Table of Contents:
2. What's a bad diet?
3. Junk food and consequences
4. The problem with medication
5. The good diet
6. Benefits of a good diet
7. What diet has America chosen?
8. Creating a strong, healthy nation
9. Food taxes and subsidies
10. Who profits from disease?
11. 12 steps to save America
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In order to sell more products, food and beverage companies have mastered the art of engineering food-like substances that exploit the hard-wired taste preferences of the human tongue. Humans can primarily taste sugar, salt and fat, and not coincidentally, those are the three primary things that food companies put into factory foods that are marketed to the public.
Creating a strong, healthy nation
Food is fabricated specifically to be addictive, much like crack. And a surprisingly large portion of the population will always seek out such addictive, synthesized food tastes in much the same way that a heroin-addicted lab rat will keep pushing the drug lever to self-medicate with even more heroin. (This metaphor is eerily accurate when it comes to junk foods and human behavior...)
There are only really two ways to prevent such people from seeking out and consuming such foods:
Method #1) Educate people about junk foods and health so that they can make better-informed decisions about what to eat (or what to avoid). (The "Free Choice" approach.)
Method #2) Restrict access to junk foods to prevent people from making food consumption decisions that are not in their own best long-term interests (the "Nanny State" approach).
A nation that wishes to be strong and healthy must, in my opinion, pursue both of these methods. Here are some of the ways in which these goals can be pursued:
Method #1 - Educate People
• Teach real nutrition in public schools.
• Require doctors to learn the principles of nutrition and teach them to patients.
• Require all broadcast media outlets (cable, TV, radio, etc.) to dedicate some small percentage of their airtime to airing pro-nutrition public service announcements (as an exchange for the right to use FCC-regulated airwaves).
• Put very high taxes on all processed foods and junk foods, then use those tax dollars to fund public service announcements teaching consumers to avoid those foods. (I'm not a huge fan of using taxes in this way, but it's one idea worth considering.)
• Tax the key ingredients used in processed foods such as high-fructose corn syrup or refined white sugar. Then use that money to fund pro-nutrition public service announcements.
• Require all food retailers to place public service educational booklets in or near aisles where food is purchased. Those booklets should provide honest information about the dangers of processed foods and chemical additives, including mentioning the diseases they cause: Cancer, diabetes, depression, etc.
• Require prominent food labels that warn consumers about the diseases caused by the particular ingredients used in processed foods. This is similar to the lung cancer warnings on cigarette packages. A box of sugary breakfast cereal, for example, should carry a large red warning label that reads, "WARNING: This product contains ingredients known to promote diabetes."
Method #2 - Restrict access
Here are some ideas that could be pursued to restrict consumers' access to disease-promoting foods:
• Ban ALL advertising of processed foods, factory-made foods or non-natural foods of any kind. This includes TV, radio, internet, sporting sponsorships, etc.
• Ban disease-promoting ingredients from the food supply altogether: High-fructose corn syrup, aspartame, MSG, trans fats, artificial colors, sodium nitrite, etc.
• Hit food retailers with draconian new food display laws that forbid junk foods from being displayed on end caps, near checkout counters, at eye-level on the shelves, etc. (I normally don't go for "Draconian" anything, but this is one idea to be considered.)
• End government subsidies on corn and sugar, as these are the sources from which cheap, nutritionally-depleted foods are made.
• Place heavy taxes on food manufacturers for producing unhealthful foods and beverages. This will have the same effect as raising retail taxes on those items, but it's easier to administer this tax at the manufacturer rather than at retail.
• Use tax money raised from taxing junk foods to subsidize fresh produce, thereby making fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable to American families. (Again, I'm generally against using the tax code in such ways, but it's an idea worth debating.)
Next: How to make shape consumer behavior with taxes or subsidies...
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