When government tackles obesity …

August 24, 2012


— Because the possibility of effectively supervising government varies inversely with government’s size, so does government’s lawfulness. This iron law of Leviathan is illustrated by a dispiriting story that begins with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, aka the stimulus, that supposedly temporary response to an economic emergency.

Because nothing is as immortal as a temporary government program, the Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW), a creature of the stimulus, was folded into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, aka Obamacare. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), working through CPPW, disbursed money to 25 states and the District of Columbia to fight, among other things, the scourge of soda pop.

In Cook County, Ill., according to an official report, recipients using some of a $16 million CDC grant “educated policymakers on link between SSBs (sugar sweetened beverages) and obesity, economic impact of an SSB tax, and importance of investing revenue into prevention.” According to a Philadelphia city website, a $15 million CDC grant funded efforts to “campaign” for a “two-cent per ounce excise tax” on SSBs. In California, an official report says a $2.2 million CDC grant for obesity prevention funded “training for grantees on media advocacy” against SSBs. A New York report says a $3 million grant was used to “educate leaders and decision-makers about, and promote the effective implementation of ... a tax to substantially increase the price of beverages containing caloric sweetener.”

Clearly some of the $230 million in CDC/CPPW anti-obesity grants was spent in violation of the law, which prohibits the use of federal funds “to influence in any manner ... an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation.” But leaving legality aside, is such “nutrition activism” effective?

Not according to Michael L. Marlow, economics professor at California Polytechnic State University, and Sherzod Abdukadirov of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Writing in Regulation quarterly (“Can Behavioral Economics Combat Obesity?”), a publication of the libertarian Cato Institute, they powerfully question the assumptions underlying paternalistic policies such as using taxes to nudge individuals to make consumption choices that serve their real but unrecognized interests — e.g., drinking fewer SSBs.

Paternalists wield two weapons, mandating the provision of more information (e.g., calorie counts for restaurant menu items) and increasing the cost of bad decisions, meaning those the paternalists disapprove. Marlow and Abdukadirov respond:

“Most obese individuals know they are heavy, and that many of the foods they eat are high-calorie. They also face the stigma often linked to obesity. They hardly need the government to give them additional incentives to lose weight. People aware of their mistakes also have strong incentives to correct them.”

Research indicates that overweight individuals have “reasonably close” to accurate estimates of the increased health risks and decreased life expectancy associated with obesity. Hence the weakness of mandated information as a modifier of behavior. A study conducted after New York City mandated posting calorie counts in restaurant chains concluded that while 28 percent of patrons said the information influenced their choices, researchers could not detect a change in calories purchased after the law.

Other research findings include: A study of nearly 20,000 students from kindergarten through eighth grade found that among those with easy access to high-calorie snacks in schools, 35.5 percent were overweight — compared with 34.8 percent of children in schools without such snacks. Nutrition policy is replicating a familiar pattern: Increased taxes on alcohol and tobacco mostly decrease consumption by light users, not the heavy users who are the social problem, and whose demand is relatively inelastic.

The robust market in diet books, weight loss centers, exercise equipment, athletic clubs, health foods — between 1987 and 2004, 35,272 new food products were labeled “no fat” or “low fat” — refutes the theory that there is some “market failure” government must correct. But as long as there are bureaucrats who consider themselves completely rational and informed, there will be policies to substitute government supervision of individuals for individuals’ personal responsibility.

As the soft paternalism of incentives fails, there will be increasing resort to the hard paternalism of mandates and proscriptions. Hence the increasing need to supervise our supervisors, the government.

— George Will is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.    


jonas_opines 3 years, 1 month ago

I find the Government far too bloated to find anything other than irony in its attempt to combat obesity.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Color me shocked - a libertarian think tank concludes that government activity isn't effective!

Liberty275 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm shocked that libertarians would give these types of things a second thought. Unless I'm in jail, I'll eat and drink what I want regardless of what other people think I should have. I pay for my insurance so nothing that affects my health is of any concern to anyone except me and my doctor.

The left is trying to get their foot in the door to control our lives even more. I say slam the door on their foot and hope it breaks. Then when they are hopping around on the porch crying about their broken foot, go outside and kick the shin of their other leg, drag them to your property line and shove them into the street.

That's all a metaphor, of course. I don't condone violence.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

If you really pay for your own health care, go for it.

