by Chrysa Smith

Fast Food French FriesIt’s everywhere. We read about it in magazines and hear about it on public service messages. Plus, for most of us, we’ve been lectured on it from our parents all of our early lives. Eat your vegetables. Don’t eat too much junk food. Soda isn’t good for you. Limit the sweets. And read the labels on your food products. Blah, blah, blah.

We know. We understand. We’re an intelligent population. So, unless they’ve been living in some deep, catatonic trance,  I believe that most people do know what’s good for them, even if they don’t always (OK, maybe even never) act on it.  For those who have managed to escape all of the teaching and spewing of nutritional wisdom, I say the key is education. Throw it on the front page of the local newspaper. Plant billboards along highways that reinforce it. Teach it in school. Offer it in community education classes. But for the love of God, please, please, please, don’t let the government make yet another lame attempt to meddle where it doesn’t belong–ie, telling you, through the passage of another law, what food you can eat; what you can’t.

That’s right. The latest from the FDA is that foods with trans-fats are so bad, are responsible for so many health issues, that products containing them should be pulled from the shelves. That includes—-wait for it—-popcorn, fast food, cake mixes, pie crusts  just to name a few. Now I’m not saying they’re wrong about trans-fats. All research points to the fact that they’re not exactly the stuff good health is made from. But tell me—if I am sensible enough to want my McDonald’s a couple times a year or make my favorite apple pie for Thanksgiving, I’m sorry, but I don’t expect anyone to tell me I cannot for the sake of my good health. And I don’t believe they can or should force companies to change their recipes, because there is no greater teacher than an educated consumer. And when educated consumers decide to buy or not buy certain foods, they’re moving companies forward—-forward to the types of food people want and enjoy.–without more laws, lawyers, lawsuits, arbitration  and money spent arguing over fat.

Former Mayor Bloomburg from NYC, tried to enforce his ‘no big soda’ law. Of course, with many soda fountains, some of us (no names displayed to protect the guilty) opt for the small size cups and then refill our drinks several times. But if I want that ‘Biggie’ from 7-11 or Wawa, why shouldn’t I be able to buy one? Again, is 32 ounces of Coke the best fluid intake for the day? Probably not. But if I decide I’m on a Diet Coke kick to fill my hunger (yes, I have), I want that biggie in my car console. And apparently the courts saw it the same way. The law was overturned for being unconstitutional.  Imagine that? The right to free speech, freedom of religion, the bearing of arms—all OK. But don’t dare go see the king of burgers. It’s ridiculous.

So off I go, trying to stay on the Weight Watchers plan that has proved successful to date. Even they let you ‘eat what you want’–as long as it’s reasonable, in control, managed. Most of us come to realize that moderation is the key to life—-pants that fit, hearts that don’t race, sugar levels that stay managed—-and a mind to think and make decisions, including what we put into our bodies, all on our own.

What’s your take on food laws?