Health care reform needs to include food industry reform. The well-off often wonder why the poor are obese. I can tell you simply: fattening “food” is cheap. I call it “food” because anything with more than four ingredients on its label can hardly be called real food – it is little more than processed poison, a poison laden, usually with high fructose corn syrup, the bane of anyone trying to stay healthy. It is put in food for one reason and one reason only- to appeal to our sweet tooth, to get us addicted to junk. I mean, really, does a fast-food burger need sugar? No, but they have them. And, as anyone knows, fast food is cheap – check out the $1 menus sometime.
This has been on my mind ever since the battle over health care reform heated up. We have an epidemic of obesity and we’re going to be paying for it either personally or through our taxes if we get universal health care. Ergo, we should care that people’s waist to hip ratio is right, we should care that the food stamp program in some areas is so backward it forbids the purchase of yogurt but allows people to buy soda, we should care that the food industry is stuffing our cows with corn instead of grass and beefing up our chickens with hormones to the point they can’t stand on their own…. and that all that poison goes into bodies that are biologically designed to eat food in its natural state and revolts (gains weight disproportionately) when we eat what our too busy (or too poor) lifestyles seem to demand: fast, cheap, processed food. (And don’t even get me started on the “leftovers” grocery stores and restaurants send to soup kitchens.)
I don’t have time to explain all this today, but luckily, the NYTimes is having a discussion about it today here, and there are links to various blogs discussing the politics of food, who gets what in our nation, and why the real health care issue is reform of the food industry here, here, here, here, here, and this video about “portion distortion” with links to more discussions on those blogs. Read them and engage your brain. Then take a walk, make your own lunch and read labels: If it’s got more than four or five ingredients, don’t eat it.