THE LONG-TERM ANSWER TO THE HEALTH CARE CRISIS

First, no health care system in the world can afford to care for a population where 80% of the people are overweight and 50% are obese. Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, all caused by or exacerbated by weight. Health care costs this country in 2014 was 3.8 trillion dollars, projected to go to four trillionin 2015.

The answer is not less tests or standardized costs. The answer is healthier people. The only way that can be accomplished is through a food tax. And here is why…

Since 1950 the amount of nutritional information available to the public has roughly doubled every seven years. During that same period (1950-2010), obesity rose by 500%. In that light, one might conclude that there is a direct correlation between knowledge of obesity and obesity itself! Apparently, the amount of information available hasn’t helped people understand or control anything.

The point is, people aren’t foolish. They know that a salad is better for them than a pizza; that grilled chicken is better than a smothered burrito; that tofu is better than a cheeseburger; that fresh fruits and vegetables are better than candy bars and French fries. People are swimming in information. We’ve become anesthetized by information overload. More information has not lead to enlightened behavior, less craving for food, or improved health.

There was far less obesity just a century ago. In the early 1900s only 1 in 150 people were obese. In the 1950’s less than 10% of the population was classified as such.

Statistics may tell us that we are, in fact, eating more, but they have never told us why we are doing so. Nor do they tell us why we ate roughly the same amount of calories for hundreds of years, but then in the last fifty years we suddenly began consuming 20% more calories than previously.

Some say our diets have changed, that we are consuming more fats. Yet, during the past fifty years, while obesity rates have skyrocketed, the consumption of saturated fats rose only 7%. And, according to The U.S. Department of Agriculture, total fats in our diet have fallen from 40% in 1990 to roughly 34% today.

Others say that it is the way we eat. The government is now sponsoring a revamping of the food pyramid. It is now called the Healthy Eating Pyramid. This is the third overhaul of the pyramid in the past thirty years. Yet, while the pyramid continues to be revised, obesity rates in the United States have continued to soar. This food pyramid, as the ones before it, has been touted as the answer to the obesity epidemic. Yet it will fail as did its predecessors, because it is flawed, not simply by its factuality, but by its lack of perspective.

The current obesity epidemic began in the 1950s:

• The completion of an interstate highway system that spawned suburbia, separating neighbors with lawns and garages and forty-foot wide streets.
• The evolution of inexpensive air travel, along with jobs spreading far beyond the city limits, that has influenced people’s decision and ability to move more frequently, making long-lasting relationship as fleeting as the next job offer or flight out of town.
• A changing economic climate that requires two working parents, leaving children to fend for themselves and succumb to the influences of the media, malls, and mass marketers.
• Technology that begat computers, faxes, e-mails, and video-conferencing, which have distanced workers and friends and have made face-to-face communication more rare.
• A rapid-paced culture, with twenty percent less free time than in the 1960’s, that has generated the need for fast food establishments and, along with them, an ever increasing proliferation of fats, processed foods, and sugar in our diet.
• A lack of participation in and appreciation for the role of exercise in our evolution.
• Separation from nature due to ever expanding cities.
• Television, which has stolen the motivation to pursue goals, engage in new pursuits, and, with forty-four percent of commercials advertising snack foods, entices viewers to eat incessantly.
• Fluoridation of the water supply (1957)

Up until 1950, people ate only enough to meet their caloric requirements. Individuals today eat for a very different reason: to gain a euphoric feeling through the chemicals released in the body by the foods we eat: Endorphins.

Many of the ways we used to gain satisfaction have been engineered out of society, or only available to those who make a conscious effort. So how do we overcome these changes and regain control of our diet and our lives

One of the most important attributes of endorphins is their capacity to promote a sense of well-being. In fact, some endorphins are known to be hundreds of times stronger than opiates like morphine and heroin!

Enkephalins (short-lived endorphins triggered by the consumption of fat and sugary foods) stimulate the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls appetite) to continue eating. This system of reward overrides the signals from the stomach and intestines that would normally tell the brain to shut down the eating process.

