At the beginning of October Denmark imposed a tax on foods containing saturated fats, in an effort to promote a healthy lifestyle.
At the beginning of October Denmark imposed a tax on foods containing saturated fats, in an effort to promote a healthy lifestyle. This “fat tax,” as it is commonly referred to, applies to products such as butter, lard, milk, meat, and cheese.
News sources have reported the Danish government passed the law almost unanimously, although the law has been criticized by other groups. Denmark has a thriving dairy industry, which may be impacted by the higher prices on dairy foods due to the tax, and news sources have reported that the tax will also affect organic dairy.
Denmark also has laws against foods containing a certain percentage of hydrogenated oils (also as known as “trans fats”) and foods high in sugar.
Consumers should note, however, that not all fats are considered unhealthy. While the Danish laws have combated unhealthy trans and saturated fat, unsaturated fats (including omega-3s) are actually healthy. Sources of healthy, unsaturated fats include nuts and seeds, avocadoes, olive oil, and fatty fish such as salmon.
To further complicate the matter, not all saturated fats are equal. Coconut oil is an example of a saturated fat made up of medium-chain triglycerides that actually has health-enhancing qualities.
Should we impose a tax on fatty foods like Denmark? The matter is still up for debate, but in the meantime we can try to consume fewer saturated fats and include more unsaturated fats in our diets.