However, given the way that health insurance and care are structured in this country, it's rather unlikely that you do.

If you are in a group plan, then you're paying into a pool, and your decisions and health care costs affect the premiums of everybody in that pool.

I suppose we could try to get to a system in which everybody suffered the consequences of their own choices without affecting anybody else, but it would be a rather radical change in the delivery of health care and the structure of health insurance.

Medicare and Medicaid, of course, pay for health care for folks who can't afford it on their own, and are government spending, so it seems to me that the government has some sort of legitimate interest in keeping those costs down, and if educating people helps with that, I say great.

Mixolydian 3 years, 1 month ago

[New Times Roman Sarcasm] A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Too many in and not enough burnt causes obesity. The obvious answer is a national sales tax on all food. Tax the snot out of it like cigarettes.Not only would that discourage overeating, it would pay for Obamacare with more than enough left over for expanding the food stamp program. [New Times Roman Sarcasm]

Mixolydian 3 years, 1 month ago

Hey, I thought the LJWorld comment section supported HTML.

costello 3 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for pointing this out, LO. Good Calories, Bad Calories is a great book. I highly recommend it.

Mixolydian 3 years, 1 month ago

Looks interesting, I'll check it out. Thanks for the link.

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 1 month ago

George sounds like Todd Akin with a better vocabulary.

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 1 month ago

If the Republican Party was really concerned about the national debt they would have approved reasonable tax increases for millionaires and billionaires after years and years of rediculous tax cuts and unnecessary government subsidies for industries that are already the wealthiest on the planet.

But like Paul Ryan, they say one thing in public and they grab the cash in private.

Their whole agenda is one big scam and they have earned the title "Obstructionist Party" at a time when the American people are begining to realize that this is part of a very sophisticated and behind the scenes political movement in which legislators are being threatened if they do not approve pre-written and pro-corporate model bills.

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 1 month ago

In my view, voting out the conservatives is a vote for freedom and quality of life for the middle class and working families and a signal that we need to get the greed out of politics.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

What George fails to address are the massive subsidies that agribusiness gets to produce unhealthy food supplies that encourage obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and spend $billion on Madison Avenue to promote it, with a delivery system that pretty much chokes out more healthy alternatives.

Can government fix this? Not when these same massive corporations spend $millions making sure that government maintains the status quo that serves them so well.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

When they have no available alternatives, and/or thanks to $multibillion corporate propaganda campaigns, they are unaware of alternatives, yes, they are forced to eat unhealthy food.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago


Dillon's has a rather extensive supply of healthy foods, including many store brands, that aren't that expensive.

They have Kroger brand brown rice, a variety of dried and canned beans, etc. There's even a nice selection of extra virgin olive oils at differing price points, including some pretty inexpensive Australian olive oil.

Seems to me there are lots of available alternatives, and they're not even that hard to find. But, people have to make the decision to buy them.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

I too eat a very healthy diet, despite all that propaganda. And I vote my conscience despite all the BS the two parties throw my way (including super PACs).

The bottom line is this, you can't teach what a person doesn't want to know.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

Fortunately, alternatives are much more available now than they used to be.

But people generally eat what they grew up eating, and for a huge percentage of the population, that doesn't include the items you list. And the fact that bad food is generally the cheapest food available, and often has major advertising dollars promoting it, means that the dietary status quo is very entrenched.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

That's a bit different than your statement that people are being "forced" to eat unhealthy food.

Dillon's also has a wide variety of good produce - fruits and vegetables. And, whole grain breads. In fact, except for a few things at NG or the Merc, I can get pretty much everything I need at Dillon's, and I'm a vegetarian.

It's one thing to say that people need to be exposed to and educated about healthy diets (which has been happening for some time), and quite another to say that somebody's "forcing" them to eat unhealthy foods.

At some point, you have to recognize that people make choices, and are responsible for them, I think.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

If someone is unaware of choices available, or the benefits that alternatives can provide, then the idea of choice is false.

Add to that the subsidies that cheap, unhealthy food can take advantage of and the enforcement of the dietary status quo that massive advertisement provides, and "force" is indeed the proper word choice.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

I disagree, and strongly.

First, I said I agree that people should be exposed to and educated about a healthy diet, and that process has been ongoing for years now.

