The government profits off our obesity. Using the sugar scam, food pyramid scandal, NAFTA and the rise in Big Agriculture, I’ll explain how.
It’s sad, isn’t it?
To realize the government doesn’t have your best interest at heart?
The truth is sometimes they do. They just suck at execution.
Most politicians have never run a business. And they are flawed humans with inner demons just like the rest of us: Am I after power? Money? Do I do the right thing or benefit personally?
Therefore, these mortal humans, which comprise our government, have made mistakes and caused or exacerbated every social and economic crisis in the country:
- The Great Depression
- The Vietnam War
- Hyperinflation of the 1970’s
- The Savings and Loan Crisis
- The Iraq War
- 2008’s Subprime Mortgage Crisis
- Student Loan Crisis
Today we are adding the American Obesity Epidemic to the list.
Related Reading: The Government Caused the Student Loan Crisis
The Sugar Industry Cover Up
The first example of how government caused the rise in obesity is known as the sugar industry cover up.
In my opinion, the government should defend our land, provide a social net, and police violent criminals.
They should NOT be telling us what to eat.
Besides, what each of us requires to sustain and nourish ourselves is unique.
Unfortunately politicians can’t resist an opportunity to govern.
In 1968, the government was alerted to the rise in heart attacks in America. They formed a committee and hired a scientist named Ancel Keys to tell them what causes heart attacks.
Keys said that fat caused heart attacks.
The committee never verified Keys’ claim or got a second opinion. Instead, the anti-fat campaign was born.
Big Food and the sugar industry, who was behind the movement, created low-fat, processed products (stuffed with sugar) for Americans to eat instead.
The marketing campaign was successful and everything ‘low fat’ flew off the shelves.
Professionals around the country were aghast.
Dozens of scientists presented evidence to government officials showing that animal fats, saturated fats and even cholesterol do not cause heart attacks. They explained there was a strong correlation between refined carbohydrates and inflammation. The inflammation is what contributed to the rise in heart attacks, not fat, which humans have been eating since the beginning of time.
The politicians ignored them.
Big Food and the sugar industry was making too much money. It became obvious the politicians had accepted bribes to turn a blind eye to the facts.
This was the beginning of Americans eating more processed foods and less *actual* food.
Obesity started to take off.
And we have our own damn government to thank for it.
The Food Pyramid Scam
By 1992 the government decided to strike again.
The anti-fat campaign was such a success that they formed another committee to create the Food Pyramid:
The Food Pyramid says Americans should eat daily:
- 6-11 servings of bread or pasta
- 2-3 servings of dairy
- 2-3 servings of protein
- 3-5 servings of vegetables
- 2-4 servings of fruit
Notice the recommended servings of bread and pasta?
Scientists had presented evidence to government officials showing that refined carbohydrates directly correlate to inflammation in the body, and inflammation directly leads to heart disease.
What does the government care about facts, though?
And that’s not all.
Originally, the Food Pyramid recommended fewer servings of meat and dairy.
Unsurprisingly, lobbyists from the meat and dairy industries freaked out.
Our sales will go down! We will lose money! This is criminal!
Incapable of standing up to corporate interests, the committee members revised their recommendations to allow for more meat and dairy, and less fruits and vegetables.
This is an excerpt from the National Center of Biotechnology Information’s website:
Under pressure from meat producers, the dietary advice went from a decreased consumption of meat to 2-3 servings daily. This highlights the inherent conflict of interest in the Department of Agriculture’s dual mandate to promote U.S. agricultural products and to advise the public about healthy food choices.
Senator McGovern, who oversaw the committee, was quoted as saying he, “did not want to disrupt the economic situation of the meat industry.“
I haven’t found proof of bribes in the Food Pyramid Scam, but it’s likely the Agriculture and Dairy lobbyists threatened to cut off campaign funding if the politicians didn’t change their recommendations.
Therefore, this is the second example of how the government caused the obesity epidemic in America.
Related Reading: What is Anarcho Capitalism?
Why Is Nutrition Important? What are Essential Nutrients?
This is how the Food Pyramid scam indirectly caused the rise of obesity in America:
The government missed a great opportunity to educate the public on nutrition.
- What is nutrition?
- Is there a connection between what we eat and our moods?
- Are all vegetables created equal?
- All fruits?
- What are the nutrients a human body requires?
- What are the minerals needed?
- In which foods can which nutrients and minerals be found?
- Where do herbs fit in?
Wouldn’t this have been amazing?
Until my mid-20’s, I thought as long as I ate fruits and vegetables, I was healthy.
It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder that learned about nutrients, and that perhaps I was lacking certain nutrients.
Obesity is so much more than just calories in vs. calories out.
The government’s Food Pyramid, which oversimplified a complex subject, led to the rise of obesity in America.
Related Reading: Obesity and Your Microbiome
What is the Purpose of NAFTA?
The Food Pyramid is why some Americans think orange juice counts as a fruit and french fries count as a vegetable.
But we’ve come a long way. Our culture today is all about eating whole foods. Yayy!!
The government can’t screw up fresh fruits and vegetables, can it?
NAFTA, which stands for The North American Free Trade Agreement, became law in 1994 with the goal of stimulating trade between Canada, Mexico and the United States.
