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Should We Tax Meat and Dairy Like We Do Cigarettes?

One of the most effective ways to decrease the harms of smoking is by increasing the cost of cigarettes through tobacco taxes. Indeed, an increase in the cost of cigarettes by only 10 percent could prevent millions of tobacco-related deaths. What about taxing unhealthy food? In general, public health decision makers have had three main options: inform through labeling, nudge with incentives, or directly intervene in markets using more heavy-handed approaches like instituting regulations or taxes.

“Policy approaches have proven crucial for other public health priorities, such as reducing tobacco use, alcohol abuse, and deaths from motor vehicle crashes.” In fact, installing air bags, for example, helped more than either “driver education alone or by labeling cars with information on crash risk.” Given that heart disease kills more than ten times more people than injuries on the road, maybe the “current epidemic of nutrition-related disease requires a similar multifaceted approach…[E]ven modest resulting dietary improvements could help reduce the burden of chronic disease significantly.” Perhaps a national system of subsidies for good foods, as well as taxes for bad ones, could “facilitate more sensible dietary choices.” Would they work? I discuss this in my video Would Taxing Unhealthy Foods Improve Public Health?.

A systematic review of the available evidence suggests such taxes and subsidies would in fact work. As I show in my video at 1:30, it seems the more unhealthy foods are taxed, the more consumption drops. Likewise, the more healthy foods like fruits and vegetables are subsidized and their prices drop, the more consumption increases. A small price difference between leaded and unleaded gasoline, for example, succeeded in decreasing our exposure to lead. What about a tax to decrease our exposure to saturated fat? As you can see from the data at 1:52 in my video, such a tax could potentially save thousands of lives.

Wouldn’t such a tax disproportionally affect the poor, though? Yes, it would benefit them the most—just like cigarette taxes. The classic tobacco industry argument is that cigarette taxes are “unfair” and “regressive,” burdening the poor the most. The public health community’s response? “Cancer is unfair” and “[c]ancer is regressive,” disproportionately burdening the poor such that a cigarette tax could result in the greatest health gains for the least well-off. The so-called Committee Against Unfair Taxes was actually just a front, “organised and funded by the tobacco industry,” one front group among many, as you can see at 2:42 in my video. This is a common tactic used by the industry to hide its role in fighting tobacco taxes, in addition to trying to overtly buy off politicians. The fact that the industry fights tooth and nail suggests that tobacco taxes can indeed affect consumption. Much of the data on food taxes and subsidies, however, have been based on models or “stated preferences” to hypothetical scenarios where people merely say they’d change consumption patterns based on prices. There hasn’t been as much real world data.

Researchers have put people through high-tech, 3D supermarket simulators, which you can see depicted at 3:15 in my video, and found that a 25 percent discount on fruits and vegetables appears to boost produce purchases by 25 percent. That’s nearly two pounds a week, but virtual fruits and veggies don’t do you any good. Does this work out in the real world? Yes. In fact, South Africa’s largest health insurance company started offering up to 25 percent cash back on healthy food purchases to hundreds of thousands of households—up to $500 USD a month. Why would the insurance company do that? Why give money away? Because it works. The healthy food cash-back program was associated with an increase in the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as a decrease in  foods high in added sugar, salt, and fat, including processed meats and fast food.

Subsidies are more common than taxes, though, in Europe, where a number of countries have instituted taxes on foods that are sugary or salty. Denmark was the first to introduce a tax on saturated fat, such as meat, dairy, and eggs, but it only took the food industry about a year to squash it, demonstrating that “public health advocates are weak in tackling the issues of corporate power.”

There’s “an enormous imbalance” between the influence exerted by public health professionals compared to the political might of the food industry. It brings to mind the fight over proposed “traffic light labelling” on food in the European Union. Apparently, it was much too easy to understand, simple and straightforward, so the industry lost its mind and spent more than $1.4 billion USD killing it in favor of the confusing “daily amount” labeling guidelines that require a “bring-your-calculator-to-the-grocery-store” approach to make grocery shopping as confusing as possible, as you can see at 4:51 in my video.

Denmark ended up canceling the fat tax and shelving their sugar tax because the farming and food company interests claimed too many jobs would be lost if people ate healthier. Apparently, a healthy economy was more important than a healthy population. Ironically, it was abolished just when evidence of its effects started to appear. Researchers “conclude[d] that the introduction of the saturated fat tax contributed to reducing the intake of saturated fat among Danish consumers” from some meat and dairy products—but not from sour cream, though. The public ate so much more low-fat sour cream that it outweighed the smaller reduction in consumption of high-fat sour cream.

Indeed, we always have to think about the unintended consequences. Swapping out sugary cookies for salty chips, for example, might not do the public’s health many favors. One field study of a tax on soda found that it may drop soft drink purchases, at least in the short term, but households may just end up buying more beer.


This idea is the flip side of sorts to my video Taxpayer Subsidies for Unhealthy Foods.

For more on how the food industry has borrowed from the tobacco industry playbook, see

What about those who insist that sodium really isn’t bad for you? Check out:

And those who insist that saturated fat really isn’t bad for you? See The Saturated Fat Studies: Buttering Up the Public and The Saturated Fat Studies: Set Up to Fail.

What about those who insist that sugar really isn’t bad for you? Watch Big Sugar Takes on the World Health Organization and Does Diet Soda Increase Stroke Risk as Much as Regular Soda?.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live presentations:

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


134 responses to “Should We Tax Meat and Dairy Like We Do Cigarettes?

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    1. Agree, end the USDA’s heavy and numerous subsidies of the meat and dairy industries, allow these cost of these products to rise, reflecting the true cost of production. In addition, tax the adverse environmental impact.

      FYI, to illustrate how crazy the USDA subsidy programs are for these industries:

      1) Per USDA, there is currently a record 2.5 billion pounds of surplus chicken, turkey, pork, and beef in cold storage. Producers are running out or warehouse space to store it.

      2) Per USDA, there is currently 1.4 billion pounds of surplus cheese in storage, that would be a block of cheese the size of the US Capitol building. Excess milk is converted into cheese, a more easily stored form of dairy.

      1. That is interesting Linda.

        I keep seeing an ad about a group distributing surplus food.

        Is it that type of food?

        I will have to look more closely next time the ad is on.

    2. When the government and people who think all their opinions should apply to all people and starts interfering with my health, it really makes me angry. I am type 2 diabetic and have tried the vegan diet only to have my protein sources of legumes, rice, etc. take my blood sugars sky high. People told me this would end. I tried it for two years with the same results. On top of that, I lost muscle mass, my dental health, my hair fell out, it caused Candida growth in my gut which led to GERD and to top it off people commented in offhanded ways on how old I was looking. Lastly, I was ALWAYS hungry. Always. For some people, the vegan diet does NOT work. I am keto now and enjoying weight loss-something that never happened on the vegan diet. My hair has grown back, my GERD is gone because the Candida overgrowth is gone, my skin is becoming more taut, and overall I feel great. I’m just praying my dental health will improve. I will say this about the vegan diet, it and Dr. Gregor made me more aware of the biochemistry of food and how it affects the body. I think we are in a time when we do not know enough to be making the claims and suggestions such as this. As Dr. Gregor has mentioned many times, whole foods in the body do not always act the way we think they might. Food combinations are important. People are unique. Sometimes our genetics do matter. As for my opinions, tax the processed and factory farms all you want but to take the things that are bringing my body back to life would be an abuse of science.

        1. Fung advocates low carb and keto.nutrition

          ‘This study prospectively examined the relationship between low carbohydrate diets, all-cause death, and deaths from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (including stroke), and cancer in a nationally representative sample of 24,825 participants of the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) during 1999 to 2010. Compared to participants with the highest carbohydrate consumption, those with the lowest intake had a 32% higher risk of all-cause death over an average 6.4-year follow-up. In addition, risks of death from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer were increased by 51%, 50%, and 35%, respectively.

          The results were confirmed in a meta-analysis of seven prospective cohort studies with 447,506 participants and an average follow-up 15.6 years, which found 15%, 13%, and 8% increased risks in total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality with low (compared to high) carbohydrate diets.

          Professor Banach said: “Low carbohydrate diets might be useful in the short term to lose weight, lower blood pressure, and improve blood glucose control, but our study suggests that in the long-term they are linked with an increased risk of death from any cause, and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer.”
          https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180828085922.htm

          Gotta wonder if Fung really knows what he is talking about

          1. And I wonder just what they mean by high and low carbohydrate. How many of those were diabetic? There are too many questions not answered here. That’s the problem with a lot of the “research.”