In 1993, an experiment was conducted to determine the power of endorphins. Scientists inserted electrodes into the brains of rats. The rats ran a maze, after which they could either pull a lever, which would through the electrodes, trigger the release of endorphins, or they
could pull a lever that provided nutritious food, or a lever that provided access to sex. The results were that the rats chose endorphins, neglecting food, which, in some cases, resulted in death. And each day we humans run our own maze, fueled predominately by food, rewarded by endorphins and the euphoric feelings they provide.
There are five behaviors that trigger endorphin release. These are:

1 – Eating
2 – Exercise
3 – Shared Compassion, Love, Camaraderie
4 – Adaptation To New Situations
5 – Interaction With Enriched Environments
First, there are five scientifically proven ways to stimulate endorphin release. Those have just been outlined and will be substantiated later in this book by independent research. Second, we know from archeological records that our ancestors engaged in these five activities every single day of their lives.

1) They constantly moved to new environments, following the herds of animals and good weather.
2) They had to learn new behaviors to form alliances with other tribes.
3) Their daily activities burned as many calories as they consumed.
4) They shared love, supported one-another, and worked together in feeding,
sheltering, and protecting one-another.
5) They ate modest amounts of endorphin-releasing foods

The problem for so many people today, is not simply food, or overeating. Rather, it is a lack of appreciation for, and participation in, activities that have been the impetus for human health, satisfaction, and advancement for millions of years.

As we evolved, we took with us our endorphin set point, but left behind the inter-connectedness, extended family, daily adventure, interaction with nature and enriched environments, and regular physical activity. We went from diversity and socialization to specialization and separation. Today, for those dependent solely upon food for this euphoric feeling, the need for endorphin release begins anew not only each day, but with each meal. After all, the lifespan of enkephalins (short-lived endorphins triggered by the foods we eat) is measured in only hours or minutes, depending on our food selection.

If one chooses to reach that set point solely through eating, all one needs to do is continually ingest large amounts of endorphin-releasing foods. We can vividly see the results of relying on food as our sole source of endorphins. We are a country where more three-quarters of us are overweight.

Some say that we are genetically programmed to take advantage of every opportunity to eat because did not know where or when our next meal would come. That is patently false. Paleolithic man spent an average of 3 hours a day hunting, making shelter, and eating. The rest of their time was spent interacting with each other or other tribes, traveling to new areas, etc. Had we been constantly starving, man would have spent all waking hours eating, like Panda bear on bamboo stalks.

In 1957, the government began fluoridating the water supply to aid in tooth decay and gum disease. But no one informed them that fluoridation affects the thyroid, slowing the metabolism. Now, for a person to lose weight is almost impossible. 95% of people who go on a diet wind up weighing more at the end of the program.

We would like to think that, given the proper information, people will make the correct decisions. That has been proven false in almost every aspect of consumerism. Buying houses too expensive, cars too big, the wrong foods, drugs (both illegal and legal), etc.

There is only one program that will influence people’s eating habits: money. A food tax.

The ability to self-regulate is beyond all but the few strongest-willed individuals. Our society has become totally focused on immediate gratification. To have an impact, policy must, of necessity, take hold from where people’s values and concerns are centered, not from where we hope they would have evolved to. In a materially dominated nation, costs rule the decision-making process and govern the attention of those who consume and produce.

The attempt to satiate the body and mind by the end result, rather than the
process, is doomed to fail. There isn’t enough food available, in quantity or quality to fill that impossible chasm. As long as individuals focus on personal gain at the expense of self and others, diseases of the corporeal and cerebral will advance. Yet the delusion goes on, and with it the demise of the physical and mental health of those in the industrialized nations.
Food Tax

By comparing any food or beverage to present accepted standards, ratings for all ingested products can be compiled. Following are the averages of the factors deemed essential in such analysis – calories, cholesterol, salt, sugar, fat (saturated and unsaturated), based on the United States Department of Agriculture’s food guidance system and supported by the Department of Health and Human Services. Note that these suggested guidelines are for the maintenance of minimum, not optimum, health.
The National Academy of Sciences recommends the consumption of 2,200
calories* for the average American. The following parameters apply:

1) Fat – 30% of total calories = 73 grams of fat per day
2) Saturated fat – 10% of total calories = 24 grams of saturated fat per day
3) Cholesterol ** – 300 mg. per day
4) Sugar – 48 grams of added sugar per day***
5) Salt – 2,400 mg. per day

