Regulation

Big Brother Is Now Your Diet Coach

Should the government be watching what you eat?

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A new federal effort called SuperTracker may sound like a program to keep extremely close tabs on suspected terrorists or other enemies of the state, but it isn't—unless those enemies also happen to be healthy-minded consumers intent on dropping a few pounds.

A product of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP ), SuperTracker is an online tool located at choosemyplate.gov that helps users set and maintain dietary goals. Create a user profile at the site, and you can track the calories you consume each day, record your daily physical activities, set weight management goals, and see how close you come to eating the USDA's recommended daily allowance of dark green vegetables. SuperTracker, an expanded version of previous tools called the MyPyramid Tracker and the MyPyramid Menu Planner, debuted in December 2011. In its first month, it reportedly attracted more than 700,000 registered users. Any day now, then, we should expect to see either the end of the obesity epidemic or SuperDuperTracker, an even more intrusive and hands-on government effort to engineer our behavior. If you're a betting man, bet on the latter.

Indeed, the history of government dietary advice is a history of failure and escalation. It started in 1894, when Congress funded research efforts by W.O. Atwater, a professor of chemistry at Wesleyan University, to determine the nutritive value and costs of various foods. At the time, a typical working man required approximately 3,500 calories and .28 lbs. of protein a day to fuel his efforts according to Atwater's calculations, and the average American family had only around $250 a year to devote to food. Food scarcity wasn't necessarily a problem—Atwater spent two pages in his final report noting how much "valuable food" people were "throwing away"—but the project's primary goal was to help consumers understand how to obtain the most nutrition for their dollar. We were a hungry nation back then.

After Atwater's pioneering efforts, a steady stream of government pamphlets and posters urged America to fuel itself more strategically, but ultimately, the country's poor eating habits persisted. In 1941, alarmed at the fact that U.S. Army officials had found that approximately one in 10 draft inductees were unfit for service due to disabilities directly or indirectly related to nutrition, President Roosevelt organized the National Nutrition Conference for Defense. This conference produced the conceit of "Recommended Daily Allowances," the specific number of calories one should consume each day, along with daily targets for nine essential nutrients too. Next came the National Wartime Nutrition Guide and its conceit of the Basic 7 food groups.

Like Atwater's 1894 report, the National Wartime Nutrition Guide was aimed at people who had little to eat—its purpose was to show how to "maintain good nutrition under rationing." In the decades that followed World War II, however, it was America's growing affluence rather than the USDA's nutritional advice that made an impact on America's diet. In 1940, families spent approximately 20.7 percent of their income on food. By 1980, that number had dropped to 13.2 percent. The daily number of calories the average American consumed was rising, and malnutrition and the diseases associated with it were no longer a widespread problem.

Instead, obesity, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and tooth decay had emerged as the new health scourges to conquer. In the pages of The New York Times, the head of the USDA's Human Nutrition Center warned that "killer diseases in epidemic proportion" were afflicting America, and that only "only far-reaching public health measures [could] control the contagion." The contagion, of course, was America's diet, and its abundance of salt, fat, sugar, cholesterol, and alcohol. Clearly, a new generation of charts, publications, and symbols were in order.

In 1980, the USDA published Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines, which used a variety of hideous typefaces to convince America to eat a variety of nutritious foods while avoiding butter, cream, hydrogenated margarine, candy, soft drinks, and potato chips. To clarify such concepts, it followed up with a seemingly endless buffet of complementary volumes: Ideas for Better Eating, Dietary Guidelines and Your Diet, Dietary Guidelines and Your Diet: Home Economics Teacher's Guide, Food Facts for Older Adults, etc.

But apparently America was so busy eating it had no time to read. While the percentage of obese Americans held steady at around 13 to 14 percent throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the obesity rate rose 8 percent during the 1980s. In response, the USDA decided it needed to communicate its nutritional advice in a simpler fashion. And thus 1992 food pyramid, which communicated even more explicitly than previous efforts the mandate to eat fats, oils, and sweets "sparingly" while making grains and other carbohydrates the foundation of one's diet.

Even when the USDA was still trying to convey its message through the relatively complex of booklets like Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines, medical experts worried that its advice was too prescriptive and generic to address the dietary needs and desires of a diverse nation. "The whole population should not be treated as if it were at risk of falling prey to diet-related diseases," Dr. Phillip White, head of the American Medical Association's Council on Food and Nutrition, told The New York Times in 1980.

The food pyramid took the USDA's one-size-fits-all approach and made it even more all-encompassing. The correct, government-approved way to maintain a healthy weight and plaque-free arteries, it suggested, was to eat precisely 6 to 11 servings of bread, rice, and pasta; three to five servings of vegetables; 2 to 3 servings of meat, poultry, or fish, etc. But if the food pyramid was the USDA's most visually emphatic piece of iconography yet, it was no more effective than previous efforts. Obesity rates continued to climb throughout the 1990s, and low-carb diet evangelists like Dr. Robert Atkins argued that the USDA's dietary advice—with its emphasis on carbs and its prohibitions against fat—was actually contributing to the epidemic.

All of which simply made the USDA more determined than ever to exert its will upon the increasingly flabby body politic. In a 1999 USDA publication entitled America's Eating Habits: Changes and Consequences, the agency reported that its mandate had shifted over time "from simply providing knowledge to allow consumers to make informed decisions about healthy eating to actually motivating them to bring about behavior change."

