Bad Food? Tax It, and Subsidize Vegetables ??

In yesterdays New York Time Article Mark Bittmin discussed…

SUMMARY:

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.)

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.

The average American consumes 44.7 gallons of soft drinks annually. Sweetened drinks could be taxed at 2 cents per ounce, so a six-pack of Pepsi would cost $1.44 more than it does now. An equivalent tax on fries might be 50 cents per serving; a quarter extra for a doughnut.

Simply put: taxes would reduce consumption of unhealthful foods and generate billions of dollars annually. That money could be used to subsidize the purchase of staple foods like seasonal greens, vegetables, whole grains, dried legumes and fruit.

This program would, of course, upset the processed food industry. Oh well. It would also bug those who might resent paying more for soda and chips and argue that their right to eat whatever they wanted was being breached. But public health is the role of the government, and our diet is right up there with any other public responsibility you can name, from water treatment to mass transit.

Right now it’s harder for many people to buy fruit than Froot Loops; chips and Coke are a common breakfast. And since the rate of diabetes continues to soar — one-third of all Americans either have diabetes or are pre-diabetic, most with Type 2 diabetes, the kind associated with bad eating habits — and because our health care bills are on the verge of becoming truly insurmountable, this is urgent for economic sanity as well as national health.

Currently, instead of taxing sodas and other unhealthful food, we subsidize them (with, I might note, tax dollars!). Direct subsidies to farmers for crops like corn (used, for example, to make now-ubiquitous high-fructose corn syrup) and soybeans (vegetable oil) keep the prices of many unhealthful foods and beverages artificially low. There are indirect subsidies as well, because prices of junk foods don’t reflect the costs of repairing our health and the environment

The need is dire: efforts to shift the national diet have failed, because education alone is no match for marketing dollars that push the very foods that are the worst for us. (The fast-food industry alone spent more than $4 billion on marketing in 2009; the Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion is asking for about a third of a percent of that in 2012: $13 million.) As a result, the percentage of obese adults has more than doubled over the last 30 years; the percentage of obese children has tripled. We eat nearly 10 percent more animal products than we did a generation or two ago, and though there may be value in eating at least some animal products, we could perhaps live with reduced consumption of triple bacon cheeseburgers.

To read full article go to:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/24/opinion/sunday/24bittman.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

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About Skinny Fat Kids

I am a fat kid at heart. I don’t start a day without planning a meal; whether it is cooking with friends or trying out a new spot. It might have something to do with being a Mexican/Italian.. Since I was young I loved to help out in the kitchen and was open to all types of food. I appreciate what cooking comes along with… Family, friends and times you will never forget. Food for me is something that you can make taste good even though it is healthy! People have no idea how easy it is to throw together a perfectly well balanced meal that provides them with all the essential nutrients one needs. Each of us have your unique genetic needs, tastes, backgrounds which can be factored into your food and nutrition plan. “Change is one constant in our lives.” You can rid disease and illness through food. Food is something people do not clearly understand. I strongly believe in cooking with local, seasonal, organic, and nutrient-rich ingredients as best as you can. It is essential to eat only grass fed dairy and meat because they provide more essential nutrients as well as high levels of vitamins. Having a garden and knowing where your food comes from is essential! I owe a lot to my mom who many can attest that she is a GREAT entertainer. She seems to always be having a “dinner party” and always throws together something delicious. My objective in this blog is to share my love and knowledge of food and cooking with all you peeps. I want to give you all ideas on how easy it is to eat healthy and make food taste good. I want the standard american diet to be something of the past… TBC
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