            1. ‘Data on diets from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES; 1999-2010) were analysed. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards were applied to determine the hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for mortality for each quartile of the LCD score, with the lowest quartile (Q1-with the highest carbohydrates intake) used as reference’
              https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/40/34/2870/5475490

              As far as I know, about 14% of the NHANES population has either diabetes or prediabetes.
              https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26348752-prevalence-of-and-trends-in-diabetes-among-adults-in-the-united-states-1988-2012/

              1. Thanks, Tom,I can just add this to the con side, next to my pro side research for the keto diet. We don’t know enough yet. I still wonder how they defined low carb/high carb. As a diabetic, I’ve found I cannot do high carb. Period. So what’s my other choice? Low carb. No matter how much I eat on the high carb, I’m hungry 3 hours later. What’s that doing for my insulin and diabetes? Frigging nothing. Dr. Fung was the first doctor in 19 years to explain insulin in detail to me. I won’t pretend to fully understand it, but this I do get: My fasting BG has never been below 100 and now ranges, depending on what I eat from 74-100. Postprandial BG usually runs between 74-84 when fasting and never over 125 but usually between 70 and 88 if I’m not. Those kind of numbers NEVER happened on the high carb diet. I am NEVER hungry on keto. I’m full of energy, have lost the foggy brain and GERD, my hair is growing back, I’m losing weight and hey, I can control how much I lose. When was THAT ever a thing in my life?!  Now, this doesn’t mean my time here on Gregor’s site was wasted. I still take in the information and data but it would be a shame to lose the value of this site because it becomes too totalitarian. I mean gee, people, you’re coming unglued with this title! I still pile on the veggies, watch the protein count and source, and I watch the fat count and fat type. I don’t do dairy or dirty keto unless I’m feeling really naughty but that ends fairly quickly because I don’t like the feeling. I continue to exercise, but what’s great is now I FEEL like exercising. ALL my sugar cravings are gone-NEVER happened on high carb. Heck, now I crave raw brocolli and I can drink green juice which once had to have some sweet fruit in it for me to want it. When these researchers start researching MY body with the diet I am feeding it, I’ll listen. Until then, I’m back with my keto doc, losing weight, losing my diabetes type 2, and we’ll do our own research doing the labs and testing for my unique personal health and numbers.

                1. Fair enough but I am conscious of the fact that multiple studies have shown higher mortality on low carb diets
                  https://www.drmirkin.com/nutrition/lowcarbohydrate-diets-can-harm.html

                  But I fully agree that avoiding all refined carbs is a good idea.

                  These days ‘keto’ is fairly widely used to mean low carb but In the original keto diet, about 80-90% of total calories came from fat. My impression is that very few keto diets spruiked on the internet today are actually keto diets in the original sense. So I am never quite sure what people are eating when they say that they are on keto diets. and what the actual proportion of total calories delivered by fat is..

                  There are ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’ versions of keto/low carb of course so it’s not an omnivore vs vegetarian thing, eg
                  https://www.onnit.com/academy/vegan-keto-diet/
                  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19506174-the-effect-of-a-plant-based-low-carbohydrate-eco-atkins-diet-on-body-weight-and-blood-lipid-concentrations-in-hyperlipidemic-subjects/

                  My reservations basically come down to the short term vs long term thing. The longest study of positive keto diet results I can recall was two years. Yet we know that with the standard American diet (SAD), it can take 40/50/60 years before the chronic disease chickens come home to roost. And the observed mortality rates of people eating lower carb diets don’t fill me with confidence about the long term health consequences.

                  As for hunger, I don’t have a problem there. My morning porridge sticks to the ribs for hours – ditto for my second meal high in brown rice or sweet potatoes or whatever. I’m not usually hungry enough for a third meal although I often snack on fruit and/or raw carrots.

                  Nor do I have diabetes or pre diabetes.. However, if you haven’t already done so, I’d encourage you to look at Dr G’s videos on diabetes eg https://nutritionfacts.org/video/flashback-friday-plant-based-diets-for-diabetes/
                  and follow up the references.

                  Keto diets for diabetes always make me think of giving heroin to heroin addicts. Yes, it wipes out the withdrawal symptoms but probably worsens the core problem. This is because T2D is arguably a consequence of lipotoxicity
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipotoxicity
                  https://nutritionfacts.org/video/diabetes-as-a-disease-of-fat-toxicity/
                  Keto diets may mask symptoms for a while but what are the long term consequences?

                  Weight loss will certainly help enormously and may even cure the root problem but keto is hardly the only way to lose weight and is probably one of the least healthy ways.

                  As that earlier Banach quote said

                  “Low carbohydrate diets might be useful in the short term to lose weight, lower blood pressure, and improve blood glucose control, but our study suggests that in the long-term they are linked with an increased risk of death from any cause, and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer.”
                  https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-08/esoc-lcd082318.php

                  I am also conscious that years ago in China, India and Africa etc when most people were living on starches and vegetables, T2D was either unknown or very rare. They certainly weren’t eating keto diets. It seems to be very widespread these days and a disease of affluence

                  Anyway, best of luck to you and the best of health

          2. Tom,

            Dr Fung is able to get people off of insulin and that seemed like healing Diabetes until the whole acetone being as bad as high sugar logic.

            People becoming even more insulin resistant doesn’t seem to be on his radar yet.

            People still getting the same disease effects even though their blood sugar is low is not something he has looked at or acknowledged.

            Not does he acknowledge the mortality rates.

            He is still an intelligent doctor but he hasn’t looked at the anti-hero logic.

            1. Thanks Deb.

              It just seems like symptom management to me, rather than treating the actual damage that the endocrine system has experienced. A bit like saying that cocaine cures cancer because the pain is controlled.

              Of course, they also assert that the body heals/cures itself of T2D after a sufficiently long period of time on a low carb diet. However, I have never seen any scientific evidence that this happens ………….. independent of weight loss that is, which has been shown to ‘cure’ T2D in a proportion of patients.
              https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)33102-1/fulltext?elsca1=tlpr

              Perhaps I am unreasonably cynical about low carb gurus like Fung though. However, if someone’s judgement is so way off in one area, I have very little confidence that they are getting it right in other areas.

        2. Vic watch Dr Greger’s video on whether Keto is good for Diabetes and his What Causes Insulin Resistance? Video.

          Keto doesn’t cure Diabetes even when people lower their blood sugar enough to go off medicines.

      1. I like the “nudge” approach.

        One of my favorite stories of this approach involves the men’s urinals, I think in an airport bathroom, which were very splattered and took a lot of time to clean! But someone realized that men like to aim at a target, so a little fly was stenciled on a particular point on the urinals — and voila!! Much less splattering, and much less time needed to clean them. Probably nicer to use, too.

        So what would be a good nudge to improve eating habits? I wish I knew.

        I’ve read at least one above: free seconds of fruit. What else might work?

        1. “But someone realized that men like to aim at a target, so a little fly was stenciled on a particular point on the urinals — and voila!! ”
          – – – – –

          Awwww, the poor little flies!

        2. Dr. J.,

          I like the nudge approach, too.

          More than a nudge, it is a reminder and a goal and a focus.

          The grocery stores give kids a free orange or banana to eat while shopping.

          Whenever I see it, I think that it is a brilliant concept for WFPB.

          The kids get the taste of something naturally sweet and it is something that reminds the parents that their kids might like fruit and it is something that might make them slightly less likely to ask for a candy bar at the check-out lines and self-check-out gets rid of those temptations anyway, so it is a win-win-win.

          Pre-schools and Kindergarten snacks would be another goal area. They do things like animal crackers and cheerios and Twizzlers and things like that, but fruit and veggies are colorful and can be used in creative ways.

          No matter what, they could use a campaign.

          I had someone give me an orange when I was care-taking during flu season. Something like 20 people have died of the flu so far this flu season, so handing an orange is a good one.

          1. Dr. J.,

            It will be places within the communities that accomplish it.

            Churches making meals for people who get out of the hospital would be one of the places that I think of first because every single church has a hospitality and caring ministry and people do make meals every time someone comes out of the hospital or when people get a cancer diagnosis or when people die and often for soup kitchens or they invite the poor people or the town members in for a dinner or a pancake breakfast type of gathering. Plus, most churches have home groups where 8 to 10 people meet at someone’s house and they eat a meal and do something like study the Bible or pray.

            Senior Centers do the same type of process.

            Near me, the firemen have a few meals per year and a carnival.

            So do the policemen.

            Plus, there are various gatherings for things like walking for cancer or other diseases and people are there all day, and people put up tents and talk about whatever they care about. It would be easy for nutrition to be one of the things, but it is easier to know how to do it if you are linked to a community group.

            Continuing education would be another. That was the only WFPB thing I found and it wasn’t in my town or anywhere near me, but a woman went through T. Colin Campbell’s class and was charging $50 or something like that for 6 weeks of learning things like how to make vegan sauces.

