July 1, 2013

"When you put a healthy option up there on an otherwise unhealthy menu, not only do we not pick it..."

"... but its presence on the menu leads us to swing over and pick something that’s worse for us than we normally would," explains Gavan J. Fitzsimons, a professor in consumer psychology at Duke University.

And economist Thomas C. Schelling wrote, in “Choice and Consequence”: “People behave sometimes as if they had two selves, one who wants clean lungs and long life and another who adores tobacco, or one who wants a lean body and another who wants dessert... The two are in continual contest for control.”

From a news analysis piece in the NYT called "Why Healthy Eaters Fall for Fries." What's the agenda? I suspect they want to deprive us of choice. We can't handle it.

125 comments:

john said...

Whenever there's a healthy side to the menu, order the fish and chips from the opposite side. Then you get what you really want and are able to take proximity advantage. Like the herd effect.

BarrySanders20 said...

I think Gavin Fitzsimons should open a restuarant and he can gather all the data he needs about consumer psychology and menu choices.

Bonus: a lesson in how a competitive market works when people vote with their dollars.

traditionalguy said...

Posting the Ten Commandants also works that way. Moses and Bloomberg both ran into this unintended consequences effect when men unexpectedly were rebels.

Mumpsimus said...

Actually, the presence of the healthy option on the menu exerts a beneficial homeopathic effect on the other items. Don't scoff at nontraditional nutrition.

Chef Mojo said...

Food Nazis. I hate those guys...

Deirdre Mundy said...

I've seen how this works. Someone who hates salad thinks "I should order a salad" and then FEELS like they've already made a healthy choice. Which gives them permission to compensate by getting the milkshake, even if they ultimately order the cheeseburger.

It hasn't affected me, because I *LIKE* salad, but think McDonald's salads are gross. But if I walk into Panera and think "I might order a salad" that feels as decadent as any other option on the menu......

I think the crux of the problem is that many adults hate vegetables, and only eat them out of a sense of obligation.

edutcher said...

Eve could tell those guys in about 2 seconds.

If they believed in her.

Ann Althouse said...

What's the agenda? I suspect they want to deprive us of choice.

The Left is made up of people who know better.

Just ask them.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Actually, it's similar to the study that found that people who use reusable grocery bags feel free to treat other people like dirt. Because the one 'virtuous' thought cancels out the bad thoughts.

Icepick said...

Well, no shit! Who didn't know this?

It's like all those damned anti-smoking commercials. Every time I see one I want to light up a cigarette just because the commercials are so damned preachy. I HATE smoking, so I never do, but I always get the urge.

Well, up until these last couple of commercials with all the people that had the tracheostomies. My dad went through that, and it's some pretty sick stuff.

edutcher said...

Deirdre Mundy said...

But if I walk into Panera and think "I might order a salad" that feels as decadent as any other option on the menu......

Isn't it the Japanese that like to take a naked woman lying down and artfully arrange all the veggies to cover her naughty parts?

Maybe some people see it that way.

Mitchell the Bat said...

"Psychology might be great at cocktail parties, but it so happens that people were buying cigarettes before Freud was born. The issue here isn't why should people smoke. It's why should people smoke Lucky Strike."

-- Don Draper

Icepick said...

What's the agenda? I suspect they want to deprive us of choice.

They can take my Baconator when they pry it from my cold, dead guts!

lemondog said...

If it is an unhealthy menu the probability is high that those who are health-conscious will not be patrons.

I am extremely health-conscious and have not had fries for many, many, many years BUT every so often I think it would be nice to have some really salty, greasy and soggy fries. :-O

Icepick said...

Heisenberg says, "Have a raspberry slushie."

Icepick said...

"Now with extra protein!"

Robert Cook said...

"...every so often I think it would be nice to have some really salty, greasy and soggy fries. :-O"

No NO NOOO!!!

Fries must be crispy!

Icepick said...

Don't be a fry Nazi, Cook. There are all kinds of tasty ways to eat fries.

Right now the best fast food dries available are from Wendy's, BTW. They're not "controversial" like BK's fries from eleven years back, but man are they tasty!

MadisonMan said...

Food Nazis. I hate those guys...

LOL. Thanks for a great chuckle.

If restaurants really wanted you to order what's good for you, they'd double the wait for the unhealthy items, and add in surly service as well. Only if you order healthy foods do you get attentive, unobtrusive service. Fried chicken? You'll get it in 45 minutes. Poached chicken in a high-fiber lemon sauce? Just 5 minutes!

EMD said...

Here Here Robert Cook.

Fries must be crispy.

Robert Cook said...

