Happy Meals and Campbell’s Soup

by Walter Olson on July 28, 2011

This week has brought one nudge forward and one push back for the paternalistic “food policy” crowd, or so I argue in a new opinion piece for the New York Daily News (& welcome Instapundit/Glenn Reynolds readers, Center for Consumer Freedom “Quote of the Week“).

{ 4 comments }

1 Hans Bader 07.28.11 at 3:06 pm

The demand that McDonald’s stop serving french fries in Happy Meals is stupid.

The demand that it stop serving hamburgers — which are not even unhealthy compared to most restaurant fare — is beyond stupid:

http://www.openmarket.org/2011/07/28/stop-messing-with-my-daughters-happy-meal/

Earlier, the Obama Administration banned white potatoes from the WIC Program based on ignorance of nutrition (you can use WIC money to buy all sorts of starchy, fatty, sugary garbage, but not for potatoes, which have lots of vitamin C and minerals):

http://www.openmarket.org/2010/12/27/potato-diet-improves-mans-health-obama-administration-bans-potatoes-from-wic-program/

Earlier, the Obama administration earlier used federal funds to subsidize the opening of an International House of Pancakes in Washington, D.C. (despite its sugary menu), and the development of high-calorie foods that benefit politically connected agribusinesses. Its biofuel subsidies and mandates contributed to a food crisis in the Third World.

2 Ben S 07.28.11 at 3:44 pm

Seemingly contradictory? Here’s the conclusion from what I’m assuming is the paper you’re quoting (although a direct reference would have been nice (unless you’re just taking the opinion piece’s word for it, in which case I’d recommend that you use primary sources)):

Conclusions

Despite collating more event data than previous systematic reviews of RCTs (665 deaths in some 6,250 participants) there is still insufficient power to exclude clinically important effects of reduced dietary salt on mortality or CVD morbidity. Our estimates of benefits from dietary salt restriction are consistent with the predicted small effects on clinical events attributable to the small BP reduction achieved.

I’m all for putting salt back in soup (those things run from flavorless to blech), but it does not follow from this study’s conclusion that “the science on salt and health has long been more complicated than you might think”.

3 Walter Olson 07.28.11 at 3:52 pm

Also from that paper: “the effect of reduced dietary salt on cardiovascular disease (CVD) events remains unclear.” For that matter, the phrase Ben quotes, “insufficient power to exclude clinically important effects,” falls very far short of “well-established risk to health.” I stand by my phrase “more complicated than you might think.”

4 Jesse Spurway 07.29.11 at 8:02 am

Mr. Bader, your links all go back to you. A link should cite the data that proves your statement.

Comments on this entry are closed.