That sentiment would ultimately find expression in the USDA's MyPyramid.gov website, which in 2011 was rebranded as Choosemyplate.gov, in part, apparently, because user interest in MyPyramid.gov was waning, with traffic dropping from 3.5 billion hits in 2009 to 1.6 billion in 2010. In addition to retiring its food pyramid icon (which had received a facelift in 2005) in favor of a new, simpler image of a plate, the USDA also substantially improved the functionality of its calorie-counting application, aka SuperTracker. But even though SuperTracker is much less clunky than its predecessor, it's still pretty clunky compared to private-sector apps like Fitday and MyFoodDiary, to name just a couple—and it's clunky in a telling way.

Specifically, it doesn't let you create nutritional profiles for food items that aren't included in its database of 8,000 items. Reportedly, this database is what sets SuperTracker apart from its competition because the USDA actually analyzed the nutritional content of all the foods included in it instead of relying upon information supplied by food manufacturers. If a food you eat is missing from the SuperTracker database, or if SuperTracker's various definitions of, say, a hamburger, don't quite match the hamburger you plan to eat that night, there's no easy way to enter this information into the program. While it promises personalization and customizability (it's your plate, and you're choosing it!), it's actually a pretty inflexible tool that prefers to keep control in its hands rather than the user's.

But even if SuperTracker doesn't seem quite as powerful or easy to use as some of its competitors, it does offer functionality no private-sector calorie-counting program can match: It's the only one that helps normalize the idea that the government should be monitoring your eating habits and functioning as your weight-loss coach. In this respect, SuperTracker and the hundred-plus years of USDA bulletins, posters, pamphlets, and booklets that preceded it—which have seemingly had so little impact on the nation's eating habits—have nonetheless been exceedingly effective. Indeed, when the government offers us cash bonuses to eat our veggies, it doesn't seem that unusual. When the government sets up video surveillance systems in school cafeterias to figure out who's going back for seconds on the cake, it doesn't seem that unusual. When the USDA Food and Nutrition Service has expanded its various food distribution programs so dramatically in the last few years that it now serves 77.5 million people each day—or nearly three times as many as McDonald's—it doesn't seem that unusual. Of course it's the government's natural role to be so intimately involved in offering us dietary advice, planning our dinner menus, controlling what we eat. It's been that way for years.

Contributing Editor Greg Beato writes from San Francisco.

NEXT: The New Yorker Has a Sobering Look at the Whys of America's Prison-Industrial Complex

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    1. My son’s name is Winston Smith. No lie.

      1. That’s a very optimistic name.

        1. He already longs for the freedom of the proles.

          1. The proles are the ones with a problem with freedom.

            1. The party members have the problem- unless you’re trying to use some sort or sarcasm…

              If there’s any hope, any hope at all, it’s with the proles.

    2. Thanks, that quote never gets old, particularly the last paragraph.

  1. That’s a big Twinkie.

      1. According to this morning’s sample it would be a Twinkie?thirty-?ve feet long weighing approximately six-hundred pounds.

    1. “Twinkie” is an adjective when used to refer to effeminate gay men; “twink” is the noun form.

      1. I betieve the adjective form would be twinky.

      2. Dennis Reynolds: He’s a bear, you see some gay guys are twinks and other are bears, this gay guy is a bear. By the way, we are totally cool with that, to each his own.

        Frank Reynolds: Wait I’m a little confused here, what’s a twink?

        Dennis Reynolds: Twink is small and slender, like mac.

        Mac: Whoa, no, I’m too muscular, I would be a bear.

        Dennis Reynolds: Uh, don’t think so bro, not hairy enough.

  2. Tony said that the government checks all of our food to make it safe. So it just makes sense that they tell us what to eat, too. Whoohoo, government! We should have more of it!!

    1. I guess I should have called the FDA this afternoon, before I ate one of the best fucking cheeseburgers of my entire life?

      1. I better get my fill of Costco Four Cheese Ravioli while they’re still legal.

  3. Here’s what Canada has to deal with.
    At least it’s not mandatory, but damn is it naggy.

    1. PantsFan, do you remember BodyBreak! with Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod? Americans should really YouTube the old BodyBreaks from the 80’s and 90’s. So cheesy, so Canadian.

      1. America had the horrifying Mr. Goodbody. [shudder]

        1. What am I, a twinky?

          1. Everyone calls you “The Twinkster” behind your back.

        2. Is that Looking for Mr. Goodbody, where Annie Hall is a slut?

        3. Yikes! Slim Goodbody represents so much that is wrong with the 70’s.

      2. Yeah, and they’re still on.

        1. Ah, CBC never changes. Now the fucking BodyBreak song is stuck in my head. BRAINWASHED.

          1. Because the CBC, the CBC never changes…

          2. It was also on CTV

          3. Corner Gas is fucking awesome though.

  4. SuperTracker is an online tool located at choosemyplate.gov that helps users set and maintain dietary goals.

    Tiny/There is no brain: “The government provides what the free market can’t or won’t!”

    *cough!* Nutrisystem *cough!*
    *cough!* Weightwatchers *cough!*

    1. *cough*Sparkpeople!*cough*For free, no membership fees even!*cough*

    2. “The government provides what the free market can’t or won’t”

      Drive time radio this morning, they were parsing Elizabeth Warren’s diatribe about how “we” paid for the roads and schools that helped rich people get rich. Listening to the liberal half of the team, I wonder if they hear themselves. The argument was, government must provide schools. There is no other way. The schools are in terrible shape. We must do more of what we’re doing, which I just said isn’t working. Privatize the schools is crazy talk. We must keep keep doing what we are doing, expecting a different result.

