Prescription for Big Government: Butt Out

In the public policy world, there’s always a cadre of activists demonizing one food or ingredient in the hope that targeted government regulation will magically make all of us healthier, whether the supposed culprit is soft drinks, salt, snacks, seafood, or meat. Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Steven Malanga of the Manhattan Institute has a logical conclusion: the government shouldn’t be in the business of broad diet proclamations at all.

The government’s role in fighting fat has a long and ignominious track record of unsuccessful unintended consequences. Perhaps most notable of these is the beginning of the federally endorsed “low fat” craze thirty years ago as a way to battle obesity. How’d that turn out? (Hint: Not too well.)

Malanga concludes:

As increasingly sophisticated medicine focuses on tailoring therapies to individual needs, sweeping public pronouncements on health have become outdated at best and dangerous at worst. The best advice that government can give citizens is to develop their own diet and exercise regimens, adapted to their own physical circumstances after consultation with their doctors.

Seems more than reasonable to us. But it’s anathema to the food-policing activists who want to fatten bureaucracy (and its coffers).

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