Anybody, however, can walk through a grocery store and look at what's on the shelves, unless they're blind. So, not being aware that brown rice and beans are available would indicate a lack of effort, not being denied access.

Advertising is a powerful force, and yet, only if people allow themselves to be affected by it - it doesn't "force" you to buy things, it simply encourages you to do so.

Force is better reserved for actual uses of force, in which people are denied freedom, or choice.

Anybody can go to Dillon's and buy the same healthy food I buy there - nobody's forcing them not to do that.

Katara 3 years, 1 month ago

Many places don't have grocery stores around and the options that are available don't carry the items you list.

I just don't get why you cannot think outside what your experiences are. Just because you can go to Dillons and purchase these items here in Lawrence does not mean that someone who lives in a different area can do the same.

All the education does not matter if the items you need to eat healthy are not available for you to purchase.

deec 3 years, 1 month ago

I think both of them have valid points. Access is a problem. I am also a vegetarian in a small town. While I can buy beans, produce and dairy products at the small market in the little town where I live, if I want organic foods I must drive 35 miles to Lincoln. I patronize the local farmer's market in the summer and garden.

In the winter I can purchase non-organic foods or burn gas to buy the good stuff. Plus by shopping out of town, I am no longer patronizing the local business that is a huge asset to the town. Food is complicated.

Katara 3 years, 1 month ago

You are correct. Food is complicated. There are many issues with it. You have access. You have education. You have availability. Then there is the emotional attachment (i.e. how people feel about food). On top of that, there are even cultural factors.

There are no simple answers on this, but for some bizarre reason, some continue to believe that there are even when shown otherwise.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Of course it's complicated.

That doesn't mean that people are being "forced" to buy unhealthy food, even when healthy food is available.

Katara 3 years, 1 month ago

And again, just because healthy food is available in Lawrence, KS, does not mean that it is available in all areas.

People are "forced" to buy unhealthy food when there are no healthy alternatives. Hunger is not a good alternative to not having healthy food available.

Additionally, when information about what food is considered healthy changes, this becomes a barrier. Take eggs for example. They were considered a good breakfast item. Then they were bad due to cholesterol. Then they were good because they are a lean source of protein and now they are bad again (as bad as smoking now!).

On top of that, food items affect people in different ways and that is a whole 'nother area that we are learning more about. What is healthy for you may not be healthy for others. A vegetarian diet may be good for you particularly if you have a history of high cholesterol but may not be the best diet for a diabetic due to the high amount of carbs.

There are so many factors involved that you want to ignore. I am not understanding why you choose to do so.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Yes, if somebody lives in a very isolated area, and has no transportation, or money for gas, etc. they are limited to what's available near by.

Given the epidemic levels of obesity in this country, I can't possibly believe that all of the folks who are overweight fit into the above category.

Yes, sometimes information changes, as we gain more knowledge - eggs are an example of that, since it was first thought that dietary cholesterol translated to serum cholesterol, but then we learned that saturated fat has more of a connection to serum cholesterol. I'm unaware of any recent research claiming that eggs are bad for you - do you have a source for that?

I tend to go with Koop, who says the basics of good health are simple and uncontroversial. Certain medical conditions may require specific diets of course. But complex carbs don't increase blood sugar quickly, as simple ones do, so I'm not sure that grains/legumes/etc. would be "bad" for diabetics.

Do you really not see that many people make bad choices? How is that possible?

Katara 3 years, 1 month ago

I suggest googling "food deserts". There are many areas that fall under this category and many of them rural.

As for the eggs, it was in the headlines recently. It refers to egg yolks. http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-08-17/news/33252380_1_yolks-hollandaise-spence

You seem to have a very difficult time in understanding that others have experiences that differ greatly than you on this topic and it is obvious that you are not as educated as you believe you are on it.

Diabetics must watch all carbs. Complex carbs are better than simple carbs in terms of impact on blood sugars but all carbs must be counted.

Anyhow, this is just another dead end discussion with you as you don't seem to be too interested in educating yourself further and are content to remain stuck to your ignorance on the topic.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

"Anybody" can go to the local Dillon's in Lawrence and buy healthy food, if they choose to do that.

There's no shortage of healthy food there.

Bozo claims people are being "forced" to buy unhealthy food - I disagree.

Access may be an issue in other areas, but it's not in Lawrence.

