Federal Government Subsidizes Obesity and Wealthy Urbanites

In the Washington Examiner, David Freddoso explains how the federal Department of Health and Human Services spent $766,000 of your tax dollars to help open an International House of Pancakes in a prosperous section of Washington, D.C. That’s ironic, given that government food nannies depict IHOP’s sugary entrees as a cause of obesity (and even though IHOP serves two of Men’s Health Magazine‘s 20 most unhealthy restaurant dishes). The IHOP is opening in a wealthy yuppie area where even  a tiny one-bedroom apartment rents for at least $1800 per month.

While HHS is busy subsidizing IHOP, another branch of HHS, the FDA, is trying to restrict the salt content of food, which could lead to increased obesity rates, more heart attacks, and “higher death rates among some individuals,” and make it harder to market low-fat foods. Ironically, if salt levels are curbed, people will compensate by eating fattier food, since there seems to be a trade-off between salt and fat.

A recent study funded by NIH (another branch of HHS) encouraged parents to stock their fridges with apple sauce (even though apple sauce has basically no nutrition unless vitamins are artificially added to it, since the natural vitamin C in an apple is largely destroyed when it is processed into apple sauce), while disparaging potatoes, which are rich in vitamin C, potassium, and various minerals.  (Disclosure: I participated in that study for $100).   (Baked potatoes are healthy, although some of potatoes’ vitamin C is lost when you process them into french fries.  Potatoes have much more vitamin C than bananas or apples.  And they have more potassium than supposedly potassium-rich bananas).

The federal government is now banning the use of WIC money by low-income mothers to buy white potatoes, while allowing the money to be used for a host of less nutritious foods.

Photo Credit: Ankur Gulati’s Flickr Photostream