Seconds to None

Does This Tax
Make Me Look Fat?

According to the World Hunger Organization, 925 million people went to bed starving last year, including 13 million American children.
But before you drop your fork and choke with this opening slice of grim reality, we assure you, this post is not about that.
You wouldn’t care to go around beating about the bush, anyway, and most people would rather have seconds from the today’s special: rampant obesity in developed societies.
For despite all those stats about hunger, and the medical risks and social stigma associated with overeating, our collective girth keeps on growing.
Again, why preach to the already stuffed? That business about inherent social inequities, and the staggering gap between the overly fed and the mortally famished will have to wait, for now.
In other words, let’s talk about fat. Oh, and by the way, feel free to jump in at anytime to give us kudos for our restrain: after all, we did manage to avoid mentioning the word for six entire paragraphs.
But nothing could’ve prepared us for Denmark’s latest foray into penalizing junk food eaters (while allowing its makers to take the cake): it’s just approved a charge on foods considered bad for you. It’s quickly becoming known as fat tax.
The idea is to tax foods containing high percentages of saturated fat, and the goal is to trim Danish waistlines: about 10 percent of them belong to obese adults.
That’s way less than the 33 percent of fat Americans, who seem to hold the sad record on the category. The powerful food industry lobby has, so far, prevented any increases in prices hikes based on possible health concerns.
You may be familiar with similar efforts to tax soda drinks, which is been discussed for years in the U.S. Here, the enemy du jour seems to be the tons of sugar added to drinks.
In fact, if you read the label of 99% of drinks produced in the U.S., you’d be sick to your stomach with the amount of high fructose corn, for example, they carry. But who reads these things?
The food lobby always finds ways to discredit claims that the industry lives off of its unhealthy products.
Theirs is a similar line of defense used by those accused of throwing greenhouse-gas into the atmosphere: before anything, shoot the messenger, by framing the discussion as un-American, anti-business rhetoric.
Since facts and scientific evidence aren’t allowed to get in the way of good ol’ profits, both sugar and saturated fats are not considered real threats to public health.
For the third time, no one is about to point fingers at the media. But one could; after all, it’d rather report dieting trends, however expensive or unrealistic they may be, than serious research on obesity and its bite on public policies.
Instead, why not deposit your excess fat in a bank? That’s exactly what a Florida plastic surgeon came up with, just by looking at vats of leftover tissue from liposuction surgery.
In his very practical point of view, Dr. Jeffrey Hartog thought it’d be great for his patients to store their extracted fat for future use, and the rest may as well be history.
In cosmetic surgery, to apply gobs of fat under sagging skin is as common as sucking it off the body: the difference is probably in the average age of patients seeking each procedure.
Dr. Hartog’s idea, which already has an anxious waiting list, is not without critics, who point to the fact that fat doesn’t hold well, even when frozen.
The good doctor is, of course, certain that fat transferring is safe and sound and is in the process of patenting the procedure.
Now, if you’re still hungry, grab a snack and add your support to any of the many organizations fighting for those children of middle America.

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