      1. Re: Malner,

        Listening to the liberal half of the team, I wonder if they hear themselves.

        You should’ve seen her interview on the Daily News with Jon Stewart. He asked her to give her thought oj the argument posited by someone like Ron Paul that government regulation is what corrupts politics by bringing in lobbyist money.

        Her response was: “Without government involvement, we would not have a future!”

        Stewart laughed out loud at such absurdity, albeit I believe his audience was too stoopid to comprehend why. She basically could’ve said that without goverment intervention the sun would go nova or something. The woman is incredibly stupid, yet there are people that find her arguments compelling.

        1. Many moons ago, I audited her class on liens and chattel papers. When she sticks to her discipline, she is brilliant. When she starts bloviating about politics or governance, she is in way over head. I was a very participatory student, providing liberty-based counterpoints* to her rants. Tellingly, the following semester, she allowed only degree-seeking students into her classes.

          * To be fair, Ignatius Reilly is my hero and I tend to treat all professors as he treated Dr. Talc.

  5. Romney got caught with a Swiss bank account; I guess that means Ginrich trust his mistresses?
    http://rctlfy.wordpress.com/20…..s-ex-wife/

    1. He can always claim it was a computer virus…

      1. in the morning minks and you people still talk to her. i guess nothing is ever going to change for you suckers.

        1. You didn’t get the “She Devil” reference, I presume.

        2. Little penis, why won’t you use your real name?

          1. Oh, and “she takes a massive squat” is better suited to your prose

            I know you’re frustrated by the fact that your ‘jar fart comments’ were panned but if you put peanut butter on your dick, and lick it off it should do the trick. At least the vet says it works for dogs, Poetry

            1. Do dogs prefer creamy or chunky?

              1. Creamy for dogs
                Chunky for Warty, SF, Baked Penguin, Pro Liberate….

          2. I will confirm that the anonymous replies to your stupidity are the decentralized spontaneous actions of a number of individuals greater than one or two. Take a hint.

            1. Is that what sugarfree is calling his jerk circle?

  6. Not sure what it was called, but my wife had me watch a YouTube series claiming that all our cholesterol/diabetes/obesity/heart disease issues are caused by eating carbs such as refined sugar and flour. They had some pretty decent evidence. I remember a graph showing the amount of animal fat in out diets going down, but heart disease going up.

    My point, though, is that once again, the science isn’t exactly settled here, either. The government telling us what to eat is like the government telling us which solar technologies are going to work.

    1. something something 4 something something body?

    2. Re: The Other Kevin,

      The government telling us what to eat is like the government telling us which solar technologies are going to work.

      But the government has told us which – by attrition. Cann’t you see the great social benefit of seeing all those solar panel companies go under so quickly?

    3. The cultural misconception that dietary fat causes health problems, and not carbohydrates such as flour, has caused more damage to our country than any economic policy or foreign military ever has.

      What’s incredible is that the obesity rate has skyrocketed decade after decade, and yet people are more convinced than ever that we must eat as little fat as possible and as much grains as possible. Only a handful of people see the connection. Only a handful of people get that the hamburger bun is more weight-inducing, diabetes-inducing, emotionally damaging, and sickening than the hamburger.

      People think Paula Deen got diabetes from using butter. Somehow eating wheat-filled, sugar-filled cake and brownies every day of your life is totally healthy, as long as you don’t put butter in the recipe. Our culture is so confused it’s nauseating, and the next generation is the worst yet.

      Animal fat is GOOD for you. Butter is GOOD for you. The problems show up when you use that butter to cook something full of sugar and flour. But our doctors won’t tell us that, and our government won’t tell us that, because the former needs to sell anti-chloresterol medication and the latter needs to pay farmers to make corn syrup and flour to buy votes. It’ll never end, not in our lifetimes.

      1. Vegetable oil, by the way, is not so good for you because it’s almost 100% omega-6 which causes a wide range of health problems. But processed food packages and fast food places will proudly declare “no saturated fat!” because few Americans know or care that omega-6s are far worse for you.

    4. Yep. Most of the recent research shows that high-carb diets cause most of the health problems (especially diabetes!) and obesity in this country, while a reasonable amount of fat in the diet is good for you, as it leads to satiety and prevents overeating. Can you believe these morons are OK’ing high-carb, high-calorie chocolate milk for schools because it is fat-free, but won’t allow regular-fat milk, which is actually far less fattening?

      Also, salt has been proven to have no issues for cardiac disease, hypertension or mortality — and reducing it just ruins taste, so the average person in search of flavor eats something else which may be much worse for them.

      Yet the dietitians of the world were taught only fat bad, salt bad, and won’t believe anything else regardless of the data. They appear to have Mrs. Obama’s ear as well. So with her imprimatur they keep pushing a “healthy” diet which is actually quite bad for you.

      1. the other thing about the no salt (especially the iodized variety)campaign that goes unmentioned is that salt is necessary for good human health and iodine deficiency causes goiter (so-called endemic goiter), as well as cretinism, which results in developmental delays and other health problems. According to WHO, in 2007, nearly 2 billion individuals had insufficient iodine intake, a third being of school age. … Thus iodine deficiency, as the single greatest preventable cause of mental retardation, is an important public-health problem.

  7. Indeed, the history of government dietary advice is a history of failure and escalation.

    It’s also a sad tale of nutty and quixotic efforts to defeat imaginary windmills which in reality happen to be invincible giants – that is, people’s preferences.

