Last week there was some media ‘buzz’ about imposing a 10% junk food in an attempt to curb the ever-increasing obesity epidemic in Australia.
The recommendation was made after a report was released by some of Australia’s top health experts. In addition to the proposed junk food tax, there were also recommendations based on mandatory salt limits in bread, margarine and cereals, government subsidies for lap band surgery on the severely obese, changes to the way alcohol is taxed and alcohol advertising.
This all may be a step in the right direction (and remember, this is not yet legislation – just simply recommendations) however, the question remains as to what will be considered junk food? We all know, high-fat takeaway foods will be an obvious target, however, there are plenty of ‘junk’ foods on the shelves of our supermarkets that are promoted as being ‘healthy choices’ for school lunch boxes.
Muesli bars are one of the greatest offenders: a Sunibrite 100g Muesli slice (Yoghurt coated, Strawberry flavoured) has an incredible 414 calories, 15g fat and a whopping 38.4g sugars (which means over 1/3 of the bar is added sugar!). Compare this to McDonalds small serve French Fries which only has 256 calories, 13.7g fat and no added sugar! And to think that probably only the Mc Donalds fries would be subject to the Junk Food Tax…the mind boggles!
It is great to see that breakfast cereals haven’t escaped the attention of the report – did you know that a 30g serve of Kellogs Corn Flakes has 204mg of sodium whereas 50g of plain corn chips has only 175mg? I am sure the Corn Chips would be subject to the junk food tax and the Corn Flakes would not be! After all, didn’t all Aussie Kids grow up on Corn Flakes so how can we now deem them to be ‘unhealthy’? Imposing salt limits on cereals, bread and margarine is simply not enough – the limit on salt should be extended to all processed foods, particularly if we are serious about making a ‘healthier’ Australia!
The big question remains – will a 10% junk food tax stop people buying takeaway foods? Personally, I doubt it. In order to see any significant drop in junk food consumption, the government should impose a 25% tax on junk food, and use the revenue collected to subsidise the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables.
At The Natural Way, we not only help people to lose weight, but we educate our clients along the way so they know HOW to maintain their weight by making the best healthy choices. A big part of the client education is learning how to read food labels correctly. This is an important life-skill helps our clients to see what they are really eating, and can then steer them to making the best choices when grocery shopping.
We are not just another fad diet – we too want a ‘healthier’ Australia and through our client education, we can deliver weight loss and long term successful weight management.
If you would like to find out more about The Natural Way, please call 1300SLIMMER
Visit our website at: www.thenaturalway.com.au