Can Taxation Cure Obesity?

The New Scientist carried an article recently, Can Taxation Cure Obesity?, in which the writer wondered if taxes on food and drink would help combat the global epidemic of obesity. Here’s Michael Rivero’s reply:

Food and drinks high in sugar should be taxed just like cigarettes, say economists who believe it is the only way to combat the global crisis in obesity.

Leave it to an economist to be ignorant of science.

The Obesity “epidemic” is the result of the chemicals added to food that make people want to eat MORE, to increase the profits of food companies.

First is MSG, or Monosodium Glutamate. This compound is actually prescribed for eating disorders, and used to create overweight rats for lab tests (rats normally will not over-eat). Disguised under numerous names to conceal its presence, MSG is found in almost all processed foods and is billed as a “flavor enhancer”. But the reality is that it makes you want to eat more food, which means you BUY more food. That is why food companies love it so much and resist public calls for discontinuance of it.

Another chemical villain is Aspartame, the artificial sweetener. Billed as a diet-aid, in point of fact use of Aspartame creates cravings for carbohydrates. This is why supermarkets will often have bundled product deals where you purchase diet soft drinks together with various corn and potato chip products.

Finally, there are the growth hormones fed to farm animals to increase their growth which get into the meat and dairy products, and from those products into humans. Humans react to those hormones as do the farm animals. They put on weight.

I have avoided MSG for years because it triggers migraines, but earlier this year I quit all aspartame and use only hormone free meats and dairy products. So far, I am down 25 pounds without changing my exercise level or otherwise altering my eating habits.