Will There Be a Junk Food Tax – The Renegade Health Show Episode #531

Tuesday Mar 23 | BY |
| Comments (49)

Junk food tax has always been interesting to me…

If they tax cigarettes and alcohol, why not cheese puffs and other nasty, artificial “food” products.

Michele Simon, a public health attorney and author of “Appetite For Profit” explains if there will ever be a junk food tax in this great interview.

Take a look…

Your question of the day: What do you think of a junk food tax?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave your comments now!

To check out more information about Michele Simon and to get her GREAT book, please visit here… http://www.appetiteforprofit.com

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Vicki says:

    I don’t eat much junk food, but the taxes are not going to prevent me from consuming what I do any more than they prevent smokers from buying cigarettes. It’s a prooven fact that punishing bad behavior does not prevent it, but that rewarding good behavior encourages more good behavior.

  2. Charlotte says:

    I agree with vicki, although it would be nice if junk food was priced so that it reflects the cost to environment, health, etc.

  3. Dennis says:

    I never believed for a moment that the govt. was interested in anyone’s health and well being. Many state govts are broke and are just looking for another way to raise revenue, like there aren’t enough taxes. If we want kids to eat better, then it is up to parents and adults to educate and set a good example. Unfortunately, many adults are addicted to the same sugary and fried foods.

  4. Jen says:

    That is not actually true, Vicki. States with the highest taxes on cigarettes have the lowest smoking rates. It may work.
    Anyway, very interesting idea.
    Love the show!

  5. Dawni says:

    Hi Kevin:

    Stimulating. I feel we need to know the true cost of our lifestyle choices on all levels. For myself, I feel it is apart of being present to what is, ethical living, and connecting the dots to grapple with what we’ve created. Too many outright and subtle mis-truths.

    It is becoming a burden not knowing what is true. It thwarts meaningful change.

    Let’s get down to the details and understand it well and see where the changes need to occur.


  6. Paul says:

    I can’t access the video as I’m in China and You Tube is blocked of course (as is Facebook etc.) Nevertheless, I think it would be a great idea, and I have faith that eventually the idea that junk food damages health will be recognized and get through to legislation and taxes. This will probably be after struggle and controversy even greater than the struggle against smoking and the cigarette companies years ago.

    This would make it a little easier for everyone to make healthier choices, as part of the problem is that junk food is quick, cheap and easy.

  7. Darlena says:

    Absolutely…. no tax on junk food… If everyone stopped eating junk food, eventually there would be too many people in the world. Just as in the animal world…the fittest survive!!! We can educate, hope and pray for them (the junk foodies)…but we should not force decisions on them!!!

  8. Linda Miller says:

    I am totally against a junk food tax but I’m against most taxes. I am also against anything taking away or interfering with people’s choices. I wouldn’t want anyone to tax produce or limit any food I choose. People need to be educated, and people like you are doing that, Kevin. And people like me in my more limited way.

  9. Kuru says:

    I’d like to see junk food removed from the snack bars at hospitals!!! I was at a hospital yesterday for the first time in years, and all these sick people were sitting around getting sicker on hospital provisions! LOL!

  10. We do not need more taxes everyone needs to take personal responsibility and stop thinking the government can control our lives.
    What we need is more nutrition based education and stop polluting the country with this GMO type foods.

  11. Sharon says:

    In Canada everything that has added salt has tax I think, at least when it comes to snack foods. For example salted nuts have tax, unsalted ones don’t. Soda, candy bars, etc. All taxed. Real food is not taxed (fruit and vegetables). I’m not sure about canned veggies but I don’t think it has tax even though it has added stuff.

    The reality is that the uneducated ones will pay the tax because no one has taught them how to eat properly. Food addiction is much stronger than cigarettes or alcohol. You can stop smoking or drinking but you can’t stop eating.

  12. crow says:

    The tax will not make a difference on what people consume. Just like the alcoholic and smoker they will find a way to get the alcohol or tabacco.

  13. john says:

    The Constitution was designed by our forefathers for A FRUGAL AND LIMITED GOVERNMENT, not to what it is now -ABUSIVE to it’s citizens ! And over TAXED ! Example, See: ” COCAINE US ARMY CARTEL.COM” All government knows is to take in $$$ or call it a tax.If something is bad like Alcohol and it IS the auto deaths are proof and broken families, fights ,and all the sorrows and heart aches and wows to both parties innocent and guilty,medical expense—etc. Government should just ban alcohol, cigarretts ,Aspartame,and GMO’S SEEDS AND ENGINEERING, in short all proven to be known drugs or food chemicals, NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS, ALL GOVERNMENT PROVING GROUNDS in the US, NO DEPLETED URANIUM IN fertilizers and FEED TO LIVESTOCK ANIMALS !, etc. Why because it is the right thing to do .Bible says “Righteousness exalts a nation but SIN is a reproach”. All this should be stopped without charging it’s citizens, Just think how much healthier this nation would be and far LESS DIVORCE and broken marriages,higher productivity too and the list goes on -SIN helps destroy a nation fast by the ONE WORLDERS ,and they have been doing an excellent job at doing this for a very long time !

