Friday, May 05, 2006

Regulating French Fries?

So it appears there are health nuts, freaks, nanny state suck-ups--I mean advocates--who want to ban french fries and trans fat from grown adults. Should we even be having this conversation?

Update: Instead of just regulating french fries, maybe the government should also force all of those who are overweight to read Berkeley psychologist, Seth Roberts' new book, The Shangri-La Diet and follow it. I read the book this morning and apparently, all you do is eat one or two tablespoons of Extra Light Olive Oil and some sugar water daily to control the body's set point and lose weight. {Note: I am not saying that Roberts' plan does not work--it might be great, probably is--I liked the book very much--but I use it as an example of a current popular diet that if successful, could be the next step in government regulation}.

If the government can regulate trans fat, can they also regulate weight loss for the overweight? If so, how do I get a piece of the action? Can I write a diet solution and force others to follow my plan and buy my products and books? If so, where do I sign up? Because, of course, my needs and desire to see only slim productive citizens should take precedence over free choice and personal responsibility--or so, some misguided health nuts think.

The bottom line is, once we start on the slippery slope of regulating what people can consume based on how good it is for them, there is no telling how far we can go in deciding that free will, in and of itself, is bad for people.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smoking bans.
Seat belt laws.
Bicycle helment laws.
Gun storage laws.
Harrasement laws.
Speech laws.
Etc, ad nauseum.

I bet they win too.

Nanny knows best. Now shut up and eat your peas.

5:13 PM, May 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only if we can ban tofu too.

5:16 PM, May 05, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


I think there are many people who would take you up on that offer.

5:37 PM, May 05, 2006  
Blogger Sissy Willis said...

I'll have the fries WITH tartar sauce, please.

5:41 PM, May 05, 2006  
Blogger David Foster said...

This doesn't seem as far-fetched as it did only 3 years ago...

5:58 PM, May 05, 2006  
Blogger Goldie said...

Seriously. And they call this a free country?

6:10 PM, May 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's time for another tea party. Maybe this time we dump tofu in the harbor.

6:15 PM, May 05, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

Why the knock against tofu? It tastes like nothing unless you put it in a dish in which case it absorbs the taste of the dish.

(Note: I am not one of the health nuts--I like my french fries--but I do appreciate the health benefits of tofu.)

6:40 PM, May 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look you don't understand. Burgers and fries are American. Everybody knows that American is bad. We must ban it and eat falafel and tofu. These are good. They come from non-American cultures. Remember trans-fats are a product of America's aggression against Nazi Germany so it has to be bad.

It is all a diabolical plan. Eating french fries makes people happy. Happy people don' t protest. If they don't protest, they don't need anyone to lead them. If they don't need anyone to lead them, who will "those that know best" control? Who will feed the machine.

Remember obesity reduces productivity! You may read that as you are just an expendable cog in the great machine of the state. You do NOT have the right to reduce your value to the great machine. All hail the machine. For we are but fodder for it's wheels.

This is why I was always against banning smoking. I don't smoke but I knew that next they would come for something I did enjoy. Will they come next for my RC cola and moon pie? Will the Krispy Kreme Hot Doughnuts Now sign forever be dark in the future? Will "death by chocolate" come to mean you were gunned down for refusing to drop the Hershey's bar?

6:50 PM, May 05, 2006  
Blogger d-day said...

Trans fats are primarily unhealthy because they strip the good cholesterol out of your blood along with the bad. I bet if you took a fish/flax oil supplement to replace the good cholesterol every time you ate any trans fats, you'd be extremely healthy. And if you did that and were wrong about that and made yourself sick, no one else is hurt and society benefits from knowing what works and what doesn't work. Freedom of diet benefits everyone.

But forget that. Much better just to regulate people's diets completely, so when the next dietary fad is disproven, we can all be unhealthy together.

7:39 PM, May 05, 2006  
Blogger DADvocate said...

One ironic aspect of this is that there is not a direct connection between fat and cholesterol intake and blood cholesterol level. Much of it is genetic. Remember the Russian figure skater?

Two Fridays ago I went to the doctor for a check up. I need to lose about 20 pounds according to the charts. I usually have 1-2 ham sandwiches a day, fried chicken 1-2 times a week plus a hamburger or two. Don't each many fries simply because I'm neutral about them. My blood cholesteral - 135, which is a little higher than last time. I can't remember the figure but the doctor said my LDL's were the lowest he'd ever seen. (Just had to brag a little.)

Banning stuff like french fries will have a negative effect in the long run. Somewhere the law of unintended results will come into play.

9:26 PM, May 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in favor of the smoking ban, wherever one can be implemented; not only because I don't smoke, but because I have enough trouble breathing, without having someone else's smoke polluting my air. Sorry, but that's the way it is.

