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Learning About Your Health: Essay

1241 words - 5 pages

We live in the generation of the health revolution. Every time you turn around there’s a new gym being built. This year’s biggest “super food” is kale. Salads, smoothies, you name it. There are so many healthy options available to the public, but sometimes it seems that all these healthy choices go ignored. The so-called “obesity epidemic” is not due to what’s in the food. The issue is that we eat too much and exercise too little. In the last decade, there have been numerous reports claiming that one of the leading causes of high cholesterol and coronary heart disease is trans fat, which is made by hydrogenating vegetable oil. This process increases the shelf life and enhances the flavors of any product that contains it (Miller). These trans fats can be very harmful, but when consumed only on occasion are no worse than anything else. In fact, many fast foods don’t even contain trans fats. Many health activists claim that the only way to stop the rise of obesity, or rather the fall of health, is to ban trans fat. These activists fail to see that trans fat is not the problem. The problem lies within our nation’s apparent inability to choose our own well being over the convenience of high calories foods, regardless of whether or not they contain trans fats. We don’t need to take unnecessary government action to fix a problem that could be solved with a just a teaspoon of self control.
For several years the FDA has required food manufacturers to label anything that contains more than .5 grams of trans fat as such (Assaf 328). Many restaurants have independently and voluntarily eliminated trans fats from their products without request from the government (Assaf 329). The HHS and USDA released as set of dietary guidelines in 2005 that suggested trans fatty acid consumption should be kept to a minimum. They didn’t set absolute limits on consumption or even production. They instead suggested avoiding trans fats. Clearly, we have a choice of what we put into our bodies, and we shouldn’t have to set limits for everyone just so to be healthy. If someone truly wants to be healthy he or she will make a bona fide effort to do so by choosing healthy food and exercising. The legislature cannot force us into a healthier lifestyle, but they can suggest it. With all the choices available to us, it’s bold to say that the only way to be healthy is to ban trans fat.
McDonald’s, a fast food chain generally regarded as the least healthy of them all, doesn’t even contain the absurd amounts of trans fat one might expect. The McDonald’s menu item with the most trans fat is the double quarter pounder with cheese containing a mere 2.5 grams of trans fat ("Nutrition Choices”). Other fast food places, like Taco Bell and Wendy’s, contain even less than that. Several years ago, New York City banned the use of most artificial trans fats in restaurants (Tucker). At the time, it was more than likely a huge improvement from what it was before, but years...

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