To understand Big Food's shill, follow the money

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An aphorism states that one definition of insanity is endlessly repeating a behavior and expecting the outcome, this time, to change.

I am about to prove, again, that I remain, by that definition, completely bonkers.

That I'm insane is established fact by virtue of my food addiction, whose symptoms I have exhibited for most of a lifetime. My quarter-century recovering from those symptoms, by following the advice of addiction-centric professionals and particularly of other self-identified food addicts, is further strong indication that I’m a food addict: The ideas, practices, attitudes, and treatments designed for addicts have transformed my life, and not nearly only because I’m maintaining a 155-pound loss for 20 years.

Anyway: the present evidence of my insanity is to again scold the contemptible dissemblers at the liarly named "Center for Consumer Freedom," when I should just accept that they are who they are.

But I've chosen, today, not to ignore their mockery of my condition. I know why they do it; it’s their reason for everything: Protect and maximize the profits of Big Food, which pays their salaries. But for me, that knowledge just makes it worse. They’re not engaging in the marketplace of ideas out of principle; they’re schoolyard bullies, starting with the outcome they are paid to produce and then filling the space between points A and B with as many misdirecting, scoffing, jeering, sneering half-truths as will fit.

Doncha just hate organizations like that? (And if not, why not? Seriously.)

What so often amazes me is how they thrive while dispensing boneheaded illogic. (Yes, I know, logic was never the most valuable commodity on the playground.) Take this, for example:

In fact, classifying people as “food addicts” might make weight stigmas worse. This seems obvious when you think about it—drug abusers are among the least admired people in society, so declaring the obese basically drug abusers doesn’t put them in esteemed company.

Never mind that drug abusers and drug addicts are not the same, and neither are obese people and food addicts. The wowser here is the assertion that we should make care decisions based on how popular the afflicted are. People don’t admire drug addicts, so they don’t deserve help?

Also: No one argues that just because the effects of drug abuse are not admirable, that means that drug addiction doesn’t exist. But that’s what CCF spins out regarding food addiction: We shouldn’t call people food addicts because then they won’t be admirable, which of course will do nothing to change whether they are food addicts or not.

Even when they say something I can agree with, they ignore the important point, such as when they quote Keith Ayoob, an associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, writing in USA Today: “Part of any empowerment process means owning up to what’s really happening and accepting some responsibility for what we do.”

Pre-frickin'-cisely! Until I became aware that food addiction existed, and that I might crawl out of my personal abyss by acknowledging that I might be one, I rarely took personal responsibility. And, I don’t know an addict in recovery who isn’t taking more personal responsibility for her or his life now than she or he did before. Far from being the anathema they claim, acknowledgement of food addiction would only increase personal responsibility, which CCF promotes as if it is the pass into heaven's backstage.

But here’s the thing: Part of food-addiction recovery compelled me to focus on what I was eating instead of blindly chowing down on what Big Food was promoting most heavily. I decided to give up refined sugar two decades ago and flour followed seven years later. To be very clear, acknowledging food addiction doesn’t require such steps, but many addicts choose them. Any widespread adoption of these lifestyle choices would gut the profits of CCF’s masters.

And now we see why CCF would want not just to deny but to mock the existence of food addiction. It’s their reason for everything: to protect and maximize the profits of Big Food.

Author and wellness innovator Michael Prager helps smart companies
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