Mayor Bloomberg should ban dairy next

Mayor Bloomberg strikes again. In his latest move to curb obesity, New York’s mayor has asked grocers in the Bronx, where 70% of the residents are obese or overweight, to push the sale of fruits and vegetables over junk food. Instead of chips and candy at the checkout counter, customers at 80 participating stores will find healthy snacks.

Bloomberg’s new initiative comes on the heels of banning super-sized sodas and trans-fats before that. Next, he’ll launch an ad campaign targeted at people who shop with food stamps. After that, I wouldn’t mind if he moved his mission to L.A. and took out our glut of fast-food chains, including the anti-gay peddlers of crap food Chick-Fil-A. But I digress.

For his next mission, Bloomberg really ought to consider ways to limit dairy consumption. In an eyebrow-raising piece for the New York Times, Mark Bittman recently took the Department of Agriculture to task for recommending three cups of dairy daily “in a country where as many as 50 million people are lactose intolerant, including 90 percent of all Asian-Americans and 75 percent of all African-Americans, Mexican-Americans and Jews.”

Humans aren’t made to run on dairy. Not only do most people have trouble processing milk past babyhood, but dairy products contain a tremendous amount of saturated fat. "[T]here are very credible links between dairy consumption and both Type 1 diabetes and the most dangerous form of prostate cancer,” Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, told Bittman. Barnard also points out: “Sugar -- in the form of lactose -- contributes about 55 percent of skim milk’s calories, giving it ounce for ounce the same calorie load as soda.”


So why does the federal government push dairy on us? And rather than pushing back on New York’s nanny mayor, shouldn’t we be giving him props for pushing back against the government-subsidized foods that are killing us?

The Washington Post’s Charles Lane puts it well. In a Monday Opinion piece, he wrote: “Many recoil from the prospect of Bloombergian dietary prohibitions. They should spare some outrage for the far more numerous and expensive things government does to encourage consumption of foods that people might not choose to eat or produce in current quantities, if prices and production were left up to the free market.”


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Follow Alexandra Le Tellier on Twitter @alexletellier. Follow Opinion L.A. on Twitter and Facebook.