Katara 3 years, 1 month ago

This article is about obesity in our nation and that is what Bozo is referring to.

When there is no access to healthy food, if you want to eat at all, you are forced to purchase unhealthy foods. No where did Bozo claim that people are forced to eat unhealthily here in Lawrence, KS. It was a general statement about why people may not be able to eat healthy in the nation.

While I agree that it is easier to obtain healthy food in Lawrence, KS, your argument does not apply in many areas in the U.S.

I am still puzzled as to why you are unable to think outside of your personal experiences.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Dillon's/Kroger's is a large nationwide chain mainstream grocery store - it's not the Merc.

Many people in many places have access to healthy options, and often rather inexpensive ones, like the store brands at Dillon's. Are there some isolated areas in which people have limited, or no access? Sure.

I use my experiences for several reasons - first, I have direct experience of them, so I'm sure I know what I'm talking about. Second, I don't consider myself special, or different, so I generally feel that if I can do something, many other people can do it as well. Third, I've never had a lot of money, and I shop at mainstream grocery stores, that exist in many parts of the country.

Do you really think that people don't make bad choices? It seems like every time I mention that, you have a big reaction against the idea. Does the guy who buys cigarettes instead of whole grain bread have a better choice he could make? The gal who buys beer instead of fruits/vegetables? Are there any circumstances under which you would say "People make choices, and sometimes people make bad choices"?

Given the information that's been available for some time about healthy habits, and the wider availability of healthy choices at mainstream grocery stores (at reasonable prices), it seems pretty obvious to me that many people are making bad choices even when better ones are available.

Katara 3 years, 1 month ago

Again, google food deserts. And just because a grocery store is a national chain, that does not make it accessible to others.

Your personal experiences are just that - yours. They do not always apply to others and many times they prevent you from understanding the experiences of others.

And again, people make bad choices, I choose not to beat them over the head with them. It is nonproductive. Your choice is different. You'd rather punish them than find out why they made the choice and work with the information from that.

What is pretty obvious to you is pretty obvious to you because you choose to only frame this topic in terms of what works for you and assume that it can equally work for others without exception.

As I said before, this is a dead end discussion with you. You are unable to see beyond the end of your nose.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Wait, did you really agree that people make bad choices?

That's been my point all along.

I've never argued for "punishing" them for them at all, and in fact I'm greatly in favor of educating people and helping them make better decisions.

I've also never said anything at all about my choices working for everybody "without exception" - I've said that I think they can work "for many people".

My experiences, and I would think, most people's, are neither completely isolated nor completely universal, but somewhere in between.

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 1 month ago

I heard something very scary yesterday. Jim Talent, who is on Romney's economic team is preaching now that they want to end federal oversight of federal lands and turn that over to the states in which the federal lands exist.

This will turn into the biggest land grab in history as right wing states transfer these lands and their mineral rights, etc. to their corporate political partners.

These people have absolutely no scruples. They are not interested in helping our economy. They are only interested in exploiting our economic fears. They could care less about unemployment because it does not effect their bottom line.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

And the fat cats that get control of these lands won't have to pay more than a pittance for whatever they extract for them, and will owe no taxes on what they earn when they ship all these materials to be used by overseas sweatshops.

beatrice 3 years, 1 month ago

Shockingly, Will doesn't say anything about billions in farm subsidies given to grow corn from which the high fructose corn syrup that is in virtually every packaged food is derived. Wonder why not?

1southernjayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

Space constraints....he does not address a lot of other ills of our obese govt but what he does address in this article, he is correct.

Kirk Larson 3 years, 1 month ago

No one is trying to tell anyone what to eat. The point is to educate people so they can make better choices for themselves. Sure, obese folks might know they are obese, but many don't know how to help themselves.

costello 3 years, 1 month ago

I think the problem is that we've been given bad information. The low-fat advice was disastrous IMO. In reducing dietary fat, we increased sugar and processed carbs. And the government was behind that. Dietary advice was pushed on us without sufficient evidence.

Some are hypothesizing that these dietary guidelines from the 1970's caused or contributed to the obesity epidemic. This is why I don't trust the government to tell me what to eat. They got it spectacularly wrong the first time.

I also think that the advice we're getting from the government is heavily influenced by the corporations who stand to profit from it.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Knowingly exposing a sexual partner to AIDS is in fact against the law, so the government is involved in that behavior.

