Sunday, January 3, 2010

Exercise, ye unfortunate fat ones!

That stirring exhortation comes from a Victorian publication whose title escapes me just now, but you will probably receive more or less the same message in your mailbox from  various health clubs and fitness equipment stores during this time of year. Don't be fooled by their advertising! No matter how much you exercise, if you follow the Canada Food Guide, you are doomed.

I think that article needs a rewrite to make its meaning a little clearer:

Canada's proposed new food guide will contribute to the country's obesity crisis, an Ottawa specialist in obesity medicine charges. Dr. Yerbez Spatflute, medical director of the Bow Vine Medical Institute in Ottawa calls the proposed new version of Canada's Food Guide "obesogenic". "That may not even be a word," he concedes, "But this is no time to argue etymology."

"Should anybody who is of average height and size follow Canada's Food Guide, there is a very, very good chance it will lead to weight gain," Dr. Spatflute said in an article published in the Canadian Meddlesome Association Journal today. "Canadians are simply mindless cows being herded about according to the contents of pamphlets issued by government agencies. And that's certainly just as it should be," Dr. Spateflute adds. "That's why it's so important that those government pamphlets be entirely accurate and safe. And edible, just in case."

The very public swipe at the food guide comes at a time when there are growing concerns about what and how much Canadians are eating and whether the government can slow what many say is an epidemic of obesity and related illnesses. "Who else's job should it be but the government's to make sure we don't get fat? I can't be bothered to stop eating when I'm full, and the majority of Canadians are not even capable of understanding that donuts are not a legume. From anecdotal evidence it seems most stay at home mothers live entirely on beer and popcorn. I believe there are better ways to eat than what the Canada Food Guide recommends...but how can we access the obscure solution to this mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a taco?"

Obesity Acceptance and Prevention activist Artemis Phippin agrees. "The Canada Food Guide is a walking time bomb waiting to happen," he contends. From his home in Ontario, Mr. Phippin recounts how he struggled for years to eat 510 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, until he realized there was a little dash between the '5' and the '10'. "Our government failed me, and I want answers, "Mr. Phippin says. "Or at least bigger hyphens."

The controversy is likely to continue raging, as the final draft of the Canada Food Guide will be released March 15, or as local activists have renamed it, "The Ides of Starch". 

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