Perhaps the "agenda" is to report the findings of what studies have found. Isn't it just interesting to know as another of the curiosities of human behavior? Or perhaps it is hoped that by making these findings public, those of us choosing the unhealthy items over the healthy ones will be more conscious of our choices, and, being more conscious, may make better choices in future.

I agree with Lemondog: those concerned with making the healthy choices will choose not to go to McDonalds. I find it much easier not to eat chips and other such snack foods--which I love--by not buying them or having them at home.

So I don't! (Most of the time.)

ad hoc said...

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

C.S. Lewis

MadisonMan said...

I'm feeling guilty for having half-and-half in my coffee now. So not healthy.

Next time I'll take my coffee black.

Inga said...

I demand fries and I gets 'em.

Crispy, hot and salty!

Inga said...

My healthy food is some people's unhealthy food. I never feel guilty over half and half.

C Stanley said...

I do this. I don't want mandates to protect me from myself, but I do find it helpful to analyze the behavior.

Of course I had figured it out myself without a research study.

Rusty said...

I suspect they want to deprive us of choice.

Good instincts.


In and Out fries. The best.

john said...

Since the thread's been hijacked, frnchfries ranking:

1. Eeegees (just a local place)
2. In-n Out
3. McDonalds, Culvers (tie)
5. Wendys
6. Five Guys
.
.
.
100. BK
.
.
.
.
.
1,000 Jack in the Box

Gahrie said...

What's the agenda? I suspect they want to deprive us of choice. We can't handle it

Isn't there a penumbra out there somewhere that covers this?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

When eating out or at a fast food restaurant, both of which are not regular routine events, the very LAST think I want to consider is the calorie count of the food. I eat what I want, fuck you very much.

My first reaction to all of this food Nazi trend pushing of 'healthy' food is....."You can't tell me what to do!" Second is ...."Oooooh....look at the calories in that dish. I bet it is really yummy. I'll have that!!"

While we don't count calories in our household, we do count carbs. My husband is mildly type 2 diabetic and will tend to avoid starch heavy meals. The calorie count is immaterial.

As a former smoked foods and deli owner, I imagine that the waste of ingredients that restaurants are forced to include on their 'healthy' options is really hurting their bottom line, not to mention the wasteful costs of publishing calorie counts that NO ONE CARES ABOUT.

It is bad enough that we are throwing away over 50% of the 'healthy' food that is being foisted onto the children in schools, now they want to do the same thing to private industry.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Such is the puzzle of the food industry: American consumers, even otherwise healthy ones, keep choosing caloric indulgences rather than healthy foods at fast-food restaurants."

So leave them alone.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Health questions aside, fast food is a lot more expensive than cooking at home. If you are eating fast food, it is for convenience or for taste. It does not surprise me at all that people want to get their money's worth and for a lot of us a fast food salad is not tasty enough to justify the expense.

As for health, a homemade cheeseburger is not going to be significantly more healthy.

Gabriel Hanna said...

I'll amplify a little. If I want salad, I can make it at home for pennies. Unless it has a a lot of cheese and ham and bacon and dressing on it, in which case a) it will still be cheaper to make it at home and b) will not be any healthier than the one you get when you go out.

So why am I at the fast food place then, paying a bunch of extra money? Either a) I want something delicious that's not easy to make at home, in which case I don't want salad. Or b) I only have so much time for lunch and I don't care to go to the trouble of bringing one from home,or I like to go out with my coworkers, or something. So my costs are sunk, I'm stuck paying extra money for lunch based on these non-food based considerations. Since I have to pay extra, why not get something more fun than a salad?

Original Mike said...

"From a news analysis piece in the NYT called 'Why Healthy Eaters Fall for Fries.'"

Seriously? The NYT is puzzled? Has the NYT never eaten fries?

Freeman Hunt said...

You can get a McDouble at McDonald's for the cost of $1 and 400 measly calories. Cheap and diet worthy. And it's a burger rather than some crummy salad!

Freeman Hunt said...

Why are they always trying to make us like salad and raw vegetables?

Freeman Hunt said...

Maybe people order fries to stick it in the eyes of those who would tell them raw carrots are a great substitute.

Chip Ahoy said...

My favorite fries are the frozen kind. And I paid very close attention when Paula Dean brags on having the best fries, turns out, she fries them three times.