*This figure can be modified for active individuals – pregnant women or children – without changing the percentages of any component.
**If a food does not have cholesterol or fat as a natural part of its make-up, that category is not counted.
***Only added sugars are considered, not those naturally occurring.
Examples Of High And Low Rated Foods From Each Category

Highest Lowest

Vegetables Spinach Cream of mushroom soup
41.40 cal. 24.96 cal.
.468 grms of fat 1.747 grms of fat
.076 grms sat fat .587 grms sat fat
126 mg of salt 204.6 mg of salt
0 grms of sgr 1.5 grms of sgr
0 mg of chol 2.266 mg of chol

78% of avg.; 22% price reduc. 345% of avg.; 245%
price increase

Fruits Cantaloupe Jelly Donut

392.0 cal 289 cal
1.36 grms of fat 15.9 grms of fat
0 grms sat fat 4.050 grms sat fat
249.0 mg of salt 249.0 mg of salt
0 grms of sgr 21 grms of sgr
0 mg of chol 22.0 mg of chol

13.7% of avg.; 43% price reduc. 153% of avg.; 53% price
increase
Grains Shredded wheat Chocolate chip cookies

83.0 cal 334 cal
.3 grms of fat 14.9 grms of fat
.0 grms sat fat 4.97 grms sat fat
.472 mg of salt 285.0 mg of salt
.094 grms of sgr 17.80 grms of sgr
0 mg of chol 8.52 mg of chol
3.4% of avg; 96.6% price reduc. 122% of avg; 22% price
increase
Legumes Bean Sprouts Jack-in-the-box Taco

7.103 cal 183.0 cal
.057 grms of fat 11.0 grms of fat
.013 grms sat fat 5.0 grms sat fat
3.977 mg of salt 276.0 mg of salt
.2 grms of sgr 1.6 grms of sgr
0 mg of chol 32.0 mg of chol

56% of avg.; 44% price reduc. 148% of avg.; 48% price increase

Dairy Egg Beaters School lunch scrambled eggs
25.0 cal 87.0 cal
0 grms of fat 6.0 grms of fat
0 grms sat fat 0 grms sat fat
100.0 mg of salt 151.0 mg of salt
.2 grms of sgr 1.2 grms of sgr
0 mg of chol 277.0 mg of chol
83% of avg; 17% price reduc. 560% of avg; 460% price
increase
Meat/poultry/Fish Tuna canned in water Bologna
32.94 cal 88.0 cal
.233 grms of fat 8.1 grms of fat
.066 grms sat fat 3.42 grms sat fat
95.53 mg of salt 278.0 mg of salt
0 grms of sgr 0 grms of sgr
8.315 mg of chol 16.0 mg of chol

97.85 of avg; 2.15% price reduc. 211% of avg; 111% price
increase

Example #1 – An average food

Based on U.S.D.A. standards an average food with 10% the daily totals would contain the following:

1/10 of a day’s requirement of 2,200 calories = 220 calories
1/10 of the recommended 73 grams of total fat = 7.3 grams of fat
1/10 of the recommended 24 grams of saturated fat = 2.4 grams of saturated fat.
1/10 the recommended 2,400 milligrams of salt = 240 milligrams of salt
1/10 the recommended 48 grams of added sugar = 4.8 grams of added sugar
1/10 the recommended 300 mg. of cholesterol = 30 mg. of cholesterol

Example #2 – Swanson’s Mexican Frozen Dinner:

A food containing 590 calories has 27% of the daily average total recommended calories (590 / 2200). Therefore, all its ingredients should possess 27% of the recommended daily allowance

This food contains 1865 mgs. of salt. 27% of the daily total of 2400 mgs. is 648 mgs. of salt (.27 X 2400).) Therefore, this food has 288% of normal (1865 / 648).

This food contains 43.90 mgs. of cholesterol. 27% of the daily total of 300 mg. per
day is 81 mgs. of cholesterol (.27 X 300). Therefore this food has 54% of normal
(43.9 / 81).

This food contains 4.6 gms of added sugar. 27% of the daily total of 48 grms = 12.96 grms of added sugar. Therefore this food has 35% of normal (4.6 / 12.96).

This food has 29 grms of fat. 27% of the daily total of 73 grms = 19.71 grms of fat. Therefore this food has 147% of normal (29 / 19.71).