            For me, in my little way, I do try to bring a WFPB dish to holidays and birthdays and I did cook meals every day when my brother got his cancer diagnosis, and I do send out videos and lend my conversation to WFPB (and to the plight of foster kids)

            For my 90-year-old relatives, it has been more about me getting them to eat certain foods to help them with their dementia.

            Sometimes, people aren’t open to the whole message, but they are open to eating more vegetables and fruit and the unintended consequence is that they eat fewer animal products. Particularly if you get them to taste some good lentil loaf.

            Honestly, places like Burger King and McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts having vegan faux meats already lends to the discussion, even if their products aren’t healthy. Those foods can break the emotional attachment to meat off.

            Faux cheese did that for me, even though I was actually accidentally eating lactose-free cheese sometimes. It wasn’t long before I was onto Nutritional Yeast. I don’t even really do nut cheeses very often.

            1. I am also going to say that the more you show up to community meetings, the more of a voice you have through relationships.

              You show up to help with the food when a hurricane knocks power out of half the town and suddenly you are in the conversation.

              My 90-year old relatives know the names of all of the grocery store people and know the names of everybody at the town hall and the firefighters and police officers and politicians. They know the librarians and the people who work in the pharmacy of the local drug stores. They spent a lifetime bonding with their community. The thing about bonding is that you get asked to walk in the walk for cancer and you get asked to show up when different groups are cleaning up the streets and walkways.

              From that point, it is easy to bring a WFPB dish and talk about it.

              Then, someone in the town hall suggests you teach a continuing education course on it.

                1. Just from me being here, I can think of maybe 100 people who have heard the message who had never heard any of it before and that was without me even trying.

                  Most of them didn’t jump straight over to WFPB, but even more than one of my Keto friends eat some WFPB meals and so do some of my SAD relatives.

                  Only a handful have changed their full diet, but a handful have changed their whole diet.

                  The rest have vegan meal nights once or twice a week or they have started eating purple grapes every day.

                  If they get a disease diagnosis, they might jump further in, but what has changed is that I haven’t heard even a single, “I hate vegan” in a very long time.

                  There is still a little bit of keto versus vegan tension, and Gundry versus Greger tension, but everybody is more aware of the power of vegetables and fruits, and it used to be that they only had a “milk is good for you” or “milk is bad for you” type of process, and now they have a slightly higher level of thought about it.

                  Some of them have started watching Dr. Greger videos.

                  1. The Senior Centers would be so ridiculously open to it.

                    They want things to do and are more than willing to talk to anyone who wants to run a group.

                    The concept that people could watch a video and then maybe make a simple dish for 6 or 12 weeks could be done by anyone at all.

        1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment Carol. I too have recovered my health after a lifetime of eating vegetarian and finally a decade of eating vegan by adding in meat and animal fats. I ate a supposedly very healthy vegan diet, all organic whole food low fat, following the advice of Dr Gregor, Dr McDougall and all the plant strong doctors. At the end of the decade of being vegan I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I’m not saying eating vegan gave me cancer, but there is no doubt that it allowed the cancer to progress. And the cancer kept progressing over the next several years. Then I started working with the doctors at Paleomedicina and basing my diet on grass fed pasture raised animal meat and fat, and my cancer stopped progressing, verified by CT scans.

          The evidence that meat causes cancer is very weak epidemiological evidence from people eating meat in the context of a standard western diet including junk food. And even so, it only shows a small increase in cancer rates among the people eating the most meat, I think it’s 17% higher than the lowest meat eating people. This is too weak to conclude causation from an observational study. You need to have at least double to start thinking causation. This small increase in risk probably comes from the unhealthy user bias and all the other unhealthy things they do, not the meat. Cigarette smokers have many many times the lung cancer rates that non-smokers do, and this is the strong evidence you need from observational studies to start concluding causation might be at work.

          My advice is to base your diet on whole unprocessed foods and let each person choose whether to include animal products in their diet or not. I do not support your suggestion to tax the foods that are allowing me to have a longer life, nor do I appreciate you comparing these foods that have proved to be so healthy for me to cigarettes.

          1. It may be worth rereading Greger’s blog. He didn’t advocate introducing these taxes, he merely asked the question. In fact, he finished by saying ‘Indeed, we always have to think about the unintended consequences. Swapping out sugary cookies for salty chips, for example, might not do the public’s health many favors. One field study of a tax on soda found that it may drop soft drink purchases, at least in the short term, but households may just end up buying more beer.’

            Causation is a tricky thing especially when multiple things can and do cause cancer from viruses to air pollution. It’s more about increasing risk to my mind. There can be big risks and little risks. You wrote … ‘it only shows a small increase in cancer rates among the people eating the most meat, I think it’s 17% higher than the lowest meat eating people.’

            Fair enough, but if you play Russian Roulette with a standard six-shot revolver, you only have a 17% risk too (of blowing your brains out) ….. one chance in six is 16.7%. I’ve always thought that Russian Roulette was too risky for me. I have the same thought about eating meat (although small amounts once or twice a week might be safe enough).

            You’ve obviously thought about this but the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer reviewed all the evidence and it concluded that red meat is probably carcinogenic
            https://monographs.iarc.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/mono114.pdf

            The independent World Cancer Research Fund also assessed the evidence and assessed that red meat probably increases the risk for colorectal cancers
            https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/colorectal-cancer

            And the American Cancer Society recommends limiting red meat consumption
            https://www.cancer.org/healthy/eat-healthy-get-active/acs-guidelines-nutrition-physical-activity-cancer-prevention/summary.html

            As for organic grass fed beef, in countries like Uruguay where all the beef is grass fed, no added hormones etc, cancer risk still goes up as consumption increases
            http://journal.waocp.org/?sid=Entrez:PubMed&id=pmid:19640186&key=2009.10.3.429

            Also, as our saturated fat and cholesterol sceptic friends, and keto/low carb/paleo advocates are fond of saying, association is not proof of causation. So it’s certainly possible to dismiss observational studies on these grounds …. although it’s less easy to dismiss the known cancer causing mechanisms of action in meat. However, this same principle also applies to your personal experience ……… and I am not aware of any cancer fighting mechanisms in meat.

            Anyway, whatever your choices, I wish you every success on your journey to good health.

    3. I don’t agree in these taxes. I still think we should be responsible for our selves. The last thing we need is the government getting involved in another thing in our lives. My daughter, myself, and my mother all follow a plant based diet. We don’t do it because we are animal activists. I love animals but I do it for the health benefits and I feel great. My daughter has followed my example and now my mother has also, but if someone refuses then that’s on them.

      1. Well, not supporting these taxes is one thing, but what about supporting these businesses via the government subsidies? Is that okay?

  1. Giving government subsidies to vegetable and fruit growers while taking them away from grain and meat growers would help even more.

    Bureau of Land Management virtually gives away public land for the raising of meat which kills millions every year.

    1. Navy, stopping giving away public land for the raising of meat and helping the farmers transition to raising and selling organic, healthy foods gets my vote.

      I feel like having the price of organic fruits and vegetables come down in price might help them the most, but many of the poor people don’t have cars and still don’t have good access to grocery stores or farmer’s markets and their kids are being fed 2 meals per day at school much of the year.

      Just from me going around shopping with poor friends, it is having foods be inexpensive that attracts them the most whether it is boxed Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, which was 25 cents back when I used to buy it. Ramen noodles were another favorite for the same reason.

      Having schools become educated in ways to make those meals plant-based so that kids could get exposed to healthy food might help.

  2. Why not start by reducing/eliminating subsidies for meat and dairy products. These “subsidies” take many forms and keep the market cost of these products low relative to their societal/environmental costs.

    1. Exactly! This is what I was thinking. Stop giving subsidies to meat and dairy, then prices would be so high people would cut back to save money! I doubt if this will ever happen though. Sad to say. The politicians receive so much money from big agricultural that they will not want to ‘bite the hand that feeds them”.

    2. Another huge step-forward would be ending the US checkoff programs – these seem to fund extensive milk/egg/beef marketing and advertising campaigns. They also generate large amounts of money which is used to pay for carefully designed research studies that paint these foods as healthy or at least harmless.

      They are perhaps the main drivers of the nutritional disinformation we see in the media today.

  3. Arguably, it is in the public interest that meat/dairy consumption be curbed either volitionally or by way of cultural initiatives; taxation would be a mechanism among them. A highly unpopular one, among the respective industries, certainly.

    How would this mechanism work?

    At the production level, one could levy taxes on feed-grain for CAFO’s; at the distribution level, one could levy taxes on the swine/cattle/poultry trucking industry in the form of higher or restructured licensing fees for theses carriers. At the consumer level, a surcharge could be levied on consumables.

    In my mind the pain must be applied in the sector where it can be most effectively applied with the result being the change desired – more vegetable/fruit/grain consumption. If feed grain growers were to face higher production costs, they may be more inclined to grow a more diverse variety of crops. wouldn’t put them out of business, but would create more market crop diversity.

