Food Is Not Your Enemy

Mayor Mike Doesn’t Always Live By His Own Health Rules

The New York Times ran a piece detailing how New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, pusher of smoking bans, banner of trans-fats, and advocate of calorie information in fast-food joints, himself has a bit of a heavy hand with the salt shaker. He drinks too much coffee. He eats too much sometimes. And did I mention the salt, that substance he’s pushing New Yorkers to consume less of?

Some would charge all this makes Mayor Bloomberg a hypocrite. Me? I’m more forgiving. I understand how hard it can be to eat the right things, and that there’s always a time and place for fried chicken and biscuits. Because Bloomberg eats less than optimally sometimes doesn’t mean that trans-fats are okay. Trans-fats do not make fries or doughnuts taste better, they are simply cheaper and more convenient for the restaurants to use. But that cost savings is dangerous to our health–it has been proven that these lab-concocted fats lead to heart disease. And calorie counts? It’s good for people to know that the meal they are about to order has a full day’s supply of calories. Some people may not change their order because of it, but some will. And the restaurants, fearing sales could slip when people realize how calorie-packed some of their offerings are, will hopefully make changes, both to how they prepare their food and what their menus contain. Is it really necessary for chain restaurants to deep-fry their chicken at a central plant once before it is distributed to each restaurant location, and then again at the restaurant before it’s sent out to the patrons? This is a routine practice, according to David Kessler’s important new book “The End of Overeating,” and a big reason why 1600 calories for a chicken entrée is not unusual at places like the Cheesecake Factory.

So yes, I’m all for Bloomberg’s health initiatives. And if he salts his Saltines, or packs on a few pounds, I’m not going to be the one to point a finger.

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