Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sugar: The New Dietary Bogeyman

When I was growing up, the big thing was low fat. Fat is bad. Fat is evil. Blah blah blah. Low fat products proliferated; the gummit food pyramid told us to eat the least of these. Until they figured out that, guess what, fat isn't so bad after all. It's really not. Really. In fact, it's really quite good for you.

Along with that was the cholesterol myth. Low cholesterol foods that were "heart healthy" were branded. Pharmaceuticals manufactured drugs to suppress it and got super rich from it. Now we know it is a myth based on bad science. And yet people are still being prescribed this garbage.

In both cases, the gummit took the bad science and ran with it, thanks in large part to the "guy from CSPI!"

Now the new bogeyman is sugar. Carbs in general, but especially sugar. So the dictator of New York, Herr Bloomberg, has arbitrarily banned certain measures of sugary drinks. It makes no sense, even assuming the science is right this time.

The problem is the gummit dumbs down science (good or bad) and either uses fear tactics or worse--regulation. Sugar is in many foods and drinks. Our bodies need sugar. As far as I can tell, the science behind limiting carb intake seems solid, but it's just not that simple. We should care about things like glycemic index, not just run in fear from a bag of sugar.

How about this. Instead of vilifying fruit drinks and cola and sugar in general (or cholesterol or fat), how about we help folks learn about a healthy, balanced diet? Then they can make informed decisions like mature adults on their own. If they want to have a Coke or a white chocolate mocha, or glass of OJ, that's fine.

And for all that is good in the world, keep the gummit out of it.

P.S. No one thinks that drinking a ton of cola is healthy. No one. Pretending that all this hullaballoo is somehow educating some imagined ignorant unwashed masses is just ignorant, misguided, wrong, and a complete waste of time, effort, and money.