In a rare demonstration that there is intelligent life down here, we have recognized that if this is what millions of years of evolutionary biology came up with, we were unlikely to do better. From whence, the answer to the sleepaway camp dilemma: Put your initials in your underwear! If you identify your own, you don't have to recognize everyone else's.
We need to reorient our cultural attitude about obesity so it is not an excuse to argue the respective merits of personal responsibility and public policy. Rather, if we are to fix it at its origins, we need to acknowledge that people who are empowered are most capable, and most inclined, to exercise responsibility.
Improving food labels, as planned by the USFDA and much in the news over the past week or so, is a welcome thing. But I do think we have cause to wonder if all the fanfare and media hype are really warranted. When all is said and done, what improvements are in the works, and how much will they really matter?
Fortified junk food is still junk food. It isn't only what a food doesn't contain (i.e., those nutrients) that makes it dubious. It's what it does contain. The addition of vitamins and minerals does nothing to exonerate junk foods of their standard provisions of added sugars, added salt, artificial flavorings, artificial colorings, inflammatory fats, high glycemic starches, and willfully irresistible calories.
Subsidizing better choices in the grocery store is a lot less expensive than stays in the intensive care unit. We don't need to prevent very many cases of diabetes, heart disease or bariatric surgeries to save back the costs of incentives for nutritious foods, 10 times over.
In the process of creating ONQI 2.0, we are obligated to look at how the algorithm handles every food, including all of the quirkiest foods. In doing so, I wind up learning all of the intimate details about foods I could not otherwise have cooked up in my nightmares.
The heroes of our flavor-of-the-day news cycles are not those who prove to be right or actually know what they are talking about. The heroes on any given day are the iconoclasts, conspiracy theorists, and -- just plain wing nuts. Affliction is the plat du jour, and these -- its master chefs.
I care deeply about the truth about food, because this particular truth could set us substantially free from the threat of chronic disease and premature death. Chewing and swallowing the truth about food could add years to our lives, and lives to our years.
My career is devoted to the use of lifestyle practices -- and above all, diet and physical activity -- to the promotion of health and the prevention of disease. Feet and forks, along with fingers that do or don't hold cigarettes, are well established as the master levers of medical destiny.
There is an intrinsic problem with measuring the quality of a system by how well it conforms to what you already believe. Such a system gets bonus points for agreeing with you -- even when you are wrong.