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California State Senator Cooks-Up Another Recipe for Economic Failure

California State Senator Cooks-Up Another Recipe for Economic Failure

A California state senator has cooked-up a bill that combines:

  1. New York City’s nanny-state “Big Gulp” bans.
  2.  Small businesses fees to pay for excessive compliance requirements.
  3. Distribution of power to unelected bureaucrats to enforce the vaguely worded legislation.

Talk about recipe for failure!

Steven Frank’s California has the details on this monstrosity:

Do you think your local doughnut shop, taco joint or pizza place could afford to spend $50,000 on a “risk assessment” for each of the foods it serves—because they “could cause obesity or cancer?   Pass this and hundreds of thousands of Californians are out of work on Day One—and tens of thousands of Californians have lost there investments and businesses….

“This bill, known as the Public Health Epidemic Protection Act of 2013, would require the department, for every product intended for consumer consumption for which it has credible evidence that the product significantly contributes to a significant public epidemic, to conduct a risk assessment evaluation to determine whether the product contributes significantly to a significant public health epidemic, as defined, and whether the adverse public health risk would have a fiscal impact on the state of $50,000,000 or more.

The bill would authorize the department to charge the manufacturer of the product for the reasonable costs of producing the risk assessment and would create the Public Health Fund, to be used by the department, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to fund the program. If the department determines that the criteria are met, the bill would require the manufacturer to create, for approval of the department, a public health impact report (PHIR) containing specified information, including a list of adverse public health impacts and a mitigation plan for those impacts.”

Based on my biochemistry background, the information presented by Professor Glenn Reynolds, and information I have gleaned from reading from a variety of sources, I hold that the government is responsible for the obesity epidemic in this country:

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) dietary guidelines are the gold standard for healthy eating, according to most experts. The problem is that these recommendations promote a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet based on grains like bread and rice. These kinds of foods consist almost entirely of carbohydrates. When you digest carbohydrates, they are converted into sugar in your bloodstream, the same sugar found in ice cream, soda, potato chips, and all the other junk foods most people would recognize as unhealthy. Since high blood sugar is toxic, your body produces a hormone called insulin to bring it down to a reasonable level. The trouble with this, however, is that insulin brings down your blood sugar by converting it to fat and sending it into your fat cells to be stored.

Welcome to the new federalism:  State governments taxing and regulating us to solve problems created by our federal government.

California has been named the “worst state to do business” for 8 straight years.  Legislation like this means we are apt to keep the title for a full decade at least!

Californians who want to join me in trying to jettison this bill before it becomes law can contact the sponsoring California Senator, Mark DeSaulnier, or one of the other state senators.


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That excerpt on human physiology is woefully misinformed and misleading.

Your body does not produce insulin specifically to bring your blood sugar level down. Your body produces insulin to allow your cells to take up the sugar, an active cellular process that is otherwise greatly diminished in the absence of insulin. Glucose being the primary fuel for almost all the cells within your body some insulin release is necessary for normal human function.

What happens to the excess sugar that is not needed to fuel cellular activity depends on the type of cells involved. In the muscles and liver it is converted into glycogen – long chains of glucose molecules which serve as your bodies primary short term energy storage mechanism. In fat cells the sugar is converted in triglycerides – long term energy storage.

I agree that the food pyramids emphasis on grains is problematic, but mainly because our grain consumption is primarily and predominantly in the form of highly processed and refined carbohydrates – ones that rapidly metabolize to sugar. Eliminate those and replace them with complex carbohydrates like those found in whole grain products and much of the problem is mitigated as the digestive and metabolic process is slowed and fat storage is reduced.

But regardless of what you eat, if you routinely take in more calories than you body demands the excess nutrition will be converted to sugars, which will then be stored as fats.

It’s high time someone called out the USDA food guidelines. FDA too. Current research indicates that a diet heavy in grains and excess fructose is not so good. Also that saturated fats aren’t so bad. Also that we’re being poisoned with various chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones pumped into factory farm animals. That doesn’t even get to what’s being shoveled into processed foods (high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, aspartame, etc.). Also that Monsanto’s roundup-ready seeds might not yield such safe genetically-modified foods (not to mention what that company is doing to small farmers via lawsuits.) Also that certain plastics, especially when warmed, in which food and beverages are packaged, may be toxic.

Meanwhile, consumers are blamed for the growing obesity and food/health-related epidemics.

    jdkchem in reply to janitor. | April 14, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    The only time you get aspartame is when you willfully purchase diet crap.
    Glutamic acid is an essential amino acid. Guess what glutamates are? Guess what MSG is?
    If you have such a problem with HFCS perhaps you should call your senators and representatives and tell them to stand up to the sugar lobby.
    And yes it is your fault because the buck ultimately stops at you.

