An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
Apparently Denmark has begun taxing saturated fat in what they claim to be an effort to reduce their "obesity epidemic." I say "claim" because I really don't know how anyone can look at the history of sin taxes (or even outright bans) on things people love and actually believe them to be effective at reducing their usage. The cynic in me rather suspects this is just a clever way to raise revenue under the guise of trying to protect people from this "magical food" (as Nick Gillespie puts it so well) that makes us fat. A few thoughts:
First, let us assume that the "obesity epidemic" is real or as bad they claim and not an artifact of sliding scales and labels. (It is actually debatable) Well, what has caused it? We've been given lots of answers, but I think the real issue is far more complex than a simple 6,000 paged bit of legislation can solve. None-the-less we are perpetually given new reasons for the "epidemic."
One famed cause usually given for the "epidemic" is Fast Food. Yes, evil saturated fat robber barons have strapped us to racks and force fed us with greasy foods until we became addicted. So says Morgan Spurlock in his "documentary" and to no small degree the evils of fast food became a part of popular "wisdom" to the point that government HAD to come save us threatening and sometimes implementing legislation of various sorts. Oddly enough I just read an article which demonstrates that despite the fact that due to pressure fast food joints virtually making us sign liability forms telling us exactly how much fat is in the food we ordered and despite the fat that we can opt for apple slices instead of French fries in our kids' happy meals, our eating habits have not changed there at all. In other words when we are asked if we want the evil clown restaurant to serve apple slices we say YES! But when asked if we want apple slices when we order food there we say NO! The lonely apple slices have all turned golden brown almost matching those delicious fries - except in taste. Nobody wants a salad in place of their Whopper! So the public health Nazis who thought the fast food robber barons were to blame need to wake up and realize that they are simply selling us what we WANT!
The other famed cause is a simple one (to the simple-minded): Fat makes us fat. I think we are closing in on about 40 years now of being lectured about the dangers of fat and cholesterol. The government has been educating us about the goodness of their carb rich food pyramid for a very long time. And consider how long we have been marketed to with low fat food alternatives - the demand being so high such that they even went so far as to try sell us some sort of synthetic fat that had the tendency to make us soil ourselves. And we bought it because we feared the evils of fat more than massive skid marks - such is our love for fat. But, ironically research has shown that we as Americans have in fact reduced our overall fat and cholesterol intake, but alas our waistlines do not correlate. Furthermore there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that much of the data we have relied upon for the "fat makes us fat" or "cholesterol gives you heart attacks" memes are terribly unreliable. The fact of the matter is that nutritional studies are notoriously difficult to do and from all I've read I believe the jury is still very much out on just how bad fat (and its various forms) are for you. Please consider spending sometime at Chris Masterjohn's website. Many posit that the shift to carbs (thank you US Government sponsored food pyramid)- especially the refined sort - are just as much to blame for our ongoing epidemic and likely added to it the wonders of adult onset diabetes.
The blame game goes on and on...and I'll mention one more: advertising to kids. You see our kids witness all those cartoon commercials for super deep fried sugar frosty malted corn bomb cereal and they force us parents to buy it for them. Obviously as our kids get fat we MUST blame the advertisers. Surely not the parents who bought such garbage for the kids - and furthermore allows them to eat it while watching TV which only allows them to be fed more advertising. And remember: no one can be expected to resist the evils of advertising. Such is the evil power of such evil. It's irresistible evil I tell you! I think they use the dark side of the force to cloud our judgment. Not unlike the government and their public health lackeys who are bent on being our nannies....the only difference is that we can't shut their taxes or bans off like we can the TV.
They'll tax until their hearts are content. Once they ban bacon I'll be joining the local pork cartel and will render their war on bacon even less successful than their war on drugs! I'll find ways to hide the hogs in my backyard from the night vision helicopters and such. Remember friends, I can supply all your pork needs when the time arrives. They may make vegans out of you, but they'll have to pry the pork rinds out of my cold dead hand!
By the way, as most of you know I'm obese. I think it's due in large part to beer...which is a decidedly ZERO percent fat food...which is why I drink it - it's the liquid version of the top of the food pyramid for crying out loud!
I think I commit several major "food sins" in every non-fasting period: I drink whole milk in fairly large quantities, butter is quite common on the table, and I use 20%-fat meat in hamburgers. Granted, I don't eat fast food often because I can't bring myself to pay what fast food costs. I also swim a couple of miles a day when there's no Liturgy in the morning.
I'm 6'2", 175lbs. I'm going to have a hard time believing the rhetoric about fats being the ultimate evil.
Father, have you seen the film "Fathead" or read the book "Good Calories - Bad Calories"? I highly recommend both. My wife showed me the former and at first I thought most of what was in it was bunk. But having access through the University to search for and read actual studies I found there's a lot more to it. The entire "lipid/heart disease" hypothesis is really quite weak.
I had not read those. However, since presvytera and I are in the midst of looking into our food (watching documentaries and reading books, leading to buying local things as much as we can) it sounds like a couple of things to add to our research list.