Accidental Hedonist, the Seattle-based food blog by Kate Hopkins, had a smart post recently about "everybody's favorite post-modern politician, Sarah Palin," who has relentlessly attacked Michelle Obama for her campaign to teach kids healthy eating habits, accusing the First Lady of trying to "ban dessert."

Noting, as many others have, that Palin is both incorrect (Obama isn't trying to ban dessert, nor did the Pennsylvania Department of Education try to ban cookies, as Palin has also erroneously claimed) and misguided (obesity and diabetes rates have skyrocketed in tandem with kids' consumption of processed junk food), Hopkins points out that even if you agree that families should decide what kids eat, only informed, engaged families are equipped to do so.
An individual or family that is engaged in food choices generally can pick and choose healthy meals.

The key phrase above is "An individual or family that is engaged in food choices." Because once a person stops being engaged (however that manifests itself), then societal influences will take over. And the biggest influence upon us is marketing, in all of its guises, direct and indirect.

Think you can't be fooled by marketing? Then let me ask you the following questions -

1) Is Frappuccino a coffee?
2) Is Gatorade healthy?
3) Why do doctors recommend 8 glasses of water a day?
4) Which item is more important in nutrition - Fiber, Carbohydrates, or Protein?
5) Which is more nutritious - organically grown spinach, or spinach that was grown via means used by Agri-business?
6) How healthy is a Vegan Diet?

I'll give my version of the answers on Monday, only for a point of completion, but if you came up with a one sentence answer for any of them, it's likely wrong (again, I'll clarify on Monday).

My point here is that most quality information on food is highly nuanced, to the point where it requires much more than a 30 second commercial, or certainly a ten second decision in the grocery aisle, to be of any worth.

People like Sarah Palin, in other words, aren't just pro-junk (and, by implication, -processed) food; they're actually anti-information: They would rather have kids scarfing down Fritos and Pop-Tarts than give them the tools to make healthier choices.
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