TCS Daily


The New "Beverage Guidance System"

By Jonathan Robison, PhD, MS - March 23, 2006 12:00 AM

The latest version of the Star Wars Defense against obesity has just come out. And the "Beverage Guidance System," proposed by The Beverage Guidance Panel, promises to further focus in on pleasure, variety and choice and obliterate them from our diets.

Motivated primarily by "the large increase in unhealthy weight patterns in the United States over the past 20 years," the BGS combines with the recently released Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the USDA to make U.S. nutrition recommendations less of a guide to adequate nutrition than a weight loss diet plan for the whole population.

As with all externally prescribed diets, this one is long on "less ofs" "shouldn'ts" and "don'ts." Using a graphic of a pitcher instead of the Food Guide Pyramid, the BGS lays out a six-tiered, color-coded, prescriptive approach to determining the daily intake of beverages for Americans. Americans, it seems, do not have the innate capability of deciding for themselves what and how much to drink. The result? Poor health and the fattening of America.

The most dangerous culprits being singled out by BGS are, not surprisingly, soda pop and sweetened fruit drinks. However, all fruit juices and sports drinks are now added to the list of undesirable fluids for ingestion - and whole milk and fruit smoothies are singled out as being particularly problematic.

So, with all the no-no's, what should we drink? According to the experts it would be best if ">60%, if not 100%, of fluid needs are provided by calorie-free beverages" - read water and unsweetened coffee and tea. Interestingly, the experts are okay with up to 24 ounces of beer a day for men; considerably more than the permitted 16 ounces of skim milk; and three times the permitted amount of fruit juice allowed.

The contention is that consumption of these "contraband" drinks leads to unhealthy weight gain, even though the majority of studies have failed to find a significant positive relationship between their intake and obesity or weight gain.

Say, though, that a link between these beverages and obesity were to be found. The new recommendations are so prescriptive, restrictive and confusing that it is unlikely that consumers will take the time or energy needed to adhere to them. There are six different levels of beverages. Appropriate quantities for individuals are based not only on their color code, but also on recommended portion sizes. And these portion sizes are based on each individual's percentage of daily caloric requirements (10-15% of total calories).

Furthermore, the liberal recommendations for tea and coffee consumption have to be tempered by the amount of caffeine ingested (no more than 400 milligrams per day). Finally, to make matters even more complex, there are actually two sets of guidelines (two separate pitchers) one for suggested beverage consumption and one for acceptable beverage consumption, each with different recommendations for the various levels.

What are consumers to do? Perhaps one solution the government should consider is mandating that the new BGS be installed on all refrigerators sold to the public. All liquids would be dispensed from an onboard, factory-installed, carefully monitored and computer-controlled central brain. Consumers could either punch in their projected caloric intake for the day or have it implanted in radio frequency identification devices in their hands that would communicate their biometrics to the refrigerator in order to make specific beverage requests.

Here's how it might work.

When you get up in the morning, you might punch in your request for a 12 or 16 ounce glass of premium orange juice to start your day and either enter your calorie code or simply wave your RFID implanted hand in front of a censor. Then a voice (refrigerator makers might offer options such as a scolding male health professional or a more motherly, soothing female voice) would answer: "Sorry, (with an optional "dear" if the motherly voice is chosen) only 8 ounces of this liquid are permitted daily. Please make another request.

At lunch, your might ask for a tall glass of milk with your sandwich, and your fridge could respond: "Sorry, (dear), you already used up half your milk quota with your cereal this morning. How about a tall glass of water, or perhaps a can of beer?"

If you requested one of the more dangerous sodas or fruit ades, your fridge could answer with a variety of comments (pre-programmed depending on individual tastes in motivational style) from "Perhaps you should rethink that request" to "Do you really want to drink that?" to "Don't do it fatty, you are busting out of your pants!"

Drastic times call for drastic measures, don't they?

