Some Europeans Place a Tax on Saturated Fat
And although cholesterol doesn’t seem to be a problem unless our arteries have some damage, the fact is that by the age of thirty, very few of us have intact arteries.
Now the question is: are health authorities taking this saturated fat business too far by taxing people when they eat foods that contain this type of fat? Go ahead and read the facts as they appeared in this article published by “Mediterranean diet for all” website on October 29, 2011 and then decide.
Denmark’s Fat Tax – A push towards the Mediterranean Diet
On October 1st 2011 Denmark innovated again by introducing the first ever tax on saturated fat. This is a well-planned move aimed in driving its people away from the unhealthy fats and towards the healthier monounsaturated fats, the so called healthy dietary fats, which are contained in olive oil and are part of the Mediterranean diet.
This innovative and pioneering move is aimed in the one hand to drive people to healthier diets, like the Mediterranean diet, reducing the levels and percentages of Obesity, reducing the heart disease incidents and on the other hand putting cash in the government’s treasury.
The tax was studied and proposed by Dr Jensen’s institute of Economics at the Copenhagen University and as he stated in the news,’’ there has never been such a tax imposed in any country’’. The tax calls for 2.50 Euros per Kilogram saturated fat (1.60 USD per pound of saturated fat).
The question comes, where can this kind of fat be found? The answer is: In many fast foods, not so healthy foods like butter, pizza, fried potato chips, red meat and full fat milk.
It is obvious that the Danish government takes the matter of health of its citizens seriously and being worried about the implications of health costs on the economy aims to fight this problem at its root, aiming at the same time to support its effort from the proceeds of the taxes paid by those who refuse to listen and adopt a healthy way of living.
As expected, the week before the implementation of the law, people rushed to the supermarkets to take all the necessary foods and stock them before the tax was imposed, without realizing or studying the reasoning behind the tax and without appreciating the right move/act of their government.
When the dust will settle down, the stock in the refrigerator goes to zero, the Danish people will have essentially a dilemma, to either continue with the fatty products, a move against their health and pocket, or to turn towards a healthy diet, the Mediterranean diet, and start using products which contain olive oil instead of saturated fats thus become healthier and start saving money.
It has to be stated that this law is introduced in a country where less than 10% of its population are clinically diagnosed as obese and where about 4% of the country’s premature deaths come from the excess consumption of saturated fatty acids.
Even though these numbers are below the European Union average yet the Danish government wants to prevent any increase, following the saying: ’’ prevention is the best cure’’. The Danish take their health seriously.
Several studies carried out in Denmark among several segments of the population have revealed that Mediterranean diet, Med diet in short, and longevity are closely associated and that Med diet represents a healthy nutritional path/direction to follow.
The results of these studies are supportive tools in the hands of the government which was heavily criticized by several organized bodies, which were obviously affected by the introduction of the ‘’fat’’ tax.
The birth rates and the preterm births is another headache for the government. An interesting study carried out in Denmark was about the association of the Mediterranean diet and the risk of preterm birth and conclusion of the study was that adoption of the Med diet, MD, may reduce the risk of preterm births among Danish women.
Having all the above in mind, it seems that the benefits the Danish people would have by shifting towards the Mediterranean Diet, MD, would be many, ranging from their health to their bank accounts. The question that comes to our minds is: When will our government follow this act? Or do we need our government to drive us towards a healthy Mediterranean diet?
I still think the best way to convince people that a lifestyle which includes healthy eating and adequate physical activity is education. Showing them that doings otherwise could have serious implications on our health. But hey, everybody does things in a different ways and Denmark has decided that taxing saturated fat will reduce its consumption.
To your health!