Tuesday, May 11, 2010

'Fat tax' could be levied on junk food in Britain

Any tax on food will hit the poor hardest -- and won't do any good because the assumptions on which it is built are provably wrong

A "fat tax" could be levied on junk food and sugary drinks in a bid to reduce obesity and reduce the deficit. The Food Standards Agency is planning to consult on whether taxing such foods would encourage people to make healthier choices. In much the same way as tax is applied to alcohol and tobacco the most processed food are likely to be targeted.

It is possible however that 17.5 per cent tax could be levied on high fat food such as butter and cheese. All food is currently exempt from VAT.

The FSA fears that the nations excessive consumption of saturated fat is leading to increased numbers of deaths through clogged arteries and heart disease.

The scheme has met with opposition from consumer groups. Julian Hunt, of the Food and Drink Federation told the Daily Mail: "It may be a perfectly sensible issue to debate but such a regressive policy would nothing more than create lighter wallets for consumers."

However some research has claimed a fat tax could save up to 3,000 lives per year.

Last year the British Medical Association only narrowly voted against putting a fat tax on chocolate.

However, research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that any fat tax would have a negative affect on poorer families and have a greater impact on their food budget than on richer families.


Four out of five children not getting enough fruit and veg 'putting future health at risk'

This rubbish is still being bruited about despite the recent demonstration that the amount of fruit and veg you eat has negligible effect on health. The "five a day" target was just made up by PR men. It has no basis in science

But it is no surprise that the money-grubbing WCRF "charity" is behind this latest pronouncement. They know the evidence but counter it by mere theory and assertions. I suppose it keeps the "research" dollars flowing in

Four out of five children are not getting their ‘five a day’ potentially storing up health problems for the future, a cancer charity has warned. Experts recommend that a balanced diet should include five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. As a slogan, the mantra has been enthusiastically taken up by health campaigns and food manufacturers in recent years.

But most of Britain’s youngsters do not get enough of the vital vitamins and nutrients included in fresh fruit and vegetables, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) warns. The charity insists that this could influence their risk of developing cancer in the future.

Official figures show that children aged between five and 15 have an average of three portions of fruits and vegetables a day. But around one in 14 boys and one in 25 girls do not eat any fruits and vegetables at all. Overall just one in five eat the recommended amounts.

A study released earlier this month showed that eating five portions of fruit a day did not significantly reduce the risk of developing cancer.

However, the WCRF believes that an assessment of all the available evidence shows that there is a protective effect conferred by having a healthy balanced diet.

Nathalie Winn, a nutritionist for WCRF, said: “The fact that only a fifth of children are getting enough fruits and vegetables is a concern because it is important that we encourage children to get into healthy habits as early in life as possible.

“This is because scientific research shows that eating a plant based diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, wholegrains and pulses probably reduces the risk of a number of types of cancer later in life.” She added: “There are lots of reasons why fruits and vegetables may protect against cancer.

“As well as containing a variety of vitamins and minerals, which help to keep the body healthy and strengthen our immune system, they are also a good source of phytochemicals. “These are biologically active compounds that may help to protect cells in the body from damage that can lead to cancer.”

The WRCF also believe that eating a balanced diet can be important because it helps people to maintain a healthy weight. At least six forms of cancer have been linked to obesity.

Ms Winn added: “A lot has been done over the last few years to promote the health benefits of eating at least five portions a day. But these figures show that there is a lot of work still to do, both in terms of promoting fruits and vegetables and also making them accessible and affordable.”

Research has shown that fruits can reduce the risk of cancers of the mouth, larynx, lung and stomach. Dietary fibre, found in many fruits and vegetables, can also help to reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer, scientists believe.


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