  8. OT: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-25…..d-on-body/

    Being Liberal apparently is the 8th deadly sin.

    1. That’s very fucked up.

    2. We suspect this is the action of a rogue individual or group of individuals who are the type of folks that stoop to the lowest common denominator instead of engaging in civil political discourse

      The OWS crowd did it?

      1. Would you be the least bit surprised?

    3. Don’t let your cats aggravate the neighborhood. Keep them indoors.

      1. Or I’ll eat them.

    4. That is full of gems.

      Liberal proclaims “I’ve got a gun and I know how to use it,”

      Peta proclaims “Animal abusers are cowards,” says PETA Director Martin Mersereau. “They take their issues out on the most defenseless beings available to them.”

  9. The obesity rate might be rising, but the productivity of Americans rose 74% between 2000 and 2010, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Manufacturing output was 16% higher in 2010 than in 2000.

    The CDC used to claim that basically fat people were dropping dead like flies, and that more of them were dying per year than the number of French fries sold by McDonald’s. Then they were called on their bullshit, and forced to admit that no, actually, under 26,000 people per year die of obesity-related health problems, or about half of the number of people killed in auto accidents in the U.S. each year.

    This SuperTracker and all this moral panicking and pearl-clutching about “ohnoestehFATpplareruiningamurka” is about hatred. It’s not about science; it’s not about saving money. It’s about hatred, and artificially manufacturing divisions between classes so that nanny elitists will always have somebody they can consider themselves better than. It’s about manufacturing contempt for people perceived to be lower-class.

    The facts are clear: America’s lardasses, like ’em or not, are working those asses off. And they’re not keeling over. In fact, Americans are living longer than ever.

    1. It’s mainly about selling “whole grains” and “low-fat” processed food filled with American-grown corn syrup. Our government gets to pay farmers to grow corn and wheat while lying to the American people that it’s healthy to eat 12 servings of bread a day.

  10. In August of last year, I decided to make my husband and myself guinea pigs and completely eliminated grains, potatoes, and sugar from our diets. He went from 230 lbs then to 170 lbs now. I went from 130 to 120 by October. The food pyramid is a lie. Fat, protein, fruits,and vegetables are our friends…bread is what makes you fat and kills you.

    1. Re: Priestess,

      He went from 230 lbs then to 170 lbs now. I went from 130 to 120 by October.

      If I were my wife:
      “Don’t you just hate it when men lose weight so quickly and we don’t???”

      1. Actually, no. At 5’6″ I was happy at 130, the ten pounds was kind of a surprise. But no diet change ever lasts if one half of the marriage is doing it and the other isn’t. And strangely enough, I used to be a calorie counting maniac (how I managed to only weigh 130 after 26 years of marriage and 5 kids). Now I just eat however much I want when I want…I feel kind of piggy compared to how I used to eat.

        1. I won’t tell my wife that you have 5 kids and yet weigh “only” 120 lbs. She would drag me with her to the gym, in chains if she could.

          1. I’d have to come rescue you then. I hate the gym. Prior to our new diet, I did it by straight up calorie restriction.

    2. I had a similar experience. Eliminated most empty and/or refined carbs and replaced with more lean protein, vegetables and leafy greens. Lost 30 lbs and have kept it off for three year. It definately yook awhile to get used to but now I don’t miss my old bad eating habits.

      1. Me either, I used to think I’d die without bread and pasta and sugar in my tea, but now the thought of eating any of those is repulsive.

        1. My name is EDG, and I am a pastaholic.

          1. So was I, but pasta isn’t about the pasta. It’s about the sauces and the cheese; all of which can be eaten quite scrumptiously on spaghetti squash.

      2. I once met a doc who had worked with tribes in Northern Alaska. The locals had a diet which was mostly seal blubber. There had never been any diabetes in their population. But elements of a western diet including chips, soda etc found their way up there, and this doc soon had the privilege of treating the first-ever diabetics of native Northern Alaska.

    3. “I decided to make my husband”

      The poor bastard.

      1. Yeah he really suffered. Since he had to give up pasta based meals for steaks, roasts, bacon, eggs and everything dripping in butter. He was a little grumpy about the potatoes, but who knew that baked turnips covered in sour cream, butter, and cheese actually taste better than potatoes done the same.

    4. I could be with you on everything but potatoes. The Irish in me just won’t let it happen no matter how many times I try.

  11. Thanks to the government, all we really eat is about fifty different versions of processed corn.

    1. +1

      It irritates me that many foodie leftists go from “governmen subsidies are bad and fueling a lot of our unhealthy eating” to “let’s subsidize good eating and restrict bad choices” without stopping in “no subsidies at all” for a while…

  12. The government telling us what to eat is like the government telling us which solar technologies are going to work.

    Wait, so the government is going to tell us to eat Chinese food?

  13. I’m fine with government giving or verifying nutritional information, I’m fine with them mandating reasonable labeling of such. This cuts down on information costs and puts the burden of such represenations where it logically should go (on the producer rather than the consumer, the former has much easier access to wtf is in their product). It also is the kind of thing the government would have to be calle upon to police in fraud cases eventually anway.

    The line for me is when the government uses coercion, and this includes things like making certain foods more expensive via taxes, to reach certain results. If a person, once reasonably informed, wants to pig out on twinkies all day it’s pure paternalism at its worst for the government to stop him.

    1. Why should a person not reasonably informed be different?

      Perhaps the government could mandate nutrition classes.

