Banning Kids Meals Is NOT The Answer

I’ve been thinking about the recent news about a potential ruling in San Francisco to ban toys in unhealthy kids meals. I didn’t want to react without thinking about it, reading about it, and understanding the motivation and incentive. I’ve decided I don’t think banning kids meals is the answer. And I don’t think regulating any type of food is the answer, either, unless it’s banning it from the very top level of manufacturing because it has been proven to be a carcinogen or otherwise unhealthy. For example, from what I’ve heard, high fructose corn syrup isn’t allowed in other countries in some products like it is in the United States. In fact, companies that manufacture these products manufacture a HFCS-free product for other countries. If other countries are banning it, why are they? And if they are, why aren’t we? If HFCS is proven to be addictive, improperly metabolized, etc. and isn’t comparable to sugar, the public should know this and know the side effects. And if it’s as bad as it’s reported to be, companies should stop using it and go back to using regular sugar.

But what’s the problem with that? And with banning toys in unhealthy kids meals? We are a country driven by greed. And a country where we’ll find a way to do what we want anyway. If we ban HFCS, there will be some other manufactured sugar alternative created and used in excess until we realize how unhealthy it is. The companies that create these fake sugars are subsidized by the government. The approval process is paid for by the company approving the sugar-like substance. So if you’re paying for someone to check your product, what feedback will you give? And furthermore, if the same company is financing other research or other publications, of course their products will get good feedback. People can be bought. And it happens all the time.

As far as Happy Meals go, word on the street is the answer is to offer one happy meal, no toy, for 1 penny less. Then let the customer “pay” that extra penny for the toy if they want it.

The problem isn’t necessarily the Happy Meal itself. Rather it’s the total number of calories consumed in conjunction with the Happy Meal. Will one Happy Meal make someone obese? No. Will donuts and soda for breakfast, candy all day, chips and soda for lunch, cookies for an afternoon snack and a Happy Meal for dinner (with a sundae for dessert – hey, McDonald’s sundaes are unreasonably well priced!) make you fat? Probably. Especially if that’s an average day. Especially with physical education classes getting cut back, and parents excusing their children from activity.

Our bodies are meant to move and be nourished. Not sit and be stuffed full of fat, sugar, and, well, not-so-sugar sugar.

And yes, this is coming from a girl who LOVES a McDonald’s cheeseburger, fries and Coke!


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