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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Informed Decisions

Rob Lyons of Spiked doesn't think that listing calories next to the menu is a good idea. He writes:
Food should be both sustenance and pleasure. The demand that we constantly check our desires against some government-imposed calorie-related target robs us of this joy, replacing it with guilt and fear instead; such schemes serve no other purpose than to persuade us that we must trust in the advice of the health authorities.

Rather than labeling everything we eat with calorie and fat contents, a far healthier attitude would be to leave us to make up our own minds about what we consume. We should be lickin’ our fingers, not counting calories on them.

Rob states that checking the calorie count robs us of the pleasure of eating and leaves us with guilt and fear. Does he mean that the average man has to eat more than the recommended calories/meal in order to derive pleasure out of eating? Rob's essentially implying that the government's stipulations for calories/meal are much less than what one needs to eat in order to remain healthy. Come on, we're dealing with first world countries and nobody (at least an overwhelming majority) is going to die of malnutrition.

This point rings close to this piece I wrote about a year ago -- how scientific authority is in some circles trying to replace moral & religious authorities. But now, I agree with one of the comments (by Viswanathan) there. He wrote "The shades of fun ( or pain) of owning up responsibilities can still be there, even under the illumination by science. Science can tell us the dangers of excess calories,or excess alcohol or that of tobacco. Knowing fully well the facts, one can still over eat, drink or smoke.The burden of responsibility is only heightened- not lessened- by knowledge."

There's nobody from the local health office sitting next to you watching how many calories you gobble when you stack up your double cheese burgers. You are warned, now it's upto you.
Update: This is an embarassing spelling error to admit.  I wanted to write 'Come on' and instead wrote 'Common'.  I've corrected the error.

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