January 16, 2013 by locklearcr
Where to begin…
Politics has never been my “thing”. So, I was somewhat anxious and somewhat eager to see what all I could learn from the big boys on the hill. To my surprise, it wasn’t that surprising. It was like a metaphorical tug of war for power, profit, and good intentions.
Don’t get me wrong there were certainly some positives that I took away from this experience. Probably the most inspiring notion is that the job market for us seems almost infinite, especially with the unfortunate explosion of obesity, diabetes, and other health care issues. We were strongly encouraged to carve our own paths and “create the position” if we in fact see a need – a clear illustration that the field of nutrition and dietetics is growing at a rapid pace. The demand and appreciation for our profession is on the rise, which will more than likely prove beneficial for us as financially strapped graduates. We are on the radar people!
Another plus in my opinion is that everyone we heard from had a clear passion for what they do. They are all continuing to move forward and (for the most part) do what they think is best as they navigate through the laws, politics, and opposing parties. They were all very knowledgeable about his/her given professions, while being able to share the floor and allow others to speak when the topic became less familiar.
However, there were many things that made my stomach churn a bit when they were brought up. Like the fact that the FDA’s standard serving sizes will increase because we eat more- um, what? It seems like that will be making the over consumption of donuts and under consumption of broccoli the “norm”; not cool in my book.
Also, I’m just not sure that things are going in the right direction in terms of school lunch. I’ll admit, I completely agree with taking out nutritionally worthless food like SSB’s and candy bars, since those should not be readily available to children. Those “treats” should be associated more with special occasions, not during the break between math and social studies. On the other end, with the SLP, it doesn’t sit well with me that there are calorie limits. That’s just weird. I have young nephews that are normal weight for their age (if not more on the slender side) and they’ve complained about being hungry at school because everything is devoid of satiating fat and is replaced with low fat carbs.
Some more ‘food’ for thought: if the children were eating real, whole foods, would they REALLY overeat? Sure, inhaling a Lil’ Debbie cake is easy because it requires almost no chewing and leaves you craving more, but I find it hard to believe that kids could lose their ability to self-regulate eating some meat and vegetables.
After this trip, I’m still left with some lingering questions that I feel are overlooked by many:
First, when did we lose the ability to make choices for ourselves, and control what we eat?
Has it comes this far that laws have to be implemented to stop us?
If we’re all about fruits and veggies, where are the over-stimulated ads, brightly colored labels/signs? Why are we not pimping those out?
What are the long-term implications of promoting processed wheat products and watered-down milk? Micronutrient deficiencies anyone?
What message are we sending by labeling obsessively and promoting restriction?
Where is the science? The evidence? The research? Where is it really coming from and when was the last time anyone took a good look at it?