    Thinking along those lines, a tax at some level could effect the desired changes toward a healthier population, while maintaining and even enhancing agricultural economies. I think it’s an important discussion to have; and the American people deserve to live healthy productive lives.

    1. When I was watching PlantPure nation, what I saw was that the farmers were willing to diversify and sell anything they could sell.

      They were willing to switch if they could be guaranteed to sell their products.

      Helping the small farmers switch and helping them have the right distribution of products would be a positive way of bringing change.

  4. The taxes should be forced on the manufacturers who make the unhealthy – call is a ‘collateral health damage tax”. AND the public should be taxed for buying the crap. Those receiving food stamps should only be able to use them to purchase foods that are fresh, organic, no corn syrup, sugar and very low fat and low/no sodium content foods. If they want to abuse their health they can pay for that themselves. The same should be done to force packaging changes that will help the environment, taxes charged for hard to recycle or recyclable packages – all taxes from this should ONLY go to building recycling centers and collection sites. Jobs that support healthy eating, lifestyles and focus on “Cause treatment medical care” versus “Symptom’ medical care should be developed. The FDA is worthless to protect the consumer , money trumps (sorry for sick pun) safety, special interest groups ‘guide’ our policies – re-occuring revenue streams for Big Pharma and .orgs whose mission is stated “to find a cure’ when the cure is in front of our eyes…we just do not have the financial will (think stock market and how it feeds our retirement from company profits). We look toward a quick fix, with no pain…soooooooooooooooo here we are, fat, dying, diseased and getting poorer as healthcare corporations rake in profits…eg. – UnitedHealth Group’s third quarter 2019 revenues grew $3.8 billion or 6.7 percent year-over-year to $60.4 billion, led by double-digit percentage revenue growth for Optum. Year-to-date revenues grew 8 percent or $13.4 billion to $181.3 billion year-over-year.Oct 15, 2019, that says it all.

  5. New Egg study

    Association of egg intake with blood lipids, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in 177,000 people in 50 countries | The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition | Oxford Academic:

    https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqz348/5713417?redirectedFrom=fulltext

    Conclusions
    In 3 large international prospective studies including ∼177,000 individuals, 12,701 deaths, and 13,658 CVD events from 50 countries in 6 continents, we did not find significant associations between egg intake and blood lipids, mortality, or major CVD events

    1. Yes Greg. This is more stuff from the saturated fat, sodium and dairy promoting team at McMaster University.

      Especally Salim Yusuf and Andrew Mente. The guys behind the PURE study, who use confounded observational studies to argue that clinical evidence, and scientific knowledge about the effects of dietary saturated fat and sodium consumption, should be ignored and worldwide dietary guidelines on saturated fat, full fat dairy and sodium .should be ‘relaxed’.

      It looks as though they are trying to do the same thing with egg consumption. This makes sense. The sort of high animal fat diet promoted by such people has to try to exonerate cholesterol (which is found in significant amounts in eggs) because that too is high in such diets (as is sodium for that matter).

      As noted back in 1992

      ‘When modest amounts of cholesterol are added to the daily diet, the major predictor of change in serum cholesterol is baseline dietary cholesterol. Thus, when one or two eggs are added to a diet that is typical for the average American (containing 400 mg/d), little change would be expected……..
      Suinmariy
      Serum cholesterol concentration is clearly increased by added dietary cholesterol but the magnitude of predicted change is modulated by baseline dietary cholesterol. The greatest response is expected when baseline dietary cholesterol is near zero, while little, if any, measurable change would be expected once baseline dietary cholesterol was > 400-500 mg/d. People desiring maximal reduction of serum cholesterol by dietary means may have to reduce their dietary cholesterol to minimal levels (< 100-150 mg/d) to observe modest serum cholesterol reductions while persons eating a diet relatively rich in cholesterol would be expected to experience little change in serum cholesterol after adding even large amounts of cholesterol to their diet.'

      https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/55/6/1060/4715430?redirectedFrom=fulltext

      The full study is now behind a paywall – it was freely available at one time until OUP bought the AJCN rights – but a copy can still be found here
      https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f23d/787252a77369c3c588f0cd0a3fa658d80b21.pdf

      It is worth reading as it provides the information that allows the egg industry to know which studies to fund. It also allows researchers to carefully design studies that will show no effect from egg/cholesterol consumption on Americans' serum cholesterol levels, and are thus likely to attract industry funding.

      This is good to know when we see people and studies saying that dietary cholesterol/eggs have no effect on people's cholesterol levels. This is perfectly true (when people are already eating unhealthy amounts of dietary cholesterol) but very misleading.

      1. Another issue with such observational studies is the substitution question.

        In other words what did people eating eggs, eat less of? And what did people not eating eggs, eat in their place?

        If it was sausages, bacon, sugary breakfast cereals, full fat dairy, white bread toast and jam etc, it is hardly surprising that no harmful effect was seen from egg consumption.

        However for people with an otherwise healthy WFPB diet who normally consume very little dietary cholesterol, adding eggs with their high cholesterol content may cause significant changes in cholesterol levels

        ‘Eight Tarahumara Indian men participated in a metabolic study to measure the responsiveness of their plasma cholesterol levels to dietary cholesterol. They were fed isocaloric cholesterol-free and high cholesterol diets containing 20% fat, 15% protein, and 65% carbohydrate calories. On admission to the study, the Tarahumaras had a low mean plasma cholesterol concentration (120 mg/dl), reflecting their habitual low cholesterol diet. After 3 wk of a cholesterol-free diet their cholesterol levels were 113 mg/dl. The men were then fed a high cholesterol diet (1000 mg/day) which increased the mean total plasma cholesterol to 147 mg/dl (p less than 0.01) and also increased the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration. ‘

        https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7200320-dietary-cholesterol-and-the-plasma-lipids-and-lipoproteins-in-the-tarahumara-indians-a-people-habituated-to-a-low-cholesterol-diet-after-weaning/

        Of course if Greg is simply saying that eggs are no worse than sausage, red meat, full fat dairy and refined carbs, then I wouldn’t disagree. That’s what the evidence appears to show. It’s not saying much though, is it?

        1. As I’ve stated before, not all studies and researchers agree. Take a look at this article.

          https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2759201

          I’ve heard a new dairy study will be released in a few months from University Of Texas – Houston and UT Southwestern that looks at dairy’s effect on heart disease and cancer. I’ve heard (not verified) that it will contradict some of the info I have read from this site. I’ll be interested to see what conclusions they make.

          1. Yes Greg the point is though that all the papers trying to use largely epidemiological studies to exonerate eg meat seem to be authored by people with financial ties to industry As far as I know, people like Willett and Hu don’t have financial ties to the broccoli and cabbage industries.

            Some researchers universities like McMaster and those in Texas have long standing links with the dairy and meat industries and can be more or less relied upon to produce studies favourable to those industries.

            There is no real equivalency between these groups. No credible health authority in the world advocates eating large amounts of meat, fat, sodium or dairy or says that they are harmless. In fact they all seem to say we should be eating more whole grains, vegetable and fruits. The people who say otherwise all seem to have links, direct or indirect, to the industries concerned

      1. Thank you for sharing. I’ll take a look at the study shortly. I havent used coconut oil much but have read additional studies from below.

        *Assuncao ML, et al. “Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity.Trusted Source” Lipids, 2009.

        Details – Forty women with abdominal obesity were randomized to take 10 ml of soybean oil or coconut oil at each meal, three times per day for 12 weeks. This amounted to 30 ml (2 tablespoons) of coconut oil per day.

        Results – Both groups lost about 2.2 lbs (1 kg). However, the coconut oil group had a 0.55-in (1.4-cm) decrease in waist circumference, whereas the soybean oil group had a slight increase. The coconut oil group also had an increase in HDL (the good) cholesterol and a 35% decrease in C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation. Additionally, the soybean oil group had an increase in LDL (the bad) cholesterol, a decrease in HDL cholesterol and a 14% decrease in CRP.

        *Muller H, et al. “A diet rich in coconut oil reduces diurnal postprandial variations in circulating tissue plasminogen activator antigen and fasting lipoprotein (a) compared with a diet rich in unsaturated fat in women.Trusted Source” Journal of Nutrition, 2003.

        Details – Eleven women consumed three different diets: a high-fat, coconut oil based diet; a low-fat, coconut oil based diet; and a diet with mostly highly unsaturated fatty acids. They followed each diet for 20–22 days. Then they alternated with 1 week of a normal diet between the test periods.

        Results – Women who consumed the high-fat, coconut oil based diet had the largest reductions in markers of inflammation after meals, as well as fasting markers of heart disease risk, especially when compared to the HUFA group.