    Neo in reply to janitor. | April 15, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Medical device manufactures have argued (and sometimes lost) using the claim that if their devices are “FDA approved” that the device is therefore endorsed by the FDA.
    The being “FDA approved” means nothing legally, then why must manufactures of medical device spend so much money getting approval from the FDA ?

    The same could be used/said of the USDA.

Do you think your local doughnut shop, taco joint or pizza place could afford to spend $50,000 on a “risk assessment” for each of the foods it serves—because they “could cause obesity or cancer?…

No, but the major fast-food chains could. Whether or not they make pro forma protests, they might be quite content to see the State forcing their agile entrepreneurial upstart competitors out of business.

And, said to say, some Republicans might be willingly useful idiots.

A corporatist, monopolistic, and/or crony-capitalist economy is not the same thing as a market economy…although the Left will eagerly brand the deficiencies of the former as “market failure”.

    jdkchem in reply to gs. | April 14, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    The majority of those major food chain restaurants are franchised, just like gas stations. For all intents and purposes they are small businesses.

      To repeat the quote made by Leslie:

      This bill, known as the Public Health Epidemic Protection Act of 2013, would require the department, for every product intended for consumer consumption for which it has credible evidence that the product significantly contributes to a significant public epidemic… {boldface mine)

      In other words, I very much doubt that each McDonald’s franchise would be required to pay for evaluation of the Big Macs it sells—in contrast to privately owned burger places.

If California wishes to commit “Economically assisted Suicide” Who is to say that they don’t have that right? After all, Oregon has a medically assisted suicide, so California is just taking it to the marketplace, right?

Subotai Bahadur | April 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Despite having family in California, who I hope will move back to America; I have to say, “Do it! Please, Do it!”.

California is going down the drain. If they circle too long, they will drag more of the country down with them. This will help make it fast and irrevocable.

Do you think your local doughnut shop, taco joint or pizza place could afford to spend $50,000 on a “risk assessment” for each of the foods it serves

I will note that stores and food vendors in …. largely Hispanic … areas are deliberately ignored by tax collectors and state inspectors; from high population urban areas to the Central Valley [see Victor Davis Hanson’s writings]. Bodega‘s, Taquieria‘s, and impromptu food stands and trucks will not be affected.

In Blue states, enforcement of laws and codes in ethnic minority areas is heavily influenced by political correctness and the perceived risk of violent response. And we have taught ethnic minorities that violence yields results. You will never see the Department of Homeland Security patrolling the formerly black and now Hispanic area called South Central LA the way they have been patrolling downtown Seattle for the last few weeks. [convoys of DHS vehicles, and DHS agents accompanying Seattle PD on street calls].

I also wonder how the gathering places of the “beautiful people” will react to that mandate. How will Brangelina react when their favorite celebrity chef talks about moving? Will there be an “elite exemption”?

I gotta get a bunch of heavily buttered and salted popcorn [carefully keeping it outside California’s borders] to munch on while I watch this from a distance.

Subotai Bahadur

It’s been known for decades but not publicized much that the western diet with its emphasis on refined carbs is responsible for the diabetes and heart-disease syndrome. See to learn more about studies into traditional diets and their impact on health. Another good book covering the same is The Saccharine Disease by T. L. Cleave.

The medical monopoly has been feeding us bad advice for a long time (pun intended). I think its time for a movement that could be entitled “separation of medicine and state.” It should review and expand on the Nuremberg Code. We should find better ways for medicine to police itself short of the government guaranteed monopoly we have today.

Western diet has nothing to do with prevalence of Diabetes. It has more to do with consumption of starches such as white rice and processed sugars:

“Global diabetes prevalence

The UK is currently not the worst sufferer of diabetes. Globally 285 million people currently have diabetes, which is estimated to double by 2030.

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) currently states that the top 5 countries with the highest amount of diabetic patients are as follows:
United States

The countries with the highest prevalence, however, are nations such as Saudi Arabia, Nauru and Mauritius. It is probably due to a country’s size, why their numbers of people with diabetes are higher however it is definitely more prominent in low and middle-income countries.”

If western diet were responsible for diabetes, then why are Saudia Arabia, China and India amongst the top diabetic nations? Answer, Western diet is NOT responsible for diabetes, lack of insulin producers coupled with high starch and sugar intake is.

    JerryB in reply to Paul. | April 14, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Did I say solely responsible? It’s clear that the western diet causes the syndrome, just as you outlined it.

    In the books by Weston Price and T.L. Cleave, they look at societies with traditional diets that were healthy, i.e., no diabetes, no heart congestion, good teeth, and followed their transition into a western diet. Cleave demonstrated a “rule of thumb” that in 20 years diabetes would develop, and in 40, CHD.

    It’s easy to watch what’s going on. Joe or Jane Average gets up, eats sweetened cereal or a pop tart, downs pasteurized juice, has coffee with sugar, gets to work, has a donut or bagel, and more sweetened coffee, etc. They’ll go “healthy” by eating yogurt — laced with 30 g of HFCS, or granola, also laced. Then the blood sugar drops, and they’ll get another fix. Day after day, year after year, it is an enormous strain on the system.