  14. Kristine says:

    I think she makes an excellent point about internalizing the real costs of food products. And I also agree with Michael Pollan who says we need to have a definition of what ‘food’ is based on nutritional value. However, neither of these ideas are going to come to fruition soon. So as a way to educate about and discourage the consumption of very unhealthy processed foods taxes should be imposed with these funds going into educational programs on nutrition. I know, I know, very unlikely… Hey, maybe now that the insurance companies are going to have to insure all these unhealthy people they may start healthy eating campaigns. I know, I know, highly unlikely…

  15. JulieD says:

    At first I wanted to say “bring it on”. but really eliminating the unhealthy food is the better idea!

  16. Gail says:

    The JUNK FOOD TAX?????? Well it’s about TIME!!!! Why HOT tax the ignorant food eaters that are so dis-ill-usioned…. that they can’t see beyond their next BIG MAC!

  17. Lisa says:

    This could be one way of preventing people from consuming too much junk food. It’s not bad to treat yourself with junk food every now and in portions only. Thanks for sharing health facts. More power!

  18. Michael T. says:

    I am opposed to a tax on junk foods, for several reasons. First, it is too subjective to say what is a junk food. What about little bags of trail mix? What about dark chocolate? How about organic chips or veggie chips? It’s just too complex and controversial to decide what is junk food and what is not.

    A simpler approach would be to end all subsidies on farm crops. The majority of these subsidies go to corn, wheat and soy farmers, most of which is then fed to animals or made into corn syrup. If we had no farm subsidies, some food prices would rise, but the prices would be more realistic. No more ultra cheap sugar, no more cheap candy and soda.

    I think taxes should only be applied to non-essential or luxury items. Basic necessities such as food should not be taxed. But food should cost what it really takes to produce it, without subsidy.

    If the government stopped subsidizing farmers, they could instead give families food vouchers. People with low incomes could receive more vouchers to help them buy food.

    Ultimately, the solution is to have a highly educated population, so that people will have the information they need to make wise choices. That’s why this website and others like it are so important.

    Keep up the good work, Kevin.

    Michael T.

  19. rainbow says:

    not fond of taxes (too much of it goes for too many wars), but i absolutely love having food and what’s called food reflect it’s true value. and on the nutrition label, or maybe adding an information label, state clearly the water and other costs. in ‘diet for a new america’ video (which i just showed in honor of the great american meatout), it is stated very clearly. even 20 years ago, and the estimated water usage has gone up a lot since then, the fact was that for each 1,000 pound steer carcass that comes down the slaughterhouse line, that one being’s life has consumed enough water to float a destroyer. over 12 pounds of grain to get back that same one pound of beef. over 5,000 gallons of water to get back one pound of beef. the poor critter didn’t drink that much, but that’s at least how much water it takes to get one critter from birth to carcass. mind-blowing. but then i hear folks say (and they think they are being original) “yes but it tastes good”. and i say ‘argh!’ so let’s tell the truth, and have all our foods actually reflect fair and honest, broad spectrum, long term value. that’s what i think would make some sense.

  20. Hi Kevin

    The best idea is to simply outlaw all the fast food and make all those places healthy fast food, i.e. vegan and raw food that doesn’t take much time to prepare (I hope that will come to pass in our lifetime).

    You can visit my blog http://www.rawsomegal.wordpress.com and read about my 42 day cleanse using coconut water and stevia which I completed mid-January. I have also written about my transition back to food. I continue to write about health related topics and post once or twice a week (depending on how busy I am). To read about my cleanse from day 1, click on December 2009. Share this with others who may be interested and I love to receive comments. You can also subscribe so you will always receive the latest posts in you email inbox.

    Chef Mindy aka Ageless Raw Beauty

  21. Marie1225 says:

    Hi Kevin and Annmarie,

    I don’t like junk food at all, but I don’t think there should be extra taxes placed on it. Really, it would be more effective if those types of foods were not made anymore.

    That would really make a difference healthwise, but that will never be the case, because this world is driven by a terrible sin being the love of money. The government needs to take itself out of the people’s business.

    I don’t want the government telling me what to do anymore than they already are now. We already live with too many leaders in favor of communism. If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, you’ll do it.

    Thanks for all you do!

