Current Events

Legislating your diet

Today, the New York City Board of Health has decided to ban artificial trans fats at city restaurants.  The New York Times (“…Trans Fats“) reports that “Trans fats are believed to be harmful because they contribute to heart disease by raising bad cholesterol and lowering good cholesterol at the same time. Some experts say that makes trans fats worse than saturated fat.”

On the other hand…

“…the American Heart Association warns that if restaurants aren’t given ample time to make the switch, they could end up reverting to ingredients high in saturated fat, like palm oil.”

Dr. Helen Smith, a forensic psychologist, shares her opinion:

“Can the government really operate like a nanny state and tell people what to put in their bodies? I say, ‘no,’ it should not. I do not care that it may be unhealthy–the overriding principle is that people have the right to choose what to put in their bodies, no matter what. Why not just have the restaurant list the amount of trans fat on their menu? Then consumers can decide if this is right for themselves. How can citizens ever learn personal responsibility if their choices are made for them by those who ‘know best?'”

Healthcare Economist couldn’t have said it any better!


  1. I thought that the underlying justification for this sort of legislation was the assumption that people can’t make choices for themselves.

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