If you are what you eat, the current generation of kids is going to grow up to be lowfat fruit snacks. The future is, well, bland (but at least we'll all be skinny). I'm tired of reading the newspaper day in and day out only to find that another state has banned 'junkfood' in schools. It appears that Kentucky is the latest state government that is obviously better suited to make nutritional choices than their citizens.
Thanks to many overbearing state government around the county students are being put on a very strict diet. No more sodas or beverages with added sugar. Say goodbye to Hawaiian Punch, the old lunchtime staple, and hello to...more water. Mmm, tasty (if you close your eyes and pretend to be drinking Hawaiian Punch). In addition to water, students will be offered more juice and milk. Now I'm not a dietary expert by any means, but I do know that calories are what make people fat. So let's do some math. An 8 ounce serving of orange juice has 122 calories. An 8 ounce Coca-Cola has 97 calories. An 8 ounce diet Coke has just 1 calorie. If we do the math here, orange juice has 121 more calories than a diet Coke, and 25 more calories than a regular Coke. I'm not seeing how orange juice is really helping children to eat healthier here. Sure, one could argue that the orange juice's calories are outweighed because of vitamin content, but it seems that almost every food is vitamin fortified these days, and a single serving of almost any fruit will give you 100% of your required daily vitamin C. A single 8 ounce serving of orange juice actually gives you more than 2.5 times the recommended vitamin C intake for your 122 calories, and less than 1 gram of fiber. You know, fiber, the stuff that makes you feel full and tells you to stop eating. Orange juice has less than 1 gram of it. Oranges, by contrast, which are up to 85% water, have twice the fiber of orange juice and half of the calories. Even a small McDonald's fries fries, at 230 calories, offers more fiber than orange juice. In fact, the french fries offer triple the fiber of orange juice, meaning that to get the same amount of fiber I'd actually eat fewer fry calories than I would orange juice calories. And french fries taste way better than orange juice.
Any logical person can easily see that eating oranges is nutritionally superior to drinking either orange juice or soda, but you don't see schools investing in vending machines that sell fruit (and I honestly can't see how they'd get an orange to fit on one of those spiral racks traditionally used to hold chips). So instead of offering healthy food choices, like fresh fruits, state governments are offering our children extra calories and a false sense of health, all while cutting physical education programs to include an optional and maximal 30 minutes a day (which, if you include changing into and out of a uniform and the post-workout shower usually end up requiring 10 minutes of exercise). If the state was so worried about student health it would take a look at its own policies and allow students to eat based on their own nutritional needs. It'd be fantastic to have the government encourage students to eat more healthfully, but lying to students about what is healthful does nothing to promote better eating and will eventually backfire when millions of overweight school children grow up into obese adults who can't figure out where they went wrong.
Telling people that french fries are healthy is deceptive, but no one's doing that. Telling people that orange juice is healthy is also deceptive, and the government *is* doing that. People should be able to make their own informed choices about health, but current government programs (as always, it seems) are simply misinformation campaigns that confuse the public. Certainly the government should trust its citizens to be able to make their own choices about what to put in their bodies, but as usual I expect too much out of the government by asking them to leave people alone. It's my choice if I want to Supersize my fries, and if I end up with clogged arteries at least I knew the risks. And I'd rather die a happy fat woman than a skinny bitter fruit snack.
Being skinny does not make people happy. Being able to run 5 miles does not make people happy. Being able to make your own choices about what to do with your life does make people happy. I wish government officials could see this.
Hugs and Kisses,
The Bitter Libertarian