We need a fat bastard tax not fat tax

Travel blogger David Farrar congratulates Tony Ryall for not pursuing fat taxes.

He is commenting on The Herald report:

New Zealand is getting fatter – with three in every 10 adults now regarded as obese.

A leading diabetes researcher has called the new figures alarming and has accused the Government of failing to take the problem seriously.

However, Health Minister Tony Ryall has rejected “nanny state” measures, instead arguing that providing information and support to people is enough.   Read more »

Map of the Day

Map 2.1 Prevalence of diabetes 2011

Global prevalence of diabetes

Wednesday nightCap

As suggested by a reader:

As a young surgeon, Peter Attia felt contempt for a patient with diabetes. She was overweight, he thought, and thus responsible for the fact that she needed a foot amputation. But years later, Attia received an unpleasant medical surprise that led him to wonder: is our understanding of diabetes right? Could the precursors to diabetes cause obesity, and not the other way around? A look at how assumptions may be leading us to wage the wrong medical war.

More whingers pimped by the media

Why don’t the media find decent examples to use in their whinge-fest stories these days.



This woman should lose weight then she might find her health problems will go away. She smokes as well. No wonder the health dollar keeps rising.

Is this fair when it is up to us to the lose weight?  Read more »


Why a Sugar Tax won’t work

This Innocent smoothie has as much sugar as 3.5 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donuts Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2301135/15-WORST-health-drinks-Orange-juice-Innocent-smoothies-sugar-13-Hobnobs-3-half-doughnuts.html#ixzz2P3bpnxFh  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

This Innocent smoothie has as much sugar as 3.5 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donuts

Water salesman Tony Falkenstein is on a crusade to…well…sell more of his water coolers…but he is dressing it up as a wanting people to wean themselves off unhealthy fluids and fight obesity. He has proposed a sugar tax in the fight against obesity…but the reality is his only solution is for people to buy his water coolers, which is bizarre in a city like Auckland that has good water reticulation.

Nonetheless the usual suspects are calling for a sugar tax…well here is why such a tax will never work.

A single serving of so-called healthy fruit juice has been found to contain the same amount of  sugar as three-and-a-half doughnuts or 13 hobnob biscuits.

Exclusive research for Mailonline has revealed that a single 250ml serving of white grape juice contained the same amount of sugar as four Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts.

Until recently, we thought the ‘bad’ drinks were those such as Coke and Pepsi, while orange juice was an easy way to get one of our ‘five a day’.

But the goalposts have shifted. More and more experts are warning that sugary drinks in any form are largely to blame for our ballooning waistlines.  Read more »

More than just good bacon

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt has often been the butt of mockery and ridicule, but usually by people who live in a town/city with an even worse mayor (yes you, Len). But Tim has done some good things, not involving silly trainsets or making a fool of yourself at the 2011RWC: Read more »

Plus it tastes awful

ᔥ Sydney Morning Herald

Some over-paid researcher is suggesting that we should be more vegetarian:

Tell your friends you’re swapping beef for broccoli, pork for pumpkin and lamb for legumes, and it’s likely they will try to warn you off.

Giving up meat, they’ll argue, means you won’t get enough protein (needed for growth and immunity), or iron, or calcium, or zinc. And you’ll be stuck with eating tofu for protein.

But with more Australians appearing to eat less meat, new research shows that a well-planned plant-based diet has more health benefits than risks.

“The evidence is quite good that people who follow a vegetarian diet are likely to have less heart disease, less colorectal cancer, less type-2 diabetes and they’re less likely to be obese,” nutritionist Rosemary Stanton said.

Yeah, whatever, it tastes like crap…meat is what we are supposed to be eating not freakin’ rabbit food.

A Fat Bastard tax. Not a Fat Tax

ᔥ Herald Sun

A Melbourne council will consider hitting major fast food outlets up to 400 per cent more on their rates in a move backed by dieticians and health groups.

Darebin Council’s move could be followed by other councils concerned about the spread of junk food chains despite warnings about illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

Darebin councillor Gaetano Greco said council was investigating a rate slug to discourage and penalise major food outlets.

“Councils have the responsibility of looking after the health and wellbeing of their community,” he said yesterday.

“Here we are, looking at an extra tool that council can use to limit or control the spread of fast-food chain outlets,” Mr Greco said.

Tax the person, not the food. Fat bastards are a cost on society, and they should pay their fair share. But don’t introduce a dumb tax system that taxes businesses or food based on stupid people purchasing from them. We will end up with a messy tax system where there are endless arguments over what is a fat food.

Tax Sugar? How about getting some facts right first

Tony Falkenstein, who ironically sells water to Kiwis, wants to tax sugar and fat as a way fo tackling obesity.

Unfortunately his article is almost totally wrong in fact and in direction.

