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How a left and a right wing nutritionist might converse if they met at a market

How would left versus right wing nutritionists argue their points about hyperregulation by the government of what people should eat, or can buy in food markets? Here's what some of the dialogue might be like among those interested in food, health, and nutrition research. Imagine a right wing and a left wing nutritionist both meet and talk to one another at a Sacramento farmer's market on any given weekend morning. Here's how the conversation might play out, should their imaginary talk become an audio play (or a debate).

How a left and a right wing nutritionist might converse if they met at a food market
Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images

Right wing nutritionist:

People shouldn't be hyperregulated by the government telling them what's good for them or what they should buy because it would increase food prices for consumers. The hyperregulation of the workplace by government isn't conducive to lower food prices for consumers. That's because food prices go up for the consumer when foods are micromanaged by the government instead of being controlled by the business manufacturing and distributing the food.

Government shouldn't be telling consumers what to eat because people will eat what they want anyway. By labeling foods with numbers showing the consumer what number is supposed to be more nutritious than another number, it's micromanaging. The government shouldn't be telling or even suggesting to people what foods are healthier than other foods because it's bad for business and leads to higher prices for consumers for that food.

A better solution if the government wants to micromanage consumers is to only allow the healthiest of foods to be purchased by those on food stamps (EBT) because the money to buy that food comes from the taxpayer through to the government. If it's the government's money, let the consumer using government's money buy healthier foods.

If someone wants to buy Frosted Flakes, the government shouldn't be telling that consumer to buy organic apples instead, which cost a lot more than a box of cereal because the grain such as wheat, corn, or soy in the generic serial is subsidized by the government, which makes it cheaper.

Unsubsidized foods such as grains grown organically on smaller farms. So the organic grains or other foods cost the consumer more. If the consumer buys them with food stamps (an EBT debit card) issued by the government, the consumer is buying fewer foods than if the consumer bought subsidized foods such as commercial cereals.

Left wing nutritionist:

When you tell people to buy what they want and not what the government tells them is the healthier choice when it comes to food, you have to understand that the reason people buy what they want is because they're frequently addicted to the combination of salt, sugar, and fats put into the food by industry with a goal. That goal is to make it easy for you to come back to buy more of the same food. The reason you come back is because you're addicted to the taste of sugar, salt, fats, meats, cheese or sweetened chocolate. Those are the most additive foods.

Governments around the world should regulate food just like they regulate tobacco, alcohol, or firearms. Safety should always come first before big business income. When the government is more afraid of the people than the people are afraid of the government, you then get an even balance on the teeter-totter/seesaw. But the big problem is the government doesn't have enough money to pay staff or buy resources to regulate every morsel of food or every supplement. So that's left to big business out for big income. It's the same big business that doesn't care that much about people with food insecurity and little opportunity to obtain income.

For a similar reason, to make the consumer return to buy more of the same food, some restaurants put MSG in their entrees and side dishes, or in some fast-foods. And MSG is a flavor extender that also is a neurotoxin. See, "Transplacental neurotoxic effects of monosodium glutamate on structures and functions of brain areas of filial mice." the study noted that the excessive activation of Glu receptors and the overloading of intracellular Ca2+ induced by MSG ultimately leading to neuronal death may result in the reduction of the capability of learning and memory in adult filial mice pregnantly treated with MSG. Or see, "MSG: a neurotoxic flavor enhancer" and "HowStuffWorks "The Dangers of Monosodium Glutamate."

Restaurants that don't add MSG usually put a lot of salt in their food, which also works to bring people back for more than if salt was left out and the customer given small packages of salt to season the unseasoned food or if salt and pepper shakers on restaurant tables were used often.

When the flavor is extended on your tongue, you're brain soon craves the food again, and you come back to buy more, which makes more money for the business. Salt is substituted for MSG, which also addicts people to the taste as do various syrups, sugars, and fats.

People quickly become addicted to sugars and corn syrup or other sweeteners because the brain craves the sweets once they become familiar. See, "Sugar Addiction Slideshow: Symptoms, Cravings, Detox, and Diet Tips" or check out the Rodale News article, "10 Tactics for Overcoming Sugar Addiction."

The government points out which foods have more nutrition. People on food stamps can only buy so much food before the money runs out before the end of the month. The foods bought by those on food stamps are low-cost. People are buying what they can afford, and those on food stamps may not be able to afford the healthiest of foods because the foods cost too much for them. And the foods cost more because the government doesn't subsidize organic foods or grains such as organic wheat, soy, or corn.

The government subsidizes more of the GMO grains. See, "Subsidies, GMOs, Obesity - Rural Migration News | Migration Dialogue" and "Massive US Government Subsidies for GE Soybeans" and check out, "The 9 Foods the U.S. Government is Paying You to Eat." You also may wish to see the articles, "Billions In Farm Subsidies Underwrite Junk Food, Study Finds" and "How Your Taxes are Being Used by the Government to Produce Junk Food."

That article, "How Your Taxes are Being Used by the Government to Produce Junk Food" says farmers around the country choosing to grow healthy crops like chard, broccoli, and spinach simply do not have the government funding that those growing massive amounts of corn and soy beans (of which above 90% of each are genetically modified) do.