Do I think all dietary bans are good? No, no more than I think the lawsuits filed by or on behalf of people who are too dumb to make good choices are good.

An old episode of L.A. Law comes to mind, although I've forgotten names: Susan Ruttan's character was pregnant. She was out for dinner with her ex-husband, and ordered a glass of wine. The server pointed out the posted warning about drinking during pregnancy, and suggested a nonalcoholic beverage. Pregnant Woman reiterated her desire for a glass of wine. Server left, returned with manager, who stressed the importance of avoiding alcohol during pregnancy. Ex-husband showed more gumption than he had in any previous episode and verbally cut both the server and the manager to ribbons. The lady got her wine. Do I think that's smart? Probably not, but I also understand that the bigger problem for the fetus is a smoking mom; and if I remember correctly, the combination of smoking and alcohol is really bad. A glass of wine? Quien sabe?

And if my ignorance is lit up in neon, feel free to correct me--but be kind!

9:31 PM, May 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dadvocate: You really know how to hurt a person! I eat carefully--not stringently, but carefully. My total cholesterol is in the 260's; my LDL is 140 (down 20 pts. from last year); my triglycerides are 151. My saving grace is my HDL: 90.

My family medical history is rich with bad cholesterol numbers. My mom's are such that she ought to be dead, but she's 89 and still pretty sharp.

9:34 PM, May 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fried Okra at Church's:
fat 23 gm
sat fat 4 gm
trans fat N/A (not an easy # to get I guess)

I'm still in.

10:15 PM, May 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my favorite foods is Peanut Butter, Lettuce, Tomatoe and Miracle Whip. I will defy to the death any attempt to control that delightful concoction. I'm not in love with french fries, but I'll defy to the death any attempt on that one too.

Snicker, these food-fascists are something else and to answer your question, NO WE SHOULD NOT be having this conversation.

11:24 PM, May 05, 2006  
Blogger jw said...

The only french-fries we eat are the ones I make from scratch. Deep fry at 310 F using the best quality vegetable oil. We're not going to give them up either!

On Tofu:

I once had twenty lone fathers & their kids for a Christmas dinner. I served triple garlic roast beef (if the fumes in the kitchen don't knock you down you havn't used enough garlic). One of the dads and his two kids kept vegetarian. So I made triple garlic tofu.

What I didn't know was that tofu, marge, corn starch, garlic, taragon and assr't other spices is the recipe for making super ball rubber. It was so inedable that the neighbour's huskey (who will eat anything) wouldn't even try to eat it!

Tofu isn't food, it is one of the ingredient's in children's toys.

4:07 AM, May 06, 2006  
Blogger BobH said...

A rebuttal to scare tactics concerning pregnant women drinking:

We probably wouldn't have this meddling if we didn't have "socialized medicine". People who damage themselves by some "self-destructive behavior" like eating French fries (or riding motorcycles, with or without a helmet, etc.) are now cared for with society's money, not just their own.

9:10 AM, May 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dweeb said:

"It's time for another tea party. Maybe this time we dump tofu in the harbor."

No, maybe this time we dump diet nazi's themselves into the harbor.

9:53 AM, May 06, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

vicki what about the pollutionn due to these gas guzzling suv's, rhey produce more pollutnts, than cigarette smooe, or what about cows flatulencem they are pollutants too.

i see this as the prutican streak in the american psyche, they were against anything that was fun.

lets standardise all food production in government run kitchens, ban all shops make a government run food centres, and you have a card which says u are entitled to x amount of acalories a day. and thats it..

hello 1984, a brave new world and other repressive regimes.

1:15 PM, May 06, 2006  
Blogger michael farris said...

Why does tofu get such a bad rep? I don't like 'soft' tofu at all but I love hard tofu sliced thin and served raw with a drop or two of roasted sesame oil and soy sauce, or cut up into cubes in oriental noodle soup.

Tofu _is_ awful as a meat substitute, and just using it instead of meat in a recipe is asking for trouble. But on its own terms it's a wonderful, versatile food.

I like lots of junk food too, including french fries (I like them best homemade with butter salt and pepper) and people that try to tell other people what to eat should be ignored (or punched in the nose if they won't shut up).

1:32 PM, May 06, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


I actually love tofu myself, although, like you, the soft tofu seems weird to me and I don't like the texture. I guess tofu is picked on because it is one of the "health" foods most associated with vegans and vegetarians--some of whom get on their high horses about what people should eat.

I am not much of a junk food eater, I actually did not eat french fries until about 7 years ago after my heart attack. I now have an occassional handful once a month-but the first few are the best.

