Junk Food should be Taxed
Junk food is “”food that is not good for your health because it is high in fat, sugar, or artificial substances”” (Cambridge Dictionary). Public health advocates say a sugar tax on junk foods could help reduce the consumption of sugary foods causing a reduction in obesity and diseases, as well as people to become healthy overall. A junk food tax would also generate income for significant causes, such as nutrition education, obesity prevention, and improving diet. The goal of the tax is to minimize the consumption of unhealthy foods, which would presumably lead to a healthier population. Sugary foods have harmful preservatives and are addictive, so taxing it would cause people to make healthier choices by choosing alternatives to the junk foods.
Taxing sugary foods affects the consumer choice by causing people to think wisely on how they want to spend their money. “”The inexpensiveness of unhealthy foods relative to fresh produce is thought to be an important contributor to the overconsumption of junk food”” (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). Healthy food being more expensive than junk food is one of the reasons people buy it. Some people can’t afford to buy healthy foods because of the price compared to the cheaper unhealthier stuff. If the price of junk foods was raised, people wouldn’t be as urged to spend money on it, which would cause them to reduce their consumption of these sugary foods making healthier choices.
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This will cause a decrease in heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. According to econimicshelp.org “”a report by the University of Nottingham and University of Oxford, claimed that introducing a tax on unhealthy foods would save, at least, 3,000 lives a year from heart disease””. Choosing healthier options can prevent diseases and make people feel better about themselves when they are eating good. Thus, a junk food tax is believed to encourage a healthier lifestyle and thereby causing manufacturers to produce healthier alternatives. With the taxes on sugary foods we can use the earnings to educate Americans about nutrition, preventing obesity, and improving diet.
We can use the taxes to teach people how to become healthy by educating them on nutrition and making them understand the concept of manufacturers when they advertise and try to trick us into buying junk food. The junk food industry doesn’t want people to know of the dangers of their products in that the chemicals and substances in their products are harmful to us. Once we are aware of the negative/damaging effects of junk food on us we can start to change our bad habits of eating them by opting for healthier alternatives. As well as teach them the negative health effects that come with eating them.
Let’s admit it: we’ve all eaten chips, candy, or cookies without scanning and knowing what exactly we’re putting into our bodies. One time when I actually took a good look at the nutrition label on the back of a sugary snack, I was shocked to see I couldn’t recognize almost all of the ingredients listed. From trans fat to high fructose corn syrup, it’s good to know what preservatives and food additives we are consuming, and what they mean for our body.
Preservatives are a type of food additive added to food to prolong its shelf life and preserve them from spoiling while food additives are used to enhance the flavor, appearance or texture of a product, as well as extend its shelf life. These substances have been associated with detrimental health effects and should be avoided. An example of a common preservative are trans fats which are, “”a type of unsaturated fat that increases shelf life and improves consistency of products”” (healthline.com). They can be found in processed foods like baked goods, snacks such as potato chips and microwave popcorn, and biscuits.
According to healthline.com “”Eating trans fats has been associated with many negative effects on health, including inflammation, heart disease and diabetes””. An example of a food additive is high fructose corn syrup which is a sweetener made from corn. It is found in soda, candy, and snack foods and “”has been linked to weight gain and diabetes”” (healthline.com). These two substances have one thing in common and that is they both are harmful to us. We should start reading ingredient labels when grocery shopping to take control of our diets and find out what’s being added to our favorite foods. Junk foods not only have preservatives, they also have addictive substances that are harmful to us.
Has it ever occurred to us why sugary foods taste so good? The chemicals in these sweet foods include addictive substances that trigger endorphins in the brain causing us to keep wanting more of it. Sugar activates the brain’s reward system causing a release of dopamine. “”Activation of the reward system in the brain called the mesolimbic dopamine system leads to intense feelings of reward that can result in cravings and addiction”” (theconversation.com).We get pleasure and feelings of reward out of sugary foods. It’s the same pleasure people get out of drugs. This causes us to binge on junk food when we are feeling stressed for the satisfaction of it. This can be harmful to us internally and externally.
Internally it can affect our health and cause us to have diseases and other problems much sooner than people who are healthier. The external effects of junk food is unhealthy weight gain, causes our skin to breakout, look dull, and makes us look older. Cardiologist Dr. James O’Keefe told KCTV in 2015 that it can take six weeks to end an addiction to sugar and that strong craving can feel almost like drug withdrawal (Can Sugar Be More Addictive Than Drugs by Elysia Richardson). Thankfully there are healthier alternatives to these junk foods to help cope with cravings and forget about sugary foods.
There are many healthy alternatives to sugary foods. We can reduce our sugar cravings by eating naturally sweet food. Healthy options such as fruits, berries, honey, dark chocolate, and dates can satisfy these cravings. Being hydrated and full can reduce sweet tooths. You get a craving when you are hungry and the feeling is difficult to resist thus, eating a healthy meal as soon as the hunger strikes can cause the craving to go away. Salt is also proven to help with our sugar cravings. According to Dr. Oz in the YouTube video How to Cut Down Sugar Craving in Two Weeks, “”80% of the salt…doesn’t come from salt you add; it comes from the salt from processed foods””.
If, instead of processed foods, you eat wholesome food and sprinkle a bit of salt on it twice per day, it has to be better than what you’re used to. Another alternative are organic options which are healthier and have quality ingredients. For example, if you look at the nutritional information between the two alternatives, Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups are healthier than eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and the taste of the healthier option taste better in my opinion.
It makes you feel better and less sluggish. Sugary foods can have a toll on our energy. For example, after a candy splurge we get a sugar rush followed by the unavoidable sugar crash. So it causes us to feel drained and tired when we consume too much sugar for the body to handle. With these many healthy options to junk foods some people still eat sugary foods and dislike the idea of a junk food tax.
On the other hand, some people believe it isn’t fair for the government to interfere in people’s food choices. They think the taxes added by the government will tell them what to and what not to eat. They disagree with adding a tax because according to them they should have freedom to make their own choices cause it effects them, not the government. Some also say that adding taxes won’t do anything to help fight obesity and health diseases because people that love junk food will buy it regardless of how much it costs.
They also think that junk food is convenient for low income people because that’s all they can afford and it saves them time and money. I agree junk food is cheap however, it is unhealthy causing many health problems and killing the people that are eating it. Junk food isn’t really cheap and convenient cause in the long run they’re going to be having to spend more money on medical bills with constant trips to the doctor and for medications. People who think wisely about their decisions would save money by caring about their health and what they put into their body, so raising the tax on junk food will help people stay on a healthy track reducing diseases.
This junk food tax policy can save many people’s lives. People correlate the cheaper product as a better choice, but it won’t be a better choice when we will be spending it on hospital bills in the future. Healthier options might kill our bills, but it can save our lives. Reducing sugar consumption can help with weight loss, reduce acne, and prevent diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Implementing a tax on sugary foods will influence the consumer to make wiser choices on what they choose to put in their body, whether they want to spend more money on unhealthy foods and suffer in the lung run, or spend more money on healthy foods and be happier. Consumers opt for the low-priced goods so if junk foods were taxed more people would consider eating healthier foods since the prices would be around the same.