Saturday, 13 November 2010

Let Them Eat Chocolate

Dr Daniel Chandler,the public health doctor for NHS Dumfries and Galloway, has suggested there should be a minimum price per calorie as a solution to Scotland's obesity problem which is the second-highest in the developed world.

The proposal, intended to drive up the cost of fatty and sugary products such as crisps and chocolate, was put to a major conference attended by the country's leading public health professionals.  Denmark has already imposed 25% tax increases on ice cream, chocolate and sweets.
"The price [for healthier foods] is more expensive when you look at it on a per-calorie basis.” 
 I disagree with Dr Chandler's statement.  It's all too easy to label every high calorie food as 'unhealthy'.  Only this week it was reported researchers in Sweden have revealed that dark chocolate works on the body in the same way as blood pressure pills.  The same researchers previously showed the benefits of green tea.  The study proved that eating 75 grams of dark chocolate is as effective as ACE inhibitor drugs currently given to millions of patients with HBP.

There have been hundreds of studies involving food and fat content. In certain situations fatty foods may help aid concentration.

A fat tax is dreadful idea for two reasons. This tax would impact on the poorest most of all, because it would create an increase in the price of many foods. Also, taxation should never be used to control behaviour and impose the government's moral priorities on the public.

Then we have the problem of which fatty foods would be taxed.  Cheese is high in fat but has many health benefits.  Butter, another natural product, is far better for you than many of the spreads available today.  If sufferers of HBP took a chunk of dark chocolate every day that could possibly save our health services millions of pounds a year.  Who would decide what were the 'bad' or 'good' high content fatty foods?

Lifestyles have changed in the past half-century.  Many more people have sedentary lifestyles, such as working from home and losing out on the exercise usually involved with getting to work.  Also there is much more food available.  I doubt if there are many places in the UK where there isn't a fast food business. Until 20 years ago or so it was only the chip shop which provided the high fat, instant meal but nowadays the variety is mind boggling.

What is needed is more education about the amount of food we eat then governments to leave us to take responsibility for our own bodies.  Most people recognise that excess weight is usually acquired from excessive eating.  That's the point which needs to be emphasised.  Once people have the knowledge then they have a choice.  It's not for governments to remove the choice, by taxation, of what we consume in the way of food.

There is one piece of good food news this week.  I've always loved that vegetable and my favourite recipe includes a little bacon, while another is shredded, a tablespoon of water and two of lemon/line juice.  Cook on a slow heat for at least 45 minutes.  Delicious.



Sue said...

So if you're a diabetic that has to carry around a kit-kat, you are now paying extra tax for the privilege of being sick?

I think it's just another excuse to raise taxes.

banned said...

Having just lost out on minimum pricing for alcohol the righteous were bound to open a second front with something like chocolate.

Elaine said...

They do rather miss the obvious, whether by fault or design is a mute question.
We are hosting the games in 2014 , if the politicians ignored the many 'experts' and civil servants and instead made use of their sense of national pride they could really turn things around.
Stop spending money on conferences which are nothing more than self promotion exercises for self proclaimed experts whose audience is made up of taxpayer funded public employees. Stop producing leaflets telling folk about what miserable failures they are for not eating carrots and supping water.
Get a games site launched give communities their own pages , respond to ideas and promote them, ask people for input on how their community is going to attract the influx of tourists.
What about weight and fatty foods?
Methinks if the preaching , nannying and criticism stops and a value is put on the individual then the rest will come naturally .

subrosa said...

It is Sue. It's taxation through the back door of 'healthcare'.

Nobody believes putting a tax on fatty foods will stop people eating too much. Surely.

subrosa said...

Good comment Elaine. Great idea about the games sites too. One for those in the SP.

No tax will stop people eating too much. Do governments really think people will stop eating at Burger King and McDonalds if that's what they already do?

subrosa said...

I actually bought some dark chocolate last night banned. A bogof they were and 2 x 100g for £1.50. So for just over 50p a day I could protect myself with a natural food rather than chemicals. Yes I know there are many who couldn't afford that on chocolate, but if it's such a healthy food wouldn't it be worth sacrificing the odd can of beer or bag of crisps?

All Seeing Eye said...

Definitely with Sue and Banned here.

It's an unholy cabal of agenda-driven obsessives who think we're better off letting them spend our money instead of us. A combination of the health fascists and the high-taxers - nothing in common apart from a shared belief in the oppressive boot of the State.

JuliaM said...

Sue's right - it's purely, only and in every way a tax-raising exercise. That's all.

Anonymous said...

Nice. I love cabbage too. parboiled and then fried in the fat of the bacon, it is just perfection... even raw cabbage in a treat...

Sandy said...

We already have a 17.5%tax on luxury items - soon to be 20%

It is called VAT.

Suggest the good doctor could spend his time more productively scrubbing wards for MRSA.

subrosa said...

I think many will waken up once the 20% VAT begins to kick in Sandy.

subrosa said...

As I said to Sandy ASE, once the VAT rise begins to affect folk I think there will be a lot more unrest. Or will folk just continue to sit on their settees watching Eastenders?

subrosa said...

That one of my favourites too tris. Try the slow cook version. Remember, only a tablespoon of water and a tight lid. It then has a different taste altogether. Slightly sweet.

Demetrius said...

Purely in the interests of science we have been having a couple of bits of 85% dark with other medications. It seems to go quite well with Islay peat infused liquids and we are now trying it with some Ardmore. Who needs mogadon?

subrosa said...

Sounds rather a good experiment you have there Demetrius. I prefer mine with a cup of fennel tea.

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