Maybe instead, we could trust that people actually do care about their health and are willing to make changes when they feel it is in their best interest. If so, we could save the $40,000 spent on concocting this latest attempt to control our personal lifestyle choices as well as the untold thousands (or millions) it will take to put it into effect, money better spent on Habitat for Humanity or other worthy causes.

The author is a TCS contributing writer.


6 Comments

The next government war: the WOO
Wonderful!

In his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson said:

Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him?

Substitute the "Beverage Guidance Panel" for "kings" and you have the mindset of the National Health ***** in government and in academia. The "War On Obesity" (WOO) has already begun.

Oops, my "N-word" was censored by TCS
Oops. In my previous post, I used the "N-word", the one that describes the government of Germany during the 1930's and early 1940's. TCS censored it out.

Socialized health care = Church Lady dictatorship
If we citizens pool our health care risks and costs in the state and finance them through taxation, we had better make sure that the amount each individual pays in tax for his health care corresponds to his own unhealthy behavior. Otherwise, a dictatorship of the Church Lady is soon to follow.

See, a free market health insurance policy exacts higher premiums from those whose lifestyle choices put their own health at risk than from those who live well. But state-run health care systems do exactly the opposite: An individual's ability to pay determines how much he pays for health care, and not his own lifestyle choices. So in socialist countries, a rich health food & fitness nut pays more for not going to the doctor than an unemployed fast food and TV junkie pays to survive his self-imposed type II diabetes. That's what I call social justice!

But wait, it gets better! Since the state and society have undertaken the obligation to collectively finance alcoholism, drug abuse, obesity, sloth, and all-around dissolute lifestyle choices, the health care system begins to run out of cash, waiting lines to see a doctor begin to circle the block, and the overall quality of health care begins to decline. This just won't do, so now it's time to start taxing, banning, and social engineering.

Now we're talking about expanding sin taxes to include fat, sugar, and fast carbohydrates (this is actually happening in Sweden right now). Maybe we'll lay an extra sin tax on cars and furniture, not just because they pollute the environment, but also because one can't exercise while sitting in them.

In fact, to hell with modern technology and individual rights. Let's march everyone fat out into the country to live on communal broccoli farms, where backbreaking labor and meager rations consisting entirely of healthy greens will keep them skinny and healthy enough to do even more backbreaking labor to grow more healthy greens. That's what I call good, healthy livin, brother!

See, having your life run by a committee of Church Ladies is the end of socialized medicine's road. Now, how is this different from a theocracy?



The smugglers are our last hope.
Well here we go deeper into stupidity with this meaningless drink pyramid or pitcher. Well when the do-gooders put taxes on everything unhealthy, we will have the smugglers and drug dealers to save us. Just like they saved us from the stupidity of prohibition and are trying to save us from death and mayhem in the war on drugs, they will save us from the stupidity of the war on obesity.

I say bring on the fat taxes. There was a major liberal media outlet complaining that in a LA area school district, several entrepreneurs were smuggling/pushing candy from their backpacks. I say good luck to them. This is the only way to get rid of those stupid ideas like:
1. War on drugs.
2. FDA
3. Government run education. (This is a tall order even for them.)
4. The WOO
5. What would Jesus drive?

What is next a Cola or Bake Easy?

Let He Who Actually Pays the Piper Call the Tune
"Beverage Guidance Panel, promises to further focus in on pleasure, variety and choice and obliterate them from our diets."

