FAT TAX IS MISGUIDED

A Letter printed in IRISH TIMES (19 OCT, 2012).

Sir, – Jennifer 0′Connell raises some legitimate concerns about the proposed levy on saturated fats, as part of government policy to impose a tax on dietary fats, sugar and salt. (Life page -October 17th).

Unfortunately, she falls into the same trap as did the researchers at the economics workshop in Galway, who hope to raise €188 million in revenue by such tax impositions.

The proposal to follow the example of Denmark, by imposing a tax on saturated fats reflects a poor understanding of the distinctive differences between natural, healthy, saturated fats, ( butter, cheese, etc) and unhealthy partially – hydrogenated fats, high in trans-fat and vegetable oils, which are amongst the chief culprits in our current epidemic of obesity and heart disease.

High fructose corn syrup and excessive carbohydrate consumption must rank first place as dietary culprits, and are frequently ignored by those agencies who dispense public dietary advice, while vilifying the much needed healthy dietary saturated fats.

The false perception, that dietary saturated fats are a health risk, ignores their vital role in maintaining healthy cell membranes, bone protection, immune support, energy supply and unwanted weight loss !

This popular perception is rooted in poor science, and has resulted in the unwarranted demonization of an essential component of a healthy diet, as reflected by the continuing vilification of saturated fat by government health bodies, the popular media, and even sections of the medical media.

Current proposals to tax saturated fats is misguided, retrogressive, and morally questionable, and attempts to raise state revenue by this method must be avoided in the best health interests of our nation.

Dr. Neville Wilson,
The Leinster Clinic,
Kilcock Road,
Maynooth.

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