Heisenberg 3 years, 1 month ago

The government tackling obesity is all well and good, but I think seeing them tackle the obese would be much more interesting. Might even give them more incentive to take up running, living in constant fear of a team of government agents that could tackle them to the ground at any time.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago


I looked at your link - it by no means proves that eating eggs is as bad for you as smoking - I'd suggest you read it again. There are other factors involved, and the population studied was all over 60, and had plaque issues already, and/or a family history of those.

I have to notice that you fail to respond to my questions at all, and instead want to insult me. Let's hope that you don't continue that, as I generally enjoy our conversations.

Not sure why that is, exactly. This topic must hit some sort of nerve with you, but I can't imagine what that is.

Do you really not see that people make a large variety of choices, some of them bad? Does everybody who goes to the Lawrence Dillon's buy healthy foods? If not, then they're making a choice not to do that, right?

Katara 3 years, 1 month ago

I am sorry, jafs. I just took the first link. There are more if you are interested.

You are incredibly sensitive and if you believe that I am insulting you when I am pointing out to you that other people have different experiences then you are just going to have to feel insulted.

I am not going to continue this discussion with you. It is nonproductive. I've already answered your questions regarding bad choices several times in various threads yet you continue with the same questions.

Perhaps when you are interested in looking beyond your nose and are interested in experiences other than yours, we can resume discussing this topic.

Katara 3 years, 1 month ago

As an afterthought. It is incredibly ironic that you responded "I looked at your link - it by no means proves that eating eggs is as bad for you as smoking - I'd suggest you read it again. There are other factors involved, and the population studied was all over 60, and had plaque issues already, and/or a family history of those." given that several people tried to explain to you the same thing in regards to the link between diabetes and obesity.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

I've already agreed that there are factors, like genetics, that are involved with diabetes.

I never claimed that I "proved" diabetes is caused solely by diet and lifestyle choices.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Goodbye for now.

I'm not insulted that you "point out" to me that other people have different experiences.

The insulting part comes with comments about my "ignorance" and "not looking beyond my nose", etc.

Perhaps when you are less interested in insulting me, and more interested in discussing the topic, we can resume.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

One important point here is the effect of culture and family history in dietary "choice."

If you were brought up in a culture that has what we now consider a healthy diet, be it Mediterranean or Asian, or what have you, then your dietary "choices" will automatically be healthy.

But if you're Native American, your dietary "choices" may very well be the diet that replaced the indigenous diets because of the flood of refined flours and fat of commodity surpluses from the US Govt for those who lived on reservations. It should be no surprise that the incidence of diabetes on reservations is among the highest in the world, even though their ancestors 100 years ago or more had almost no incidence of diabetes.

Old habits die hard, especially if you don't really understand how bad they are for you. Making better choices isn't just a matter of going down a different aisle in the grocery store. You need to know how to purchase and prepare the more healthy alternatives, amid $multibillion ad campaigns and promotions designed to keep you on the diet you grew up with.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Again, information about healthy diet and lifestyle has been available for at least 20 years now, and pretty consistent to boot.

With the internet, information is widely available about preparing health food as well, and if you can't afford a computer, you can go to the library and use one.

Also, as people have chosen more healthy options, producers have responded, and now there are a lot more options for people, and advertising for those as well.

I was brought up eating a lot of meat, by parents who smoke and drank heavily, and yet when I left home and became an adult, I made very different choices. And, that was back in the '70's, before the advent of personal computers and the Internet. We all have a variety of influences, and it's up to us to choose our own way.

My father in-law has diabetes, and his doctor routinely advises him to check his sugar levels throughout the day, and yet he stubbornly insists on only checking it in the morning before he's eaten anything. Who's responsible for that decision?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

Wow, you totally misinterpreted Michelle Obama's comments just so you could prop up your big government bogeyman. She said nothing about government-- she merely said everyone must work together.... sheesh is right.

kawrivercrow 3 years, 1 month ago

"I pay for my insurance so nothing that affects my health is of any concern to anyone except me and my doctor."

Categorical hogwash!! People with metabolic syndrome* or 'piehole disease', as I like to call it, pay the same premiums as healthy people with healthy diets. However, by the time they end up on multiple meds for hypertension, type 2 diabetes, pathologic serum lipid levels, etc, they will consume several thousand dollars a year more of primary and secondary healthcare, just to offset their choice of lifestyle. Unfortunately, these medications just enable the person to continue making poor choices without providing a proportionate physiologic benefit.

