Sugar: The new tobacco?
Attention SCOTUS: Arguments against Obamacare start and end with the notion that if it becomes a permanent law, government will have license to meddle in American's daily lives beyond anything previously imagined.
Case in point; sugar. Since we have a health problem with obesity (and we do), the argument is being advanced that government must take control of dispensing sugar because so much of our excess weight is due to the fact we consume more sugar per capita than any other nation in the world.
Sugar is in almost all processed food, not to mention our huge consumption of chocolate and other candies.
But is regulating sugar like we regulate alcohol or tobacco the answer? It is if you're a big government statist:
First, we think that the public needs to be better informed about the science of how sugar impacts our health.
Second, we need to take what we know about protecting societies from the health harms of alcohol and apply it to sugar.
What doesn't work is all-out prohibition -- that's very old-school and often creates more problems than it solves.
What does work are gentle "supply side" controls, such as taxing products, setting age limits and promoting healthier versions of the product -- like making it cheaper for a person to drink light beer rather than schnapps.
The reality is that unfettered corporate marketing actually limits our choices about the products we consume. If what's mostly available is junk food and soda, then we actually have to go out of our way to find an apple or a drinking fountain. What we want is to actually increase people's choices by making a wider range of healthy foods easier and cheaper to get.
Turning around obesity and chronic disease will be an uphill political fight, but there's plenty that concerned people can do:
"Gentle" controls? The woman was probably working as a PR consultant to the Democrats. And it is an outright lie to use the term "unfettered corporate marketing." The big cereal makers have been forced to reduce their advertising aimed at kids, which gives the lie to the "unfettered" nonsense. Also, the notion that no one can resist "corporate marketing" is idiocy. Why do liberals insist they are the only ones smart enough to not run out and buy everything being advertised on TV and the rest of us are just sheep being led to the slaughter by evil corporate marketers?
The answer is better parenting. Don't indulge your children's natural desire for everything to be sweet. The answer is balance - giving your kids healthy food while recognizing that kids adore sweets and, in moderation, are actually good for them. Keep an eye on processed foods and the sugar content. If you don't know how to read a list of ingredients, learn.
People taking responsibility for their own health and the health of their families is what is needed. Not some draconian regimen that puts sugar in the same class as whiskey.