His suggestion that we tax sugar is so wrong medically as to be funny, MacDoctor explains:

Fast forward to the present day and most OECD countries have no shortage of food at all. In addition, carbohydrates are the easiest energy source to produce and therefore the most abundant in the types of food we eat.  Worse, most carbohydrates are in a form that is readily metabolised straight to glucose (so-called high glycaemic index food). Should you have the gene for insulin resistance your sugar levels will gradually rise as your poor pancreas tries to cope with the sugar load. Eventually the pancreas loses the fight and you develop diabetes (note: not everyone with this gene will develop diabetes)

Immediately one can see the absolute pointlessness of a sugar tax. Potatoes, white bread, rice and pasta become sugar in the body as fast as pure cane sugar and nearly as fast as glucose powder. Taxing sugar is like sticking your finger in the dyke when the tsunami alarm has just gone off. And taxing carbohydrates in general is just adding a tax to nearly all food.

It is the combination of plentiful food and high levels of easily accessible cheap carbohydrates that has produced both the diabetes and the obesity epidemics. This is unlikely to be easily changed because plentiful, cheap food is a GOOD thing, despite the few disadvantages. There is no famine in New Zealand and even the poorest of people should not go hungry (some, of  course, do, but that is not usually due to food being unobtainable).

Falkenstein then also compares sugar to tobacco. The MacDoctor tears that apart as well:

Mr Falkenstein suggests we are all addicted to sugar in the same way that people are addicted to tobacco. This is a very poor analogy. We are wired to like the taste of fats and carbohydrates in our basic genes because these are the high-calories foods we need to consume in order to survive. We are not in any way wired to like burning tobacco. While I have some sympathy for the view of Mr. Falkenstein that the health industry uses false advertising techniques similar to the tobacco companies, I should point out that Mr. Falkenstein himself in the CEO of a bottled water company, surely the biggest health con of the lot!

Be that as it may, the food industry in general is merely responding to what people like to eat. We want tasty fats and carbohydrates. Therefore, that is what they provide and advertise. Unlike, tobacco, which requires a certain amount of peer pressure and brand-generated desire to produce a habit, the food industry merely has to produce something appetising. The product will then continue to sell itself.

If Falkensteins proposals were looked at for implementation, probably by idiots like the Labour party then what would be taxed:

 What we should be looking at with a critical eye is exactly what would be taxed in this regime proposed by Mr Falkenstein, because we are not simply talking about candy bars and coke.

  • Honey 80% sugar
  • Packet mixed nuts and raisins 27% (without raisins 5%)
  • Tomato sauce 16% sugar (Baked beans 8.2%)
  • Fruit juice 10.4%
  • Peanut butter 5%
  • Milk 4.2%
  • Bread 2%
  • Packet of Pringles 1%

Now, when you can explain to me how a packet of Pringles in a child’s lunchbox is somehow better than a packet of nuts and raisins, I will agree that a tax on sugar is a good thing.

Falkenstein also suggests a tax on fat, without going into too much detail on that, since he didn’t, that is the dumbest idea of all. If we want to look at taxing anything in a bid to halting obesity it should be wheat.

A Wheat free diet

Reading up a bit more about a wheat free existence. I think I may give it a go:

This message to eat more “healthy whole grains” has, I believe, crippled Americans, triggering a helpless cycle of satiety and hunger, stimulating appetite by 400 calories per day and substantially contributing to the epidemic of obesity and diabetes. And, oh yes, adding to the double-digit-per-year revenue growth of the diabetes drug industry, not to mention increased revenues for drugs for hypertension, cholesterol, and arthritis.

It is therefore my contention that eliminating all wheat from the diet is a good idea not just for people with gluten sensitivity; it’s a smart decision for everybody. I have experience in my heart disease prevention practice, as well as my online program for heart disease prevention and reversal, with several thousand people who have done just that and the results are nothing short of astounding. Weight loss of 30, 50, even 70 pounds or more within the first six months; reversal of diabetes and pre-diabetic conditions; relief from edema, sinus congestion, and asthma; disappearance of acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome symptoms; increased energy, happier mood, better sleep. People feel better, look better, eat fewer calories, feel less hungry, are able to discontinue use of many medications — just by eliminating one food from their diet — ironically a food that they’ve been told to eatmore of.

It is imperative that we break our reliance on wheat. It will require nothing less than an overthrow of conventional nutritional dogma. There will be battles fought to preserve the status quo; the wheat industry and its supporters will scream, yell, and claw to maintain their position, much as the tobacco industry and its lobbyists fought to maintain their hold on consumers.

If the health benefits of a wheat-free diet sound hard to believe, why not conduct your own little experiment and see for yourself: simply eliminate all things made of wheat for four weeks — no bread, bagels, pizza, pretzels, rolls, donuts, breakfast cereals, pancakes, waffles, pasta, noodles, or processed foods containing wheat (and do be careful to read labels, as food manufacturers love to slip a little wheat gliadin into your food every chance they get to stimulate your appetite). That’s a lot to cut out, true, but there’s still plenty of real, nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruit, nuts, cheese and dairy products, meat, fish, soy foods, legumes, oils like olive oil, avocados, even dark chocolate that you can eat in their place. If after that 4-week period you discover new mental clarity, better sleep, relief from joint pain, happier intestines, and a looser waistband, you will have your answer.