        *Law KS, et al. “The effects of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as supplementation on quality of life (QOL) among breast cancer patients.Trusted Source” Lipids Health Disease Journal, 2014.

        Details – Sixty women with advanced breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy participated in this study. They were randomized to receive either 20 ml of virgin coconut oil daily or no treatment.

        Results – Women in the coconut oil group had better scores for quality of life, fatigue, sleep, loss of appetite, sexual function and body image than those in the control group.

        *Liau KM, et al. “An open-label pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of virgin coconut oil in reducing visceral adiposity.Trusted Source” International Scholarly Research Notices Pharmacology, 2011.

        Details – Twenty overweight or obese people consumed 10 ml of virgin coconut oil three times per day before meals for four weeks, for a total of 30 ml (2 tablespoons) per day. They were instructed to follow their usual diets and exercise routines.

        Results – After four weeks, the men had lost an average of 1.0 in (2.61 cm) and women an average of 1.2 in (3.00 cm) from around the waist. Average weight loss was 0.5 lbs (0.23 kg) overall and 1.2 lbs (0.54 kg) in men.

        CONCLUSION: VCO is efficacious for WC reduction especially in males and it is safe for use in humans.

        *Papamandjaris AA, et al. “Endogenous fat oxidation during medium chain versus long chain triglyceride feeding in healthy women.Trusted Source” International Journal of Obesity

        Details – Twelve normal-weight women consumed a mixed diet supplemented with either butter and coconut oil (MCT diet) or beef tallow (LCT diet) for 6 days. For 8 days, long-chain fats were given to both groups in order to assess fat burning.

        Results – By day 14, the MCT group burned more body fat than the LCT group. Resting metabolic rate was significantly higher on day seven in the MCT group compared to the LCT group, but the difference was no longer significant by day 14.

        *A diet rich in coconut oil reduces diurnal postprandial variations in circulating tissue plasminogen activator antigen and fasting lipoprotein (a) compared with a diet rich in unsaturated fat in women.
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14608053/

        *Endogenous fat oxidation during medium chain versus long chain triglyceride feeding in healthy
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11033985/

        *An open-label pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of virgin coconut oil in reducing visceral adiposity –

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22164340/

        *Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity.
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437058/

        *Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and urinary catecholamines of humans consuming low-to-moderate amounts of medium-chain triglycerides: a dose-response study in a human respiratory chamber.
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8654328/

        *Effects of dietary medium-chain triglyceride on weight loss and insulin sensitivity in a group of moderately overweight free-living type 2 diabetic Chinese subjects.
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17570262/

        1. I use coconut oil as a skin moisturizer only. EVOO for drizzling on toasted Ezekiel bread, and a bit on raw salad greens if there’s no avocado in the house.

          I occasionally use a little Madhava Deliciously Organic Coconut Sugar — Pure & Unrefined — on morning gruel in lieu of either (real, not doctored) honey or molasses.

        2. Thanks Greg. Like YR, I have used coconut oil on my skin and hair but don’t use any kind of oil in food/cooking.

          I’m conscious though that an AHA scientific working group reviewed the evidence and reported

          ‘A recent survey reported that 72% of the American public rated coconut oil as a “healthy food” compared with 37% of nutritionists.94 This disconnect between lay and expert opinion can be attributed to the marketing of coconut oil in the popular press. The fatty acid profile of coconut oil is 82% saturated, about half lauric acid, and the rest myristic, palmitic, stearic, and short-chain fatty acids (Table). Lauric acid replacing carbohydrates increases LDL cholesterol but by about half as much as myristic and palmitic acids (Figure 5, right). Lauric acid increases HDL cholesterol about as much as myristic but more than palmitic acid. The net effect of increasing lauric acid and decreasing carbohydrates is a slight reduction in the ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol. However, as discussed earlier in this report, changes in HDL cholesterol caused by diet or drug treatments can no longer be directly linked to changes in CVD, and therefore, the LDL cholesterol–raising effect should be considered on its own. Furthermore, with respect to CVD, the informative comparison is between coconut oil and vegetable oils high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. A carefully controlled experiment compared the effects of coconut oil, butter, and safflower oil supplying polyunsaturated linoleic acid.95 Both butter and coconut oil raised LDL cholesterol compared with safflower oil, butter more than coconut oil, as predicted by the meta-regression analysis of individual dietary saturated fatty acids (Figure 5, right). Another carefully controlled experiment found that coconut oil significantly increased LDL cholesterol compared with olive oil.96 A recent systematic review found 7 controlled trials, including the 2 just mentioned, that compared coconut oil with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated oils.97 Coconut oil raised LDL cholesterol in all 7 of these trials, significantly in 6 of them. The authors also noted that the 7 trials did not find a difference in raising LDL cholesterol between coconut oil and other oils high in saturated fat such as butter, beef fat, or palm oil. Clinical trials that compared direct effects on CVD of coconut oil and other dietary oils have not been reported. However, because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil.’
          https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000510

          Coconut oil is of course 100% vegetarian but just because something is 100% vegetarian, it doesn’t mean that it must be healthy. Dr G has quite a few videos on coonut oil which are worth revisiting

          https://nutritionfacts.org/?s=coconut+oil+

  6. One cannot place meat/dairy side by side with tobacco or alcohol. First of all, meat and dairy have some nutritional value, are not addictive, does not inconvenience vegans (nobody is a second hand meat/dairy eater and nobody gets drunk or behaves irrationally after going ton a barbecue binge.

    Taxing meat/dairy, along with harassing meat eaters, does not help educate anybody and only arises ill-will towards a vegan diet and vegans. Lowering the price of vegetables and fruit is a good idea. Fruit, excepting banana, is expensive for the lower class. They just cannot afford berries, and nowadays not even oranges at 3 for $1 (that is the price in Miami, FL, the orange-growing state).

    Education, education, education! Introduce nutrition classes starting at kindergarten. Offer healthy food at schools.

    Having the government dictates what the population should eat is a slippery road. What else will come along? What about charging high income families a fee for their kids to study at public schools to improve the services? I honestly think it is preposterous that a family with a $150,000 income gets free tuition and books for their kids for 12 years at my expense. If we charged a percentage of the family’s gross income above $60,000, we would have the best public school system in the world. The government can also determine that if you carry certain hereditary genes, you should not have children that will burden the Medicaid and later on, Medicare. I can think of some other “solutions” to several problems.

    1. you are forgetting about the true victims in your claim-what about the countless BILLIONS of innocent, helpless sentient beings who are tortured, abused and violently murdered every single year-all in the name of a momentary taste sensation?

      in reality the consumption of flesh, dairy and eggs are FAR worse than tobacco as smokers for the most part are only harming themselves. also, don’t forget about the extremely negative environmental aspects inherent in all forms of animal agriculture. many of the communicable diseases afflicting humans are the direct result of raising non-human animals-including the recent Wuhan Coronavirus.

      1. A news report this week said “1.4 Billion Chicken Wings will be consumed this Super Bowl Sunday”; that’s 700 million chickens in one day. 700,000,000 sentient animals that lived the most horrible of lives imaginable. Unfortunately, this example is just a small part of the daily devastation humans are perpetrating on this planet.

        1. Joe Vegan,

          That reaches me deeply.

          700 million chickens in one day.

          I watched one of the documentaries which talked about how chickens are treated in these places and how Big Chiicken lies.

          Year’s ago, it was Tyson chicken involved with Hillary Clinton’s cattle future gate where they took the financial losses and she got the money and they got to pollute the environment.

          I think it was in the book Boy Clinton where they were smuggling drugs in the bodies of chickens and I think it was them turning 15 year olds into drug addict prostitutes.

          I know that some of them did go to jail, but I don’t think enough of them went to prison.

          1. Boy Clinton was a fascinating book back then. Some would say it was conspiracy theorist but a whole lot of the people’s names ended up murdered or in prison.

            The Tyson Foods one stuck with my family and even the chicken waters wouldn’t ever buy it again.

            1. If the book was right, some Big Food may well be organized crime dealing in sex, drugs and maybe even arms being traded for drugs.

              Hard to fight against groups like that except to not spend money on their products.

              1. I am not sure if the Clintons themselves were involved with any of the murders, but so many people got murdered after my family wondered aloud if they would be murdered that I guess I am a bit of an ”organized crime was involved” conspiracy theorists.

                I remember 3 specific cases where I read something and said allowed to my mother, ”I hope they don’t get murdered and on the radio suddenly the murders were announced.

                Not saying at all that it was them.

                Just wondering that I believed the drugs in the chickens story.

                1. And if it was true that they were getting government people to do drugs and have sex with underage girls and boys, there ain’t no way to get politicians to stand up to them so the fantasy tax ain’t gonna happen until a new generation of health oriented politicians get in and that might take decades.

