Sunday, July 16, 2006

Trans Fats

Recently I've been focusing on my health and nutrition quite a bit. I've lost a good chunk of weight this year and I've now switched over to a diet with emphasis on muscle-building. With all of this I've been doing quite a bit of reading on the nutrient content of food, to keep track of my daily calorie intake and breakdown. (I probably shouldn't drink anymore, but life's too short.)

One of the things that caught my eye was the Canadian government's Task Force on Trans Fats. The Task Force, started by an NDP-sponsored bill a couple of years ago, is recommending that trans fats be basically banned. The ban would allow no more than 2% of the fat content in grocery store margarines, etc. to be trans fats. Other foods (baked goods, etc.) would be allowed to have no more than 5% trans fat content. Restaurant food would not (could not) be regulated per se, but would only be allowed to be prepared with the aforementioned ingredients. This ban would not apply to products where the fat originates exclusively from meat or dairy products, since those can contain a small amount of naturally-occurring trans fat.

On the surface, this ban would go against my libertarian leanings, but I wholeheartedly support it? Why? Am I out of my mind? No, and here's why. You see, we are not talking about banning a behaviour here. No one derives enjoyment or benefit from consuming trans fats specifically. Trans fats have no benefit or purpose within the human body, unlike even the much-maligned saturated fat, except to clog arteries and throw a whole bunch of stuff out of whack.

We aren't going to create an illicit trade in Crisco here! There won't be any after-hours parties where people will huddle around an applie pie or a carton of McDonald's fries from south of the border. I think this reasonably falls within the government's right and duty to protect the health of its citizens. And I can't wait to enjoy more fast food! (Right now I'm just waiting until Wendy's switches over to a healthier frying oil next month.)

For those that know me, an odd topic and and an uncharacteristic viewpoint for my first-ever blog post, huh?


At 10:30 PM, Blogger Taxbeaner said...

The banning of Trans Fat creates a slippery slope indeed. I still prefer the consumer making the choice, though I must admit that often there is no choice but the bad choice. The other day I picked up every variety of Wishbone salad dressing looking for one without HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup). Guess what! They either don't make one or the large grocery store I was in doesn't market one without HFCS. I settled on the balsamic vinegar and oil with HFCS as an ingredient. How can you screw up a recipe as basic as that? But getting back to your original blog problem/solution, buy the non-trans fatty products and hope Darwinism will work things out in your favor.

At 7:49 AM, Blogger Mitch said...

I agree with Bill on this Larry. Government regulation of this is the path to bondage paved with good intentions. I'm a full disclosure and let the consumer decide. Heck, I'm not even 100% sure that the science is totally accurate, considering how contradictory 'health' studies come along on the same topic.

The self-selection argument works well for me. Weeding out stupidity from the gene pool is always important for any species.

At 11:56 AM, Blogger The Salmon of Knowledge said...

Consumers making informed choices is easily the preferred track in most intances, but where as Mc Donald's is unlikely to say "we've been feeding you crap for 50 years, but this time we;re really looking out for you". Government presence in needed in matters like this.

The full disclosure of which Mitchell speaks(especially full voluntary disclosure) is about as common as the dodo.


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