You have probably heard by now that Denmark has implemented a “fax tax” applying a surcharge to foods with more than 2.3% saturated fats. The country states this tax is being put into effect to help combat obesity and heart disease, but is this really going to help?
In my opinion, good health and good nutrition is all about moderation. If I buy butter, but use it maybe once a week in a recipe, even though this food is high in saturated fat, this really isn’t going to raise my heart disease risk since it is being consumed so infrequently. In the same sense, if I stopped buying butter due to a “fax tax” eating no butter vs 1-2 teaspoons per week, this isn’t really going to make my heart that much healthier. Now what about this scenario: I could go buy a “healthier” food that contains less than 2.3% saturated fat (let’s say for arguments sake it contains 1.5% saturated fat and therefore does not cost me an additional tax), but if I eat tons of this food every day, I’m taking in many more grams of saturated fat a day then that teaspoon of butter was giving me, increasing my heart disease risk.
So what is the solution? In my opinion, we need to stop penalizing unhealthy choices and start rewarding healthy choices. What about a tax rebate for those that keep their cholesterol at a healthy level or lower it a certain percent throughout the course of the year? Or tax write offs/ rebates/incentives for buying more vegetables, having (and using) a gym membership, or maintaining a healthy weight. I think rewarding people by helping them save money (or giving them money back) is a lot more motivating, and productive, then penalizing unhealthy behavior. I also think this would be part of the solution to the “healthy food is too expense” issue many individuals face.
If this type of “fat tax” is ever implemented in America, I really hope they at least use the money for community nutrition education programs to help the public understand how to improve their health and what foods would be better choices.
What are your opinions on this tax? Post your comments here or let me know how you feel on twitter @DietExpertNJ
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