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Unhealthy foods pose a greather health risk than smoking, according to a UN expertUnhealthy foods pose a greather health risk than smoking, according to a UN expert

UN Expert: Unhealthy Diets Pose Greater Health Risk Than Smoking

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Unhealthy foods, such as processed foods high in saturated fat and sugar, pose a greater threat to global health than tobacco products. The sale of tobacco has become highly regulated in recent years and so too should governments tax unhealthy food products, according to a United Nations investigator.

At the opening of the annual World Health Organization (WHO) summit, Belgian professor Olivier de Schutter urged leaders to begin negotiations on a global agreement to stop the obesity epidemic.

“Unhealthy diets are now a greater threat to global health than tobacco. Just as the world came together to regulate the risks of tobacco, a bold framework convention on adequate diets must now be agreed,” he said.

A U.N. convention aimed at reducing the mortality rate and chronic health problems caused by tobacco products went into effect in 2005 after lengthy negotiations under the umbrella of the WHO.

The professor and special reporter on the right to food called for a similar agreement on junk food, which he says should include taxing unhealthy food products, regulating foods high in saturated fats, salt and sugar, and “cracking down on junk food advertising.”

He is also pushing for a complete overhaul of farm subsidies “that make certain ingredients cheaper than others” and for people to embrace small local farmers, “so that consumers have access to healthy, fresh and nutritious foods.”

“Governments have been focusing on increasing calories availability, but they have often been indifferent to what kind of calories are on offer, at what price, to whom they are made available, and how they are marketed,” said de Schutter.

Such measures “are essential to ensure that people are protected from aggressive misinformation campaigns.”

It seems nearly impossible that Big Agriculture, with their billions of dollars, will let this happen. But didn’t we say the same thing in the 1960s and 1970s about Big Tobacco?

In the end, good triumphs over evil – sometimes it just takes a few decades.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Source: Fox News

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  • Nathan Merrill

    The problem with this whole thing is that this guy is deeply ignorant of science.

    Let’s talk about reality for a second.

    The idea of junk food is pretty much a lie.

    Or rather, your conception of what junk food is is a lie.

    Take your picture, for instance. Are hamburgers junk food?

    No. They aren’t. They’re high in calories, but they’re actually also very high in nutritional value.

    And this is why everyone advocating this needs to be ignored – they have no clue about reality.

    Here’s the real problem: people eat too many calories.

    What you eat is completely, totally, and utterly irrelevant. Study after study has claimed that some nutrient or other is the devil, and then study after study has proven that the people who did said studies were complete morons who don’t understand even the basics of causation.

    Here’s reality:

    Salt isn’t bad for you. We’ve failed to find any linkage between salt and disease.

    Fat isn’t bad for you.

    Omega-3 fatty acids aren’t any better for you than any other kind of fatty acid.

    Whole grains aren’t actually any better for you than anything else.

    And indeed at this point it is obvious that sugar isn’t bad for you either. Though that was pretty obvious from the get go, given metabolic pathways.

    Everything you think you know about nutrition is probably a lie.

    Here’s what actually matters:

    Number of calories consumed.

    Number of calories burned.

    Getting enough nutrients.

    Getting enough nutrients isn’t usually a problem, unless you do something stupid like eat a vegetarian or vegan diet and screw it up. (Oh yeah, vegetarianism and veganism aren’t good for you either, though a properly balanced diet of that sort isn’t especially bad for you… unless you’re a kid, maybe, hard to tell on that one. Adults are probably fine though).

    This means that energy balance is key – do you eat more calories than you burn? Then you’re going to get fat.

    But what those calories come from is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT.

    The entire idea of taxing “junk food” is based on a great big lie. Junk food is NOT bad for you, and indeed, a lot of junk food isn’t even junk food – a Big Mac sandwich, for instance, contains 25% of your daily needs for calcium and iron intake as well as all the essential amino acids you’ll need in 550 calories, which for many people is about a quarter of the calories they need to ingest. How is that junk food? It isn’t even particularly non-nutritious, odd as that may seem.

    The problem comes when you eat too much food. Eating a Big Mac can easily be a part of a balanced diet. It can be part of a terrible diet, too, if you eat three 1,000 calorie meals per day, are 5’4″, and sit on your butt all day in front of a computer. Of COURSE you’re going to get fat.

    But the Big Mac isn’t responsible for that.

    The demonization of various kinds of food is just part of a misguided agenda of lies.

    If we want people to lose weight, the proper way to deal with it is to make them exercise. Diet doesn’t work; we’ve proven that. Why?

    Because people don’t stick to diets.

    Welcome to real life.

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