Food cops like Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) executive director Michael Jacobson pride themselves on "finding something wrong with practically everything." And their killjoy campaigns are not without effect. As the Santa Fe New Mexican‘s Barbara Ferry pointed out on Sunday:
[We] spend too much time studying nutrition facts on food packages, weighing ourselves, feeling guilty about what we’re eating, exercising like robots on equipment and hating our bodies … we spend far too little time simply enjoying a meal or moving our bodies for the fun of it.
Amen to that.
Last year, a survey released by the Pew Research Center found that since 1989 the number of Americans who truly enjoy eating has dropped by 25 million. A recent feature on Calorie Restriction (the latest dieting craze) in New York Magazine describes a dinner host "weighing arugula on an electronic postage scale, carefully adding a leaf here, removing one there, like a drug dealer parsing out dime bags." And — according to a study co-sponsored by the American Psychological Association — young girls today are "more afraid of becoming fat than they are of cancer, nuclear war or losing their parents."
With government agencies and activist groups pushing for more and more extreme restrictions on what, when, where and how our nation eats, it’s no surprise younger generations are learning to fear — rather than take pleasure in — food. World-renowned chef Julia Child foresaw this threat when she told the Associated Press in 1989 that in a world dominated by the food police, "[s]itting down to dinner is a trap, not something to enjoy."