1:42 PM, May 06, 2006  
Blogger ronin1516 said...

I eat tofu, and also burgers and fries, and sign me up to the tea psrty where wewill be t hrowing all the know-it-all diet nazis into the harbor!!!
Again - why all the complaining about tofu. It is a good food, provided you learn to prepare it properly. And if I, an unusually politically correct person can eat tofu and like it, you can too!!!

have a great weekend, y'all!!!!!!!!

1:57 PM, May 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could actually go for some falafel right now. Unfortunately, it's fried and I'm lazy and on Weight Watchers so no go.

2:28 PM, May 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mercurior: I keep my car windows rolled up, when I'm driving, to help limit the amount of auto exhaust that I breathe. When too much seeps in, anyway, you'll find me either holding my breath (if I know I'll pass the stinky vehicle quickly) or breathing at a very shallow level. In a restaurant or other building, the gas guzzlers aren't blowing smoke in my face or wafting it across my table. They aren't filling the interior with their pollution; they leave that to the smoking humans. And the gas-guzzling autos have no volitional powers: they can't choose either to pollute or to consider others around them.

When we're talking about your right to smoke vs. my right to breathe, I will fight for my right to breathe, anytime, without apology. I am not likely to fight to deny you the right to smoke in your own home or car (as long as you don't toss your cigarette butts) . . . unless you inflict it on children. Then, maybe.

4:28 PM, May 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You all just crack me up. Yeah, the tofu snipe I made at the top of the comments was simply because that's the one food most associated with the "food nannies".

If you think about it, how many times have you heard a person who eats meat, tell someone that they "MUST - absolutely must stop eating those awful veggies"? Or insisting that someone who is a vegetarian MUST start eating meat? I've never seen it.

But we often see vegetarians telling us how to eat and that we MUST stop eating meat and all those really bad fried foods... yada yada yada.

I eat a pretty healthy diet for the most part. Seldom eat fries, but that's a personal choice. (I like mine fried pretty dark and crispy and few places make them that way - and I refuse to mess up my kitchen making my own).

I really have nothing against tofu at all - I've had some tofu in dishes that have been very good.

But trying to regulate what people eat - NO! It's just plain stupid.

7:25 PM, May 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to eat some sudafed right about now, but I bought a box for my husband to take on a trip today, he's gone, we're out, and one box more puts me over the daily purchase limit.

Did you know that even if your physician decides an otc formulation of pseudoephedrine is the best medicne for you, and writes you a prescription for a box of 12-hour and a box of nighttime, your pharmacy can't fill both on the same day?

Or, that under the Patriot Act, if you have chronic sinusitis or allergic rhinitis, and your doctor prescribes you more than 9 grams in a month, the pharmacy can't honor the are limited to the 9 grams even if your doctor thinks you need more.??? This according to the pharmacist, AND the local branch of my DEA diversion office.

ps. the reformulated versions of sudafed don't work.

8:35 PM, May 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If so, how do I get a piece of the action? Can I write a diet solution and force others to follow my plan and buy my products and books?"

You'd better watch yourself, Dr. Helen - you're channeling Dogbert.

Dr. Ellen

10:28 PM, May 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonomous 8:35-
Your allegations re: the Patriot Act are untrue.
I know, since I receive 50 days worth of pseudoephedrine at a time every 50 days from the VA.

11:52 PM, May 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell it to the DEA. Tell it to my pharmacist. the pharmacist refused to fill my prescription, the DEA said the pharmacist was not allowed to fill it with OTC Sudafed, even with a valid prescription.

WHen you say you "receive" pseudoephedrine, what do you mean? DO you have to buy it, like I do at a pharmacy? The law applies applies to all retail distributors.
The 9 gram per month limit applies to purchases in a store. Only 7.5 grams per month can be purchased through the mail.

I siggest you read the combat meth act of 2005 as enacted.

It JUST went into effect. Perhaps the VA is allowed to handle things differently than a retail pharmacy. But maybe you will get an unpleasant surprise....

12:08 AM, May 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please research Shangri-La Diet at Google link about Freakanomic Duo Duped - Fructose Diet is Dangerous

12:46 AM, May 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The main way to do the Shangri-La Diet is with extra-light oil, not sugar water. And ELOO is totally safe (isn't it in most of our diets already?). It works -- and I agree with Dr. Helen: It could change the big picture of obesity for the better. We certainly do need solutions that work.

10:18 AM, May 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just recently read about a new proposed treatment for obesity that sounds like it works a lot like the Shangri la diet. I mean, I wonder if the mechanism is the same one... Maybe drinking the oil boosts levels of the same chemical.
NewWay to Treat Obesity Heralded (BBC).

