March 14 2012

Vilifying Beef

NRO: The Home Front

Julie Gunlock

 

Is anyone else tired of these gloomy food warnings?  The warning du jour tells us that we’re all going to die of cancer and cardiovascular disease because we all eat too much red meat!

Oh please, we’ve heard this all before.

Remember how we weren’t supposed to eat eggs? Remember how we all needed to eat low-fat foods? Then it was high protein, low carbs — and fat didn’t really matter. Then it was good carbs, not bad carbs, because bad carbs make you fat whereas good carbs make you go to heaven. More recently, we’ve seen attacks on salt and of course there was that very recent study that called sugar a “toxic” substance.

Oh, those food nannies. They make such great dinner guests.

This week, it’s beef’s turn to be vilified and cows are taking a beating. Harvard researchers just released a study claiming that beef consumption is linked to a higher risk of all sorts of depressing things, such as pain and death. The researchers were at least kind enough to suggest some beef alternatives. How does a nice, big, juicy nut-and-legume burger sound to you?  

Jokes aside, this type of nanny-state annoyance might seem like something we can all laugh about now, but we should all ask how Obamacare will change, by force, the way people in America eat.

The excuse given for many of the Obama-led food regulations over the past several years has been that if the taxpayer is responsible for rising health-care costs (the administration loves to blame those cost increases on obesity), then it’s perfectly acceptable for the government to require you to keep your personal health-care costs in check by eating the “right food.” Using this logic, crushing taxes would be levied on food deemed unhealthy by the government in order to nudge individuals toward better eating. And, of course, the government would use the latest research to determine what constitutes the “right food.”

Perhaps soon studies, such as this new Harvard study on beef, will be used to limit American’s consumption of certain foods. With each new study, new government guidelines will emerge to help guide Americans please their nutrition overlords.

In 2005, a big-budget (read: bad) Hollywood sci-fi movie called The Islanddramatized exactly the natural progression of this type of food-nanny state.  Approaching the cafeteria food line, the main character, played by Ewen McGregor, holds a bracelet up to a scanner which then reads information about his body and general health. Using this information, the cafeteria worker denies him bacon (which he’s desperate to eat) and serves him a tasteless breakfast that the government has declared healthy for his body.

These situations are just sci-fi now, but give it a couple of years. What will you be “allowed” to eat?

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