Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Want my Trans fat!

California is not the first place in the country to ban trans fats from restaurants - New York City and Philadelphia did it first - but we are the first state to do so. I appreciate that our governor is concerned about our collective health and I do understand that trans fats are bad for us but isn't it MY choice to eat what I want when I want?

It sounds like a nice thing the government is doing for us: protecting our health. But it's just one more step on the road to Big Brother. I read in the LA Times today that trans fats kill "a few thousand" people every year. Well, take a look at these figures, please:

Cigarette smoking kills 400,000 people each year but I don't see the government outlawing cigarettes. Instead it just keeps taxing smokers more and more.

Alcohol-attributable deaths number over 75,000 per year in the US but the government doesn't ban booze.

Why is it okay for people to smoke and drink but not eat fatty foods? If the government wants to treat us like children who don't know any better, why not outlaw everything that would be bad for us?

The answer to all of the above is not to ban these products but to increase education about them. We need to teach people why you don't want to smoke or drink to excess or choose trans fat-filled foods and then let them make educated choices. And if they learn all about this and still choose the "wrong" thing, then let them suffer any consequences of their choices.

That's just as American as being able to make the choice in the first place.