        1. This absurd story has been doing the rounds for years. It never mentions the millions of kangaroos, wallabies and countless other native animals that were killed, displaced or starved to death because their feeding grounds were taken over by the tens of millions of (non-native) cattle, sheep, goats raised in Australia to produce meat, dairy etc. Or that hooved animals like cattle so change the soil that it affects the ability of native creature to access food.

          Nor does the story acknowledge that much cropland is used to produce animal feed. For example, more than half of all cereals, pulses and oil crops being used for animal feed. In particular, 87% of all UK barley supply and 93% of all soya bean supply goes to feeding animals.

          ‘Our analysis shows that 85% of the UK’s total land footprint is associated with meat and dairy production, but only 48% of total protein and 32% of total calories derive from livestock products.’
          https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959378017301176

      2. I remember hearing a sermon once in which the preacher was telling fathers to take their sons out and kill something because well, why does that matter? For crying out loud. Animals were put here for eating.

        1. I suppose if you are gullible enough to believe ancient creation myths, then you are gullible enough to believe almost anything.

    2. Carolina…Well said!!

      My example to everyone one here ready to TAX anything and everything, to push a given agenda would be the following:

      Would you be as enthusiastic, if you woke up tomorrow and found THE GOVERNMENT put a tax on gas, that raised the price/gal by 1000%…for your own good…of course?

      I expect all of you answered “YES”!!! Right?
      After all there are large groups out there that think taxing all gas car drivers into submission, is the ONLY way to stop the damage being done to the environment/atmosphere (global warming) and our health.
      As has been alluded to here …the best way to get people to change destructive practices, behaviors and choices is to TAX them till it hurts and they’ll eventually fall in line, right?

      Now if you balked at my example, AT ALL, then you understand that just because one group of people, thinks an idea is good and right, doesn’t make it so for EVERYONE.

      I agree with many here (modern meat and dairy do no one any good), but think most are barking up the wrong tree, when it comes to regulating harmful foods.
      If you look at Europe, their governments have BANNED GMOs and other things like glyphosate, from even entering their country.
      What has our government done…subsidize, lie to the public and set up corrupt systems that beg large food/Agro companies to feed the American public, chemicals, genetically modified foods, feces and toxic food additives…all for profit.
      The target of your anger/disgust should be the government vis a vis the FDA and USDA departments.

      Taxing would lead to a few of issues, before it ever yields good results:

      1. You’d piss people off and turn them against your cause. I refer you to the gas tax I proposed earlier. If you were told you’ll pay $2,500/gal for gas…for your own and the worlds good…I think you’d be a bit miffed and push back.
      2. You become a police state…by dictating what people can and cannot eat.
      What if there were a group that thought expressing any hint of descent, was damaging to society and led to conflict, stress, depression and death?
      They advocated that for every profanity, furrowed brow, disagreement, harsh tone in a voice or use of the word “no” you be taxed and repeat offenders be jailed? It’s all for the greater good of society, so why not???
      Read Orwell’s 1984 and Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Control is great, until it’s you who are being controlled…Slippery slope.
      3. You create an opening for a meat/dairy black market. This would be even worse for the health and well being of animals involved and then those who consume them/their byproducts.

      I think we need to gut our corrupt regulatory agencies, that oversee food and drugs, in order to change things. Taxes won’t do that.

      A quicker and better way, is to be the example.
      I am a vegan, made the switch 2 years ago for ethical reasons. Since then I’ve helped die hard meat, dairy and processed food eaters walk down the produce aisles instead of the the middle aisles, in the supermarket.
      I didn’t do it by preaching, demanding, ridiculing, guilt or taxing.
      In all cases, they came to me and asked questions…”how do you have so much energy…you never get sick, how do you do it…you look healthy what’s your secret???”.
      When that happened, I explained my perspective and they saw it wasn’t the fanatical, crazy, bleeding heart, tree huger stereo type, they thought. It made sense and is completely doable.

      I have also helped those with lower incomes understand how to shop and grow their own vegetables.

      Sure taxing things/behaviors you don’t like or agree with, out of existence, provides an easy (unwise) answer.
      However, you will get better results by being a great example of what you advocating. Then explaining your position and practice when asked about them.
      It may take more effort, but it works.

      1. “I expect all of you answered “YES”!!! Right?”
        – – – -\

        Hell no, not me! I’ve been taking public transportation for eons. “Leave the driving to us.”

        It’s great not to have to deal with the stress of road rage. Back when I did drive, I hated to have anybody in front of me or anybody in back of me. Some people just aren’t cut out to drive a car.

    3. using a basic formula such as $150,000 being considered wealthy is just plain wrong – depending on where you live in this country – Los Angeles for instance – $150,000 means that you are lower middle class – with the price of homes and amount of taxes paid in this state (one of the highest in the nation) a family of 4 is not living in luxury.

  7. Tax salt, yes! Salt taxes gave the world pane toscano, a most delicious bread.
    https://www.thegrandwinetour.com/popular-foods-of-italy/why-tuscan-bread-has-no-salt/
    That would be a life saver for millions. I also believe that food manufacture should be subject to a value added tax every step of the way. That would serve to make processed food more expensive than whole food.
    But this is all just a pipe dream. The US government isn’t even allowed to say that saturated fat is unhealthy, let alone animal products.

  8. Absolutely not. Taxation is not the answer. I choose a plant based lifestyle. Passing along higher prices for food to those who may be either uninformed or unable is not right, or fair. Food should not be a weapon. The meat and dairy industries will continue. Legislation is a better way to go. I’m my opinion.

  9. This sentence is one I understand.

    “Apparently, it was much too easy to understand, simple and straightforward, so the industry lost its mind and spent more than $1.4 billion USD killing it in favor of the confusing “daily amount” labeling guidelines that require a “bring-your-calculator-to-the-grocery-store” approach to make grocery shopping as confusing as possible, as you can see at 4:51 in my video.”

    Every topic in modern life is made as confusing as possible.

    I almost bought an xtrema ceramic but when I looked at the “How to use them” section, it was all about remembering to oil them.

    I know that this is a crazy-making system and I still wonder how many people are diagnosed with things like ADHD and Dementia because they can’t follow the bouncing logic.

  10. Taxes on anything can have unintended, unforeseen consequences. The campaign to increase consumption of whole food, plant based diets for public health improvement is a worthy cause. However, punishing people financially through forced taxation invites a ton of negative PR (labeling as health Nazi, nanny state crazies etc…) which in the long run creates unnecessary resistance to your goals.
    I’d prefer financial incentives like making produce free or very minimal cost to those receiving any type of public assistance. If deficit neutral, possible subsidizing produce for the general public as well.
    Without subsidies, producers/growers of whole plant foods cannot complete with those making billions on processed (and addictive) foods.

    1. Dave,

      I would say that you are right that taxing food would have such a negative PR campaign.

      What I already see in this movement is that WFPB is almost entirely positive and Vegan has such a fallout because of the politics.

      Ideally, to me, the people at the educational level need to come to understand the real benefits and the people who would stand to lose money need other options.

      Having schools know the risks and have the recipes to change their menus would be the number one thing. But produce is expensive and goes bad. That is where grains and beans come in.

      When I was reading Dr. Greger’s book on Bird Flu, he talked about the word, “influence” in “influenza” and, in many ways, it is still more about getting the message to the mothers and fathers and grandparents.

      1. I meant to add getting the message to the teachers.

        Honestly, people do not know the message.

        I had a woman text me today and she is so worried about her daughter who is talking suicidal and I already know that her daughter is at a hormonal age and is eating poorly.

        Her daughter went through a lot growing up, including sudden loss of her father and abuse and other things, but years of counseling hasn’t helped and neither have meds. Nutrition may actually help some. I told her mother that and they don’t eat vegetables and mostly it is because they don’t really have money for much food and they don’t choose vegetables or fruit because the meat is more filling.

        Hearing that it might help her daughter’s mood, she became more interested and might try it.

        It might take her hearing the message 9 or 10 times before she is open to it, and I say that because of studies I heard years ago. But if I try to shove it down her throat particularly the first few times she hears it, she will resist it even more.

        Right now, she wants to do it and may well fail to even start, but that is what might take 10 times.

        1. Well said Deb!!

          People always forget the saying…
          “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”

          People disregard that saying, until THEY are the horse.

          1. J.MH,

            Yes, and, maybe we all have been the horse for one topic or another.

            Sometimes it is finding out what is going through the horse’s mind that they don’t want to drink.

        2. Hi, Deb, I knew a certain teenager who was depressed and refused meds, once she tried one and didn’t like the way it made her feel–however that was. However, a teacher asked her to join a group that ran after school. Exercise improved her mood and she went on to run on the track team in high school. BTW, it helped that most of the group who ran were boys!!!

