“The government has no right to tell us what to eat!” Isn’t that already the case?

I find it interesting that some people are upset about what they perceive as the goverment’s attempts to regulate what we eat and certain actions they have taken such as taxing junk food and sugary drinks.  Those that are upset are saying, “the goverment has no right to tell us what to eat.”  What these folks fail to realize is that the government has been controlling what we eat for several decades.  The difference now is that they are taking a more direct approach because the obesity epidemic and related diseases is so grave in the U.S.  Government entities decide what information about our food supply is released to the public and what ingredients can be omitted from food labels to name a few.  They also decide what foods are subsidized so that they appear to be cheaper to the individual consumer.  Foods such as corn, dairy and meat are way more expensive to produce than plant based foods.  Without government subsidies many people would not be able to afford what their true cost is once they got to the supermarket.  Efforts to tax junk food and sugary drinks in New York and Philadelphia were met with resistance and outrage.  I was happy the hear that, according to CNN, “San Francisco is on its way to becoming the first in the nation to pass a law requiring health warnings on all advertisements for sugary drinks, putting soda in the same category as alcohol and tobacco.”
It’s about time that a powerful and authoritative institution (the government) does more to halt the vicious cycle of poor health in the U.S.  Maybe some regulations and taxes will save some people from themselves.  Some claim that junk food is as addictive as an illegal drug.  There are studies that have shown that certain additives to processed foods create overwhelming cravings and increase appetite.
This is a powerful country where people are free to make a great number of choices about how they live their lives.  With power comes responsibility.  What message is being sent about the ‘benefits’ of this freedom to choose?  This is what I’m hearing:  “We will eat whatever we want even if it leads to to chronic disease and early death because we have the right to choose!”

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