If you read Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis you find that the above statements about obesity are credible. Especially with regard to the genetically altered wheat that is part of most people’s daily diet.

As the book cover proclaims, “Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight.”

Come on, Californians. Move to Maryland where we tax the rain that falls on your roofs and driveways. And we just raised our gas tax that is now tied to inflation and goes to 23 cents by 2016. Join the fun.

southcentralpa | April 14, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Yes, that clearly explains the widespread obesity in rural China where the overwhelming majority of calories is from rice.

The FDA guidelines are wrong, but not the way you think. A genuinely low-fat (5-10% of calories from fat, not 20-30%) is the ticket to success … A genuinely low-fat diet is the only proven way to reverse coronary artery disease. Try and explain that away …

I’m always amused when people try to tell me that “carbs” will make you fat. I ask them what they’re talking about, and they say “Donuts, fries, pizza …” Let’s see: fried, fried, smothered in cheese. Fat, not carbs, is the issue with those foods.

(And yes, there are a surprisingly large number of people who have sensitivies or allergies to WHEAT, but to use that as an excuse to block up your arteries with meat three meals a day is cutting off your nose to spite your face.)

    Sanddog in reply to southcentralpa. | April 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Over a decade ago, I switched to a high fat, sufficient protein and low carbohydrate “diet”. Now when I hear someone talk about how dietary fat causes heart disease or how carbohydrates are an essential part of a “healthy diet”, I just smile and move on.

    SoCA Conservative Mom in reply to southcentralpa. | April 14, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    The problem is a diet full of simple, easy to digest carbs, not the fat.

southcentralpa | April 14, 2013 at 4:28 pm

That having been said, California is being run moronically…

Since most non-chain restaurants in CA are owned by minorities (often staffed by people recently arrived here, frequently absent various pieces of paperwork), and this is, effectively, a poll tax on restaurants: McDonalds will pay $50,000 for a study on all Big Macs sold at all McDonalds restaurants in the state, while their competition has to pay for each restaurant individual, this politician is really pro-big-business, a racist and anti-illegal-immigrant.

And I think he should be called on it!

High speed train wreck.

LibraryGryffon | April 14, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Go to PubMed (, NLM’s free public access to Medline and search on Paleolithic. There’s a ton of stuff, quite recent, pretty much all of it showing that minimal to no grains, and no processed grains, and for many, no cow’s milk, leads to a significant improvement in health.

Here’s an article from 2009, of a study done in San Francisco with excerpts from the abstract (the article is behind a paywall, but I’ve read it at work):

Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet.

Methods:We performed an outpatient, metabolically controlled study, in nine nonobese sedentary healthy volunteers, ensuring no weight loss by daily weight. We compared the findings when the participants consumed their usual diet with those when they consumed a paleolithic type diet. The participants consumed their usual diet for 3 days, three ramp-up diets of increasing potassium and fiber for 7 days, then a paleolithic type diet comprising lean meat, fruits, vegetables and nuts, and excluding nonpaleolithic type foods, such as cereal grains, dairy or legumes, for 10 days. Outcomes included arterial blood pressure (BP); 24-h urine sodium and potassium excretion; plasma glucose and insulin areas under the curve (AUC) during a 2 h oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT); insulin sensitivity; plasma lipid concentrations; and brachial artery reactivity in response to ischemia.
Conclusion: Even short-term consumption of a paleolithic type diet improves BP and glucose tolerance, decreases insulin secretion, increases insulin sensitivity and improves lipid profiles without weight loss in healthy sedentary humans.

I’ve tried this, though I couldn’t stick on it, since it’s hard when the rest of the family won’t go along, and also I really, really like chocolate, but I’ve been at my parents the last few days and eating grains, which I normally don’t do, and my insides are really, really, complaining after only two days. I’ve also found that when I keep grain products, not just gluten, but all grains, essentially non-existant, I don’t have half the trouble with reflux, and can stop taking my prilosec.

As for the weight loss, when I find that I eat fewer overall calories when I eat meat, so I lose weight without trying or feeling like I’m starving. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have found the same thing.

Also recommended, Why We Get Fat, and Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes

    SoCA Conservative Mom in reply to LibraryGryffon. | April 14, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    I did South Beach back in 2005 when my husband was deployed. South Beach is essentially lean meats, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates from vegetables (mostly,) and very limited grains (whole grain in small quantities.) I lost 30 pounds in 10 weeks. The few times I cheated, I felt physically ill after eating something with flour and sugar.

    Think about how cattle in a feed lot are fattened up… a diet of 80% to 90% grains.

I blame all this insanity on the entrenched hacks in the leadership of the GOP. But for their failure — and their refusal to move aside for competent leadership — the national vacuum of leadership they created has been steadily filled with freakish ideas becoming law.