If you wonder when looking at a restaurant menu whether the bacon cheeseburger or the garden salad would be more heart healthy, help from the government may be on the way.
A bill has been introduced in the legislature requiring chain restaurants to list levels of calories, trans fats and sodium for all items on their menus. The theory is that with burgeoning rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, the government should mandate that restaurants supply info on what's bad for us.
But, the growing concern about trans fats may not be backed up by solid science. Elizabeth Whelan, the president of the American Council on Science and Health, is among the scientists who contend that trans fats are no more dangerous than other calories from fat. If the jury is still out on trans fats, that's all the more reason for government not to get involved.
The answer to the obesity problem is better lifestyle choices, moderation in diet and more exercise, not more government supervision. Listing menu information isn't that big of a deal. But the more government does for us that we can and should do for ourselves, the less independent and free we become.
Tom Patterson is chairman of the Goldwater Institute, a retired emergency room physician and former state senator. A longer version of this article appeared in the East Valley Tribune.
-East Valley Tribune: Food for thought: Leave menus alone
-Arizona Capitol Times: Good health policy or criminalizing bad habits
-American Council on Science and Health: Trans Fatty Acids and Heart Disease
-USA Today: Trans Fats are not the only villain in American diets