Monday, December 19, 2011

Saturated Fat and Heart Disease: The Folly of the Fat Tax

On October 5, 2011, The Week reported that Denmark was the first country to create a “fat tax,” which adds a tax to foods that are more than 2.3 percent saturated fat (by weight). Above this point, customers will be charged the equivalent of $1.29 per pound of saturated fat. Ironically, this tax isn’t designed to prevent obesity (Denmark is below-average when it comes to obesity), it attempts to increase average life expectancy for Danes by three years over a ten year period by reducing deaths from coronary heart disease (CHD) and cancer. 

I honestly believe that the Danish government has the best of intentions for its citizens with the passage of this law. Unfortunately, they are using the controversial Diet-Heart Hypothesis to guide their decision. This theory tries to argue that dietary saturated fat and cholesterol cause CHD. While this theory has been treated as fact for several decades, it is not very well supported.

This post has been moved to my Mayo's Mind blog. Please follow the link below to read the rest of this post.


  1. "It was observed that the Kitavans lived exclusively on root vegetables (yam, sweet potato, taro, tapioca), fruit (banana, papaya, pineapple, mango, guava, water melon, pumpkin), vegetables, fish, and coconuts. Western foods (e.g., edible fats, dairy products, sugar, cereals, and alcohol) contributed to less than 2 percent of their calorie intake. Also, because of their coconut consumption, saturated fat equaled almost 90 percent of their total daily fat intake (and their total fat intake was 21% of total calories)."

    Got to love that traditional Melanesian society only consumes <5% of their daily Calories from animal based foods (See table 1; They also keep their fat (21%) and protein (10%) low and their carbohydrate consumption high (69% of total Calories; see table 2). Smart people!

    This is a great example of when there is enough plant-based foods to meet caloric needs year-round (see latitudes between the tropics of cancer and capricorn) then there is little to no reason to consume animal-based foods. I am grateful for global commerce so that I am able to eat my high carb primarily fruit-based diet every single day, while living north of the tropic of cancer. :-)

  2. FYI: I noticed that you did not label this blog post as containing information on Kitavans, Bryan...

  3. Thanks again! I've updated my labels.

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