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Old 02-23-2010, 02:01 AM   #71
Paul Szoldra
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Re: Government Regulated Diet

The dietary guidelines mean absolutely nothing to me. They don't have much bearing on my life. I understand how you can say that many laws are passed so as to ensure safety and well being for the common good. However, I believe that had these laws not been passed, people would then be forced to think and figure out what is right for themselves.
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Old 02-23-2010, 04:24 AM   #72
Steven Low
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Re: Government Regulated Diet

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Originally Posted by Oliver Gould View Post
Christie, where are you getting this crap?

http://www.seattlepi.com/national/190061_obesity09.html

http://www.news-medical.net/news/2004/12/02/6603.aspx

http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err20/

These say otherwise (all wfs).

At no point in that incoherent statement did you provide any evidence, or even any logic, in support of the idea that low income families are more wasteful in their food spending that more affluent demographics. On average, low income families spend between 90 and 125% of the federal food stamp allowance set at ~$30 per person/ per week. People are living on half the average American food budget and your advice to them is "leftover meat"? It's fairly obvious that any family living on that type of budget is eating leftover-everything.

Could people make better choices with their paltry incomes? Maybe, but the economics of food choice are against them. Low quality calories are simply cheaper and easier to get - a combination that pushes poor families and individuals with limited access to healthy food towards overeating cheap, poor quality, calorie dense food. Face a real a choice between having a full belly and getting your beta-carotene for the day, then come back and tell the poor to "redirect your food choices."
Unfortunately, this is because the US subsizes corn production.

Which leads to mass production of high fructose corn syrup and other processed corn materials.

Always thought they should put their subsidy money into you know... real foods. And stop shipping food over to Africa et al. so that their populations stabilize themselves on their own farming capabilities.
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:28 AM   #73
Adam Acosta
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Re: Government Regulated Diet

I personally don't think the government should subsidize any agricultural products at all, but the power of the corn lobby is strong, especially since Iowa has the first say in presidential nominations and our senate structure is designed to give disproportionate power to small states, which tend to be midwestern farming states.

As for Africa, I don't know what you could do. Feeding their poor for free doesn't seem like much of a long-term strategy, but most of the nations we ship to lack the security and stability to allow for much in the way of their own agricultural sector. Furthermore, "take back the land" programs like we saw in Zimbabwe to remove white farmers and give the land to blacks also happened to oust from these countries the very people that actually knew how to farm, without providing any training to the reclaimers. Predictably, agriculture completely collapsed in these countries. It's hard to just stand by while corrupt and inept governments over there destroy land, collapse entire economies, and starve or flat-out slaughter most of their populations.

Edit: It's not just subsidies that cause foods with poor nutritional quality to be cheaper, either. Most of the poor families in the United States are urban, which means they don't live near any local agriculture. Products that don't perish ship cheaper and are easier to mass produce, so they're always going to be cheaper, calorie for calorie, whether they are subsidized or not. Canned vegetables are cheaper than fresh vegetables, and nonperishable grains are cheaper than both.

Last edited by Adam Acosta : 02-23-2010 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:54 AM   #74
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Government Regulated Diet

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Originally Posted by Adam Acosta View Post
Edit: It's not just subsidies that cause foods with poor nutritional quality to be cheaper, either. Most of the poor families in the United States are urban, which means they don't live near any local agriculture. Products that don't perish ship cheaper and are easier to mass produce, so they're always going to be cheaper, calorie for calorie, whether they are subsidized or not. Canned vegetables are cheaper than fresh vegetables, and nonperishable grains are cheaper than both.
The argument that canned vegetables represent "poor nutritional quality" is pretty weak. Worse than vegetables picked fresh out of your garden? Sure. Worse than "fresh" vegetables picked halfway around the world two weeks ago? Probably not.

More to the point, neither poverty nor poor dietary habits are confined to cities. The highest obesity rates in the country are in poor, rural states like West Virginia and Mississippi. (Poverty data from Census Bureau, obesity data from CDC. Both have maps, but not easily linkable.)

Katherine
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:59 AM   #75
Christie Warner
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Re: Government Regulated Diet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Gould View Post
Christie, where are you getting this crap?

http://www.seattlepi.com/national/190061_obesity09.html

http://www.news-medical.net/news/2004/12/02/6603.aspx

http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err20/

These say otherwise (all wfs).

At no point in that incoherent statement did you provide any evidence, or even any logic, in support of the idea that low income families are more wasteful in their food spending that more affluent demographics. On average, low income families spend between 90 and 125% of the federal food stamp allowance set at ~$30 per person/ per week. People are living on half the average American food budget and your advice to them is "leftover meat"? It's fairly obvious that any family living on that type of budget is eating leftover-everything.

Could people make better choices with their paltry incomes? Maybe, but the economics of food choice are against them. Low quality calories are simply cheaper and easier to get - a combination that pushes poor families and individuals with limited access to healthy food towards overeating cheap, poor quality, calorie dense food. Face a real a choice between having a full belly and getting your beta-carotene for the day, then come back and tell the poor to "redirect your food choices."
Impoverished and/or on food stamps is WAY different than lower income...I think you are looking at it from a very different point of view, which is fine, but you kind of missed my point. Every impoverished person I've ever known has been skinny, simply because they ride bikes or walk everywhere and cannot afford to spend boat loads of money on food. On the other hand, I've known at least 5 obese people in my life and they are all middle to higher income. I guess I come from a different experience than you do in this way. They spend boat loads of money on food per day and per week and per month. That is in addition to Macdonalds, starbucks, arby's, etc multiple times a day. I am lower income and saved money by eating the way I eat (high fat/protein) because I stay full longer and do not consume as many calories as I used to on higher carb (empty calories). Thus, I buy less food overall and have more left over. I also grew up lower income and consumed more carbohydrates than I do now and due to personal willpower (and taste preference), never bought into the fast food way of life...I was not in the shape I am in now, but I was never obese or overweight because my caloric intake was too low (because of $$).

