Ronald Reagan Is Why We’re Fat
I’ve had an aversion to ketchup for as long as I began to care about what my food tasted like. Nobody understands it. Everyone I know likes or loves ketchup. Am I a freak? I was the lone ketchup-hater … until I saw this quote in a New York Times feature discussing not really ketchup, but the design of the Heinz ketchup bottle:
I should come clean here by admitting that I like the glass bottle too, though not the taste of tomato ketchup — Heinz’s or anyone else’s.
YES! All this time, I thought I was the only anti-ketchup American in existence. I blame this sappy, gloopy, strangely acidic substance for America’s current fatassedness. The brilliant people at This Is Why You’re Fat need to consider this: Ketchup is why we’re fat.
The downfall began, in my opinion, at the hand — and glorious hair — of Ronald Reagan and his administration. Yes, it was the Gipper himself who got us into this fat mess by declaring that ketchup — a product loaded with high fructose corn syrup — is a vegetable, and counts as a serving of such. And this was in lucid, 1981 Ronnie!
This ketchup-as-veg logic tells the children and lesser-concerned eaters of the world this: Something made out of a concentrate, corn syrup and “natural flavors” is healthy for you. Screw broccoli and spinach, I ate ketchup today! Eating four potatoes worth of french fries … not so unhealthy because I dipped it in liquified, processed, sweetened vegetable concentrate!
Think of everything you put ketchup on. Hamburgers, french fries, hot dogs (which, if you use ketchup instead of mustard on and you’re older than 13 years old, you are truly misguided). My point here is that none of these things are healthy, yet ketchup is used upon them. Would you put ketchup on a nice roasted eggplant? Steamed broccoli? A salad? Bzzz.
This all went down while the Cold War raged. If anything, Reagan should have banned ketchup because it was red like the Commies. USA! USA!
Reagan isn’t the only president to try such gimmickry. Bill Clinton later recommended that salsa should be a vegetable, which I suppose is a bit more plausible since it contains chunks of actual vegetables, but still. What does one eat with salsa? Fried tortilla chips. Should we cut Clinton slack because he was busy focusing on other vegetables — mainly, his carrot (Hey-o!). And, to be fair, Reagan’s KetchupGate isn’t as simple as “Reagan did it,” but I’m having fun so deal with it.
Consider the reverse logic: Cheez Whiz is now a vegetable because people put it on broccoli. Cream of mushroom soup is a vegetable. No, wait: Vitamins are vegetables, because they contain the same nutrients. Idiotic, right? Why is it legitimate the other way around?
Yes, there is hyperbole and unrepentant sarcasm in this post. And sure, one can probably blame high fructose corn syrup — a product in ketchup — and countless other factors other than the tomato sludge for making Americans a bunch of live fat, die young heavy-breathers. But when processed, sugar-added products are considered by our government to be akin to some nutritious-and-natural food that our fine Earth sprouts with a little bit of care, then we’re not only fat — we’re freaking stupid.