Are laws against trans-fats unconstitutional?
By Anna Zetterberg
Assistant Managing Editor
Harvard University published a study in the early 1990s linking the heavy intake of trans-fats to cholesterol, heart conditions and even fatality. Researchers reported that margarine and hydrogenated vegetable oils could double the risk of heart attack.
Since then, several cities and states have taken measures to create a healthier society by banning or limiting trans-fats in restaurants. New York City was the first to do so in 2006 after a unanimous decision by the Board of Health.
Boston and the state of California have followed suit. Many restaurants have had to completely change the oils they cook with, the way they make their food and what ingredients they use.
Shouldn’t laws function to protect us from those who might try and take our freedom? America was founded on individual liberty: that each person can decide what is best for him or her, so long as it doesn’t infringe upon the rights of others. If Americans want to eat unhealthy food, let them eat unhealthy food.
“We don’t think that a municipal health agency has any business banning a product the Food and Drug Administration has already approved,” said Dan Fleshler, a spokesman for the National Restaurant Association, regarding New York City’s Board of Health.
I understand the opposing argument. They want us to be healthy. But it’s a slippery slope; will they create a national diet to obliterate obesity next, or government mandated exercise classes because it’s “what’s best for us?” How many aspects of your life do you want controlled by your government?
Where I’m from, New Hampshire, our state motto taken from Patrick Henry is “Live free or die.” It stems from a deep-rooted American belief that life isn’t worth living, unless you can live it yourself.