I will concede that strict Paleo is expensive, hell yeah it is! Talk about food quality. I never suggested that every obese person should go paleo....I think everyone should do what they can within their means. I would suggest to an obese person to consume more meat if at all possible, though, as they will have leftovers for extra meals and a more full feeling after eating more protein.

Last edited by Christie Warner : 02-23-2010 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:06 AM   #76
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Government Regulated Diet

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Originally Posted by Adam Acosta View Post
As for Africa, I don't know what you could do. Feeding their poor for free doesn't seem like much of a long-term strategy, but most of the nations we ship to lack the security and stability to allow for much in the way of their own agricultural sector.
Those countries that are stable enough still face nearly insurmountable competition from the developed world's subsidized farmers. Our farm subsidies certainly aren't the only problem in Africa, but they aren't helping matters either.

Katherine
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:13 AM   #77
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Government Regulated Diet

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Originally Posted by Christie Lawson View Post
Impoverished and/or on food stamps is WAY different than lower income...I think you are looking at it from a very different point of view, which is fine, but you kind of missed my point. Every impoverished person I've ever known has been skinny, simply because they ride bikes or walk everywhere and cannot afford to spend boat loads of money on food. On the other hand, I've known at least 5 obese people in my life and they are all middle to higher income. I guess I come from a different experience than you do in this way. They spend boat loads of money on food per day and per week and per month.
Your experience is different than the norm. Obesity rates are much higher in lower income groups than in higher income groups.

Katherine
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:16 AM   #78
Christie Warner
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Re: Government Regulated Diet

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
Your experience is different than the norm. Obesity rates are much higher in lower income groups than in higher income groups.

Katherine
Well we can agree to disagree, as I don't really put much stock in "statistics." I'd say it has more to do with a mesh of factors, for one - a sedentary lifestyle
I don't put much stock in the government either, which is why I'm healthier than I've ever been in my life.


Last edited by Christie Warner : 02-23-2010 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:22 AM   #79
Adam Acosta
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Re: Government Regulated Diet

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
Those countries that are stable enough still face nearly insurmountable competition from the developed world's subsidized farmers. Our farm subsidies certainly aren't the only problem in Africa, but they aren't helping matters either.

Katherine
I was assuming Steven was talking about food donation programs.

The problems of competition are certainly just as daunting, though, and that is true in the United States as much as it is overseas. Smaller farmers can't produce as cheaply or ship as efficiently as large agribusiness. Luckily, I'm pretty sure heavily processed foods are far more subject to economies of scale than fresh vegetables and meats, but that's only a guess. And, of course, there's no reason in principle that large agribusiness has to produce primarily lower quality foods. Market demand will dictate what they produce.

Still, though, higher quality food generally costs more to produce. I wasn't trying to say that eating canned vegetables will make you unhealthy, but they're of lower quality than fresh vegetables and they cost less to produce because they don't spoil. Grain-fed beef costs less than grass-fed beef because you don't need as much land and they allow you to make use of grain scraps unfit for human consumption, lowering your spoilage rate even further. Farmers cannot adjust production very easily; it's not an agile industry. Once you've planted a crop or purchased some steers, you're likely keeping whether there ends up being immediate demand or not. Costs are lowered significantly simply by being able to store food. If you can store it, you don't lose it and pay all of the production costs in exchange for no revenue when the market turns on you in a bad year.

You can defray costs as a consumer somewhat by purchasing the most local food you can find, or at least that's what I usually try to do. It was much easier when I lived in Sonoma County than now when I live in Orange County, though. That was sort of the perfect confluence of quality land, climate, and open space, though. There was even a guy that raised buffalo, lamb, emu, and ostriches only two miles from me. I'll never get the kind of prices I used to get there now that I'm here.

None of this is an excuse per se for being obese, but at the very low end of the spectrum, the cheapest foods per calorie are things like canola oil (deep fry everything), bleached wheat (all of the calories but none of the spoilage), granulated sugar, and mystery meat loaded with omega-6 bundled into burgers and nuggets. Potato chips are probably up there as well, taking an already calorie-dense food, making it more calorie dense by deep frying it, and packaging it into a form that won't spoil. A large bag might give you 4,000 calories for $3.00. Put these together and they probably make up a typical diet for a large portion of the very low-income people in the United States.
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:01 PM   #80
Thomas Bailly
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Re: Government Regulated Diet

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Originally Posted by Paul Szoldra View Post
I believe that had these laws not been passed, people would then be forced to think and figure out what is right for themselves.
yeah the same way the white house and congress decided in 2001 not to pass laws to regulate mortgage securitization, so those who had $$ to make were able "figure out what is right for themselves".
It is easy to think that we are all independent and live separate lives, but the reality is that all of our freedoms and choices bump up against everyone elses.
Whether you like it or not the government exists only to balance those individual choices and freedoms. Does it do it well? Of course not, it's an almost impossible task. Is it necessary? IMO yes . As far as food goes if there were no guidelines it would probably be impossible to find any food that wasn't stacked with preservatives and flavor enhancers to make you eat more, HFCS and other sweeteners. The deck is stacked to favor big money interests, no matter who is in power lobbyists run the show, would they run it less without government regulations? of course not, they would just run everyone over.
The obvious answer is always the same , grow your own food.
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