A Step In The Wrong Direction: Government Calorie Mandates

SNICKERS

Government mandates on food production and consumption is nothing new, but this is disturbing:[[MORE]]

Mars Inc., the manufacturer of Snickers and many other convenience store treats, has decided to phase out chocolate products that exceed 250 calories per portion. By the end of 2013, consumers will no longer be able to purchase king-sized Snickers bars.

Mars is implementing the 250-calorie threshold as part of an agreement with Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), a non-profit organization that aims to “broker meaningful commitments” from commercial food manufacturers like Mars to “end childhood obesity.” PHA was founded in 2010 in conjunction with the Let’s Move! program, First Lady Michelle Obama’s federally funded government initiative…

Source: http://reason.com/archives/2012/02/29/say-goodbye-to-the-king-sized-snickers-b 

Although the 250-limit is not a mandate, the underlying message is troubling.

Yes, excess consumption (who determines what ‘excess’ is, anyway?) of candy and sweets is one of the primary causes of Diabetes and Heart Disease, so we should curb intake.

The manner in which this initiative (and other like-minded programs) seeks to do it, however, is immoral.

What we eat is our business, not the government. An arbitrary limit on calories in candies and cookies isn’t going to solve the Obesity epidemic. The reasons why the United States and so many other nations struggle with the disease are much deeper and far-reaching than that. Government programs can and should offer resources to help you make dietary choices that fit with your values and lifestyle— that’s it.

A government’s role is to oversee important public services, not meddle in the affairs of its citizens. If Mars wants to sell you 800 calories worth of chocolate for $1.50, that’s between you and Mars. Imposing dietary preferences on the populace is beyond the scope of government responsibility.

Authoritative ploys enacted in the name of general welfare often create negative, unintended consequences. When an entity with unrivaled coercive power (read: the government) seeks to impact the masses, the effects are magnified. Save for laws that prevent people from harming others, a government should err on the side of dormancy, not actively wresting control from the hands of its citizens.

Since the government has a less-than-sterling record on health and wellness initiatives, any new decrees should be inspected with a fine-tooth comb.

The more laws on the books, the fewer freedoms we have as a nation. Since virtually no laws—no matter how antiquated—- are ever repealed, we should think twice before calling for new laws and ordinances to solve our problems. An honest assessment of the root cause(s) of the issue at hand is almost always more appropriate.

Beware of Boiling Frog Syndrome……

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