Think of that, a menu with a healthy choice potato and an unhealthy choice potato, with pictures, like Denny's, menus for the illiterate and for the blurry-eyed, and the lazy such as myself, and a very nice choice of potatoes with pictures in between good and bad, like this:

baked potato

jacket potato

full metal jacket potato

escalloped potato

mashed potato with gravy

mashed potato with beef gravy

mashed potato with pork chop and gravy

hashed browned potato

gnocchi

tater tots

French fries

French fries with Cheez Whiz

French fries with Cheez Whiz and bacon bits

Shoestring fries

homemade potato chips

potato bread served with butter

potato soup

potato salad cool mayonnaise-dressed

potato salad warm bacon grease-dressed

Shepherd's pie

Potato tempura

Buttered cubed potatoes

Rustic campfire smashed taters

Potato cloud with truffle

With very good appealing photos. And do a uniformly good job of cooking each potato and see which ones get picked the most.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Freeman: A McDouble is cheap, but the equivalent made at home is cheaper.

Excellent point about the calories--I find it's really the fries that are the culprit. Little sponges for oil. An entire baked potato has the same calories as an apple, about 160, but one of those McDonald's small fries is 230, and you're not getting anything like a whole potato's worth.

At home our day to day cooking is fairly healthy, but our occasional cooking is not. I just baked a cheesecake just now. It's tasty and homemade, and arguably LESS healthy than the store-bought.

dreams said...

Choice is good but sugar is still most likely a toxin in my opinion and a lot of people don't have a choice such as young children and especially babies whose formulas contain sugar. Maybe all these diseases that I never heard of when I was growing up are caused by excess sugar. Autism is one disease that comes to mind.

"If Lustig is right, then our excessive consumption of sugar is the primary reason that the numbers of obese and diabetic Americans have skyrocketed in the past 30 years. But his argument implies more than that. If Lustig is right, it would mean that sugar is also the likely dietary cause of several other chronic ailments widely considered to be diseases of Western lifestyles — heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers among them."

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Chip Ahoy said...

Would you buy this in a restaurant? Plain gnocchi and plain salad, but I would not describe it like that on the menu.

That was last night.

I think I would charge, I don't know, $10.00.

Or maybe 5₵ if I end up with Lucy as advisor.

dreams said...

All these fast food restaurants soak their fries in sugar water before deep frying, they don't even taste like potatoes.

Inga said...

German potato dumpling as opposed to gnocchi.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Chip: I have always admired your blog, but shouldn't it be "Fings wot I made then ate"?

dreams said...

For those interested in good nutrition, this is a good site.

http://eatingacademy.com/

Chef Mojo said...

Why are they always trying to make us like salad and raw vegetables?

This.

Inga said...

Dreams, I've been relaxing on the carbs a bit, but still avoid sugar and wheat like the plague. No weight regain so far, but if it happens, I'm back to strict low carbing.

EMD said...

So my personal experience of sometimes picking the healthy option never happened?

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dreams said...

Inga, my problem is sugar which I'm sure caused my metabolic syndrome which I hope will gone by my next Dr visit and blood work.

virgil xenophon said...

A little insight into the American mind:
When I was stationed in the UK in the 70s as a USAF fighter pilot, at lunch-time I used to give a ride
down the flightline to the club for lunch to a fellow pilot who was married and whose wife always had the car tooling around the English country side doing brass rubbings in the local churches. We usually stopped to check mail on the way at the little quonset-hut that was our post-office. Both of us were scrupulous about not short-cutting and walking on the grass, but eventually the other philistines wore out the grass and the Brits (whose base it was) re-seeded, putting up little string barriers with signs stuck in the ground that said: "Please don't walk on the grass." Whereupon our very first visit after the seeding my friend Mike ostentatiously stepped over the string barrier and trod right over the seeded area both going and coming. Once back in my car I commented: "Mike, we've been checking mail here together for almost two years and I've never seen you step on the grass, what's up?"

He answered: "Well, it's this way: I never felt like walking on the grass until someone put up a sign that said 'Don't walk on the grass.' "

LOL, the perverse, fiercely independent American mind on display..

Methadras said...

California is the worst offender of this. So far Jack-in-the-Box has resisted putting calories on their menus and so have many other fast food chains. But a lot of restaurants put calories next to each item. That really bothers me.

GRW3 said...

Until the US Government finally admits that the McGovern Commission and the drive to "Heart Healthy Whole Grains" was a mistake, we won't make any progress. As red meat and fat consumption has gone down, diabetes and metabolic syndrome has gone up.

For a lot of people carbs are addictive and drive fat accumulation. Some people can eat the low fat high carb diet but not everybody. Smoking only makes 20% of the people sick. If you can't handle the carbs you get metabolic syndrome and/or fat. Not quite the Russian Roulette of smoking, there is a better opportunity to adjust.

A recent NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys) found most calories come from the grocery store and not fast food. (http://www.nutritionj.com/content/12/1/59) It comes from the wasteland of processed food that occupies the center of most Grocery Stores. A lot of it labeled 'Heart Healthy'.