      1. Partly because being informed makes transactions more actually voluntary. What makes fraud wrong is that you are willfully misinformed. At common law contracts would sometimes not be enforced if there was material minsinformation on both sides, or one side and the other side knew it. This recognized this reality.

        I’m not talking about “informed about nutrition” I’m talking about “informed what is in the product.” That’s just mandating a true representation of your product, and it makes sense for the producer to provide that info rather than for prospective buyers to try to track it down or discover it.

        1. This assumes that I care what is in it. I don’t, so there really isn’t any “need” for it. If those who sell food products want to tell me what is in it fine, if they don’t, why should the government force them? If it makes so much “sense” why does the government need to coerce?

          If there really were a large demand for “labeling” wouldn’t the market reward those who did and punish those who didn’t? This is classic, “most people don’t want it, but *I* do, so let’s make everyone do it”, isn’t it?

          1. ” If those who sell food products want to tell me what is in it fine, if they don’t, why should the government force them?”

            For the reasons I gave and you ignored.

            “If it makes so much “sense” why does the government need to coerce?”

            If it makes sense to have people stop at traffic lights, why does the government need to coerce? Your answer lies in this: I’m not saying it neessarily “makes sense” for the producer in maximizing their profit, in fact, quite the opposite. It makes sense for the overall efficiency of the economy (in a law and economics sense). The producer has the ingredients readily at hand, the consumer does not. Having the former produce them cuts down all kinds of information and transaction costs, it’s the most efficient way to do it.

            “If there really were a large demand for “labeling” wouldn’t the market reward those who did and punish those who didn’t? ”

            The market is nice but not magic. According to the same logic noone would ever, ever, sell peanut butter made under negligent conditions that makes their customers sick. Never.

            And yet…

            1. Science, MNG, that was weak, even for you. Since people will do bad things, all we need is a law and viola, no more bad things? What is sad is that I think you may actually believe it.

              1. You don’t think making something illegal deters it? So you’re ok with drug laws and economic regulation then, because, hey, that wouldn’t deter anyone from anything…

                1. Guess you’ve missed all the drug use going on. Not to mention all the ignoring of or dereliction in enforcing regulations by Wall Street, BP, etc.

    2. Re: MNG,

      I’m fine with government giving or verifying nutritional information, I’m fine with them mandating reasonable labeling of such.

      Of course you would. Instead, I have wits.

      1. You don’t think we should rely on our wits with fraud though. Why?

        If the burden is on you to figure out what companies are reputable and trustworthy and what is in their products, why not have it on you to figure out which ones are lying to you and misreprenting themselves?

        1. Re: MNG,

          You don’t think we should rely on our wits with fraud though. Why?

          I don’t understand your question. How can you presume to know what I think?

          If the burden is on you to figure out what companies are reputable and trustworthy and what is in their products, why not have it on you to figure out which ones are lying to you and misreprenting themselves?

          You see the entire world backwards, MNG. The burden is on the producers to convince me that their product is better and/or will not kill me. There’s no need for mandates, and in fact, the labels you so seem to love only serve to create complacency. There’s the government to think for me, right? What could possibly go wrong???

          1. “There’s no need for mandates, and in fact, the labels you so seem to love only serve to create complacency.”

            So let’s REALLY hone our wits and snap ourselves out of that complaceny, let’s get rid of fraud laws and let producers compete with each other to establish trustworthiness. Caveat emptor will sharpen our minds.

            1. Re: MNG,

              […]let’s get rid of fraud laws and let producers compete with each other to establish trustworthiness.

              I don’t understand: Why would we get rid of laws against fraud? The question is if the role of government is to mandate companies to label their products with nutritional information. What does that have to do with avoiding fraud?

              YOU are the one that believes producers are out there to get you. I rely on the reasonable expectation that producers would act out of pure self-interest, which would dictate that you don’t want to kill your own customers. If you’re such a paranoid, spineless blob that cannot trust anybody, I suggest you hide under your bed to wither and die, but leave the rest of us, the thinking, rational and free humans, in peace.

              1. To be fair, he wasn’t arguing for nutrition labeling, just ingredient labeling. At least what he said in his first response to you.

            2. Caveat emptor will sharpen our minds.

              You almost have it. Keep going, but this time without the sarcasm. You may understand yet.

            3. Well, the damn hamburger gets cold before the lab results arrive.

  14. On NPR yesterday was a story of Michelle Obama visiting a lunchline that was adopting new federal standards. It said that two servings of vegetables would now be mandated as well as fewer portions! I’m sure the food service companies were smiling at that last requirement…

  15. Low IQ and Conservatism linked in Yahoo article today.

    http://news.yahoo.com/low-iq-c…..03506.html

    Of course, none of the “libertarians” here will find fault in this study…

    1. Because when I think “authoritative source” I think “Yahoo”…

      Dumbass.

      Also, anyone want to take bets on the political bent of the author of said study?

      1. I’m guessing yahoo was reporting another source that did the study. But maybe you don’t read many studies, with all their fancy talk and such…

        1. Two problems:

          1) Journalists don’t know shit. I’ve worked with ’em; the only thing they know anything about is writing. Anything else, they’re fucking worthless on. So when I see a jumped up headline making broad statements about a large group of people that claims a “study” says so, I get real fucking suspicious, because it’s very unlikely that the journalist actually understands the study at all. Especially when it’s on a third-tier news sight like Yahoo News.