  22. Craig says:

    I live in chicago where they put a tax on bottled water.As they say the devil is in the details.
    It all about taking from rich and giving to the poor.plus you have the middleman with his cut in the Profit. NO More taxes!!
    Here is a Interview from the russian President Nikita Khrushev when i was growing up. Noticed he says We”ll
    Khrushchev then retorted: “You Americans are so gullible. No, you won’t accept Communism outright; but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of Socialism until you will finally wake up and find that you already have Communism. We won’t have to fight you; we’ll so weaken your economy, until you fall like overripe fruit into our hands.”

  23. Melissa says:

    Speaking of junk food– Kevin, could you please address why chewing gum is bad for you (I chew sugarfree). I know it is not good, but have trouble kicking the habit. If I knew some science behind it, it may be what I need to drop kick it!

  24. Christina says:

    A tax is a tax. It is all governmental tyranny.

    I would like to see farming subsidies STOP. If the market can’t pay for or doesn’t want a product, why is it grown? The consumers and the farmers need to be brought back together again and we all need to kick out the middle men and the government from the food process. We would have better products and they might even be a better price.

    Perhaps if we stop subsidies, we could slow the GMO’s.

  25. carol says:

    cigarettes are taxed to the hilt, and people still use them. There is a warning right on the pack that its not good for you and people still buy it! what good would it do? Its just another way for our governments to get more money out of the people. since these items are addicting, its an assured income for the government.

  26. Patricia says:

    I think that the pricing of food is all backwards. Its cheaper to eat junk then it is to eat real food. I don’t understand how a bag of chips is cheaper than one avocado. I live in Canada and we have tax on junk food. Still does not stop anyone from buying it. Education is the only way to get people to eat properly, and it needs to start as soon as kids enter school. I also think that if the goverment really was concerned about reducing health care they would ban most of that stuff. For example who needs to eat pop rocks?

  27. Brooke says:

    I agree with most of the other educated comments. A tax on junk food will not help anything. We are overtaxed as it is and with the new healthcare bill, our taxes will be increasing. Obviously, more taxes do nothing to help this country. We give so much to the government and we’re going into more debt now than we ever have. Anyways, the only way to help this country with every single one of our problems is through education. People are yearning for the truth and they definitely are not getting it from Fox News or CNN or from their mainstream physician. Truth is available at the grassroots level and once people are ready for the truth, it will be made available to them. Natural health is getting more popular by the day and it’s only because of people like us who educate ourselves and then educate others 😉

  28. Jennifer says:

    Considering that we subsidize corn which in turn makes corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, and corn syrup very cheap to manufacture I think it is silly to subsidize, then tax junk food. STOP THE SUBSIDIZING OF THE CORN. This low cost corn is also used to feed cows making fast food very cheap as well. Watch the documentary “King Korn”. Very enlightening.

  29. Melissa says:

    Great interview! I really enjoyed her viewpoint, especially when it came to the “real” cost of food. Having a burger priced for what its really costing the world would be a great eye-opener for a lot of people. Then maybe they would understand why it costs more for a bag of carrots than a burger.

  30. Stephanie says:

    great video!
    The adjusted levels of the intro/exit music are much better. Thanks!

  31. vicki says:

    Jen, I wonder if those states have other incentives as well, or have educational programs geared toward preventing people from smoking. You have to look at the whole picture before you assume that taxes are the only reason people in those states don’t smoke. Prevention is key, which is why rewards work.

  32. Wonda says:

    Obviously people are going to eat and do what they want regardless…so a tax on junk food–as bad as junk food is– would not stop people from consuming it.

  33. PE says:

    Interesting that in China Facebook is forbidden– here in a California public school the same is true, since it might have bad effects on tender minds seeking porn and other enlightenments.
    It seems fashionable to be against taxes, what Oliver Wendell Holmes called the price of a civilized society.
    And we speak of choices, though there are few, rigidly limited by bribes to supermarkets, and putting the buyer into the passive position of consumer, like an untidy fire.
    But subsidies for junk foods and their (excuse the expression) raw materials mean that you ARE taxed for picking healthy food. Let the Tea Partiers chew on that.
    Taxing junk would slightly, partially rebalance what capitalism offers ‘consumers’. It should have been done decades ago, and may yet be done in spite of misdirected grumblings from unfree Americans obeying their masters’ voices… as usual.

  34. Nick says:

    Tax all junk, not just junk food. The same corporations that would have us eat S#!*, has us use same. Every thing is made with a planned obsolescence, so it breaks down, stops working. Then they withhold available technological features to introduce them bit by bit, year by year, so we buy next year’s product. Then not only is no even “durable good” built to last these daze, but it’s all made with persistent materials. So being not biodegradeable this all adds up to turn our Earth into garbage dump.

