Eating Chips Should be Taxing

8 02 2007

I was talking to a work colleague recently who  is a bit of a health nut, so needless to say chowing down on “tandoori doroitos” during our converstaion was no small feat.

We got talking about the prices of fresh produce verus the prices of junk food and fast food.

I turned to her, with a half eaten dorioto in my mouth, and said “No wonder we’re all so fat” – she gave me a dirty look, sitting smug in her tiny svelte little body.   Gawd, she makes me laugh!  Love her to death!

But the point is valid, would North Americans be even half as fat as they are if a salad and fresh bowl of fruit was cheaper than that bag of chips?

To be fair to the growers of fresh produce, its probably priced right.  Its the cheap prices of junk and fast food that kills us.

What if there was a “crap food tax”.  This could also be put on other vices such as a “nicotine tax” or even a “booze tax” .

With health problems associated to obsesity, smoking and drinking – why shouldn’t these people who partake in those vices be taxed to the hilt to have them?  That money can be put to public health services for those people who will envenitably require them.

I think about my own poor decision associated to food, and perhaps if the temptations weren’t so affordable and cheap – then maybe I’d be more inclined to eat better.

What do you think?

no fast food




7 responses

9 02 2007
Paul Graham

I agree with you about the “junk food tax”. I don’t think its fair that people who make healthy choices should be paying for the poor choices other people make about their diet. However, the choices we make about our diet is totally up to us, and I think that blaming the price and availability of junk food is a lame excuse for putting one’s quality of life at risk.

On the point of junk food being affordable… if you actually look at things, I don’t think that junk food is cheaper. Trust me, I’m cheap, so I’ve looked at this. For $6 I can buy enough baby spinach for a weeks worth of salads. For another $3 I have carrots to munch on every day at work. Another $4 and I have a bag of apples that’ll last a week as well. And lets not forget bananas… they practically give them away, and they come in such a convenient package. So, add some cheese, bread and other things and you’ve got a weeks worth of lunches and snacks for under $20. And we’re not talking skimpy lunches. I’d bet that you can’t buy junk lunches and snacks for double that price. But yeah, not quite as convenient… you do have to plan ahead a bit and remember to bring it with you.

9 02 2007

I know your cheap Paul.

hahahah. Kidding.

I don’t disagree. . . . but we are a society of convenience, and soon as things require time and effort we leave them by the way side for something simpler.

Its blows, its sucks, and I’m willing to admit I’m guilty on all counts in regards to it. . . .

If I want to run out at lunch to get something to munch on, I can spend 15 minutes drive to the Wendy’s drive thru get a value meal and be back at my desk before anyone notices. If I wanted to get that banana, apple and spinach, I’d have to get to the store, get into the store, shop, purchase, get back, prepare, then eat. . . could be an hour or more. Or I could go the night before and ‘waste’ and hour that I could spend with my husband who I barely see as it is. . . .

I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses, I’m not, in fact recently I’ve been very active in being concerned with what I’m eating and drinking. But the truth of the matter is the convenience of that value meal sometimes out weights what you’re actually eating.

How glorious would it be if there was a drive thru I could go to that would have well balanced and portioned meals. Perhaps each with the ‘weight watchers’ points listed right on them. What about a choice of very low calorie dressings. And things that taste good and not like foam or cardboard. . . ..

I think if healthy became more convenient and junk food became less convenient then a ton more people would make the better choice.

9 02 2007
Paul Graham

I couple suggestions if I may be so bold…

Take Colin to the grocery store with you… Just because our dad has never been inside a grocery store doesn’t mean Colin can’t do it. An hour a week is all it takes. I find it so much easier to make healthy choices when I see everything I’m buying laid out in front of me at the checkout.

Wendy’s offers salads and other relatively healthy options… but check their nutritional info online ( before going. Their Cranberry pecan chicken salad has only 10g of fat, whereas the chicken ceaser has 40g (ceasar salad in general is worse then most non salads). Or, order a side salad, chili or baked potatoe instead of fries.

note: A hamburger and regular fries at wendy’s (about 1000 calories depending on which one you get) accounts for over half of the recommended daily intake of calories for a person… and that’s only lunch.

Or, you could pick healther places to buy lunch… subway offers some great options (just look at Jared)… tim’s has some good sandwiches (just don’t get a donut or muffin), pita pit is also good… There are healthy options, and if people choose them they will become more abundant.

But it comes down to choice in the end… and choosing healthy food and lifestyle is not always easy. But its a choice I believe pays off in the long term.

9 02 2007

canadia already has *vice taxes* on stuff like tobacco and alcohol.

their primary justification for this is that the government contributes to health care and these products contribute to NEEDING health care, so the logic follows suit.

i am not big on governement interference in daily life, but with taxes being pretty much unavoidable, i have to say i’d be for *avoidable* taxes. ie, taxing *crap* foods would be an avoidable tax. you just buy the good stuff and you don’t pay the tax.

the part where i get oookie over it is *who decides*

a quick trip down the *diet* aisle at borders will tell you the experts don’t even agree on many of the essentials (though I think it’s safe to say your bag of doritos would pretty much universally make the list).

9 02 2007

Paul – I think your suggestions are right, but then again, you do know me personally, and know my husband even better. You know what type of lives we live, (and thus how crappy some of our choices are).

Just for the record, the Wendy’s trip mentioned above did yeild a salad (the one with the almond slivers) and a baked potato – but the junkies got the better of me and I had the broccoli and cheddar baked pot!

As mentioned, I am personally trying to make changes – but the point of these entry was more about the general idea and the future of things.

Branhamin, I know what you mean – did you know that Canada has updated their CANADA FOOD GUIDE for the first time in almost 30 years very recently.

Although I agree with the point about WHO gets to decide, what should be on the yeah or ney list should be pretty easy to distinguish. . . .there isn’t too many foods that would fall under the ‘grey zone’

We often talk about alchol or tabacco being addictions or diseases. . . and ifs thats true, I often wonder if junk food etc holds the same addicitive properties as nicotine – think MSG. And if that is the case, then why shouldn’t there be more *VICE TAXES* on said items???

9 02 2007
Christine Hann

I think just like with alcohol and cigarettes, no matter how high the cost people will still eat junk. There are a ton of chemicals in them that give you an instant and addictive high so to speak. Do you get that from broccoli? No, but you definitely feel better from eating properly, it just isn’t an instant thing. But the instant gratifacation from a chocolate bar… No come on.. that’s awesome!!! The guilt after… not so awesome. Paul is totally right, it’s all about choices. Eating healthy does take effort. Once you get into a routine, not so much effort. The worst is eating alone, with my husband working shift work, I either mooch off my parents or eat crap. Really, since I’m a stay at home mom, I should make a meal regardless if Chris is here or not and then send the leftovers with Chris to work. Sounds good huh? I totally understand how crap it is to eat alone and also think of different meal ideas. Good luck with eating better! Too bad we didn’t live close together, we could eat dinners together when the men are working!

11 02 2007

I absolutly agree with you on this post. The “healthy lifestyle choices” for me have always failed for 2 reasons…

1. The cost of eating healthy is far greater than eating junkfood

2. The time it takes to prepare healthy foods takes so much more time and energy than what it takes to make healthy meals.

As a result, I would rather make pizza rolls than a salad for lunch. I would rather eat a hamburger or hotdog than spend the time to make a slab of meat with two vegetables.. I don’t have the time or money!

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