This is pretty cool!!

Bad Food? Tax It, and Subsidize Vegetables


WHAT will it take to get Americans to change our eating habits? The need is indisputable, since heart disease, diabetes and cancer are all in large part caused by the Standard American Diet. (Yes, it’s SAD.)

Though experts increasingly recommend a diet high in plants and low in animal products and processed foods, ours is quite the opposite, and there’s little disagreement that changing it could improve our health and save tens of millions of lives.

And — not inconsequential during the current struggle over deficits and spending — a sane diet could save tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars in health care costs.

Yet the food industry appears incapable of marketing healthier foods. And whether its leaders are confused or just stalling doesn’t matter, because the fixes are not really their problem. Their mission is not public health but profit, so they’ll continue to sell the health-damaging food that’s most profitable, until the market or another force skews things otherwise. That “other force” should be the federal government, fulfilling its role as an agent of the public good and establishing a bold national fix.

Rather than subsidizing the production of unhealthful foods, we should turn the tables and tax things like soda, French fries, doughnuts and hyperprocessed snacks. The resulting income should be earmarked for a program that encourages a sound diet for Americans by making healthy food more affordable and widely available.

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  1. This is a fantastic idea from my perspective. As a person who is at present on a limited income, I can tell you that it is far cheaper to get your daily requirement of calories from sources with dubious nutritional value. A program that subsidizes healthier fresh foods in exchange for a tax on the dirt cheap junk out there on the supermarket shelves would not upset me one bit.

  2. the agribusiness lobbist don’t like that…they claim “national defence interest”to keep subsidies for certain grain crops

  3. I think that making healthier food more affordable is a good step in the right direction. We tend to forget that much of the time, people are forced to purchase the food they can afford. If you’re on a fixed budget, the healthy organic pasta is $5 and the ramen is 10/$1…well, you’re going to get what you can afford.

    I think, however, that this is only part of the issue. Unlike other countries where work weeks are regulated and people are given time off for real lunches, Americans are all but chained in their cubicles for 8 or 10 hours a day, and are usually pressured to eat at their desks. If the vast majority of your 24 hour day is spent either working, commuting or sleeping, there really isn’t a lot of time to prepare nutritious meals. You’re going to get the stuff you can throw in the microwave.

    The one thing I take exception to is the part about diabetes “caused by unhealthy eating habits.” Check the American Diabetes Association or the Mayo Clinic. Weight is only one risk factor in Type II diabetes and the ADA makes a point of saying that most overweight people don’t get Type II–and a lot of thin people do. Genetics do a heck of a lot more; if you are the child of a Type II diabetic, you stand a 1 in 7 chance of developing the disease regardless of your eating habits or weight. In addition, a lot of illnesses that result in insulin resistance such as PCOS, are overlooked and ignored by doctors. Blaming health care costs and diabetes on overweight people–instead of looking at the entire picture–is disingenuous.

  4. I’ve experienced that junk food actually costs more. Once you start eating healthier you actually need less food because it has more nutrients and once your system heals from the insulin resistance you naturally intake only what you need for the day.

    The big thing for me was to break from grain intake including breads, cereals, pasta, etc- not totally but mostly since 2003. I decided to do this shortly after promising myself to eat at least 1 raw food every day. My body immediately began healing and I lost about 40lbs being 6′ 2″ and about 218lbs (seemingly a ‘normal’ weight) dropping to a low of about 179lbs levelling off at about 185lbs. I noticed that the insulin resistance caused cravings that needed to be quenched every few hours because of the rapid conversion of grains to sugar and it’s effect on everything from my brain (dopamine levels) to liver function to my sense of general well being. Once I broke from that – an addiction that was quite intense for about 1 week and I struggled with it for sometime thereafter, I felt better, more energy, less aches and pains and better mental acuity.

    I try to eat healthier and healthier all the time for with each positive change, I notice a better overall sense of well being and health.

    I tell people that “you’ve always heard that you should eat right and exercise. I never knew how much difference it makes, I wish I’d always managed my diet as I do now.”

    Taxing the junk food is a no brainer – just like cigarettes, these are items that are highly profitable yet provide no benefit to society and actually are proven to distort a healthy homeostasis. I’d also go along with such items should be limited for purchase by people over 21 as many if not most junk food is marketed to children – whose health are declining at an alarming rate.

  5. the thing is with the cost of eating is that I buy the more expensive better and eat less of it, the cost balances out, for instance I love Fage greek yogurt, it is 1.69 for one, so I buy the Fage, I eat half of the container, which is 75 calories= 1 serving of dairy, it costs me 85 cents a day to eat the one I want, I shop for the cheapest tomatoes, which usually is the Romas, look for the deals on fruit and vegetables, frozen vegetables are good and you don’t sacrifice nutrition. I love pickled beets, but they are expensive so I buy canned beets which are alot cheaper, then I put some rice vinegar on them, I have pickled beets. There are ways to eat healthy, we just make excuses to ourselves, the same way we put off exercising.

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