You could make a pretty good case that the current meltdown of the world economy could have been prevented if American regulators hadn’t been asleep at the wheel. The Fed, the SEC, and the Office of Thrift Supervision come to mind as parties that could have, in different ways, put the brakes on the housing bubble, limited the spread of derivatives, and put the cuffs on outlaws like Bernard Madoff–before all hell broke loose.
The question arises: what other disasters are regulators failing to prevent?
Michael Pollan directs our attention to the fructose scandal:
“We’re subsidizing the least healthy calories in the supermarket — high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soy oil, and we’re doing very little for farmers trying to grow real food”
Why in the world do we tolerate a public policy that encourages obesity? Human suffering aside, a huge group of people getting overweight and developing all sorts of weight-related heath problems costs us all a lot of money and diverts resources from you name it: education, energy development, innovation. It seems that we should be discouraging obesity.
Why did we allow this to happen? I’m sure the corn lobby had something to do with it. But I’d give equal measure of blame to cult of the market championed by Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, and many others. For years Friedman promoted the idea that markets would police themselves–no need for agencies like the Food and Drug Administration. It’s in people’s self-interest to not get fat, I can hear him saying, and if they do that’s their problem.
Well, the problem is, it’s not ALL their problem. And, by the way, have you ever heard of human nature? Does it seem conceivable that people bombarded with slick advertising for cheap Big Gulps from Day One of their lives might start drinking them? Particularly when the consequences develop much later?
Massive health problems in the US. Another victim of conservative economics and the failure of the American regulators.
I’m pleased to report that in a list of “The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating“, I’m eating (at least occasionally) 3 of the top 4—beets, cabbage, and cinnamon.
- Beets: Think of beets as red spinach, Dr. Bowden said, because they are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.
How to eat: Fresh, raw and grated to make a salad. Heating decreases the antioxidant power.
- Cabbage: Loaded with nutrients like sulforaphane, a chemical said to boost cancer-fighting enzymes.
How to eat: Asian-style slaw or as a crunchy topping on burgers and sandwiches.
- Swiss chard: A leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes.
How to eat it: Chop and saute in olive oil.
- Cinnamon: May help control blood sugar and cholesterol.
How to eat it: Sprinkle on coffee or oatmeal.
- Pomegranate juice: Appears to lower blood pressure and loaded with antioxidants.
How to eat: Just drink it.
- Dried plums: Okay, so they are really prunes, but packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants.
How to eat: Wrapped in prosciutto and baked.
- Pumpkin seeds: The most nutritious part of the pumpkin and packed with magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death.
How to eat: Roasted as a snack, or sprinkled on salad.
- Sardines: Dr. Bowden calls them “health food in a can.’’ They are high in omega-3’s, contain virtually no mercury and are loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins.
How to eat: Choose sardines packed in olive or sardine oil. Eat plain, mixed with salad, on toast, or mashed with dijon mustard and onions as a spread.
- Turmeric: The “superstar of spices,’’ it has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
How to eat: Mix with scrambled eggs or in any vegetable dish.
- Frozen blueberries: Even though freezing can degrade some of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables, frozen blueberries are available year-round and don’t spoil; associated with better memory in animal studies.
How to eat: Blended with yogurt or chocolate soy milk and sprinkled with crushed almonds.
- Canned pumpkin: A low-calorie vegetable that is high in fiber and immune-stimulating vitamin A; fills you up on very few calories.
How to eat: Mix with a little butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.
I assume bananas aren’t on the list because everyone already eats them. However, I do question the absence of both scotch and soda.