If a fructose-addicted fatty is entitled to a few grand more of benefits per year, then I suggest the same insurance company just write a check for the same amount to the person who works daily with self-imposed diet restrictions and exercise to control their own weight, lipids and blood sugar, etc.

We tax smokers for their additional burden on society, why should people who choose to be fat get an exemption?

  • A constellation of physical and laboratory findings related to diet and obesity, leading to stroke, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, etc. and chiefly caused by the hyperinsulinism induced by excess consumption of sucrose and high fructose corn syrup ubiquitous in the Standard American Diet - per Lustig MD, et al.

Liberty275 3 years, 1 month ago

"Categorical hogwash!!"

I pay for my own insurance and my annual checkups show I suffer no diabetes, I have perfect cholesterol and a day-long stay in the ER with shoulder pain (I think from a sunburn) gave LMH a chance to give me every heart test they could come up with - which I passed. All I have is moderately elevated blood pressure which I think s related to the panic/anxiety problems I inherited from my mother.

Your "thousands of dollar a year" is really less than $150/year. That is certainly less than it costs to treat an HIV patient or some clown that falls off his bike.

I pay for my health care. Nobody else does. Tell me what I can't eat and I might eat twice as much in spite. That may be hogwash to you, but that's the way it is.

I think a reasonable compromise is I don't tell you what to eat and I won't listen to you when you tell me what to eat. As a bonus, you can say "hogwash" 100 times a day.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

LMH gave you every heart test they could think of for a pain you suspect was a sunburn. That's precisely why health care costs are so high.

BTW - The last time I went to the ER with what shoulder pain that I suspected was a sunburn was ... never.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

See above for my response.

It's very unlikely that you pay for all of your health care costs directly.

If you want to cut off your nose to spite your face, that's certainly your prerogative.

And jhawkins is completely right - a daylong stay in the ER with every test they could imagine is probably incredibly expensive.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm sorry to hear about your anxiety issues, by the way.

I hope you are treating the high blood pressure successfully with either natural treatments, medication, or a combination of both of those.

If you don't mind, can I suggest exercise and meditation or other stress reducing activities? Of course, consult with your doctor before doing anything - I'm not a doctor.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

"Tell me what I can't eat and I might eat twice as much in spite. That may be hogwash to you, but that's the way it is."

No, that's just being childishly obstinate.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

For the record, I did a little research about diabetes and whole grains/vegetarian diets.

Complex carbs, like whole grains, are recommended for people with diabetes, rather than simple ones, since they tend to stabilize blood sugar.

And, the first several links showed that a vegetarian diet is perhaps a good choice as well, in that it helps keep weight healthy, stabilizes blood sugar, etc.

Not sure how this morphed into this, though - I wasn't originally recommending a vegetarian diet for diabetics.

It's interesting, though, that seemingly reliable sources suggest it might be a good choice.

For anybody interested in vegetarianism, I recommend it, from my "personal" experience - there are a few things I know of that you should be aware of though - complete protein, b12, iron and omega series fatty acids.

Animal protein is complete, as is protein from eggs, dairy, cheese. Most vegetarian protein sources are "incomplete", meaning that they don't contain all of the necessary amino acids. By combining sources, you can easily get complete protein, though - whole grains combined with legumes will do it, as will other combinations. So brown rice and tofu, or whole wheat pasta and chickpeas, or whole grain bread and peanut butter, will all work.

I get b12 and iron from a simple multivitamin and mineral supplement, and omega series fatty acids from flaxseed oil.

Francis Moore Lappe's book "Diet for a small planet" is a great one, a classic on protein complementarity.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

"Francis Moore Lappe's book "Diet for a small planet" is a great one, a classic on protein complementarity."

It is a good book, though a bit dated now. More recent research indicates that you don't have to be quite so religious about combining proteins in a single meal. In other words, as long as you get protein from a variety of sources, you don't have to eat all those sources in a single meal.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

I know, but I tend to be a bit "conservative" in some respects, and this is one of them.

Also, my experience is that if I don't get complete protein in each meal, I don't feel quite right.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Of course it's always a good idea to consult with your doctor about diet and lifestyle changes.

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