Paleo Diet News: Denmark’s Fat Tax Disaster

The Danish government is flying the flag for better health. Or is it? Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

On October 1st of this year, Denmark became the first country in the world to impose a fat tax on foods containing natural saturated fats.  From this date, foods above 2.3% saturated fat (by weight) will be taxed at the rate of 16 Danish Kroner per kilogram of saturated fat.  It’s a sadly regressive move by a country that blazed a different trail just eight years ago, when it became the first to introduce laws restricting the use of dangerous trans fats in food production.

This fat tax should give pause to anyone who’s interested in pursuing a paleo diet.

In its report on the story late last week, Time Magazine provided examples of what this new law will mean in practice for Danish shoppers:

The average price of a half-pound package of butter increased by 2.5 krone (or
45 U.S. cents). A pound of cheese rose from 34.5 krone ($6) to 36 krone ($6.50).
And don’t even think about lard. In a single day, the cost of a half-pound block
of pork fat skyrocketed from 12 krone ($2.15) to 16 krone ($2.85) — a 35%
increase. Thanks to a new fat tax, Danes are paying more for just about anything they
might want to slather on a piece of bread.

That last sentence is a reminder that the tragedy of this decision is twofold.

Butter. Is it for the knife in Denmark? Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Firstly, the new law in no way discourages the Danish from buying the foodstuffs that enlightened nutritional science – not to mention ancestral wisdom - has shown to be the real causes of degenerative disease and obesity (namely, refined carbohydrates, industrially-processed seed oils, and chemical additives); and to add insult to injury, Danish citizens are now being actively penalised for eating one of nature’s most nourishing and essential macronutrients.

You can read more about the multiplicity of health benefits conferred by natural saturated fats in this article by reknowned lipid researcher, Dr. Mary Enig.  Far from being the causes of obesity and illness the Danish government seems to believe, they are in fact essential for human health.  This misguided decision by Danish politicians has put the consumption of these health-giving fats under serious threat.

In fact, it’s likely that all fats will fall foul of their edict, since it’s possibly going to be difficult for the average consumer to figure out which foods contain more than 2.3% saturated fat.

Here are just a few of the items that will be taxed:

  • Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, rich in the omega 3 fats most of the Western population are woefully deficient in;
  • Eggs, one of nature’s true superfoods – particularly for vegetarians – abundant in essential vitamins and minerals and the cholesterol our bodies need to heal injury and inflammation;
  • Grass-fed meats, laden with fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, not to mention essential minerals such as iron, in the forms and quantities most easily assimilated by the human body;
  • Real nourishing fats such as butter, coconut oil, and olive oil, and those (such as lard) which are the most stable and therefore safest to cook with;
  • Most nuts and seeds…

In fact, it appears that the only real foods to escape these draconian measures are vegetables and fruits.

The “foods” that will not be taxed, and that the Danish are therefore being explicitly and implicitly encouraged to buy and eat, include:

  • Fake factory-produced foods sporting “low in saturated fat” labels, but nonetheless laden with toxic oils, refined carbohydrates, and a host of chemical colourings, flavourings and preservatives;
  • Table sugar, one of the most insidious contributors to disease in human history;
  • Skimmed milk products, divested of their essential fat soluble vitamins and known to contribute to sugar cravings and obesity;
  • Lean meats which – when consumed without their accompanying natural fats – will ensure that consumers are eating a too-high ratio of protein to fat, thus putting undue pressure on their livers;
  • Fake margarine-style spreads likely to contain unsavoury fillers and fragile vegetable oils which have been damaged in the processing.

It is indeed a sad and worrying state of affairs.  Here we see – in the name of “health” – a government penalising its citizens for eating real food, and encouraging them to increase their consumption of toxic fake-fat alternatives and fattening carbohydrates.

It’s clear that this sadly misguided fat tax is a body blow to anyone wishing to pursue a paleo diet in Denmark.  Talk about an own goal.

 

Have something to say about this new situation in Denmark? Make your mark here! Also please share and like this article with your friends so that they may know what lunacy may be coming to the shore of the US soon.