Imagine if the McGovern commission had told everybody to smoke to control their weight and only then we learned that it will make 20% seriously ill and maybe kill them. That's about the impact of the 'food pyramid' drive to get people to take 60% of their calories from carbs.

C Stanley said...

Sweet tater fries. Do them in the oven.

Not low carb but they are heaven and have some nutritional heft.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@EMD:So my personal experience of sometimes picking the healthy option never happened?

Of course no one is saying that. A study reports the average behavior of a group of people. Some of the people in the study undoubtedly chose healthier options some times. Nobody is saying that no one ever does.

virgil xenophon said...

A little insight into the American mind:
When I was stationed in the UK in the 70s as a USAF fighter pilot, at lunch-time I used to give a ride
down the flightline to the club for lunch to a fellow pilot who was married and whose wife always had the car tooling around the English country side doing brass rubbings in the local churches. We usually stopped to check mail on the way at the little quonset-hut that was our post-office. Both of us were scrupulous about not short-cutting and walking on the grass, but eventually the other philistines wore out the grass and the Brits (whose base it was) re-seeded, putting up little string barriers with signs stuck in the ground that said: "Please don't walk on the grass." Whereupon our very first visit after the seeding my friend Mike ostentatiously stepped over the string barrier and trod right over the seeded area both going and coming. Once back in my car I commented: "Mike, we've been checking mail here together for almost two years and I've never seen you step on the grass, what's up?"
He answered: "Well, it's this way: I never felt like walking on the grass until someone put up a sign that said 'Don't walk on the grass.' "

LOL, the perverse American mind on display..

Original Mike said...

Calories on menus have no effect on me; I don't even see them. I keep my weight down more by regulating how often I eat, rather than regulating the calories of what I eat.

Larry J said...

I've long reconciled myself to the idea that one day, I'll die. Until then, I intend to enjoy myself. Michelle Obama and all the other food nazis can fuck off. I've lived long enough to see how one food after another is declared bad only to have the opposite result come out some time later. In short, most of the time, they don't know what the hell they're talking about.

No one gets out of here alive. We're all going to die eventually. Until then, enjoy yourselves.

Chef Mojo said...

Hey, Virgil! Remember Wimpy Burgers?

Paddy O said...

"but its presence on the menu leads us to swing over and pick something that’s worse for us than we normally would"

That explains why in this age of easily accessed experts and insightful commentary people still link to the New York Times.

Inga said...

Original Mike, the Fast Five diet by an AirForce doctor, has an eating "window" of five hours out of 24. Fasting for the rest of the time. Some people lose a great deal of weight doing this with low carbing, but even eating unlimited carbs and calories in that window, is a good way to lose moderate amounts or maintain weight.

Portia said...

If you have to pick a university professor to quote and maybe believe, I would think Duke would be last in a long line given their history of jumping to conclusions.

Anthony said...

Until then, I intend to enjoy myself. Michelle Obama and all the other food nazis can fuck off. I've lived long enough to see how one food after another is declared bad only to have the opposite result come out some time later. In short, most of the time, they don't know what the hell they're talking about.

No one gets out of here alive. We're all going to die eventually. Until then, enjoy yourselves.


Ha. Exactly my thoughts.

Although I dispute even the notion that there are "healthy" and "unhealthy" foods; it's all in the dose. You can kill yourself drinking too much water, so is it unhealthy?

Compare and contrast:
Super Size Me

The McDonald's Diet: How I lost 14 pounds in 30 days eating nothing but McDonald's

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Gabriel Hanna,

A McDouble is cheap, but the equivalent made at home is cheaper.

Not if you include the value of your time (converted into pay at minimum wage, say), it isn't. Buying the ingredients, cooking them, and assembling them takes time that you might be using for something else.

Of course, if you like to cook, it's not "work." I go all out on the burger front a few times a year, making patties stuffed with pesto, mozzarella, and prosciutto (thank you, Bruce Aidell!) and potato-based hamburger buns (thank you, Cook's Illustrated!) But they aren't "fast food," nor intended to be.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Re: the great French Fry Debate, do we have to choose? I like the crispy thin ones; I also like the soggier thick ones. The latter are what you get at Five Guys, which is the only place I occasionally order a burger at. They have the charming practice of putting up a sign naming the particular farm the latest batch of russets came from. One of many things I like about the chain.



Original Mike said...