      2. As a personal trainer, clients most frequently cite “weight loss” as they # 1 goal. 40 % percent have pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or type II diabetes. Most are educated folks who know healthy habits but are simply addicted to the standard American diet (meat, sugar, fat, salt). The medicines they take are often perceived as the fix, not dietary changes. Habits are tough to break even when faced with serious health consequences.

        On the positive side…as a former elementary principal I saw a marked change in eating habits of children when “unlimited seconds on fruit and veggies” was instituted in our cafeteria by the government (high poverty, Title I school). It’s amazing to see fruit/veggies being devoured at Valentine’s Day parties. Positive change is happening. Kids are the hope for the future and will generally eat what is put in front of them.
        Dave

        1. Tom,

          Yes, you are right.

          It would also attract so much political fallout with every Big Food group spending millions to come against the politician who opened his mouth in favor of it.

  11. No. They should mot be taxed. All subsidies should be ended. It gets old listening to every special interest group attempt to use the govt in an attempt ti impose their personal beliefs on others. Its not a matter of whose idea it is or what behavior or thought one group wants to impose on another. People should assume accountability for the personal choices they make. The govt should mot be used as a club for one group, however altruistic they might be to coerce others to follow their beliefs. I know- here is where many jump in and cite this or that to justify their enlightened POV. Religious groups quote God, and effete SJW cite their emotional beliefs . It doesn’t matter. Publish and disseminate information. Then it is the function of each individual – not the govt- to assume responsibility for their own decisions.

    1. ‘people should assume accountability for the personal choices they make.’

      Nice idea in principle but we don’t make drug users, smokers and drinkers pay extra for the health care. No accountability there

      Also, public health is a government responsibility. Arguing that government doesn’t have a role in these matters makes absolutely no sense to me.

      1. We have the same problem in Australia.

        All the agribusinesses and farmers say that government should get out of the agriculture/food supply/nutrition etc business

        But every time there is a drought, fire, flood, overseas import restrictions – they are all there demanding taxpayer subsidies and government handouts.

        Even in the US, the food industries seem quite happy with government subsidies and the higher taxes those subsidies demand. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

      2. And what about the people who decide to eat some animal and get bird flu or some other unknown virus? Why should the rest of us suffer due to the choices they made? We need government to step in where necessary.

  12. Okay, I made my decision for my steamer.

    I bought an All-Clad multicooker with pasta insert and steamer basket.

    Yes, I went Stainless Steel.

    I still have enough of a credit left on my credit card to pay for the first few payments of my steam-cleaner and to buy my UV lamp.

    So, yes, I will not be doing mental laps on those 2 issues.

    Why All-clad? Mostly, ceramic emphasizing oil, bamboo saying oil and they don’t last, clay saying you need to oil and clay not being safe, glass being too heavy for my future and my not wanting broken glass on the floor. Stainless steel being the best of a bad situation and the pasta insert being an awful lot like the set-up I have right now with my pot and steamer.

    Plus, the proper steamer insert will stack properly in my cabinets

    Plus, I have a really good coupon.

    Cleaning and cooking are finished categories.

    Next Christmas I might buy a robot vacuum. We shall see.

    1. Nope, I had to pause.

      I double-triple-checked and have to figure out which models of All-Clad are made in the USA versus China. They have both, just like everybody else.

      So many things to check. I still might get them, but there are other brands with the same set-up.

      Yes, you can’t trust brand names at all anymore. Model by model.

      1. I did find a few studies on stainless steel toxicity.

        If I am understanding properly, the ones polished to a shine don’t leach as much.

        https://www.bssa.org.uk/cms/File/Review%20on%20Toxicity%20of%20Stainless%20Steel%20Finnish%20Health%20Institute.pdf

        This woman quoted another study, but her link for it didn’t work anymore.

        https://www.debralynndadd.com/q-a/stainless-steel-leaching-into-food-and-beverages/

        What I found interesting was that the leaching was based on acid and alkaline ph, but none of the metals leached into distilled water.

        Well, I might have to buy a rain barrel for cooking.

        1. A lot of stainless steel is throw away now. People start seeing pitting after the first use.

          You can still get American made, but if my vendor is right, the government gets the good stuff and companies can’t just get enough good steel anymore.

          It comes down to, spending $450 or some crazy price on American made versus $50 to $150 on a possibly throw-away version with Chinese steel (which doesn’t have lead because lead would mess up the steel manufacturing is what they said, but if it pits the first use does that mean that something messed up the steel manufacturing?)

          Portugal has some steel and I think their pots are in the middle – quality and price.

          Do I hate the throw-away culture enough to buy expensive cookware?

          Or does this kick me back to the Aroma pure steel?

          If it is gonna be throw-away anyway, then why not have a rice cooker?

          1. Well, I went to America’s Test Kitchen and All-Clad’s made in the USA 4 quart saucepan wins every year.

            It is closer to $200 with coupon for that size and I am going to get one.

            I have understood all of their choices so far.

            I don’t think pans of that quality will be made forever.

            1. Okay, I found someone to explain the All-Clad models to me and I am going to look at which size of pan would be the most versatile for me and get one or two All-Clad.

              https://www.centurylife.org/is-all-clad-worth-it-is-it-still-made-in-america-why-does-it-cost-so-much-what-are-some-alternatives/

              Also, I am looking at a Viking multi-pot – no nickel, but it has titanium. It would be something I could cook sauce in.

              Either way, I am not getting whole sets. Just a few functional pieces and I am going to be finished with cookware.

              Trying to not have a million topics to do this with.

              Cleaning doesn’t switch. I know exactly what I want and how I want to use it and no other logic pops up. Cooking is almost finished.

              Crossing a few things permanently off my list for the sake of my own sanity is the goal.

              1. People are ordering American-Made All-Clad’s on Amazon and are receiving made in China versions.

                Uh oh.

                And Belgium started coating theirs with something patented which knocks their new ones off the list.

                I will find someplace other than Amazon, but I feel like it is almost too late already.

  13. Carbon tax? You missed that.

    Not only would you be accounting for health externality, but you can add the greenhouse gas externality.

  14. Ya know, I think it’s a grand idea, and I think that it has no chance of happening in the current environment of self-interest justifies everything. In the past, politicians, while still largely liars, at least had an ounce or two of integrity. Not now.

  15. I have to agree with J. MH and Carolina, and others who have pointed out that the taxation of things that certain groups don’t like, is a slippery slope that history has proven doesn’t work out too well.

    The framers of the US Constitution purposely intended for the federal government to minimize it’s influence on the free market: “Any law not specifically stated in the Constitution should be left to the States or to “the people”.” So that would also imply, on the other hand, that government subsidies are also a bad idea!

    In the age we’re now living in, everyone would do well to read the books mentioned by J.MH:

    “1984” by George Orwell – https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/n/1984/1984-at-a-glance

    The works of Ayn Rand – https://aynrand.org/

    And I might add a third, “The Road to Serfdom” by Friedrich Hayek: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road_to_Serfdom

    It’s interesting that all of these works warning about the dangers of a totalitarian government, were written during and right after WWII when many intellectuals in the world thought that German Socialism and Soviet Communism were superb methods of government!

      1. YR, Yep, they’re always railing about taxing the “rich”, but the rich always seem to find loop-holes, so the middle income citizens always end up with the real burden of taxes :-(

    1. You should try living in countries where rampant crony capitalism still rules the roost.

      And it’s not as though the only alternatives to communism and national socialism are libertarianism and anarchism

      1. Tom,

        I am aware of that and I agree with you.

        When it comes to the USA relationship with the concept of an already greedy, over-spending government wanting tax money as a way to spend money on its own agendas and also as a way to control its citizens, things become complicated.

        Plus, even if it works with smoking, there is a likelihood that more people would just stop ever eating vegetables and fruit because they need more money for meat and dairy and other people might starve their foster kids (not meaning it to be a cliche, but foster kids have statistically very negative outcomes, even if they have sweet heart-warming tv commercials)

        1. It also might cause a black market for meat.

          People might start taking dogs from shelters and eating them or something like that.

          Road kill is already acceptable according to California.

          People have even eaten people.

          North Korea ended up with a problem with that.

          Yes, that is an extreme, but people already are doing it and it has nothing to do with the cost of meat, but mentally, people are watching so much “entertainment” with that as a theme.

          My 90 year old uncle talked about it and I already knew it. He said, “People are killing people and doing crazy things.” is what he learned from not driving as much and spending more time in front of the television.

          My answer was PBS only has that come up in things like the Donner Party and plane crashes.

          1. Or it might be that more people start hunting and fishing.

            Or stealing meat and ending up with incarcerations.

            I do know people who were arrested for stealing food for their young children.

            The police officer who arrested him teared up about it.

            1. Plus, what I do know about taxes is that once they are used, the government spends every penny, plus some, and it might start off being on meats and dairy, but they would really, really, really like to tax all of it and we are often like a frog in a pot.

