For weeks we’ve been telling you about the spate of stories on the “obesity epidemic” in the media, from ABC, CNN, and Fox News to NPR, Time, and even People. Now, USA Today has entered the fray, with a story decrying the fact that many restaurants now provide customers with more for their money.
“Consumers today easily can buy cookies the size of pancakes, sodas big enough to drown in, and plates of pasta that never seem to end,” Nanci Hellmich writes. She cites a new study that argues “that portions are getting bigger, and another indicates that big portions contribute significantly to overeating — and therefore the overweight problem in the USA.”
Barbara Rolls, who worked on the Penn State study, says restaurants, not individuals are to blame for overeating: “Relying on people’s will to resist the huge portions at restaurants isn’t going to work.” (That’s not far from the infamous words of Rajen Anand, director of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, which publishes the national Food Pyramid: “People don’t have the knowledge or willpower to select the right kind of food.”) What’s her motivation? Rolls is hawking a book, Volumetrics, which actually encourages large portions of certain foods to aid in weight loss.
Rolls isn’t the only author exploiting media-made obesity fears. Fox News’s Steve Milloy notes in a recent column that Marion Nestle, who has worked with the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), presents a “junk science-fueled message in her new book, Food Politics” that “extends the discredited claim that obesity kills 300,000 annually” — a statistic that the New England Journal of Medicine says is based on “limited, fragmentary, and often ambiguous” data.
“Nestle is simply biased against the food industry,” Milloy writes. “She told The New York Times in 1996: ‘I like it better when CSPI takes on the big corporations like McDonald’s.'”
For more on the War on Obesity, click any link in this article. For our recent report on the stepped up campaign of “social engineering” regarding food and drink, click here.