Filed Under: Big Fat Lies Food Police

Kelly Brownell’s Big Brother Manifesto

Speaking of the latest food police complaint — “food is more cheap, more prevalent and much tastier” — Rick Berman of the Center for Consumer Freedom asked in an Associated Press (AP) story: “[T]hen do we need less food” and food “that tastes like crap” to satisfy these people?
Exactly right, argues the
grandfather of the Twinkie Tax. Kelly Brownell’s new book is a mouthful — Food Fight: The Inside Story of the Food Industry, America’s Obesity Crisis and What We Can Do About It. In it, Brownell, a psychologist by profession, whines about the availability of affordable meals, larger portions, convenient eating, and the appetizing nature of modern menus. He frets that “unhealthy food is convenient, accessible, good-tasting, heavily promoted, and cheap.” In truth, not too many Americans share Brownell’s disappointment with food that is “convenient,” “good-tasting,” and “cheap.”

On CNNfn this June, Brownell attacked restaurants and food suppliers for providing the food that Americans want: “The classic dodge of the food industry now is to blame the obesity problem on physical activity or lack of personal responsibility.” The irony is that last November Brownell admitted to an Associated Press reporter that he hasn’t exactly been a model of dietary virtue himself. The AP describes Brownell like this:

He sports a good-size paunch thanks, he says, to a book project that has kept him relatively sedentary and snack-prone for the last year or so. In photographs taken a few years back, he looks much trimmer.

In a truth-in-advertising scam, one of those “trimmer” Brownell snapshots appears on his new book’s dust jacket.

Of course, Brownell uses Food Fight to heavily promote (what else?) taxes on foods he doesn’t like. Consumer taxes, Brownell argues, “can generate considerable revenue and appear to drive down sales of these foods … The aim of the taxes to decrease consumption of unhealthy foods must be made explicit.”
The book includes a few remarkable admissions. Speaking of food marketing, Brownell concedes: “There is only circumstantial evidence that the ads cause poor eating.” But this recognition doesn’t stop him from complaining about advertising for applesauce and 100 percent juice drinks.

However, Brownell acknowledges that being overweight isn’t necessarily a health risk:

Groundbreaking work on fitness and weight has been done by [epidemiologist Steven] Blair and colleagues at the Cooper Institute. They have shown that the advantages of being fit are striking and that people can be fit even if they are fat … and thus have lowered risk of disease. A remarkable finding is that heavy people who are fit have lower risk than thin people who are unfit.

Given Big Brother Brownell’s apparent obesity and “do as I say, not as I do” attitude, this concession may just be Brownell trying to cover his largely asinine views. Click here to watch commentary on Brownell’s weight gain on CNNfn.

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