Monday, 3 October 2011

Tax the Fat?

Denmark has just introduced the worlds first “fat tax”. They are now imposing an extra cost on food that contains more than 2.3% saturated fat. But could a fat tax like the one in Denmark be the answer to the UK obesity epidemic, or would it just line the pockets of the government?

I have a complex relationship with food. Like many women I have battled with my weight at various times in my life. I’ve been fat, I’ve been thin, I’ve been pregnant… I’ve now reached a point where I’m happy and find it fairly easy to maintain, mainly because I make a point to be more active. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes like to eat an entire share pack of Maltesers in one sitting (I am a woman after all). Would I think twice if that pack of Maltesers was twice the price?

Yes, I probably would. But I don’t see why I should pay more for my Maltesers which I see as a treat, just to cover the extra costs generated by people who choose to eat Maltesers for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The trouble with taxing food is it costs everyone extra. Smokers pay for their NHS treatment through ridiculously high taxes, as do drinkers. And numbers of smokers and drinkers have decreased in line with higher taxes. I asked the man what he thought, and he reckons people over a certain BMI should have to pay extra council tax. I think targeting those people who are in the morbidly obese weight range, who consistently refuse any attempt to lose weight should be the people that are paying. They are the ones that cost us money. Especially with the number of gastric bands they are now doling out on the NHS. Maybe if people who were in the morbidly obese range were made to pay extra for the privilege, they would think twice before having that extra chocolate bar.

They have made great progress by educating people about the dangers of smoking and drinking, and supporting people to give up. Why can’t they do the same with those struggling to lose weight? When I asked my doctor to help me lose weight I was handed some printed sheets about calories and activity and told to get on with it. I didn’t feel half the level of support some of my friends have got when asking for help to give up smoking. It’s not as if one day you just wake up at 30 stone, maybe if these people had more support at 15 stone, they wouldn’t have got to that point in the first place.

Half the problem is there are just too many excuses not to lose weight, and the number one reason? Not enough time. Lots of people simply don’t have time to think about food, we’re too busy and we need things to be quick. But many people just aren’t aware that you can cook a cheap, family dinner for in half the time than it takes to cook a ready meal in the oven. And we are too busy to learn.

I also hate this new “healthy” obsession. Apparently butter is not healthy, low fat margarine is. But most of the so-called “healthy” or low-fat stuff barely even resembles food. Didn’t they find that the transfats found in so called healthier than butter margarine was a carcinogen? They took them out and replaced them with what? Water? Studies have also shown that the calcium found in full fat dairy products actually aids weight loss. Fat free yoghurts are full of artificial sweeteners and flavourings to make them taste nice, but adding fruit or even jam to plain yoghurt is cheaper and much tastier and yes, less calories too. Believe me I know, I am a calorie geek. But I think the “healthy” label is dangerous, eat too much of anything and it will make you fat.

Why are there only two ends of the scale, healthy or fattening? What about the normal food our parents grew up on?

Something needs to be done to curb the rise of the morbidly obese, but I don’t think taxing food is the answer. People need to be given more support and education on how to live a balanced, healthy life. Including healthy food, plenty of exercise and the odd share pack of Maltesers, because we all deserve a treat every now and again.

1 comment:

  1. Native Jacks™ Release Video to Tax the Fat©

    February 18, 2013 – Native Jacks™ release a video to Tax the Fat. The video is based on the group's song by the same name that offers a solution to the healthcare crisis and excessive government debt. The projections for healthcare benefits on entitlements and the excessive debt from the US Treasury are unsustainable. These problems are the some of the more difficult problems of our times. Native Jacks™ provides a creative solution in their new song, Tax the Fat©. The video helps educate Americans regarding the current state of these public issues and how America can remain strong in spite of these challenges. The song recommends the use of a sin tax to help cover the cost of America’s unhealthy eating habits. The song has been successfully incorporated into a YouTube video.

    Tax the Fat© Video by Native Jacks™ at

    About Native Jacks™ - Native Jacks is an alternative/slow rock band that wanders through many music genres and styles. The band writes, records and produces its own music telling stories of social injustice, human struggles, reflection and redemption. Many of the band’s social commentaries include creative solutions to today’s most pressing problems.

    Native Jacks band members include Jim and Memo with occasional help from other artists. Jim plays acoustic and electric guitar. Memo plays keyboard and bass guitar. Both share duties with vocals. Native Jacks raised its banner in December 2012 with its first recorded collection, “Markin’ Territory”.

    In addition to the song Tax the Fat, the Markin’ Territory collection includes a rock vibe in Water on Water, calypso beats in Ana Maria, new age rhythms in Sonoran Skies, country swagger in Body Bag, a heavy metal feel in Number Nine, the final song entitled Tax the Fat (Supersized) - now with 50% more words and music, and much more. The Markin' Territory music collection creates an overall “American” feel that embodies this country's ever-changing exceptional collection. All songs are owned with copyright protection by Immigrant Creations LLC or Memo, LLC. Native Jacks is a registered trademark of Native Jacks LLC. All right are reserved.

    For more information about the band, visit Native Jacks' website at