Friday, January 11, 2013

Guest Post: Rodney Hide

In response to my post yesterday which suggested blaming government for obesity is an adrogation of personal responsibility, Rodney Hide writes:

I think you are wrong on this one Lindsay.

The government mantra is “calories in, calories out” with massive public programmes to “eat less, move more”.  They are abject failures.

The government likewise has had a massive programme for years all around the world to demonise animal fat.  It has worked.  Animal fat consumption has dropped enormously.

People eat industrially-made margarine instead of butter and sugar laden manufactured cereals instead of bacon and eggs.  Our meat is all low fat.

We have got fatter and sicker.

Homeostasis is the rule -- not the exception -- in the animal kingdom.

Fat metabolism is no different.  It’s been known for years that fat accumulation is caused by dysregulation.

The culprit appears to be insulin spiked by excessive sugar and carbohydrate, which breaks down to sugar.  People are eating more -- and exercising less -- because they are dysregulated.  They can’t eat less because they feel they’re starving -- their brain is telling them they are because of the dysregulation.

The problem is this: cut out the fat and the carbohydrate goes up.  In fact, the government mantra is “healthy, whole grains” a food we didn’t eat for 99.5 percent of our existence.

The food manufacturers love it.  “Fat-free” is manufactured food.  Pharmaceutical companies love it.  Look where the big expenditure is on drugs.

Tragically, it now appears that poor eating by parents epigentically affects their offspring.  Adult onset diabetes has had to be relabeled as type 2 diabetes.

It’s the same as “global warming”.  The government has invested and built a bureaucracy around “unhealthy” eating and failed nutrition advice.  It’s hard to imagine that bureaucracy admitting it’s wrong.

I have turned the food pyramid upside down.  And never been better!

Rodney Hide

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What else can we pin on government?

Here's food for thought. The Freeman claims government has made Americans fatter through pushing bad diet advice and being captured by food lobbyists. Summarised by NCPA:

The government, with its accomplices in the food lobby, has helped to make and keep us fat. Through subsidies and misguided food suggestions, Congress, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have made it more difficult for Americans to make smarter dietary decisions, says Jenna Robinson, director of outreach at the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.
  • Americans spend $33 billion on weight loss products and services.
  • Sixty-five percent of adults are overweight.
  • The prevalence of obesity increased from 14.5 percent in 1980 to 30.5 percent today.
One reason for why this is the case is that the government spreads misinformation about healthy eating. For example, in 1982 the government told Americans to reduce fat consumption from 40 percent to 30 percent of daily intake, according to the food pyramid. However, this resulted in Americans eating more carbohydrates, which have contributed to the increase in obesity rates.

Surely there comes a point when blaming government just becomes as bad as blaming anything else for what is largely a matter of personal responsibility. But...

...ultimately the most significant state contributor to obesity is public health. If someone else is going to pay for the consequences of your over-eating and under-exercising, that's one big disincentive out the window.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Not so broken...not so fast

The Economist has a piece titled British Society: Not so broken (hat tip NotPC):

"... society is not broken, at all. If anything, it's healthier than ever. In this week's issue, we've published a story about the current generation of young people—those aged between around 15 to 25. This generation of young people is the best behaved in decades. They drink less, smoke less, take fewer drugs, and have fewer teenage pregnancies. They get better exam results and are more likely to go to university. Frankly, they're incredibly well-behaved. All this has happened despite a huge and ongoing increase in levels of single-parenthood and a similarly large decline in marriage, not to mention the lack of discipline in schools that Mr Cameron mentioned."

My main problem with this assertion is it treats those aged 15-25 as a single entity. If you broke behaviours and characteristics down into socio-economic sub-groups different trends may exist. Amongst the poorest, the products of the benefit society, there may be a flat-lining or even escalation of drug-taking, drinking and teenage pregnancies. They really need to disprove this before dismissing the following claim  by UK Welfare Secretary Iain Duncan Smith:

"All too often, government’s response to social breakdown has been a classic case of 'patching’—a case of handing money out, containing problems and limiting the damage but, in doing so, supporting—even reinforcing — dysfunctional behaviour."
Anyone want to take issue with him? It's a fair summation in my view.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Laws tells beneficiaries to grow veges

This is a welcome development, Michael Laws' column on-line the day it's published. Today he describes growing his first ever (as a grown-up) vegetable garden and advises beneficiaries to do the same so they too can eat better. They have the economic requirement and they have the time apparently.

I started growing stuff last year. Seedlings can be purchased dirt cheap (excuse the pun) from The Warehouse and save on growing time. For weeks we've used my home grown lettuces. The brocolli was a collosal failure with flowerheads that started to seed before they were the size of a good  mouthful. But the capsicums look promising and the spring onions are good.

Yet I think growing stuff is generally a life phase. You can't help but notice it's mostly older people who hang out in garden centres. I've a standing order in with my husband to stop me when I start talking plants and veges. It's just too boring a topic of conversation. And once you start getting obsessive about it, like all hobbies, it can cost a fortune. Before you know it you're hankering after a greenhouse.

So it isn't necessarily the best budgeting advice to give to someone on a benefit. Market produce, if getting to one is feasible, is probably more cost-effective. Besides which, growing stuff out of sheer necessity might take away the pleasure, with experiments and failures too costly.

And let's be realistic. Vege gardens require two things; discipline and optimism. I recall a 'client' from my volunteering days. A sole mother of two whose major battle was mental. She was depressed and as low on motivation as I have ever witnessed. A kind church goer put in a wonderful vege garden for her. Spent hours digging over and preparing the ground. Tended to it while things got going. But I think a falling-out between them ensued and the garden went to wrack and ruin thereafter.

Gardening is like anything else in life. You've got to want to do it. And the problem with non bona fide beneficiaries is there's a long list of things that they just don't want to do and a very short list of things they do.

The trouble with the way Laws approaches the beneficiary problem is that he thinks he can make them like him. I used to think that. That I could make people see the world through my eyes; see the opportunities, experience the satisfaction of a job well done, look forward to tomorrow. But the potential for that to happen is too often  destroyed by being locked in the benefit system.

I'm sorry. Here I am going into my 8th year of blogging still saying the same thing. It's welfare and the associated mentality that's the underlying problem. The other symptoms - Laws identifies poor parenting -  generally stem from it.