"Herring suggests an eating window of 5pm - 10pm but indicates that the nineteen continuous hours of fasting time is the key to the diet's effect. The five-hour eating window may be set when it is most convenient. The Fast-5 approach does not stipulate a calorie intake level; it relies on the eating schedule's effect of correcting appetite to determine proper intake. The Fast-5 Diet also does not specify food content or forbid any foods, allowing the approach to be used with any dietary preference."

Interesting, Inga. This is pretty much what I do. I weigh myself every morning and average the results over a four-day period. If my weight starts creeping up, I reach a point where I decide to push it back down. Once I've decided to do this, I pretty much don't eat during the day, having just one meal in the evening. It works for me. Over the last several years I've kept my weight in the range of plus/minus seven pounds; not perfect, but I find it good enough. I'd do even better if there weren't things like Christmas and holidays.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Crispy thin fries are really not for amateur cooks. I tried once -- julienned a pile of potatoes and did the whole deal of par-frying and temperature shocking and frying again -- and concluded that this is the sort of thing much better done on an industrial scale.

virgil xenophon said...

@Chef Mojo/

Lord yes. IIRC the London-based chain is now owned by the same food conglomerate that owns Burger King.

I wonder how many remember the cartoon character the burger is named after?

PS: I think there are still a few in the US, but not assoc. with the original UK chain.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

As for the OP:

What's the agenda? I suspect they want to deprive us of choice. We can't handle it.

Bingo. Ultimately, printing the calorie content of everything on offer and making sure that there are low-calorie options available in every chain restaurant (you can, of course, eat all the fattening food you like at an upscale restaurant, as no one would dream of regulating them) are not going to do the trick, so those disturbed by the sight of unsightly obese people on the street will need to try something else.

A maximum of calories per order, probably. You could, of course, make a second order, just as under Bloomberg's Law you can always buy two sodas, but the point would be to make you feel like a guzzling pig if you do that. I know all about the research showing that "social shaming" can achieve real results where providing information and the like doesn't, but I can't help noticing that the people pushing this sort of approach take personal pleasure in it -- not so much in the health gains as in the pain inflicted on the ones shamed. This is not good.

Palladian said...

I like my pommes frites better than any others I've tried.

(When you view my photographs, please excuse the fact that Yahoo turned Flickr into a big piece of shit)

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

virgil xenophon,

I wonder how many remember the cartoon character the burger is named after?

If it's the "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today" Wimpy of Popeye, I do, though it must be 35 years since I saw Popeye. Weird that a cartoon designed entirely to promote spinach should have a burger joint as its most lasting legacy.

David said...

They are completely in favor of choice as long as we make the right choices.

Larry J said...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...
As for the OP:

What's the agenda? I suspect they want to deprive us of choice. We can't handle it.

Bingo. Ultimately, printing the calorie content of everything on offer and making sure that there are low-calorie options available in every chain restaurant (you can, of course, eat all the fattening food you like at an upscale restaurant, as no one would dream of regulating them) are not going to do the trick, so those disturbed by the sight of unsightly obese people on the street will need to try something else.


Government mandates that restaurant chains post calorie values on their menus, but like many things, their math sucks. Consider the case of pizza restaurants. When you factor in the types of crust, different sizes and the combinations of toppings, there are over 34 million different ways to order a Domino's pizza. If they have to perform calorie tests on all of those combinations, it would cost several hundred million dollars. Domino's has a nutritional information website that calculates the calories per slice but it remains to be seen if that will meet the legal requirements.

heyboom said...

There's a healthy side to menus?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Palladian, I would so totally devour those. You make me want to break out the mandoline again.

Original Mike said...

"I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today"

Sounds like our President. President Wimpy.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Larry J,

Yes, there's the Pizza Problem. You've the same one, on a smaller scale, with sandwich restaurants that let you choose your ingredients. Laws like this are really practicable only for fast-food joints that have a small number of standard orders that are prepared to exactly the same specifications at each.

In fact, it would be easier for an upscale independent restaurant with a mostly-fixed menu to do this analysis than it would for Domino's. You'd have to leave off the specials, but everything on the printed menu would be made to spec, as it were, so you only have to analyze it once. And it would be so entertaining to force the sort of restaurants Mayor Bloomberg eats at to put big ugly calorie counts next to everything on their elegantly printed menus.

OK, so I'm evil.

sinz52 said...

No one drives to a McDonald's to eat healthy.
No man goes to a brothel to find a wife.

Originally, the reason why fast-food restaurants offered healthy choices was that they wanted to be able to serve a party composed of both healthy eaters and non-healthy eaters: Four friends or family members go out for lunch, and one of them is dieting. This way, they can all go to McDonald's instead of having to accommodate the dieter somewhere else.