              My State allowed gambling to fund the government and they talked about how much money it would bring in and it did bring in, but they ended up ridiculously in debt from spending millions more than the gambling brought in every year.

                1. Then, it causes more political splintering the “take care of the poor” versus the “We are taking care of the poor by withholding meat” factions.

                  And we suddenly have young people who look like Oliver saying, “Please sir, may I have some more?” gruel-looking oatmeal.

                  It is hard to make grains look good with those images.

        2. Many European countries are high tax, high government spending countries but they have excellent universal health care systems, longer life expectancy than the US and good social security systems. And no lack of free speech and human rights. Yes they restrict firearms but then they have a murder rate that is one quarter or one fifth that of the US. The US also has the highest incarceration rate in the world – much higher than China, Russia or Cuba for example. It’s far from clear that too much government ‘interference’ is the problem in the US.

          The argument about freedom is perhaps designed to be misleading. As the Soviets used to say, yes there is more freedom in the US – the freedom to be homeless, the freedom to be unemployed and the freedom to be unable to afford medical care. Lack of government regulation of health care, drug prices, nutrition and a raft of other things suits a whole lot of vested interests, industries and individuals but it doesn’t always benefit ordinary Americans.

          Calling societies with more citizen protections like health and income protection nets ‘socialist’ or ‘communist’ seems more like a way of shutting down debates which are likely to expose just how ruthlessly pharmaceutical companies, agribusiness, food companies, hospitals and the like ruthlessly exploit Americans for private profit. The choice isn’t between libertarianism and communism even though this is how some groups want people to view it.

  16. Here’s a suggestion/request for Dr. Geiger: Very recently there has been exciting news about a T-Cell that was discovered by Cardiff Univ. This T-Cell can detect a cancer cell from the surface of the cell. It does so apparently via the high metabolism of the cancer. It has the potential to be a universal cure of all cancer types and could result in therapies, IE pharmaceuticals…

    I assume that the T-Cell is naturally occurring in the human body, and if so how could nutrition create more of them?

  17. In aa country where all citizens share health care costs, taxing unhealthy foods and/or subsidizing healthy ones makes sense, but implementation would be political suicide.

  18. At the heart of every for-profit business is the idea of increasing revenue and reducing costs. One of the most expensive costs in business is the cost of health insurance. I believe it might be very valuable to have Dr. Greger meet with the senior corporate officers and discuss the impact of a vegan diet. As the leaders of industry they are in a position to influence and control their employees and agents. Most CEO’s and CFO’s are open to the idea of making more money and cutting costs. Dr. Greger could put together a statistical analysis with financial information about how they could save money it might have a dramatic impact on their company and the health of their employees. (eg. Most employers no longer permit smoking at work except in very limited designated areas.)

      1. My thinking too much might cause a few headaches in other people.

        What I realized today is that I have found my soul mate in the internet millions of people asking strange questions and no matter how many questions I ask, someone has thought about it.

        Today, I looked up whether you can reboil distilled water and the answer is, yes.

        Reboiling water with minerals in them concentrate the minerals. Reboiling distilled water only concentrates whatever leaches from the pan or whatever comes off the food you steamed, etc.

        Ten minutes of boiling is going to kill the bacteria and a UV light or putting it in the sun would kill the bacteria, too.

        Steel pots don’t leach metals into distilled water.

        Would I have the audacity to get a bright shiny polished pot which already doesn’t leach as many minerals and fill it up with distilled water and then just keep re-using it?

        I mainly thought about it because of the steam cleaner where they said that it is okay to leave tap water in for a day or two, but probably not for a month or two because of the minerals.

        And because of the study where pots didn’t leach metals into distilled water.

        I have learned how to make distilled water, but immediately had the thought that I am not going to want to make it every single day and it would be too expensive to buy it for cooking and cleaning every day.

        Hmmmm.

        I will keep thinking about it, but I recognized today that I have had the wrong attitude about the complicated culture.

        A complicated culture is okay because we can keep searching for solutions and other searchers are out there.

        1. I think if I could make distilled water use it in my steamer and empty the steamer into a glass bottle and put it outside to disinfect in the sunlight or put it near a UV light.

          Pretty sure that I could maybe have one glass container labeled cleaning and one labeled food steaming and maybe run that through a milk bag.

          Feels like the cleaning one for sure is the way to go.

          The food steaming one would take me talking to some of the male friends I went to college with to have them say, “Go for it.” and we all know that we go to the person who is likely to give us the type of answer we want.

          And I have come to want the right answers, so I won’t go to them.

          1. I went tonight and lifted up the various pots and bamboo steamers.

            When I am very elderly, it will probably be bamboo steamers.

            I genuinely am going to flip a coin at the end.

            The size All-Clad I would want is light in the Chinese steel and heavy in the US steel.

            I am thinking that I am going to get the Chinese version which I can get for less than $100.

            And it won’t last, but I won’t drop a big pot of water on my toe.

            Okay, this is when I stop processing pans because no matter what there is no really good logic.

            I am thinking of getting a small American made pan and the All-Clad 6, 7 or 8 quart muticooker.

            It really is so hard for me to do the math of life.

            Thank God for Dr Greger doing the food math.

        2. I think that if you use steam cleaners but do not let them boil dry and instead empty the remaining water after every use, you do not need to use distilled water. I never have – ditto for steam irons.

          It’s minerals in ordinary water that eventually fur up and block steam cleaners and irons. But not boiling dry and emptying the water and its concentrated minerals should solve some of that problem There’s also the occasional white vinegar and distilled water detox for steam cleaners

          https://www.livestrong.com/article/25417-clean-inside-steam-iron/

  19. I finally finished my cooking decisions.

    1All-Clad American steel skillet for doing Forks Over Knives skillet recipes.

    1 All-Clad Chinese multipot for boiling and steaming at the same time.

    No tomato products will ever go in those pans.

    I will mix the tomato paste/sauce in at the end of the process.

    And then refrigerate and have resistant starch and that is better anyway.

    Finished.

    1. Nope, well, I bought the American pan for my Forks Over Knives recipes.

      But I found out that even if All-Clad doesn’t make the multi-pot in America, I can get William Sonoma Thermo-Clad made in Italy or Tramontina Tri-ply pasta insert Made in Brazil and probably others that are still Tri-Ply.

      I have to go places and lift them up, but people don’t like the made in China as well so I have to go all over the place and lift everything up before I settle on a less well-made product.

      It was a review from someone who only made pasta and said that they couldn’t believe how poorly it cleans.

      E-cloth stainless steel cloth might work or Barkeeper’s friend, but my mind is such a pain-in-the-neck because I will not be happy if mine looks as poorly as the photograph I just saw.

      1. I did drive around and I am finished and I added in another 20% coupon off an All-clad pan for my oatmeal.

        For people who buy cookware, even within a brand there are deals you can get if you have a smaller household.

        The D3 10” fry pan is $100 cheaper than the D3 12” fry pan. D3 Pots have the save $100 by going up one size.

        Anyway, I am really finished with cleaning and cooking research. I also finished several other categories plus my whole house is finished for the rest of my life, except boiler maintenance.

        Hoping crossing off my whole list eventually helps me sleep.

      2. Deb, I think I am older than you and I am not afraid of lifting heavy pans. In fact, for awhile, my garage door wasn’t working and I was lifting it up before driving in and out. What a great workout for my muscles! (and good for old bones!)

        Just a thought….

  20. Everyone, I mean EVERYONE, should watch the PBS documentary on the “American Experience” series called, “The poison squad”. It is about a single chemist, Harvey Wiley, who courageously fought the food industry (early 20th Century), and changed (with the support of the Women’s Suffrage movement) what we now have in terms of regulations (which are still controlled by the food industry). Long program but the ending is worth the journey. I imagine that Dr. Greger is quite familiar with the work and efforts of Wiley.

  21. Howard,

    Agree with you that it’s all about getting the “rest of the story” and becoming an informed consumer. It’s too bad that consumer perception is driven by great deceptive advertisements, regardless of facts. Check out the Rotten series on Netflix as well.

    Having recently been working in the food industry it’s “interesting” watching the changes and direction of the FDA. Too bad it’s really all about the money and not the science.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

    1. I don’t have Netflix, so I hadn’t heard about Rotten. It sounds very interesting to me.

      Rotten is an American television show produced by Zero Point Zero. It focuses on problems in the process of supplying food.

  22. If you really want to change habits then provide healthy eating education in schools starting in 1st grade. Provide healthy meal choices in cafeterias and provide access to fruits and vegetables in food banks. Trying to change the habits of adults rich or poor who have been conditioned for years through taxes is a waste of time and money. Taxing cigarettes did not change habits, education and death statistics did!!

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