    If we notice how all the taxes that government levies on the products of corporations are all sloughed off/passed on down to the consumer, why not just push as hard as we can to have the subsidies removed. In the food industry the bad toxic products are subsidized & the good organics are not. So why advocate for a tax that will surely backfire against us people, when our energy should go to leveling out the playing field by getting subsidies removed, or moved to where they belong, for organics, polyculturally grown? To a new Green Revolution, one that’s real this time & kept that way by us, cuz we need it for a future for posterity (an indefinite number of generations to come)

  35. Jill says:

    There should NOT be a junk food tax! Tax this, tax that, I’m sick of it!

  36. Marla king says:

    Better to boycott junk food ! Let’s put money where our mouth is going to benefit !

  37. kate says:

    I think if there was a tax on junk food, many people would become much poorer!

  38. john says:

    WELL SAID # 25.

  39. Dennis says:

    How could anyone trust a government bureaucrat in deciding what is healthy? Aren’t we told to this day that fluoride (rat poison) in our drinking water is going to prevent cavities? We’re told that artificial sweetner is not harmful, that it’s been tested and found to be safe. We’re told that genetically altered food is healthy, despite the fact that even scientists who were involved with it were fired for not adhering to the line and dared to speak the truth.

    And if white sugar isn’t bad enough, we now have this high fructose corn syrup added to everything. I could go on and on, but I think I made my point. Let’s start thinking for ourselves and let truth reign supreme.

  40. Jasmine says:

    I think the intro/exit music is still too loud.

    thx kev.

  41. Kyle Kuhn says:

    This tax insanity must stop. To give over the role of health cop to the government is wrong. I am a libertarian and we must look at individuals to take personal responsibility of their lives. I do not eat junk food crap, or drink alcohol or smoke but I do not want the government to tax it. When the government taxes the less then healthy products Americans use in the name of a sin tax it is not because they care. Take a look at what the FDA is doing the alternative healthcare industry. Do they care about our health? They just want the profits from the taxes. The profits won’t go to some altruistic idea of changing the way we eat because if we did that the tax would disappear.
    But sin taxes are great because the Americans who do eat right or don’t smoke or drink say yes tax that evil stuff give the power to the government. THEY ARE STUPID.
    We need to educate the citizens about health and even then there will be those who do what is not healthy ….. SO WHAT. We also need to educate the citizens that the government is not out for your well fare. Never trust them to make the right decisions for your health or welfare.

  42. Joan says:

    We are already taxed to death…I agree with not subsidizing farmers for certain products – put all food on an even playing field for us to choose from. The whole process is so out of control and there is so little REAL food available any more – so scary! Getting the government more involved is not a good thing…millions are wasted on useless studies that are tainted from the beginning…

  43. Jana says:

    We’re already taxed more than plenty enough. Besides, the food industries are in the schools already trying to make ice cream look healthy. Back in the 70s McGovern wanted to publish a report stating the negative health effects of eating red meat and he nearly lost pieces of his own hide when the cattle industry got riled up because of it. I’d like to think the solution is shifting the subsidies from corn and wheat to leafy greens. To me, it’s what makes the most sense. If we’re subsidizing foods that are unhealthy, well, stop! Let’s subsidize the fresh vegetables and allow them to be the most affordable option for people to eat.

  44. Dennis says:

    Kyle, number 41, well said. I wish I could have said it as well.

  45. Susan Bessette says:

    Yes, Kyle #41 was right. But for those who want to educate the populace, who will do the educating? Right now “milk makes muscles” is everywhere. Do you really believe they will allow us renegades to teach anything?
    My opinion: no taxes, no subsidies, and let ME direct the education on nutrition program because my point of view is right.

  46. Rhonda D says:

    #22 Craig,
    Very well put.

    Love the show as always. The system we are living in now is crumbling before our eyes and Mankind will not be able to resolve these issues.

  47. Sheilah Renaud says:

    Someone needs to push a bill that would rule against susidizing ANYTHING harmful to humans or the environment. Then we need to draw up a bill that would rule in favor of subsidizing natural foods, products that heal humans and/or the planet, and alternative energy devices. THAT’S WHERE OUR TAX $ should go!

  48. Frederik Ackermann says:

    The idea of a junk food tax is a good idea – but in reality it is very problematic – I live in Denmark, and our government is just about to introduce a so called health tax – on saturated fats and added sugar – the consequences are that dark chocolate is going to be more expensive than light chocolate, coconut oil is going to be more expensive, and there will be an economic incentive for people to choose artificially sweetened soda pop and margarine over sugar sweetened soda and butter. Also, as Jon Barron, argues what will be the next thing the government taxes – “dangerous” herbs and supplements?

  49. Gwen says:

    I do not eat junk food and still do not agree with a Junk Food Tax; we are already taxed to death. In Canada we have that Goods and Service Tax which covers all junk food and ironically also covers all heath supplements. It didn’t changed how we eat it just gave us all something to complain about. Getting someone to change the way they eat is one of the hardest things to do and a tax is not going to do it; instead I believe education is the key.

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