          2) Sociology, despite the “-ology” in the name, is an extremely unscientific discipline. As such, there is a LOT of bullshit studies that comes out of that particular discipline that do far more to inform us about the author’s biases than they do about the way things actually are. There have been several similar studies, each saying the exact same thing, except for half of the time it’s about the opposite fucking side. Now, obviously these contradictory studies can’t both be right, but that won’t stop TEAM dickheads like you from trumpeting each idiotic so-called study that comes out that reinforces their own biases.

          And you are not a fucking libertarian or classical liberal. You’re a TEAM BLUE dipshit with delusions of independence.

        2. Two problems:

          1) Journalists don’t know shit. I’ve worked with ’em; the only thing they know anything about is writing. Anything else, they’re fucking worthless on. So when I see a jumped up headline making broad statements about a large group of people that claims a “study” says so, I get real fucking suspicious, because it’s very unlikely that the journalist actually understands the study at all. Especially when it’s on a third-tier news sight like Yahoo News.

          2) Sociology, despite the “-ology” in the name, is an extremely unscientific discipline. As such, there is a LOT of bullshit studies that comes out of that particular discipline that do far more to inform us about the author’s biases than they do about the way things actually are. There have been several similar studies, each saying the exact same thing, except for half of the time it’s about the opposite fucking side. Now, obviously these contradictory studies can’t both be right, but that won’t stop TEAM dickheads like you from trumpeting each idiotic so-called study that comes out that reinforces their own biases.

          And you are not a fucking libertarian or classical liberal. You’re a TEAM BLUE dipshit with delusions of independence.

          1. Fucking squirrels.

            1. And that last part was a reply to shriek.

      2. This is a libertarian/classic liberal site, pal.

        Free Republic ——>

        1. Given how much you stand up for Team Blue, shrike, you might consider FireDogLake or some other mental rest-home.

    2. Again with with the junk science eh Shreik. MAke sure you clean off the monitor when your done flogging Shreik jr. over this “news”.

    3. Um, correlation does not equal causation and confounding factors…how do those work? Study is bullshit.

      1. So you haven’t read the study but that doesn’t stop you from throwing out a platitude and then calling it bullshit.

        Nice.

        1. Re: MNG,

          Read the fucking article, MNG:

          There’s no gentle way to put it: People who give in to racism and prejudice may simply be dumb, according to a new study that is bound to stir public controversy.

          What does racism and prejudice have to do with conservatism? Does this mean that Joe Biden is really a closet conservative?

          Moron.

        2. Actually I did skim the study. But I don’t have to pore over it to spot the problems. Small sample sizes (at least in the us study), determining political beliefs from poll type questions where wording can have MAJOR differences in the outcomes. And of sociological studies I really don’t need to read further because all it turns out to be a just-so-story to explain a random artifact probably introduced by the researchers themselves. Hey, but if believing that people who disagree with your viewpoint must be stupid makes you feel better then have at it. There are only individuals and individual beliefs shaped by millions of factors which no study could ever adequately cover and anyone who tries to tell you different is selling something.

          1. Look, let’s not kid ourselves. There are so many counterexamples of brilliant people with conservative or, dare I say it, libertarian beliefs that this is facially invalid. It’s pathetic that anyone would latch on to this sort of nonsense.

            Incidentally, on a demographic basis, I imagine the reverse is true, if we’re just counting dumb people. Are smart people the ones who dominate the lower classes who vote for the goodies party? I rather doubt it.

            1. “There are so many counterexamples of brilliant people with conservative or, dare I say it, libertarian beliefs that this is facially invalid.”

              My god that is some terrible logic. Pro, you’re smarter than that…

              If someone said “blacks tend to vote Democratic” and you replied “that’s crazy on it’s face, we all know Walter Williams and others don’t vote Democratic.”

              Terrible…

              1. I didn’t say there were some counterexamples. I said there too many counterexamples.

                Wanting something to be true doesn’t make it so.

                1. Holy shit.

                  Correlation disproved by anecedotes…
                  Probablistic reasoning, how does it work?

                  1. I mean, come on Pro. You’re not John.

                    I mean, I can name lots of black GOPers. Lots. But would that disprove the statement “blacks tend to vote Democratic.”

                    1. I’m sorry, but you’re pathetic on this. I can reason for myself. I’ve got a terminal degree. I’ve worked at universities and with highly educated people in corporations. I know a lot of brilliant people. I’ve read and heard brilliant people speak in public fora. No correlation whatsoever between their intelligence and their politics.

                      Even the attempt to look at the issue makes the whole study questionable. Oh, hey, Republicans are morons. Let’s prove it!

                      Research on stuff like this is bullshit more often than not, anyway.

                    2. You didn’t learn in getting your terminal degree that anecedotes don’t trump correlations with actual data?

                      I know lots and lots of married people that do not go to church. Tons. Hundreds I think.

                      Does knowing that disprove the oft-found correlation between being married and going to church?

                      Dude, you’re arguing agains the logic of averages here.

              2. Re: MNG,

                My god that is some terrible logic. Pro, you’re smarter than that

                Yes, Pro, you’re smarter than that. Don’t you see the shallowness and dishonesty of conflating conservatism with racism and prejudice?

                1. OM, you’re smarter than THAT.

                  What I’m calling Pro on has nothing to do with what you are talking about.

                  If the study conflates prejudice with conservatism then that’s a validity problem for it, no doubt. But that’s not what me and Pro are talking about. Pro is saying “the correlation they claim to find can’t be true because we all can name so many smart conservatives.” And that’s terrible logic, no matter how you cut it…

                  1. Re: MNG,

                    What I’m calling Pro on has nothing to do with what you are talking about.

