Saturday, October 8, 2011

Denmark's Solution in Need of a Problem

Have you heard that Denmark has slapped a tax on foods that are a causing a public health crisis of obesity, heart disease and diabetes? Well, not exactly a crisis--Denmark enjoys low rates of these conditions. Maybe the Danes just like to nip problems in the bud. The foods are those that contain more than 2.3% saturated fat--foods like butter and bacon, "foods you think of when you think of Denmark," according to this BBC video. In other words, traditional Danish foods, which seems to have made Danes a pretty healthy group, according to this World Health Organization table.

I have in my possession a package of one of those menaces that are suddenly making a few Danes fat and sick:

Just one ounce (think of a skimpy grilled cheese sandwich) has 6g of protein, 15% of the RDA of calcium and 8% of vitamin A. For those of us who don't run well on carbohydrates (read: sugar), it has no carbs, 10g of fat and 6g of saturated fat. For those of us whose livers don't make much cholesterol (mine's 140), it has 35 mg of the stuff. Some of my ancestors were from the German province of Schleswig-Holstein, which borders Denmark, so this is ancestral food for me. And the Danish people. (By the way, my saturated fat fest made me drop over 20 pounds and get rid of a gaggle of health problems.)

They're importing our dumb ideas about dietary fat, and exporting havarti dill cheese. I'm thinking I'm on the good end of this deal.

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