This food has 8.88 grams of saturated fat. 27% of the daily total of 24 grms = 6.48 grms of saturated fat. Therefore this food has 137% of normal (8.88 / 6.48).

The final configuration gives us a food containing::

288% of recommended of salt
54% of recommended cholesterol
147% of recommended fat
137% of saturated fat
35% of recommended sugar

661% total divided by 5 factors = 133% of recommended average. This food would now have an additional tax of 33% added to its previous cost.
Example #3 – Beef frankfurter:

A food containing 183 calories has 8% of the daily average total recommended calories (183 / 2200). Therefore, all its ingredients should possess 8% of the recommended daily allowance

This food contains 639 mgs. of salt. 8% of the daily total of 2400 mgs. is 192 mgs. of salt (.08 X 2400).) Therefore, this food has 333% of normal (639 / 192).

This food contains 29 mgs. of cholesterol. 8% of the daily total of 300 mg. per
day is 24 mgs. of cholesterol (.08 X 300). Therefore this food has 121% of normal
(29 / 24).

This food contains 1.14 grms of added sugar. 8% of the daily total of 48 grms. = 3.84 grms of added sugar. Therefore this food has 30% of normal (1.14 / 3.84).
This food has 16.6 grms of fat. 8% of the daily total of 73 grms = 5.84 grms of fat. Therefore this food has 284% of normal (29 / 19.71).

This food has 6.13 grms of saturated fat. 8% of the daily total of 24 grms = 1.92 grms of saturated fat. Therefore this food has 319% of normal (6.13 / 1.92).

The final configuration gives us a food containing:

333% of recommended of salt
121% of recommended cholesterol
284% of recommended fat
319% of saturated fat
30% of recommended sugar

1087% total divided by 5 factors = 217.4% of recommended average. This food would now have an additional tax of 117.4% added to its previous cost.
Example #4 – Snicker’s Candy Bar

A food containing 270 calories has 12.3% of the daily average total recommended calories (270 / 2200). Therefore, all its ingredients should possess 12.3% of the
recommended daily allowance of essential ingredients.

This food contains 145 mgs. of salt. 12.3% of the daily total of 2400 mgs. is 295.2 mgs. of salt (.123 X 2400). Therefore, this food has 49% of normal (145 / 295.2).

This food contains 9.12 mgs. of cholesterol. 12.3% of the daily total of 300 mgs. is 36.9 mgs. of chol (.123 X 300). Therefore, this food has 24.7% of normal (9.12 / 36.9).

This food contains 27.8 grams of added sugar. 12.3% of the daily total of 48 grms. = 5.9 grms of added sugar. Therefore this food has 471% of normal
(27.80 / 5.9).

This food has 13 grms of fat. 12.3% of the daily total of 73 grms = 9.98 grms of fat. Therefore this food has 130% of normal (13 / 9.98).

This food has 4.73 grams of saturated fat. 12.3% of the daily total of 24 grms = 2.95 grms of saturated fat. Therefore this food has 160% of normal (4.73 / 2.95).

The final configuration gives us a food containing:

49% of recommended of salt
24.7% of recommended cholesterol
130% of recommended fat
160% of saturated fat
471% of recommended sugar

834% total divided by 5 factors = 167% of recommended average. This food would now have an additional tax of 67% added to its previous cost.

Programs supported by the food tax

Either by issuing an investment credit to companies that use beneficial products and/or taxing companies that use detrimental products, or taxing consumers at the point of purchase, a fund can be established which would endow such programs.

The monies collected, based on factual, consistent parameters would be used in a three phased approach. One, counter the messages of the advertisers of junk food, nutrient-empty products and proven health hazards with scientific studies from
unbiased, non-advertiser-affiliated laboratories. Two, clearly delineate the cost of
choosing based on emotional, personal reasons. Three, pay for the care and cure of persons suffering from genetic or environmental factors.

My political commentary is meant to bring a heightened consciousness and real discussion to people intent on changing social, political, and economic conditions. Politics as usual is destroying our Democracy. Government corruption demands real political change, not just a new candidate in the old system. Political leadership only leads to self-serving agendas and self aggrandizement. Politicians eschew social causes for personal enrichment. Political power corrupt morality and rationality. The result is criminal behavior and Constitutional crimes.

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