Adults can do as they please, provided they know what they are doing and the rest of us don’t have to pay for their actions. Go to a bath house, shoot up, get drunk, smoke tobacco or MJ, use any drug you want, legal or not (but if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime; and you should earn your prison keep), be promiscuous, abort rather than use birth control, avoid exercise and good nutrition, take without question every drug your doctor prescribes or you hear about, and the like.
Insurance premiums are not risk rated and so I will have to give up a significant bit of my monetary freedom of choice. If I want health insurance I will have to help pay for such knowingly reckless, voluntary behaviors.
But that doesn’t mean I favor children being exposed to such reckless behavior or being encouraged to emulate it by the presence of vending machine and cafeteria availability. I tolerate such reckless, mean spirited, and damaging behavior because I have no choice.
If it isn’t clear by now that sodas, diet or sugar sweetened, are injurious to health and mental development, then I suggest a thorough Google search. (Sugar, after all, may have been responsible for the eclipse of 17th century Dutch hegemony.) Ditto all foods that are sweetened with sugar, aspartame, etc. Inducement of addiction is easy. Therefore strong forewarning is called for.
When the proponents of freedom to engage voluntarily in knowingly bad health behavior agree to pay for risk rated health insurance premiums that cover all costs of such behavior, thereby preserving my freedom of choice and that of children, whose education must necessarily include freedom from exposure or incitement to such behavior and warnings against it, then and only then is freedom to engage in known unhealthy behavior justified.

"However, all fruit juices and sports drinks are now added to the list of undesirable fluids for ingestion – and whole milk and fruit smoothies are singled out as being particularly problematic."

The main reason I suspect is to provide cover for the major culprit: aspartame; which is converted to formaldehyde in the body, and in the presence of heat even before consumption, and settles in fat around the waist where it is hard to metabolize and adds to weight.
Remember, we have had sugar sweetened sodas for over 100 years and no weight gain until aspartame began infiltrating sodas in the 1980s. Of course sugar itself, like aspartame, is an equal opportunity body and mind destroyer.
Neither aspartame nor sugar would be too large a problem in moderation. But both are a bit addictive for many and so overdone, leading to stunted minds and impaired bodies, for which the rest of us must help pay.

"the majority of studies have failed to find a significant positive relationship between their intake and obesity or weight gain."

As if all studies were equal in quality. Study creators desperately in need of grants are constantly gearing them towards the results their benefactors wish. They mean to deceive. Do a vitamin E study using the least effective components of the vitamin and claim it represents the results of the most effective. Or a vitamin X study, not to confirm the beneficial results it is known to produce, but for those it is not, and then imply vitamin X is useless. Or use the known worst oils and fats instead of the best. Use insufficient quantities. Fail to use in the proper proportions or combinations with other nutrients. Obscure the data, methods, and test item identity. Fake it, in the words of Groucho Marks.
This is the familiar health industry tactic of providing as many sources of confusion as possible. We adults should all be aware by now that foundation and corporate purchasers of the best governments, academics, unions, think tanks, and media other peoples money can buy control both their actions and their intellectual integrity. For proof, sit down some day and really read the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. Repeat from time to time. See the patterns. Test everything. Trust, but verify.
We already allow the reckless and the corrupted to control too many of our choices at much higher costs than a mere $40,000 per innocent taxpayer. It is time to shift the burden from us fools to those who knowingly and voluntarily engage in self-destructive behavior so that we both have freedom of choice. And don’t let these self-destructive types or their pernicious influence anywhere near our kids.

I want government to make me be good because I can't be good on my own
Hey, why shouldn't I exchange my personal and economic freedom with a government that promises to make me be good? It would be like having Uncle Sam as my personal trainer! What could be better than that?

And why shouldn't I exchange my personal and economic freedom with a government that promises to make smart decisions for me, seeing as how unlucky I am when I think? I could have every bureaucrat, every academic, every union huckster, all the think tanks full of big brains, and every pukey media pundit dissect my life in detail, comment on every bite of food I shovel into my mouth and drop of liquid I swill down my gullet, tell me when to go to bed at night, what to dream, and what to think and do when I get up in the morning. What could be better than that?

Hey, I don't mind paying the Piper so long as the Piper gets to call the tunes I dance to. After all, I'm people, so aren't I better off having my life run by people who know what's better for people than people do?

Oh, OK. We've already got all that? Then how come I still can't be good?

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