels, but there are people, few though they may be, who do read labels, who care what they say, and who modify their choices based on labelling information.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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That is the role they are meant to fulfill as far as concern for the welfare of the public. They aren't doctors, for goodness sake.

Plenty of them are medical doctors, and their mandate is broad. Here's a brief organizational overview of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:

#

Division of Health Promotion & Disease Prevention

# • Tobacco Control

# • Chronic Disease Prevention

# • District Public Health Offices

# • The Asthma Initiative

# • Clinical Systems Improvement

# • Workplace Wellness

# • School Health

# • Maternal, Infant & Reproductive Health

# • Day Care

#

Division of Disease Control

# • Emergency Management

# • Communicable Disease Control

# • Public Health Laboratory

# • Immunization

# • HIV/AIDS

# • Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention & Control

# • Tuberculosis Control

#

Division of Mental Hygiene

# • Early Intervention

# • Planning, Evaluation & Quality Improvement

# • Program Services – Mental Health

# • Project Liberty

# • Mental Health Disaster Preparedness & Response

# • Community Liaison & Training

#

Division of Environmental Health

# • Environmental Disease Prevention

# • Food Safety & Community Sanitation

# • Poison Control

# • Veterinary & Pest Control Services

# • Environmental Sciences & Engineering

#

Division of Epidemiology

# • Epidemiology Services

# • Surveillance

# • Injury Epidemiology

# • Public Health Training

# • Vital Statistics

#

Division of Health Care Access & Improvement

# • Health Insurance Services & Medicaid Managed Care

# • Oral Health

# • Correctional Health

THIS is the problem and you have illustrated it perfectly! Jacks of all trades, and masters of none.

Big, bloated, overreaching, inefficient Bureaucracy. I cannot believe that this is what the founding fathers had in mind.

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That's not the prevailing theory, though. Regulators (and those who support the regulatory state, aka almost everyone) take for granted that a healthy lifestyle should not be a personal choice. They reckon that the taxpayers and society at large bear the costs of poor public health -- those costs are the "second hand smoke" of so-called bad dietary choices, justifying most any regulation, such as the ban on trans fats.

Yep, Regulaters are a self perpetuating burden on the population. Allowing people to make their own choices doesn't open up new civil service billets or provide job security, does it?

I would have to disagree that "almost everyone" supports the regulatory state. Perhaps aspects like an immunization program - but not a Big Brother snatching a fork from your hand.

Edited by annecros (log)
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That's not the prevailing theory, though. Regulators (and those who support the regulatory state, aka almost everyone) take for granted that a healthy lifestyle should not be a personal choice. They reckon that the taxpayers and society at large bear the costs of poor public health -- those costs are the "second hand smoke" of so-called bad dietary choices, justifying most any regulation, such as the ban on trans fats.

Yes, that is probably the prevailing theory for labelling amongst prohibitionists, though its not exactly my own reasoning for supporting labelling. I think labelling is good even if nobody changes their behavior as a result.

Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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However, it seems that isolated gene pools develop similar traits -- certain physical features, etc.  Could one of these evolutionary features be the ability to metabolize indigenous fats, like, say those of the Inuits, the southwestern French, those who survive on diets almost entirely made up of reindeer meat, etc. I am not sure that there is an answer to this question, but it could explain why some groups drink like fish or eat sausage at every meal and still make it to at least seventy and others not so much. Food for thought..............

What you are asking is simply: are there gene-environment interactions, and the answer is emphatically yes. There are whole journals devoted to this subject. Genetic differences between individuals have major effects on how individuals respond to all types of things: food, drugs, pathogens. One example of this, as it relates specifically to fat metabolism, is the so-called Milano variant of the apolipoprotein AI gene, which appears to enhance the normal beneficial effect of HDL. In fact, recombinantly produced doses of this gene could end up being used a gene therapy for atherosclerosis. See this.

Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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For the record, I would actually advocate making the most-used illegal drugs legal, but I'm in the minority ...

So would I.

In general I'm against unecessary regulation, and so I'm one of the nuts who thinks most of the drug laws cause much worse problems than they solve (witness little episodes in history like prohibition ...)

I see the trans fat issue as different, and in fact somewhat unique. They're insidious, because they're invisible, abstract (difficult to explain to anyone lacking education and a specific interest in them), and arguably unecessary (they seem to be replaceable with very little trouble, at least in the restaurant setting. The food processing industry might have a harder time, but I suspect they'll discover they have the resources).

In the end, I see many potential benefits to doing away with them, and precious little harm.

It wouldn't surprise me if the two regulatory steps that have already been taken--the federal labelling mandate on packaged food, and the restaurant ban in NYC--is all that it will take to turn the whole food industry around, at least in this country. We may not even need any more local or state regulation after this.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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However, it seems that isolated gene pools develop similar traits -- certain physical features, etc.  Could one of these evolutionary features be the ability to metabolize indigenous fats, like, say those of the Inuits, the southwestern French, those who survive on diets almost entirely made up of reindeer meat, etc. I am not sure that there is an answer to this question, but it could explain why some groups drink like fish or eat sausage at every meal and still make it to at least seventy and others not so much. Food for thought..............

What you are asking is simply: are there gene-environment interactions, and the answer is emphatically yes. There are whole journals devoted to this subject. Genetic differences between individuals have major effects on how individuals respond to all types of things: food, drugs, pathogens. One example of this, as it relates specifically to fat metabolism, is the so-called Milano variant of the apolipoprotein AI gene, which appears to enhance the normal beneficial effect of HDL. In fact, recombinantly produced doses of this gene could end up being used a gene therapy for atherosclerosis. See this.

I am guessing that low levels of HDL were due to a predominance of animal fat (which I think is more dominant in Northern Italy, please correct me if I am wrong) and not olive oil. Thanks for the link; I am learning a lot from this thread. It also raises many other, as yet unanswered questions (perhaps), like do animals part of the world eat things that produce ApoAI Milano in their flesh and fat, and does this over time, within an isolated gene pool, create a resistance to saturates fat in human consumers? Or, does simply having a diet of these specific animal fats over a period of years build a resistance?

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