Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fat, Freedom and the Food Fascists

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely my opinions and not necessarily the opinions of the owners of this website, other bloggers or any other entities connected or related to it. (But they should be. :))

Breaking News!!:

    This past week the U.S. government issued its' latest dietary guidelines, and I know you are as shocked as I am, that it was not without controversy. Did you detect the dripping sarcasm?  I have already read several articles on the subject, and, though there is some praise,  no one seems totally satisfied that the government got it right.

I'm not sure why anyone is shocked that the government would not get this right, and frankly, I don't think most Americans are checking the government's food pyramid before they go grocery shopping anyway.  After all, they really don't have such a great record of getting it right.  

For the last 40 plus years they have promoted a low fat diet to Americans, all while we became fatter and fatter, and incidents of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and nearly every other ailment skyrocketed. If you've read any health articles lately, you have probably realized that they were not only wrong about fat, they were dead wrong.  At least that is what we "know" from the latest studies, and the most current and cutting edge science.  

The government also puts out it's Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals, leading a great many people to believe that if they get at least 100% of the governments recommendations then they are getting all they need.  If "need" is preventing rickets, scurvy or beri beri then true, but if "need" is optimal health, then definitely not.  
Ship's Doctor Administers Citrus for Scurvy

There are several reasons why I am bothered when  the government gets involved in "suggesting" what is healthy or not healthy for me and you to eat, or the level of vitamins and minerals that are necessary.

  1. It's none of their damn business what I eat and drink!
  2. They are very likely to get it wrong.
  3. In this information age, I'm perfectly capable of determining what a healthy diet is comprised of, without the assistance of a government bureaucrat.
  4. Not even the "experts"  agree 100% on everything related to diet and nutrition, so who decides which "expert" to listen to?  I think you and I should decide for ourselves.
  5. The government can impose its' will by force, if it so chooses.  (Don't think that's realistic or possible?  Have you heard of New York laws banning the sale of sodas over 16oz? Just one example.)

I know some of my friends in the medical world, as well as those in the health and nutrition world, feel very strongly about what they "know" about what promotes good health for themselves and others.  For some it's a Paleo diet, for others it's vegetarian or vegan.  All organic, non gmo, raw or whole foods are the only way to go for others. There are those who believe in calorie restrictive diets.  Fasting is the way to health for some, and juicing for others. Coffee is good for you.  Coffee is not good for you.  Wine is health promoting and wine is detrimental to your health.   They are probably all right, to some extent and, in some degree, wrong at the same time.

That's all well and good, but some of these same people would be very comfortable with the government limiting or banning certain things that they believe to be unhealthy: 
  • trans fats
  •  high fructose corn syrup
  •  soda
  •  potato chips
  •  meat
  • eggs
 And that is the danger I see when government, at any level, gets this involved in our personal lives. Well meaning and caring people so desire to help their fellow man be delivered from disease and ill health, are willing to look to the government to "aid" them in that endeavor, and I think that puts all of us at the edge of a precipice. For me, that precipice overlooks our loss of freedom.

I believe that you should have the freedom to eat whatever you like, no matter if it is healthy or not.
I may think it is unwise and maybe even stupid, but I have no right to impose my will on you, unless you are a child living under my roof.  

At this point, you might be saying, "Sam, Don't you blog about health and nutrition?  Don't you give your opinions about what you think is healthy or not healthy?"  Yes, I do, but here's my point.  I think it is very important to remember that I am sharing my opinions and information about the human body.  The human body is a very complicated organism, made up of trillions of cells and innumerable biological and chemical processes occurring simultaneously.  This should keep me and anyone else from thinking  they know exactly and precisely how it all works, and should help us to serve our opinions or "facts" with a little dose of humility. 

Now don't get me wrong, I certainly believe we are living at an amazing time in human advancement.  We are learning more and more every day about our bodies and what makes it work efficiently, and the things that can help us to prevent, as well as treat, disease.  

There is a great deal of nutritional information that we can use to promote health for ourselves and those we love, and I have a great desire to pass on the things I have learned to others to help them on their health journey, but I don't think it's wise or prudent for the government to get involved in these issues.  They are too powerful and too easily influenced by politics and special interests.

I prize freedom above all.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, please allow me, one friend to another, to present you with some principles that you can apply, if you wish, to help you in your quest for a healthier you.    

  1. Your Health is Your Responsibility.  If you are healthy, or not, in the future, largely depends on the choices you make.  See my previous blog on Functional Medicine for an expansion on this idea.
  2. Let Food Be Your Medicine.  This is a paraphrase of Hippocrates and is pretty much self explanatory.
  3. At a Minimum, Use a  High Quality Vitamin and Mineral Supplement.
  4. Passion is Fantastic, Fanaticism, not so much.  Keep things in balance.  All things in moderation.  
  5. Learn to Savor Your Food and Your Life.  
  6. Listen to Your Body.  Most of us have a good sense of what our bodies need.  Trust your instincts.
  7. Find Trusted Experts to Help Guide and Inform You on Your Health Journey. 
I trust the scientists and experts at USANA Health Sciences to provide me with a great deal of information on nutrition and the science of nutritional supplementation.  I trust them so much, that I chose to use their products myself and to market them to others.  Click the following link for more information or to purchase supplements from USANA Health Sciences.

Thank you for your time and attention.  We now return to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress.