On December 5, 2006, the City of New York banned the use of trans-fats in restaurants. Ironically, many of the experts proclaiming the dangers of trans-fats were the ones who urged us to embrace them as heart-healthy in the 1980's.
Advocacy science infects much of the information reported about the harmful effects of many things. Whether its global warming, silicone breast implants, second-hand smoke, or the types and amounts of fats we ingest, much of the data used to justify these regulations is inconclusive. But there is something more important than the integrity of scientific research at stake.
In a free society, people should be able to make their own choices about how much risk they are willing to take and accept the consequences of those choices. Independent organizations should be free to make information available to the public regarding risks and benefits, but they must not be allowed to make decisions for us.
While lawmakers sound the alarm about international terrorism that threatens our very way of life, a more stealthy threat eats at our freedoms from within. We must tell these well-intentioned busybodies to mind their own business.
Dr. Jeffrey Singer is a surgeon who writes and lectures on regional and national public policy. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Goldwater Institute, and is a contributor to ARIZONA MEDICINE, the journal of the Arizona Medical Association.
-Arizona Daily Star: Better to live with risk than limit our choices
-MSNBC: New York City passes trans fat ban
-The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Board of Health Votes to Phase Out Artificial Trans Fat From New York Citys Restaurants