Two TIME articles from this week leave a lot to be desired by tipping the scales toward food in the focus on healthy living. The first piece is a list of nine foods parents shouldn’t give to kids determined by using nutritional “guidelines” from food police headquarters: the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). What kinds of foods made the blacklist? Certain crackers, soup, and macaroni & cheese for such offenses as being too sugary or salty.
Of course, using CSPI’s guidelines for food choices would be like asking PETA for hunting advice. The only surprise is that TIME’s “suggestions” of alternative foods aren’t cardboard-flavored.
The second TIME piece, a health article, is clear in its thesis: “[I]t’s what you eat, not how hard you try to work it off, that matters more in losing weight.” The author’s basic argument is that because some people eat more after they exercise, they could actually not lose any weight at all.
Missing from both articles is a simple message: moderation. Sugar in juice or salt in crackers isn’t going to kill you. The same is true for weight loss (or gain). It’s simply a matter of balancing “calories in” versus “calories out.”
On a related note, a new McClatchy-Ipsos poll finds that most Americans don’t think they have a weight problem. Forty-nine percent of respondents said that their weight was “no problem at all,” while another 33 percent said it was only a minor problem.
Another finding was that 75 percent of Americans think the most effective way to combat obesity is through education. Unfortunately, activists like our newly-minted CDC chief Thomas Frieden have decided that they have other plans: command-and-control policies that will nudge us toward what they think is good for the rest of us.
Grown Americans know well enough by themselves and we have plenty of tools to manage our lifestyles. We don’t need food nannies like CSPI looking after us like children. In fighting obesity, we should remember to look all around us, not just at our plates.