                    Oh, yes it does: BOTH of you are making the same mistake. It goes to the geist of the issue: whatever the study says is irrelevant to the argument being made by the author of the article. None of the studies which the article links to say anything about conservatism at all, but about a bunch of beliefs that the author of the study assumes are representative of social conservatism. So the author of the article is not basing the conclusions on the results of the study but on the prejudices of the author of the study (!!!)

                    This is why I asked you to read the article again.

          2. You skimmed the study? I never click on links here, but I’m betting you mean you skimmed the article talking about the study.

          3. This is a freedom oriented site. Any chance I can get to dump on conservatives I will take.

            1. Funny how you never dump on liberals.

    4. “Low IQ and Conservatism linked in Yahoo article today.”

      I wonder if they didn’t stop to chat up any Liberals on science, history or economics . . .

      1. Liberals dominant in those three subjects.

        1. Re: shrike,

          Liberals dominant in those three subjects.

          The stars shine in the sky tonight.
          Damok and Jalad at Tanagra.

          1. Funny how shrike calls himself a classical liberal, yet sops up the Team Blue gravy like week-old bread.

  16. Is “racism” stupid? Is affirmative action, which judges people according to the color of their skin, racism? Stupid? I also just completed an empirical study and found that those who disagree with me are imbeciles.

    My wife sent me this poll being done by PEW today. Fully 10% of the respondents who self-identified as college graduates could not identify Brazil, with multiple choices, on a map of South America. 20% could not identify Israel on a map. Perhaps we had better start by defining “stupid”.

    http://pewresearch.org/politic…../index.php

    1. What is this “Brazil” of which you speak?

      1. It’s that little island country about 120 miles due South of Florida, in the Caribbean. Duh.

      2. Where the nuts come from?
        Or the wax?

        1. Charley’s Aunt FTW!!

  17. I don’t know if most people realize this, but 70% of Americans are considered OBESE – sadly, this includes children. We’ve become a nation of tv watching, video game playing, boxed & canned chemical-laden food eating, paving over our parks & open spaces, and generally non-exercising people.

    In short, we don’t give our bodies the nutrition it needs because our food has been processed with chemicals so that it takes less time to prepare. We don’t get out and exercise in the fresh air (if that even yet exists); instead we stay inside sit on the couch and watch TV or play video games. Why do you think they created “interactive” video games – to make players MOVE THEIR BODIES, aka exercise! We’ve become a nation of sick, fat, self-indulgent, lazy people. Much of that has to do with our diet, so I think if the food industry isn’t going to do something about it, then maybe the government needs to step in and do something, instead.

    1. Perhaps you would like to see the government put people in “fat camps”? Sixty days in the Nevada desert breaking rock for highway gravel? Or should the government control the food supply and ration each citizen’s daily caloric intake?

      You want the government to step in and “do something”. What specific “something” would you like to see?

      Do you personally have a weight problem? Do you feel that the government should “do something” to help you personally?

      I ask in all seriousness. Not to “zing” you with a snarky comeback. Instead, I am genuinely interested in your thought process that led you to think the government should “do something” about personal choices.

    2. “In short, we don’t give our bodies the nutrition it needs because our food has been processed with chemicals so that it takes less time to prepare.”

      speak for yourself. sure, it’s true way too many people rely on processed crap. stuff the market provides because people WANT it

      not me. nothing prevents the smart consumer from preparing food from scratch, eating GOOD food, etc.

      people make their own fucking choices, and they live with them

      heck, even mcdonald’s and wendys provide some very healthy choices, as well as junk. it’s up to CONSUMERS to decide.

      i eat very little processed crap. any other individual has complete freedom to make the same choices. all govt. does is limit choices.

    3. 70% of Americans are considered OBESE

      Considered by whom? Even with the monkeyed-with BMI standards of HHS the pct isn’t nearly that high.

      1. No shit. Last time I checked it was in the 0 range, with somewhere around 60 or 65% overweight as a whole.

        1. The hell? The squirrels are truly dicking with me tonight. Should have been “30%” not “0”.

    4. “processed with chemicals”

      You realize that cooking a meal constitutes processing. And water is a chemical.

      Smile, you should be happy that your competitors in life are a bunch of lazy slobs who will die early.

      1. dihydrogen monoxide is a dangerous scourge. kills thousands. and it’s used in processing!

        1. It is the most common chemical in sewers and used bongwater.

          1. animals also love to pee in it.

  18. obesity is a problem. nannystate intervention is NOT the solution

    i’m all for people making better choices (it is NOT the food industry’s fault… it is individual consumers, and in the case of kids… often their parents’ fault). in brief, eat better, and stop stuffing yer fat face, and get some exercise . hth

    setting aside the freedom encroachments of GOVERNMENT taking action (witness san fran and their happy meal ban), the idea that govt. is ever going to be the ones you want to go to for GOOD nutrition advice is laughable. first of all, they are beholden to big pharma, big agriculture, etc. and they are the same people who were behind the laughably stupid food pyramid, and other such inanities

    churches, community groups, gyms, social groups, etc. etc. can all help people choose positive choices, with the understanding that ultimately, it is 100% within the individuals’ control as to what they eat, and it is 100% their responsibility the negative or positive consequences they see from their diet and activity choices. it’s called PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

    i used to be a personal trainer, and have been involved in competitive sports all my life, and what i see is that it ULTIMATELY comes down to discipline. people HAVE to want to make the right choices, AND they have to have the discipline to carry through with them, for it to work

    a sad counterpart to socialized medicine is the idea that govt. should have the power to limit choice, etc. when it comes to what people eat. that’s the job of the market, and the individual and govt. needs to keep its nannystate hands the fuck away from our choices.

