Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Fat Tax" vs. Fat Facts

I read a lot of blogs. These last couple of weeks my time has been limited to reading a few blogs in depth (bring on those LP RR's), scanning several and only being able to comment on some.

Since I started blogging and fell into this amazing world of triathlon and all things endurance, one of my very favorite blogs to read is Cook Train Eat Race. Last week he wrote up a great post about taxes on soda and obesity.
Go read them-here's a link to SODA TAX and OBESITY IN AMERICA

I read through each and every comment left on this post. One thing I don't have a lot of lately is time, but I wanted to take the time to read this. There were so many different views on the subject and great ideas.

As a former fatty myself who used to dine on Chinese take-out and processed foods all too often, I do have many opinions on the subject.

Do I think that the Government should be determining what's "good" and "bad" when it comes to what is taxable food?
Government is already waist deep in all kinds of garbage when it comes to the food industry so there is no way that there could ever be a fair "grading system". So many FDA officials are former big food executives with only one goal in mind-and it is not your health. I could go on and on here about this (as well as corn and soy crop subsidizing) but let's stay on topic here. (However, I will gladly revisit this subject)

What I will say is that from my own personal experience, I did not see "processed foods" for the danger they were until I educated myself.
Then I learned WHY high fructose corn syrup is poison to our bodies.
I did not understand why white bleached & enriched flour was not the best choice nutritionally until I learned WHAT it was (and was NOT).
I did not know the difference between grass fed organic beef vs. feedlot beef other than one was really expensive.
Nor did I understand the dangers of artificial sweeteners and how they effect our brain.
Simply by learning over time how these FrankenFoods react within our bodies as a whole (and not just on a weight loss level or fitness level) did I start to see the bigger picture. This was a precipice to change for me and the all-mighty calorie was not the only piece of the puzzle.

Let's think back to the days of our grandparents-
they ate clean foods-they ate real foods-they ate organic
(but it was just FOOD back then!)
They moved their bodies just living daily life.
No sitting around watching TV or playing video games
No putting around for hours behind a computer screen
No texting. No email.
No driving to every single destinationThey did not have the rampant obesity, diabetes, cardiac disease and a slew of other health problems we face as a Nation today.
By making life "easier" with transportation, communication, fast food, convenience foods we are actually slowing killing ourselves. Our children are now suffering the most from this. Childhood diabetes is on the rise. ADD and ADHD is all over. Our kids are getting bigger and bigger. And with that sicker and sicker.

Take this article for example:

"If we are what we eat, then America kids are Fritos.That's just one of the major findings from the new USDA Dietary Guidelines. Fries and chips are the only "vegetables" on the list of Top 25 calorie sources; fruit juice is the sole "fruit" to make the leader board.
The prevalence of these foods plays a big role in the childhood-obesity epidemic, which affects fare more than our children's waist size. Many chronic conditions are on the rise among kids including asthma, allergies, diabetes, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). All of these conditions have been linked to what kids eat." ~Alan Greene, MD pediatrician and author of Raising Baby Green.

I remember reading a study that put kids diagnosed with ADHD on a diet on clean, unprocessed foods and within 6 weeks of eating "real" food their symptoms improved remarkably. 

But is it is up to US, the consumers to make the decisions to stop putting our hard earned dollars into the things that make us sick.
Big food will slap whatever label they think will appeal to the diet trend of the moment-
multigrain and whole grain
low sugar and low carb
low fat and low sodium
But all in all these processed foods are made with cheap ingredients that offer no real nutritional value. Do you think Big Food cares about your health or their bottom line?

Where we need to start is with EDUCATION. If people truly understand what they are doing to their bodies, maybe the choices they make will change. Maybe not. But at least they will be armed with information to make an educated decision.

Take High Fructose Corn Syrup for example-
Do you know WHY HFCS is used widely in processed foods?
Do you know why HFCS is essentially poison for your body?

SO instead of a Fat Tax let's get out the Fat Facts and educate the Nation!


Melissa Cunningham said...

oh wow,can i get a big AMEN SISTER!!!
love it.
so true.
education is where we need to start!!!

CautiouslyAudacious said...

Some great points you made here. I know it's a touchy subject when it comes to government involvement and who has to pay the big $. I def. agree with you on educating yourself. I remember when they were going to pass a bill that required restaurants to provide the nutrition info. for their menu items. Some do it voluntarily now but I really wish we had that for all of them. So many times I underestimate what is in a meal when I eat out.

ltlindian said...

Thanks for a great post Jenn! I see it everyday (obesity) and it is so frustrating to see kids so fat at younger and younger ages. Even adults.

I was going to do my own post about it but it is a little tricky cause some of my patients read my blog and I don't want to offend anyone.

Thank you for a well thought out post.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

I don't think the government should be telling us which food are good or bad.

A major problem is convenience and cost. With many families living without their own "green space" in which to produce their own food (or at least some of it) and food directly from nature costing so much more, the reality is those families are forced to often sacrifice diet quaility to keep the family feed. If you've never lived poor you may not understand this fact completely.
I agree that education is also key. Many families who fall into the group that is not poor enough for help but income limited to the point of struggling are educated to a degree. They know what they should be eating but they are working more hours to make money to provide what they can. I wish there was a quick solution that applied to all classes of people.
Educating kids is great but if mom and dad can't afford to feed them that way those kids are going to remain in those less than healthy habits.
off soap box...

Big Daddy Diesel said...

This was a GREAT post

BabyWilt said...

Well articulated post, I love it. I have started to try eat clean and keep away from processed foods as well as wheat and sugar (in any form). Its getting easier but it does require effort and attention to what you are eating which I think in its self forms a great barrier for a lot of people.
Off to read your links now.

Unknown said...

Great post!!! I think there is some information out there but it is presented in the latest fab diet. It sometimes get so overwhelming at what you should or shouldn't do......but I'm willing to read and educate myself. It is hard to overcome convienence.....but it has to be a conscience decision.

Jason said...

Great post. Chuck Norris could not have said it better himself.

One thing I write or tell to everybody that says government should not use taxes to raise money but want theeducation of these foods is who pays for the education?

That money has to come from somewhere so where? Bib business spends BILLIONS and the dept of agriculture spends millions, so how do we create a level playing field?

If we can answer that question effectively then we have taken a big step.

By the way in the next week or so I will have an announcement regarding this topic.

Katie said...

Great post. I find this topic to be really inflammatory but I think it's absolutely true.

Unknown said...

Education hasnt stopped smoking. Education hasnt stopped drinking or drug use. Hitting people in the wallet is the only thing many/most will listen to. You combine an education process with a fiscal incentive and people will eventually fall in line, but wont get it without both.

Relentless Forward Commotion said...

preach it girl!!! I'm going to share this post, I love it!

Jamie said...

Love the idea.

Unfortunately, I know too many people that know more about nutrition than I do, but make really poor food decisions.

There needs to be some motivation to turn their knowledge into behavior change. What could that be? I have no fing clue. Taxing is one way. It could help, but it won't solve the problem.

I think it needs to be a primary part of the educational system, just like math, science and history. Science can't just be about plants and cells. It needs to be about what your OWN body does based on what you YOU do to IT. Not just how your stomach digests and lungs deliver oxygen to your blood.

If you can't pick out groceries that won't kill you, you shouldn't be able to graduate HS.

Penny said...

Love the way you put this post. I see so many people just cut down heavy people. Instead of trying to understand them or educate them. This is a very sensitive subject for some of us. Thank You.