Eat, It’s Good for You

Well, maybe it’s good for you.  Apparently, there are people out there who are now intent on redefining “healthy” to mean “not bad for you.”

According to the Associated Press,

Pizza bagels, chewing gum and bottled water want to play a starring new role in our diets: Foods that can be called healthy.

 With the Food and Drug Administration considering what should be worthy of the label “healthy,”

Frozen food-makers are seeking special rules for “mini meals,” citing little pizza bagels and dumplings as examples that might qualify. Chewing gum and bottled water companies say they should no longer be shut out from using the term just because their products don’t provide nutrients.

Healthy

Imagine:  the folks who make these products – can we really call chewing gum “food?” – believe they deserve the label “healthy” even though “their products don’t provide nutrients.”

The government’s standards, which are constantly evolving, call for giving credit when foods include things that are considered desirable, like protein and fiber, and not rewarding foods that are high in fats, high in cholesterol, and high in sugar.  Companies that sell food and what The Curmudgeon will call food-like products are clearly shooting at a moving target.

But they want to move that target a little closer to improve their chances of hitting it.

Not healthy. This isn’t rocket science

And of course industry shills are coming out of the woodwork, like this one tool from the International Chewing Gum Association – there really is such an organization – who says his product should qualify because

It doesn’t have fat. It doesn’t have sugar. It has virtually no calories,

Yeah – but it’s…chewing gum!

And another mouthpiece, this one hiding behind academic credentials, who disingenuously explains, according to the AP, that

The problem is that healthy is relative…  Subsisting on broccoli alone, for instance, wouldn’t be healthy.

Yes, egghead, we really, really needed someone to explain that to us.

At the risk of seeming to overly politicize this issue, Republican administrations in general don’t want the government involved in such matters and would rather give their friends in industry as much leeway as possible to represent their products however they wish without regard to accuracy, fairness, or things like, you know, what’s good and bad for people.  In their world, it’s our responsibility to figure out that pork rinds and Cheez Whiz are no good for us and if we don’t, and if we get sick as a result, well, it’s our own damn fault.

So sometime in the not-so-distant future, don’t be surprised if you’re walking down the frozen food aisle of your local supermarket and notice the word “Healthy” scrawled over the front of a box of Hot Pockets.

Or Ben & Jerry’s.

Or frozen chicken pot pie.  (If you’ve never looked at the nutrition label on a frozen pot pie, take The Curmudgeon’s word and don’t:  you’ll never, ever eat one again.)

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