The idea that someone who is not already dieting will go to McDonald's or Burger King for a salad is ludicrous. These days, many supermarkets have their own salad bars, where you can make your own salad cheaper. I see plenty of workers dashing to the salad bar of my local supermarket during their lunch hour.

Original Mike said...

"No one drives to a McDonald's to eat healthy."

I like salads. I've never once had one at a fast food restaurant.

Original Mike said...

"Originally, the reason why fast-food restaurants offered healthy choices was that they wanted to be able to serve a party composed of both healthy eaters and non-healthy eaters"

I'm more cynical. I think they're on the menu to try and placate the "do-gooders". Not that that's possible.

chrisnavin.com said...

I'm thinking of getting a consumer psychology degree and maybe going straight to work regulating after a stint designing a more profoundly meaningful Ronald McDonald

That's if the whole English/puppetry/ecology thing doesn't work out.

Rusty said...

I'm hungry.
Anybody want to halvsies on a pizza?

Fr Martin Fox said...

The mindset of food fascists is fascinating when on full display.

This morning I read an article, linked by RealClearScience, called "Big Soda, do you think we're all stupid? The author, an MD and, I think, a PhD, lambasted Coca Cola and other pop companies for their advertising for, among other things, trying to claim Coke is healthy.

Well, I don't think Coke claims pop is "healthy" -- just that its not a nefarious thing that Dr Alessandro Demaio (the author) claimed. In the course of his jeremiad against Coke, Dr. Demaio claimed soda supplies nothing of value nutritionally, only calories; and he cited some sketchy study in order to suggest a can of pop a day will put you on the path of diabetes. Along the way, he thundered that these evil people must be allowed to advertise their products.

Well, first, it's simply false to claim the 100-200 calories in a can of Pepsi give nothing of value. Calories are valuable if you otherwise have too little. When challenged on the diabetes claim, he quickly conceded it was bogus. Which leaves unanswered, why the elites should deny Coca Cola the right to advertise.

The answer is because these food fascists can't comprehend that people really can -- or should be able to -- make these choices.

dreams said...

"The answer is because these food fascists can't comprehend that people really can -- or should be able to -- make these choices."

I think our choices are limited when food companies put sugar in everything including food we don't expect to have any sugar.

Michael said...

dreams:"I think our choices are limited when food companies put sugar in everything including food we don't expect to have any sugar"

Not really.

Original Mike said...

Demon sugar.

dreams said...

"Not really."

Explain why, most of us don't prepare our meals from scratch and if that is the best way to eat healthy then it seems to me my choice has been limited. If it is hard to find food without added sugar, why isn't my choice been limited.

Original Mike said...

dreams, that's an odd way to look at things.

Joe said...

The real fallacy is that there are healthy and unhealthy foods in this context. The notion that a salad is "healthy" as compared to anything else is utter bullshit.

If you went on a mono-diet of just about any one thing, it wouldn't be great for you.

Once again, a moderate, balanced diet is the best for you.

(Plus, I fail to see the point of intentionally being miserable so you can live even more miserable years.)

dreams said...

"dreams, that's an odd way to look at things."

I don't know what you mean.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Explain why, most of us don't prepare our meals from scratch and if that is the best way to eat healthy then it seems to me my choice has been limited. If it is hard to find food without added sugar, why isn't my choice been limited.

I have no explanation why you DON'T prepare food from scratch. It is easy, inexpensive and you are in total control of your own intake. However, that seems to be YOUR choice. None of us have made that choice for you. Whine about something else.

YOU have limited yourself. You can also find prepared foods with little or no sugar. You just have to look carefully and go through the foods that YOU have chosen to eat.

Gabriel Hanna said...

There is no solid gold toilet on the market at a price I can afford, and I don't have the time or the skill to mind the gold myself and make the toilet.

WHY ARE PEOPLE LIMITING MY CHOICES!!!

Gabriel Hanna said...

I just want to find food without water or carbon in it.

WHY ARE THEY LIMITING MY CHOICES!!!!

Original Mike said...

I'm having a hard time articulating it, but I'll give it a go.

"Limiting choice" seems to me to describe a situation where something exists, but whomever is "limiting your choice" won't let you have it. If a company doesn't make something in the first place, I don't think you can accuse them of limiting your choice. That fact that Ford does not make flying cars is not tantamount to a limitation of my car-buying choices.

Gabriel Hanna said...

An entire class of macronutrients, whether it's fat or carbs or sugar, is not bad for you and it is not to blame for everyone's health problems. To find ONE THING and blame it for EVERYTHING that ails you is the hallmark of the crackpot.