    there are few things in life we have greater control over , than what we eat (and learning to cook well opens up a whole world, because you can eat the best foods without being wealthy. it’s a great equalizer. ), and few things where the consequences are more directly related to our choices than when it comes to diet, drug use, and exercise

    whether a person chooses a diet exclusively of big macs, or not, that is THEIR choice, and their responsibility to deal with the consequences

    fuck the nannystate assholes who want to control us

    1. Maybe people value enjoying how their food tastes more than living to 100 eating brussel sprouts and fava beans.

      1. i’m talking steak, stew, pork, barbeque, fruit, vegetables, etc.

        lowfat is the LAST thing you want (very bad for you), and lots of epic, healthy foods out there.

        ribeye steak, eggs, thai, etc.

        1. I should have specified “tastes good and is cheap”

          1. this is where learning to cook comes into play

            it is (generally speaking) easy to cook expensive cuts of meat and expensive ingredients usually require less skill to prepare

            contrarily, the cheap cheap cuts of meat, etc. usually take more time/care/prep. for example, tough cuts of meat that are very cheap work great in a slowly cooked stew…

            lots of formerly cheap cuts became expensive because they became trendy… pork belly, skirt steak, but they were there are along

            you can eat very cheaply AND very healthily, but it requires actual WORK vs. just opening a container and sticking it in microwave

            1. And it’s a good way to get women to come to your place. Pleasant exercise and a good meal.

              1. this is true, too. ime, women appreciate a man who can cook. imo, it’s actually quite a manly art, and a great way to show somebody you appreciate them

                a dish made with love is a sincere way to do that.

                i LOVE to cook, and i love to eat.

                eating mediocre food is such a waste of an opportunity – to eat tasty food.

                and i’m not talking haute cuisine. i like an occasional big mac, or even taco bell, or simply a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. food is awesome

                my wife is a good cook, too, but she is not into cooking like i am. i really love food

      2. You wouldn’t survive to 50 eating only brussels sprouts and fava beans.

        A diverse, whole-food, high-fat, low-carb diet tastes way better than the salt-flour-and-corn-syrup diet of the average American. You’ll reach a normal weight, lose the food cravings, and sleep better. It’s win-win. Try it and see.

        1. remember, there are no essential carbs. there are essential fats (EFA’s) and proteins (EAA’s)

  19. After months of being just a reader of the comments, I’ve decided to finally jump into the discussion.

    Before you get too excited, though, I’m going to say something with which most of you will probably disagree: I actually don’t mind the government doing this (providing nutrition information), as long as it’s simply being PROVIDED and not PUSHED on us. This assumes that the feds are impartial in this respect – I realize they’re usually not, but in this case they don’t really have a horse in the race, so to speak, and in any case the information they provide seems to mimic, for the most part, your doctor’s advice (avoid too much fat, load up on veggies, etc.). And as always, if you don’t trust or value the information that the gov’t is putting out you can seek it from another source. I think that this type of thing actually could fall under government’s (bare-bones) responsibility to the general welfare.

    1. The problem is that the guidance of “avoid too much fat” is completely fictional and has contributed tremendously to the glut of obesity in this country. If the government stayed out, popular opinion would change much more quickly to reflect the research rather than reflecting the corporate farm industry’s needs.

      1. Not gonna dump on you, FT, because you’re not giving off the liberal vibe (nor the right-wing control-freak vibe, for that matter), but a bit of constructive criticism:

        ALWAYS doubt the government’s good intentions. On *everything*.

        Also, “general welfare” shouldn’t include “experts” in D.C. offices who do nothing but scold and finger-wag. In fact, they should stay the hell out of everyday life and leave everyday-living decisions to the individual.

        1. i usually doubt their execution more than their intentions, but in some cases it’s one or the other, and in some cases, it’s both

  20. So ” Tolerance” and “Diversity” are the supreme values of The New Order?
    Only until it’s time to push people around, Und zen ve discover None of der divergence ist tolerated. Amerika upgefucht ist, und out-Straigthen must Bekomm!
    You vill eat vat we tell you to eat, you will trink vat we tell you to trink, und as far as der kinder….

    Do you zeriously vant der untermensch in YOUR vamily, Hein?

    Ve haff vays of makink you eat ze tofu
    ( I vould take ein bullet mienselff…)

  21. You can cut your bills tremendously by visiting “Get Official Samples” website without becoming addicted like some of the people you see on TV, That’s more like hoarding.

  22. “Me and my Barack shall dine on fat burgers and fries but the school kiddies will have a meager plate of chicken fingers, veggies and 2% milk EVERY DAY of their fat little lives!”

  23. …an even more intrusive and hands-on government effort to engineer our behavior.

    Don’t care because I don’t have to log onto that stupid site and use that stupid tool. But what I care about is that my government used my money to pay some jerk offs to develop this crap and to roll it out. Is this the kind of shit they’re wasting my money on?

  24. Having the government want to put you on a diet is like having Michael Moore offer to be your personal trainer.

    1. In soviet US, government teach you restraint.

  25. I am so glad that First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! is a very comprehensive initiative. I hope that all people will join and participate this program – to have a healthy community particularly to those kids in schools. Through this, we, parents, are no longer worry what our kids are eating. Personally, I prepare breakfast and lunch and let them take a klamath blue green algae supplement that enhances their brain function, memory concentration and oxygenate their blood.

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