With NAFTA, a farmer in Mexico can sell his avocados in California the same way a farmer in California can sell his avocados in New York.
No more tariffs, no more hoops to jump through, just friendly and free trade.
As usual, what sounds good in theory doesn’t always turn out well in practice.
NAFTA benefited large, corporate farms and hurt small family farms.
This is because a small farmer in Florida is competing to sell his produce in Nebraska with massive Mexican and Canadian corporate farms. With scale comes a cheaper product, so the Florida farmer went out of business.
A leading director of trade, Karen Hansen-Kuhn, told NPR, “[NAFTA] is geared around the idea that farmers should get big or get out. That undermines farmers who are trying to produce for a smaller scale, who are trying to produce more sustainably.”
Keep reading to see how this government policy eventually leads to obesity.
Large vs Small Scale Farming
According to USDA.gov, as shown in the graphic below, 90% of American farms are small, but they only account for 24% of output.
In the graphic, the “Value of production” shows that over 50% of produce sold in America comes from large and non-family (corporate) farms.
The government had good intentions when it signed NAFTA into law in 1994.
Where the government fails, every time, is in the execution.
Taxpayers pay billions of dollars each year subsidizing small and mid-size farms because NAFTA made it impossible for them to compete.
If that’s not depressing enough, because of loopholes in the policy, most of that money ends up going to the big corporate farms.
So NAFTA itself didn’t cause obesity in America.
However, NAFTA’s impact, which encouraged the rise of industrialized farming, does directly correlate to the rise in obesity.
Related Reading: What Did Occupy Wall Street Accomplish?
The Decline in Nutrient Density
NAFTA was created to increase American produce exports to Canada and Mexico.
Small and local farms weren’t equipped to scale and export internationally, so Big Agriculture was born.
Big Agriculture introduced America’s farmland to machinery that maximized crops cultivated per acre.
What does this have to do with obesity?
It turns out that mono-cropping, overproduction and over-harvesting results in lower levels of vitamins and minerals found in the fruits and vegetables grown.
In this 2004 University of Texas study, scientists reported a decline in proteins, vitamins and minerals in over 43 of the fruits and vegetables tested.
Big agricultural’s farming methods strip nutrients from the soil, which is where plants derive their nutrients.
The human body is complex.
A person may burn more calories than they consume, but still be overweight.
This is because when the body does not get the proper nutrients, it holds onto excess fat. #Survival mode.
Therefore, by passing NAFTA, which led to the rise of industrialized agriculture and our nutrient-depleted produce, the government has caused the rise in obesity.
Ever notice that a tomato from the store doesn’t taste as good as the tomato from your backyard?
And that’s not all.
The Government’s Approval of Toxic Chemicals
Pesticides have been used for thousands of years and are necessary when it comes to farming.
The New York Times ran an article describing how ancient civilizations used pesticides:
To combat insects, many of which were identical to today’s insect pests, ancient agriculturalists relied almost entirely on the use of natural products. Extracts of lupine flowers or wild cucumber were widely used against a variety of pests.
Many organic and small farms today use similar, natural pesticides.
But Big Agriculture, no different than Big Pharma, prefers chemicals, which is why the produce found in the grocery store is covered in them.
Ingesting chemicals can lead to obesity because chemicals disrupt something called the microbiome.
The microbiome is the trillions of good and bad bacteria that dictate the health of a human.
A healthy human has a balanced microbiome.
But when the microbiome becomes unbalanced, which can happen by ingesting toxic chemicals, the human is susceptible to obesity. According to National Library of Medicine and Health:
The bacteria in our gut not only play an important role in digestion but research indicates that our microbiome could also play a major role in whether or not we become obese.
In other words, and as the research explains, consuming harsh chemicals disrupts a balanced microbiome, and that can result in obesity.
Our government financially supports Big Agriculture, to the tune of billions of dollars a year.
Couldn’t they at least regulate the chemicals Big Agriculture uses on the crops?
In Conclusion: Did the Government Cause Obesity?
As previously mentioned, I do not support the government playing a role in food education or in our country’s food supplies.
They are too corrupt and incompetent to do what is truly in the best interest of the citizen.
Something as simple as seeking a second or third opinion as to what causes heart attacks could have prevented the massive shift from Americans eating *actual* food to processed food.
And why not use common sense when creating the Food Pyramid? What a 60-year old women needs to eat for optimal health is quite different than a 19-year old boy.
They missed a great opportunity to incorporate nutrition into our public school systems, and our current health crisis is a sad reminder of their ineptitude.
That said, we’ve come a long way on our own and from educating one another.
Most of us prefer eating foods in their natural form. The problem is the government’s influence has seeped into our food supply as well.
NAFTA essentially paved the way for Big Agriculture, the rise in chemicals and the depletion of nutrients in our produce.
If anyone ever falsely believes that government intervention is a good thing, I hope this article is a reminder that the government SUCKS. Always.
The individuals may have good intentions, and I believe they do, but at the end of the day, this group of flawed and mortal humans, that we call the government, manage to fuck everything up.
Practice radical self-reliance when it comes to food. Educate yourself, buy organic, grow your own, see a naturopath and most importantly, use common sense.