October 15, 2012
Little big gulp
NHK recently did a bit on Good Morning, Japan about Bloomberg's campaign to limit the size of soft drinks. They started by comparing the small/
A "small" size in the U.S. is the same as a "large" size in Japan. On a per-capita basis, Americans consume three times as much sugar per year as the average Japanese.
While the libertarian in me is appalled at Bloomberg's inexhaustible enthusiasm for nanny state government interference, at least he's focused on the right target this time. The problem with the American diet isn't fat, but sugar.
An entertaining examination of the many reasons why can be found in Fat Head, Tom Naughton's witty and self-deprecating response to Super Size Me.
Chowing down nothing but on fatty fast food for a month while strictly limiting carbohydrate consumption, Naughton lost weight, his total cholesterol went down, and his HDL went up.
These results impressed him (and his skeptical family physician) so much that the next month he consumed no carbohydrates (i.e., the full Adkins) and got the same results.
As Tom Naughton points out (and Gary Taubes explores at great length), the modern "food pyramid," emphasizing the consumption of grains and processed carbohydrates, was largely the product of a farm state senator, George McGovern.
That's the problem with the nanny state. It can be massively wrong, steer the ship of state into an iceberg, and not only never admit it but double down on the proposition. It's the government. It makes the rules. The gambler owns the casino.
Or as King Henry sums up the Bloombergean philosophy of benevolent dictatorship:
You and I cannot be confined within the weak list of a country's fashion [or constitution]: we are the makers of manners.