According to BBC breakfast this morning Prime Minister David Cameron is thinking of following Denmark’s new 20% tax on fatty foods such as butter and cheese in an attempt to combat obesity. The tax will target foods that contain more than 2.3% saturated fat. Good luck with that Denmark.
The idea that fat makes you fat is a child-like over simplification. Any food can make you fat if you over consume and are lazy. Fats however have essential functions for health; grains on the other hand do not. Yet the Government backed food pyramid recommends the largest food group in our diet should be carbohydrates, particularly whole grains. Government recommendations are often influenced by industry lobbyists. The food pyramid, devised by the US Department of Agriculture and adopted in the UK, seems to have chopped and changed depending on whether meat, dairy or grain producers shouted loudest. Meanwhile health food specialists Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Tate & Lyle, British Sugar, Nestle, to name but a few provide funding for the ‘impartial’ British Nutrition Foundation.
Are saturated fats as bad as we are led to believe?
In the USA during the last 80 years the consumption of animal fat has reduced from 83% to 62%. Meanwhile, consumption of unsaturated vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils has increased approximately 400%, while the consumption of sugar has increased approximately 60%. And yet coronary heart disease, rare in the 1920s now accounts for at least 40% of all US deaths.
Most of the fat in snacks, convenience foods and takeaways is not butter or saturated fat anyway. They use what is cheapest: polyunsaturated vegetable fats; ultra heat treated, refined of nutrients, turned rancid then chemically deodorized for your eating pleasure.
Not to mention sugar. Most low-fat foods make up for the flavour deficit with added sugar. Excess sugar in your diet is converted to body fat much quicker than saturated fat. Give me the full-fat option anytime.
Do we really need to be dictated to by people are clueless on the subject of nutrition or may have an ulterior motive?
Instead of taxing people on their food choices, why not tax them on how fat they actually end up? For example how much space they take up in public places or cost the health service. Alternatively, and a bit more boring and difficult we could educate people more on diet and exercise.