How healthy is your typical meal? How scrupulous are you about maintain a balanced and nutritional diet?
It’s a question asked of us on virtually every cable news network, food show, nutrition blog, and in any other medium where the topic of food comes up. The state of America’s collective dietary health has been a subject of rampant debate over the last decade or so, and for good reason. We are a fatter nation than ever before, with every state experiencing higher obesity rates than years before, and more people suffering from heart disease as the result of poor eating habits.
There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of food out there that’s bad for you. Most fast food items, candies, sodas, and fried foods are just a few of the usual suspects. The problem is that these offending items tend to be both cheap and additively tasty, making it harder for people who really struggle with their dietary health to say no. When you’re choosing between relatively expensive “health food” and dollar menu items at a fast food joint, it’s hard to ignore the cheaper option.
Officials in certain cities have taken it upon themselves to make this decision easier on the average consumer by limiting the available options. New York City is perhaps the best example of the increasing regulation of unhealthy food products. For instance, the city banned all trans-fat products back in 2009. Trans-fats exist naturally in many foods like avocados and raw coconut, and are good for your body in small doses. But many baked sweets and bread items are loaded with trans-fats in order to keep them fresh when they’d normally expire. In large amounts, trans-fats can be terrible for your heart healthy, potentially leading to clogged arteries.
Despite the controversy over banning all trans-fats in processed foods, the movement seemed to work. A recent study revealed that the heart health of New Yorkers has improved on average, and that people are eating much fewer trans-fats. The health campaign was successful in this case, with few setbacks.
The same can’t be said about the city’s push to ban large sodas from public consumption. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been adamant about banning large sodas in the city because of their high calorie and sugar content, but many residents feel that the move goes too far. Banning trans-fats is one thing, but banning a Big Gulp? That’s an entirely different matter.
The soda ban controversy brings up the issue of where to draw the line when it comes to government intervention in the area of food and beverages. Sure, entities like the FDA and the CDC can issue statements declaring one food unhealthy and another one good for you, but should bodies of government have the power to deny access to any food or drinks? Health advocates might suggest that those extreme measures might be just what it takes to save Americans from themselves, but many people aren’t convinced. It’s a touchy subject at best, with the freedoms of an American citizen at the center of a debate.
How do you feel about this subject? Do you think certain foods should be banned or regulated? Or can we trust ourselves to do what’s right for our health? I’d love to hear your feedback!
Angelita Williams is a freelance blogger who specializes in education-related content. She’s familiar with educational practices for every age and lifestyle, from online college courses to homeschooling to traditional learning. You can contact Angelita anytime at email@example.com.