The boomlet in mainstream media attention to the legitimacy of food addiction continues tonight on ABC’s “Nightline” program when its cameras follow Laurie U., a binge eater, into a treatment center devoted to eating disorders and then into her transition homeward afterward.
Back again today with the Center for Consumer Freedom: This post from yesterday, in their "Big Fat Lies" section, has several points worth commenting on, but I'm going to focus on one:
Who has the right to speak on questions of health? Is there a prerequisite, or can anyone chime in? The CFC's strong opinion is, people who are overweight should keep their mouths shut on questions of overweight.
In the Times a couple of days ago, health writer Jane Brody wrote about foods advertised to children in a story headlined "Risks for Youths Who Eat What They Watch," and said little that's startling:
I am astounded by how often, and intensely, political views enter the obesity debate. Conservatives rail against the "food police," and hammer on "personal responsibility" as the solution. (As a former 365-pounder with 20 years of diligence toward achieving and maintaining a normal-sized body, I know about personal responsibility, and agree that each of us needs to claim our own part.)
I've visited this subject before, but not only is it important, and not only is the deadline approaching, but this post has a slightly different target. In the past, I've written about binge-eating disorder, which has been proposed as an addition to the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the manual of the American Psychiatric Association. To now, anorexia, bulimia, and "not otherwise specified" have been the only eating disorders in the DSM.
Can I just say it's exciting to disagree with someone of a different stripe for a change? The someone in question is George Miranda, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 16, which represents 120,000 workers in greater New York. I assume, totally without facts, that he and I might be on the same side of many issues. But not today.
I spend a lot of pixels trying to describe food addiction, sometimes succeeding and sometimes not. I just found this on the website of Promis, a treatment center in Britian, and found it clear, direct, and brief:
I will eventually get tired of skewering the skippies over at the "Center for Consumer Freedom," but not just yet. They are the "independent" nonprofit whose funding comes from restaurants and food-products companies.
Their website says they are also funded by thousands of individual consumers, but I don't believe it. I shouldn't say that, not only because it's impolitic, and not only because I have no proof, but because they'll seize on a comment like that, rather than straightforwardly address the very substantive ways in which I contend that they twist facts and truth. My disbelief lies in common sense: Thousands of Americans are donating their money to the people-should-be-able-to-eat-whatever-they-want movement? It that principle in jeopardy? Meanwhile, let's consider the restaurants and food-products people. Does anyone doubt that they would spend their money to advocate for food freedom? They don't need principle to motivate them; their entire future is based on ensuring that nothing ever impedes their sales.
I could go on with all the background bullshit, but let's take a look at their piece of yesterday, March 31, headlined "Waving the white flag on personal responsibility?" which is full of their usual half-baked inanities.
But I want to start with a shout out to my poor addled brothers: I, too, believe in personal responsibility. Even when I was 365 pounds, mired in food addiction, I was completely responsible for what I put in my mouth. Completely.
My good friend and good reader, Ron, whom I wish would leave comments, rather than replying by e-mail, questioned one of yesterday's posts:
Your recent post about fat addiction would seem to be saying, in essence, that we don't need another scientific study making a link between food and addictive behavior. I couldn't help but note the irony caused by your previous post, which shows we are still trying to convince psychiatrists of that very fact.
No, it's not a joke. But judging from the multiple routes I've heard about Dr. Paul Kenny's study that suggest that high-fat, high-calorie foods affect the brain in much the same way as cocaine and heroin, l-o-t-s of people have heard about it.
The report I keep seeing — forwarded from San Francisco and Israel, in addition to seeing it in my own surfing — is by health.com, picked up by CNN health.