This sounds promising...

Boosting oxyntomodulin limits appetite and raises activity levels at the same time - leading to speedy but healthy weight loss rates, a UK study suggests.

Nobody gets around the old saw about "eat less and excercise more". It just seems it might come naturally to some folks, and that other folks can *make* themselves more active and less hungry with less struggle than would be natural for them. Singularity!

10:59 AM, May 07, 2006  
Blogger Jacob said...

Reminds me of this.

5:21 PM, May 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tufu is a soy product. Processed soy generates MSG. MSG is a factor in migraines and other headaches.

5:38 PM, May 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sudafed up-
Thanks, I did. The bill says that the 9GM per 30 day limit does not apply to a doctors prescription.
This bill also has nothing to do with the Patriot Act.

6:04 AM, May 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ben, you looked up old proposed legislation, apparently, not the law recently enacted as part of the Patriot Act.

The bill does not say that the 30 day limit doesn't apply to a doctors prescription. The enacted bill was amended. They took that part out. Deliberately.

And it does have something to do with the Patriot Act... it was passed as part of th Patriot Act.. You are abosolutely clueless. You don't know what you are talking about.

If what you are saying is the combat meth act doesn't BELONG in the Patriot Act, I would agree with you. BUt it was.

The DEA and my pharmacists both insist the pharmacy can sell me only one pack of Sudafed 12 hour on a single day, and no more than three in a month, and a prescription doesn't allow them to dispense any more of any psuedoephedrine medicine available OTC. ONly if my doc prescribes a medicine with psuedoephedrine that is NOT available OTC do the quantity limits law not apply to retail sales.

Links for you:

The enrolled version of H.R. 3199 (USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005)

The part that deals with sudafed here.

Note carefully the "valid prescription" exception that was in earlier, unamended versions of both house and Senate bills is no longer there.

Besides the fact that the fricking DEA told me that the pharmacy could not legally fill my PRESCRIPTION for the OTC-scheduled medicine.


12:33 PM, May 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back to french fries - I just wish restaurants and food producers would let you know what they put in stuff, so I can decide for myself. Trans-fats are just one example; peanuts are another. Peanuts shouldn't banned for God's sake, but allergic people should know when food they are buying contains peanuts.

BTW, one very standard way of preparing tofu is deep-frying it before you stir fry it with the other ingredients. You can use a trans-fat to fry it if you insist.

2:38 PM, May 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I resolved to stop eating junk food on January 1st. Now, if I have a slice of pizza or a McD's chicken nugget, it makes me feel bad. I suppose that tells me something, but I dont know what.

5:07 PM, May 08, 2006  
Blogger John Salmon said...

I can envision a Monty Python "Minister for Banning All That's Bad for You."

6:59 PM, May 08, 2006  
Blogger Christy said...

I've been using extra virgin olive oil forever. So you are telling me that if I had been drinking regular Co-Colas (sugar water) all these years instead of diet coke I wouldn't be fat?

12:59 PM, May 09, 2006  
Blogger gs said...

hketg wrote, "Seriously. And they call this a free country?"

They used to. I don't know if they still do.

In the days when they called it a free country, it wasn't free for everyone. (Remember 'free, white and 21'? Remember 'it's a man's world'?) People who, out of misguided idealism or more sinister motives, have little use for freedom seized on that. Now that the gross barriers are gone, they concoct pretexts with no end in sight.
I've wanted to lower my weight, but not seriously enough to go on a detailed regimen. I'm giving Shangri-La a try. Helen, thanks for the tip.

3:39 PM, May 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


actually, i went vegetarian for about the last year and had LOTS of people telling me i should just quit being silly and eat meat. and there were always questions about why i was doing this. as if i owe ANYONE an explanation regarding my food choices. i, on the other hand, did not feel the need to proselytize about why vegetarianism was the way to go. for one thing, i knew damn well it was a difficult choice.

10:47 PM, May 12, 2006  
Blogger gs said...

Hi Helen, I haven't been commenting here lately, but I remain a faithful and appreciative reader. Maybe this will come to your attention although the thread is old.

In the two months since my comment above (gs @ 3:39 pm), I've lost twenty pounds with the diet. I'm grateful to you and Glenn for publicizing it.

Losing weight wasn't an overriding priority when I started the diet, so the Shangri-La pounds feel like a windfall. That makes a total of 35 pounds since quitting a negative job a year ago: 15 spontaneously and 20 with Shangri-La. Dropping 10, or maybe even up to 20-25, more pounds would be fine at some point. However, my current weight feels good and I'm thinking about leveling off until I'm used to it.

Thanks again.

1:11 PM, July 08, 2006  
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