Brian Cormack Carr is a life and career coach, charity CEO, writer, and advocate of a real foods diet.
His home on the web is www.cormackcarr.com where you will find more articles, his free Lifecrafting Newsletter, and information about his online career-creation programme www.vitalvocation.com.
You can follow Brian on Twitter: @cormackcarr

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6 Responses to Paleo Diet News: Denmark’s Fat Tax Disaster

  1. J Oggier October 10, 2011 at 8:03 am

    So, the real question is: how do we fix it? There’s plenty of outrage and instant criticism, it seems, in the Paleo community, but I feel as though we all need to band together, start putting together petitions, speak to government officials, and bring in credible scientists and medical doctors who can convey the these truths to the proper authorities. Though it’s important to raise awareness, it does nothing if it falls on deaf ears or never reaches the appropriate circles.

    • Lila Solnick October 10, 2011 at 10:39 am

      Thanks for the comment Josef.
      Yes, we do seem to get a bit outraged at times. But the first step is to educate people that these things are happening in the first place. That is the purpose of Brian’s article. For example, most people still don’t know that here in the US, in less than 3 months there will be fewer incandescent light bulbs that can be purchased due to government interference on our choice of lighting. Eventually the choice will be limited to useless 40 watt and lower incandescent bulbs with the mercury bulbs being the only choice left. Given what I’ve been learning about how much government interference there is in our food supply I am not sure speaking to government officials will make any difference in the end. The government is not there for our protection, it is there for the officials to make as much money as possible. I grant you, there are a few reasonable souls, but overwhelmingly, petitions and discussions would fall on deaf ears. This does not mean it should not be done. Every civil means to enact truly meaningful changes in government policy should be employed.

  2. Deb October 10, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I imagine one would address it the way one addresses bad lawmaking in any relatively Democratic country: blitz lawmakers with letters and phone calls, get the media involved. Did anyone see this coming far enough in advance to raise a fuss about it before it became law? Did anyone get the chance to try to stop it? Is anyone actively trying to get it changed now? I’ve seen a couple of stories about the law passing, but not much backstory and not much about any action being taken currently.

    BTW, the US also has LED lighting more and more widely available, and the prices are coming down, so it’s not just down to CFL’s and low-watt incandescants. :-) And not all the LED’s are the weird blue-white light that makes it so hard to change over from incandescant, plus the energy savings are significant. At least we can take heart about that on the light bulb front.

    • Lila Solnick October 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      Deb, blitzing is a good idea. I have seen it work here in the US. As far as seeing it coming, as long as one pays attention to the what the legislature is doing, there is warning. However there are bills which get through despite letter writing and blitzing. Dick Durbin’s law on the limitation of supplements keeps creeping forward in spite of enormous opposition. And I have written to him several times anyway and I get standard replies on how they are only trying to “protect us from dangerous vitamin supplements”.

      As far as LEDs go, I’ve tried them and the light is just not good enough. And they are still expensive to boot. Unfortunately (or fortunately) mercury bulbs give me headaches. I’ve tried several different bulbs in my bathroom, since the fixture is high and a pain to change, but I couldn’t stand the light, not even for 5 minutes. This means that when I run out of incandescent bulbs, I will have to use kerosene lamps, unless LEDs have improved significantly. I hope they do!
      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Brian Cormack Carr October 11, 2011 at 12:45 am

    I think the best approach is two-fold.

    Firstly, educate. Many people still don’t know of the benefit of natural saturated fat; they still believe it’s detrimental to health. We need to change the standard wisdom on this subject, until everyone – including policymakers – realises that the real obesity crisis culprits are factory foods and refined carbohydrates.

    That’s when the second approach – petitioning and lobbying our politicians and medical establishment – can be made to be more effective. But to be honest, my mission at the moment centres around that first approach. I think many people who turn to the paleo diet and real food, are willing to navigate obstacles such as a fat tax. The people I worry about are those who’ll go along with this government guidance, and will start buying and eating inferior non-foods as a result.

    We need to spread the word that the best thing anyone can do for their health is to return to real food!

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