Who decides what you can and can’t eat?

Do Not Eat

My recent Facebook status about asking for the Nutrition Information at Chili’s (“Here you go, but you probably won’t stay after you read this.”) sparked a passionate discussion about government regulation.

In particular, one friend who has rather conservative viewpoints (to put it mildly), argued that the government should stay out of his food choices, and that requiring restaurants to provide nutrition information is “the foot in the door for losing great tasting food.”

Although a non-smoker, he later compared potential government regulation of food to what has already happened with smoking — restrictions on where people can smoke, and high taxes on cigarettes.

Here’s my most recent response to him.  What do you think?

I appreciate that you’re trying to take this to a logical conclusion, but where you seem to think we might end up is just nonsense.  Additionally, I could take your argument and extend it out to its logical conclusion: Complete anarchy.

The government can — and should — protect its citizens from corporations, from each other, and, if necessary, from themselves.  Our government already does all of this on a regular and frequent basis in many areas.

It may not be perfect all the time, but let’s not let perfect be the enemy of the good.

If people want to self-destruct and destroy themselves (whether by eating four Awesome Blossoms every day, or by smoking four packs of cigarettes a day), I wouldn’t care — EXCEPT that it doesn’t happen in isolation.

I am grateful and appreciative of the ban on smoking in public places.  When people smoke around me, it affects me.  I hate the smell of smoke, and I don’t want cancer because someone near me is smoking.

When someone exercises his or her individual freedoms, it should not be at the expense of others’.

Our health care system is already overburdened, and the obesity epidemic is becoming a large part of that problem. Obesity is a risk factor for many diseases, most notably Heart Disease, Type II Diabetes, and some Cancers — all of which are very expensive to treat. When this happens on a large scale, it is a tremendous burden on our society… in fact, if the current trends continue, obesity will completely cripple our health care system.

Sure, individual’s freedoms need to be protected, but it’s naive to think that is the end of the conversation. We, as a society, need to find the right balance.

Photo by adamhenning.

A photo of Andrew Wilder leaning into the frame and smiling, hovering over mixing bowls in the kitchen.

Welcome to Eating Rules!

Hi! My name is Andrew Wilder, and I think healthy eating doesn’t have to suck. With just three simple eating rules, we'll kickstart your journey into the delicious and vibrant world of unprocessed food.

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Amanda Cowan
January 7, 2013 2:12 pm

i would have “liked” your response on that issue. It bugs me when someone is so bent on having the gov’t NOT tell them what to do that they would say someone who smokes should be able to smoke wherever they want. Same with the food/nutritional information situation. I can’t tell you how many times I have stepped into a restaurant and tried to ask for information only to get an empty shrug and clueless eyes. Paradise Bakery is one of the worst! The bakeries in my area have their information in a giant disorganized binder. If you want to find out anything THEY have to find it for you and “tell” you the info. Maybe it’s not like that at all of their locations, but it is here in my corner of Az.