Laura spent the weekend with a girlfriend, swimming in the pool and eating her way through a kitchen of snacks. She could eat her weight in sugar weekly, left to her own devices, and knowing what would happen, we stopped to buy a bag of snacks on the way.
I waited at the checkout and in a bit she appeared with an armful. I saw a bag of cashews dangling between two fingers, but the rest was blocks of processed and prepackaged. “I got healthy granola bars,” she announced. I turned it around to “nutritional information,” and pointed out 12 grams of sugar.
“Divide that by four grams per teaspoon and you are swallowing three teaspoons of sugar per bar.” She shrugged; I bought the lot, and she had a wonderful weekend.
Last week I listened to three folks I know, in a bitter discussion of regulations. One owns a food distribution company. It services vending machines, for instance. Apparently the machines must now display the nutritional content of every product in the machine.
“Why not?” the damn bleeding heart liberal dropped into the conversation. “Why not!” sputtered the right of red conservative food distribution company owner. “It will cost too much!”
And there you have it. As a population, we have fallen for convenience. Insidiously, since the Great War ended, convenience has consumed us. We, down here at the very bottom of the chain of distribution, have sent our dollars up the food chain in order to shoot bullets of salt, sugar, fat and unknown chemicals down our throats.
If processed food were not available, we could not buy it. Parents would buy carrots and celery at the grocery store, teach the children how to clean them and carry them for a snack. That’s not an oversimplification. There is no reason people should not spend the time on life’s basics as on, for instance, soccer games and texting.
I am quite fond of the fellow who must spend big bucks telling consumers what he is selling them. However, we are years and years beyond laissz faire. I don’t think this man has grown rich from his business. I do think he’s invested a life time in his business, and I also think people should know the ingredients of their food purchases.
He could lobby the food industry to print the labels large enough to be read through the fronts of vending machines. Then the only expense would be wiping down nose prints.
Unnamed granola bar label