The official White House pastry chef (yes, they apparently have one of those) is leaving, and apparently Michelle Obama’s War on Fat Kids is partly to blame.
Yosses is leaving the White House in June to work on a new project focusing on “food literacy” and The New York Times says Michelle is “partly to blame.” The openly gay chef was hired by Laura Bush in 2007 to make his trademark cookie plates and sugar sculptures. Mrs. Obama took over in 2009 and ordered Yosses to make healthier plates in smaller portions.
Yosses began replacing butter with fruit puree and sugar with honey and agave. But Yosses was never fully committed to the new policy.
“I don’t want to demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs,” Yosses said, noting that his departure from the White House is a “bittersweet decision.”
The nanny state approach to an issue like obesity, the one embraced by people like Michelle Obama, is to deny people choice. They want to force people to make better choices by denying them bad choices. Thus, the federal pressure to reduce serving sizes, ban unhealthy ingredients and micromanage school lunches.
But does that sort of thing really help? Or does blaming pastries for obesity make as much sense as blaming guns for crimes committed using guns?
It seems to me that the best way to address an issue like obesity is to create in people the desire to make better choices. Prohibitionism, whether it’s limiting access to alcohol or sugar, doesn’t work. It may change people’s behavior, but not necessarily outcomes.
Case in point, a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation looked at states that have attempted to address obesity by taxing soda. The result? “We cannot detect a significant weight effect because of a large soft drink tax increase.”
You can’t manipulate people into making healthier decisions for themselves. They have to want to make healthier decisions.