Crackpots often find that society is not ordered how they'd like. The obvious solution, if crackpottery implies that you have limited choices, is to exercise your choice to stop being a crackpot.

Original Mike said...

""Limiting choice" seems to me to describe a situation where something exists, but whomever is "limiting your choice" won't let you have it."

Like ObamaCare won't let me buy a catastrophic health insurance policy.

peoplearenotstupid.com said...

Love is a burning thing
And it makes a fiery ring
Bound by wild desire
I fell into a ring of fries

dreams said...

I'm saying about thirty or forty years ago food companies started putting fructose in food because it is so much cheaper than sugar and so because it was so much cheaper they put it in food that we wouldn't expect to find it which is why I say our choices to eat healthy have been limited. As to choice and my expectations, I'll just say that it would nice to be able to find more healthy prepared food in the supermarket.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@dreams:I'm saying about thirty or forty years ago food companies started putting fructose in food because it is so much cheaper than sugar.

a) Fructose IS sugar. It's found in fruit. Is fruit bad for you?
b) Sugar subsidies and tariffs keep sugar prices high. The evul fud korporashuns didn't do that.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@dreams: Sugar is fructose linked with glucose. It gets metabolized into fructose and glucose when you eat it. I'm afraid you're falling into superstitions.

dreams said...

" What's the agenda? I suspect they want to deprive us of choice. We can't handle it."

This is the reason I was talking about choices and I don't think I was whining, plus I don't try to tell other people what to do.

chrisnavin.com said...

Anyone want in on a Sweat Lodge specializing in pure food and pure spirituality?

I'm scrapping my Sub-Zero yoga platform and putting up a tent outside of Sedona.

All day sweat-a-thons with some kale and quinoa burgers at night.

I'm getting a few celebrities on board and pretty soon Oprah's couch and a book deal.

Maybe throw some neuroscience pop-psychology babble in there for good measure.

Original Mike said...

dreams, have you tried the yuppie grocery store (a.k.a. Whole Foods)? There's a big bug-a-boo now about fructose (which I don't subscribe to, BTW). Seems like there'd be entire health food companies falling all over themselves to make things to sell to you (for a profit, of course),

chrisnavin.com said...

You can be spiritual and not religious, you can be healthy and balanced, you can belong and get a date and ladies, did I mention the cucumber mud baths?

You can't tell a person's race when they're in the cucumber mud baths.

No bullshit crystals and no palmistry. The science is solid and the progress is real.

$3000 a week and no David Koresh, Heaven's Gate or pervy Yogi stuff, I promise.

dreams said...

"dreams, have you tried the yuppie grocery store (a.k.a. Whole Foods)? There's a big bug-a-boo now about fructose (which I don't subscribe to, BTW). Seems like there'd be entire health food companies falling all over themselves to make things to sell to you (for a profit, of course),"

I think my comments have been somewhat misinterpreted, I don't really have a problem eating healthy except for occasional lack of discipline, like most of us.

acm said...

Er, dreams? The fact that most people don't prepare their food from scratch or don't "expect" to find sugar in foods like cereal or bread or french fries doesn't mean their choices have been limited by the food manufacturers or restaurant owners.

As it happens, I'm kind of with you on fructose. Kind of. I've picked up a lot more knowledge of fructose in the past year because my daughter was finally relieved of years of bloating, discomfort, digestion problems and horrifying halitosis after being diagnosed with fructose malabsorption. Yes, table sugar is simply half fructose, half glucose, and yes, fructose (in varying amounts) is present in fruit which is good (in moderation!) for most people. I agree that added fructose, and high fructose corn syrup in particular, has been used by the food industry partly because nominally healthier sweeteners are expensive. But, the government is at least partly responsible for this, because of over regulation of sugarcane, subsidization of corn and the government's actual backing of fructose as a "healthier" alternative to glucose in the past two decades---for some time, there was hope that fructose wouldn't promote as bad of an insulin response as glucose and so they ran with that.

dreams said...

"As it happens, I'm kind of with you on fructose. Kind of. I've picked up a lot more knowledge of fructose in the past year because my daughter was finally relieved of years of bloating, discomfort, digestion problems and horrifying halitosis after being diagnosed with fructose malabsorption. Yes, table sugar is simply half fructose, half glucose, and yes, fructose (in varying amounts) is present in fruit which is good (in moderation!) for most people. I agree that added fructose, and high fructose corn syrup in particular, has been used by the food industry partly because nominally healthier sweeteners are expensive. But, the government is at least partly responsible for this, because of over regulation of sugarcane, subsidization of corn and the government's actual backing of fructose as a "healthier" alternative to glucose in the past two decades---for some time, there was hope that fructose wouldn't promote as bad of an insulin response as glucose and so they ran with that.