Right wing nutritionist:

I don't want the government to tell me what to eat or what food is healthier than another food. I want to buy the food that I want to eat because I like that food. And I like the food because it tastes good, is affordable, and fills up my belly.

According to the Natural Society's website, between 1995 and 2010, taxpayers spent $262 million subsidizing apples which really are the only significant federal subsidy of fresh fruits and vegetables. If poor people get food stamps from the government, let the government tell the poor people on food stamps what foods are healthy and what they can buy. Stop telling the rest of us what foods to buy or what foods are healthier. People will keep on buying foods they want, like, and are traditional or familiar in their family for generations. If it has worked for years, if it's successful, imitate it. Don't fix or change what still works well for most people as long as it's what most people prefer. The government should be afraid of the people. The people shouldn't be afraid of the government, especially when it comes to buying the food most people want. After all, I work hard for my money, and I want to spend what I earn without being told what to buy or what somebody else who don't know me says is good for me.

Left wing nutritionist:

The U.S. government is a major player in the national food business, with subsidies continuing. Crops being subsidized are almost always genetically modified and pose a health risk to the environment and humankind. Have you ever wondered why the U.S. produces at least 75% of all soybeans grown worldwide? Yet when you go to the natural food aisles of supermarkets or natural food stores, it's so difficult to find foods made with organic soybeans?

You have to look twice at packages of foods made from fermented soybeans such as tempeh or various packages of tofu to make sure the soybeans are organic. Or have you wondered why when you buy hummus, it's so often made with canola oil instead of extra virgin olive oil?

Or whether the ingredient label that says 'tahini' is really crushed sesame seeds made with some sesame oil or is tahini also a mixture of canola oil mixed in with the sesame seeds instead of just sesame seeds or unprocessed sesame seed oil? You may just end up preparing your foods at home from scratch. But business has to make money on your busy day. Business assumes you're buying their food for convenience, so you won't have to prepare it from scratch. It's good to know which foods are the healthiest by any measure and why, based on the dense nutrition and micronutrients. One reason for urban gardens is to grow your own organic food when you live in a food desert or your food stamps won't stretch very far.

Too many people can't afford the healthiest foods and may not know or have access to places where they can find healthier foods or grow it themselves in urban gardens when the season is conducive to growing vegetables or fruits. Food manufacturers need to take charge of inspecting what they make and distribute. That's why it's good to have independent laboratories inspecting what food and nutritional supplement manufacturers and distributors handle and sell to the public. It's better for business to make sure what's on the label is what's inside the container and is safe and not rely only on government because the government just doesn't have the resources to test every supplement, food, or any other item that people buy, consume, or use.

The question is whether right wing people are rich enough to afford the food they want and whether poor people are poor enough to qualify for government programs where they can learn where and how to access healthier food choices or even learn that they have choices when it comes to filling up the family's bellies and keeping them healthier. See, "5 Unhealthy Foods Engineered to Be Addictive | Alternet " and "NPR - When it comes to avoiding unhealthy food, it might be that out of sight means out of mind." After all, people who can least afford to buy healthier foods may be living in neighborhoods surrounding by fast-food eateries. There's not enough money to inspect all the food that's imported, let alone all the food that's produced in the USA. Government doesn't have the staff or resources to look at every piece of food to see what's healthy, contaminated, or toxic at unsafe levels. See, "The FDA Only Inspects 1 – 2% Of Imported Seafood From China" or "Inspectors Struggle to Keep Up With Flood of Imports."

Right wing nutritionist:

Would that mean more government policies limiting fast-food outlets in neighborhoods where there are mostly low-income and overweight people? That would be bad for business. In some areas you find a fast-food eatery every two blocks or so along a stretch of avenue where there are lots of apartments where low-income families live. The goal of business such as fast-food eateries is to make money so business can provide more jobs for people, including people living in food deserts and low-income areas. And for those who own the business, the more money they make means more franchises might be run by families otherwise out of work who can afford to buy a franchise to feed their families. Government is scared people might make unhealthy food choices or shelter in place and stay sedentary by watching TV, where they can see all those commercials for snack foods, which in turn increases their weight and eventually increases their use of costly health care.

Left wing nutritionist:

Food deserts are notorious for sporting many fast food restaurants but no supermarkets or grocery stores and plenty of convenience stores and liquor stores. Consequently, the people living in food deserts, often poor, have an increased risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and hypertension issues and eye problems that could be related to health conditions similar having high blood glucose or high insulin levels. If you can't put supermarkets in food deserts, how about turning house of worship or community center lawns, parking areas, empty lots, and commercial or personal yards into urban gardens to grow vegetables and fruits for families living in food deserts? As far as lifestyle choices, versus the sedentary life, walking is free if there are sidewalks where pedestrians can safely walk, if only pedestrians with fast foods didn't toss those cans and fast-food wrappers on other people's lawns or at bus stops or on the sidewalk. Who can afford the nearly eight dollars for a small container of blueberries at a local farmer's market in a low-income neighborhood?

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