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Food

Should 'junk food' be banned?

What is junk food?

Definition: 

This is very hard to determine and is very subjective.
How do you determine junk food? "Junk food" doesn't mean anything so how can it be banned? A big mac contains less calories than some pasta 'salads' sold in supermarkets.

Wider definition

  • Is it the salt content?
  • Is it the fat content?
  • Is a type of fat?
  • Is it a specific combination of the above?

The case for banning 'junk food'

What's wrong with 'junk food' food?

  • It can shorten life span
  • It is a component is most cases of obesity
  • It can reduce quality of life

The case against banning 'junk food'

Whats important is diet not specific food

Junk food is not bad for you. Only too much of it is 

Responsibility

Good on the doctors for rejecting the idea of the 'Chocolate tax' Its fat people that should be taxed, not chocolate. Why should those with self control be punished. 

  • A what point did we decide that government should decide what we weigh?
  • If sugar and salt are addictive then that makes my grandma the equivalent of Pablo Escabar for all the home-baked biscuits she used to peddle me.

The evils of food in context

  • Fatty foods are not as harmful as alcohol or smoking so should not be treated in the same way. i.e smoking is always harmful, but fatty foods only sometimes. 
  • Even junk food is healthy compared to most of diets throughout human history.

Why people eat junk food

  • Bad diet has increased with both parents working
  • Food has become abundant, and junk food is more available now.
  • Junk food is cheaper than fruit and vegetables (Chocolate bars are less perishable and can be made in controlled conditions etc)
  • People are wired to eat calories

Can you stop people eating junk food by taxing?

  • People are wired to eat calories, price(tax) increases don't always work as a deterrent
  • People respond to price(tax) increases by switching to cheaper (inferior ? )brands
  • People switch to other high calorie drinks such as juice
  • These are regressive taxes
  • No proof of effectiveness has been shown
  • Businesses might absorb the cost
  • Only a marginal or temporary effect may be shown
  • If the tax is too high people may turn to the black market
  • The danish introduced junk food taxes that were repealed.
  • Soft drink taxes disproportionately affect teenagers who are unlikely to be obese

Link for social health and Government control of food

It makes no sense to have "food freedom" whilst having socialised healthcare. Responsible people are funding the treatment of the irresponsible. We should either have an Americanised system of free food and private healthcare, or ban all processed food. Personally I'd like to see the NHS streamlined into not treating lifestyle-related illnesses like obesity, smoking, alcohol etc. Responsibility.

Perverse effects

  • Making food healthier, will increase the future pension costs.
  • Meat is the new tobacco.

Parenting and education

  • Junk parents = junk food children
  • If you're a parent then you're in control of your child, not the other way round. Spoiling a kid doesn't do anyone any good.

Advertising

Restricting advertising rarely works either, I doubt kids will forget about KFC because they no longer see it on the TV

What next, burgers must be sold in plain boxes or boxes with pictures of obese children on them as a deterrent?
Or maybe burgers should only be sold to the over 16s?
Or maybe they should be banned altogether and then we will end up with illicit burger bars and illegal burger dealers.

Junk food is cheap and banning advertising will not change that.

The solution

  • Whilst it is clearly sensible to avoid junk food this governments apparent obsession with coercing the population into particular lifestyle and behaviour choices is becoming overbearing. 
  • Banning advertising is the wrong approach, as with alcoholism treatment is the answer. 

The real problems

I don't mind when people are obese, it's when they are obtuse that you have a problem. Obtus-ity is just as big a problem as obesity. Obtuse people thinking we need a ban on everything 

Is the solution to ban packed lunches, so people have to buy school meals

  • Some parents on low incomes or multiple kids cannot afford this
  • If kids don't like the lunches, they may not eat at all and give a worse outcome
  • Two big meals a day could cause more obesity
  • Parent may assume the kids are eating healthy at school and drop standards at home
  • What abut consumer choice? Or do parents not have any rights over their child's diet?
  • Schools may not cater to specific health needs or preferences.
  • It is possible a packed lunch could be healthier than a school cooked lunch
  • What kids eat is not the responsibility of the school.
  • If they want real uptake of school lunches, make them cheaper an better. Rather than mandate it.
  • Is this the best use of taxpayer money
  • If some parents are not doing a good job with packed lunches, that should not influence the good ones who will be punished for the actions of the bad ones.
  • What other responsibilities should the government take off parents?
  • Why not just ban the bad elements in a lunchbox? Rather than the whole lunch.
  • Why not educate parents instead
  • A GP doesn't have the right to remove food from children, so why do schools?
  • Packed lunches might not meet the states standards, but school lunches might not meet parent standards
  • Parents may put rewards in packed lunches for kids doing something good or achievements. So bad food may be overall a good thing.
  • If parents cannot be trusted on lunches, then why trust them on dinners, all kids should report for dinners too.
  • Will kids pop out to local shops to get their fix of unhealthy food?
  • What if the school serves Halal and the parent objects to Halal
  • Parents don't know whats in school meals and how its made
  • Some politicians look like they could improve their diet, but feel they can advise others
  • What we are really teaching is our kids not to have input tho their lunches and that parents are not capable.

Junk food is good

  • Junk food is often convenience food. Convenience food while not the best saves hours of cooking and allows people more disposable time to do as they wish.
  • If you were to close down all the fast food outlets, athletes would not be very happy. Most of them love burgers and chips et., fast food keeps their calorie intake up, something athletes have to do! A nice problem to have! Some need 5000+ calories a day.

Alternatives

Better regulate the food, and better educate the population on its contents instead.
Can we ban junk governments? 

Reference

Sources

Link 2 Call for ban on junk food advertising  (also referenced in the advertising section)

Links

Link 119 Pressure for sugar tax (behind paywall)
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