Then Let's agree to agree.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

While I do agree with you, Dreams, that too many pre-prepared foods are full of sugar, salt, preservatives, and other ingredients that aren't even food, I dispute that you don't have a choice. Yes. Maybe some of your choices are limited such as finding ketchup that doesn't have sugar. Limited choices doesn't mean no choice.

You can choose to make your own ketchup from scratch. You can choose to shop in a wider selection of stores or even on line to find ketchup without sugar. You can choose to not eat ketchup.

Many people (not you) have tried to make it an either or choice. You either eat unhealthy pre prepared food or you cook everything from scratch. Either way it should be YOUR choice. The government is trying to take away our choice to eat that juicy hamburger with salty fries, because they don't want us to have that choice. Should I not be able to buy that food on occasion in a fast food restaurant and should I really really want that hamburger and fries cooked in lard and sprinkled with garlic salt and pepper (nom nom nom).....I can (so far) choose to cook it at home. Why CAN'T I choose to have that food cooked for me at a willing restaurant without being hectored and nagged over calories?

acm said...

Then Let's agree to agree.

----

Agreed ;)

That was more for Gabriel Hanna, and anyone else who hadn't really looked at the difference between fructose and glucose and stuck with the "Fructose is in fruit, and fruit is good" thing. Fructose is a surprisingly tricky substance, and not just for those like my daughter.

Inga said...

Thanks Acm, Dreams! I had this fructose/ glucose argument a few weeks ago with Dante.

Original Mike said...

I doubt that ketchup without sugar is actually ketchup. It's more like purred tomatoes. Sugar does have a purpose in a lot of foods.

Inga said...

Fructose is metabolized in the liver first, and over consumption of fructose not only makes you fat everywhere, but is a cause of fatty liver.

Original Mike said...

I think we can stipulate that overconsumption of anything is bad for you.

Inga said...

Dietary fructose in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Original Mike said...

Yeah, they also told us salt is bad for us.

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dreams said...

I've noticed over the years that salt didn't affect my blood pressure though maybe it does for those who are salt sensitive.

Original Mike said...

I know about salt from personal experience. I've had high blood pressure (it's controlled now). When diagnosed I removed salt from my diet. For better or worse, I'm a pretty compulsive personality. I'm also a scientist. I removed ALL sodium (if I couldn't determine the sodium content of a food, I didn't eat it). I kept a daily log of sodium intake and measured my blood pressure daily (actually, 3 times at a sitting, and averaged the result). I kept it up, religiously, for 6 months. It had NO effect. NONE. NADA. ZIP.

Inga said...

I don't limit salt in any way. I also take a med for BP/ heart issues. BP under control and palpitations, magnesium really helped a lot.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I don't limit my intake of anything! Meaning, I don't go out of my way. I should--I'm too wide and all that implies. Yet my BP is about as good as when I was 30, and the same with my cholesterol.

Now,if you want to say, that's not fair, I would agree. I don't deserve my good health. But my situation confounds the food fascists who want to take away my salt, fat, butter (news bulletin: oleo is worse!), coffee, alcohol and other good things God gave to man.

DEEBEE said...

Hey Ann, that is greaot news for people's of your ilk. As you scale the virgin peaks of better human existence; you and Tony can create new paths for us to follow. Please do let us catch up with your evolved sensibilities and do not get too far ahead. We still need our superiors.

Inga said...

Father Fox, that's not news. We've known that oleo margarine is unhealthy fat for quite sometime now, eat your healthy fats and get with the program! ;)

Original Mike said...

"But my situation confounds the food fascists who want to take away my salt, fat, butter (news bulletin: oleo is worse!), coffee, alcohol and other good things God gave to man."

Don't forget the pot, Father! God made pot.

Revenant said...

If all that's on the menu is salad, you think "hm, this salad sounds pretty good".

If salad is on the menu next to steak, you think "man, steak is sooooo much more delicious than salad".

dreams said...

Gary Taubes and also Peter Attia of http://eatingacademy.com/ are people I respect and they think that fat is good but that sugar and starchy carbs are bad. Since I'm convinced at least for now that they are more likely correct than the conventional wisdom, I wish I had known that when I was young, I wish I had known that even after I had my angioplasty at age 52 sixteen years ago.

Concerning salt, I don't think they are anti salt except maybe for those who are salt sensitive though I can't say for sure.

Original Mike said...

It's not about the salt. Nor the oleo. Nor, I fear, the fructose. It's about our very real ignorance.

And, it's especially about the politician, or the bureaucrat, currently in power shoving the latest fad down out throats.