It‘s funny what gets banned, while truly dangerous substances get a free pass if they contribute to the economy.
Last week, the U.S. government banned the sale of ephedra, an herbal weight-control supplement that has been linked to a number of deaths. Overseas, countries such as Japan banned U.S. beef out of fear of a single case of Mad Cow Disease. And last year, U.S. health officials banned the import of Canadian beef for the same reason.
There are numerous controlled substances in America that many people would love to meddle with: Human Growth Hormone for instance, to give you the physique of the Incredible Hulk. Anabolic steroids, to help you perform better on the high school football team. Heroin, to provide a carefree, relaxed outlook on life.
But these things, of course, are all bad for you, so the federal department of Health and Human Services, among others, takes it upon itself to outlaw them to protect people who don‘t have enough sense to keep their heads out of a wood-chipper.
But it makes you wonder, why are such toxic substances as 64 oz. Big Gulps, deep-fried cheese balls and Oreo cookies still legal when it‘s been proven that such things will make you as sick as a zombie over the long haul?
Unfortunately, American‘s have adopted what nutritionist Sally Fallon calls a “genocidal time bomb“ diet over the past 40s years, owing to the proliferation of fast foods, processed foods and simple carbohydrate snacks that have made it easier than ever to get beyond being merely fat on the road to obesity.
Over the past year, America‘s $1 trillion food industry has become alarmed by attempts to sue vendors such as McDonald‘s for pushing its fad-laden products on an ill-informed public.
These suits haven‘t gone anywhere. A Gallup Poll issued in July claimed that nine out of 10 Americans say the fast food industry “shouldn‘t be legally responsible for the diet-related health problems of people who eat that kind of food on a regular basis.“ Most of us realize that unless you‘ve got an I.Q. on par with a burrito, you should be aware that pushing Big Macs, sugar donuts, french fries or Marlboros into your mouth on a regular basis is likely to do you some serious harm over the long haul.
But even if they‘re frivolous, the obesity lawsuits have served to remind us that we‘ve got a serious eating disorder in our country.
You‘ve heard the dreary statistics. “More than half of all U.S. adults and 13 percent of children are clinically obese, costing taxpayers more than $117 billion in medical costs and causing 300,000 deaths a year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said,“ according to report in the Washington Times.
Some say those statistics are even higher for children, many of whom haven‘t a clue about what it means to walk anywhere, and who have replaced outdoor play with the sedentary pastime of video games. Currently, there are 100,000 children in America cursed with insulin-dependent diabetes -- a dreadful disease that is also affecting many more young adults under the age of 40 now due to diets heavy in sugar and glucose-producing carbohydrates.
Not to mention heart disease, atheriosclerosis and cancer -- legacies of our new convenience-centered diet that‘s high in fat, sugar and simple carbohydrates, but low on nutrition.
We adults don‘t need the food police telling us what to do. This is a free country, and if we choose to stuff ourselves sick with addictive white flour products, that is our business. Our fellow Americans will cheerfully pick up the tab for our excesses with higher taxes and insurance premiums when we land in the hospital with heart disease or some other dietary disease. That‘s our right as Americans: to stick someone else with the bill for our bad behavior.
But shouldn‘t kids be protected? Why are school cafeterias still serving sugar-filled soft drinks and juices? Why are high-carb, high-fat choices even on the menu? Why is it that a child can‘t buy a pack of cigarettes down at the convenience store, but is free to purchase a virtual bucket of Coke bigger than his head?
Only a little more than a decade ago, hospitals were faced with the tough decision of outlawing smoking on the premises. It wasn‘t an easy decision, but they did it for the health and safety of their patients and employees (along with a friendly push from accrediting agencies that control the cash faucet). It‘s time that our schools made the same stand on junk food -- if we can‘t save ourselves, we can at least try to save our children.