Junk Food: Why The Government Shouldn’t Regulate A Person’s Intake Of Unhealthy Foods

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Health is an important factor that influences our everyday lives. The way in which we care for our bodies affects how our future wellbeing can and will play out for the rest of our lives. For example, if someone is careful with what they eat and exercise on a regular basis, they are more likely to live longer lives and possibly not suffer any serious illnesses. On the other hand, if someone does the opposite such as eating unhealthy foods in copious amounts and not engaging in any sort of physical activities, they may suffer through detrimental diseases which can lead to a shorter lifespan. Ultimately, the decisions one makes regarding the things they eat and do will determine if they can sustain their health and fitness for the duration of their lives.

With obesity and other diseases becoming a prominent issue affecting millions of lives in the United States, many have wondered about what actions can be taken to prevent these problems from occurring in alarming rates. These prevalent issues have garnered widespread attention, but no set decisions have been made regarding this situation. With that said, a main topic of discussion is what role the government should take regarding this issue. While some argue that the government should have a vital position in determining what should be done to prevent a greater increase in these illnesses, some are hesitant to extend the government’s already large power onto what consumers should eat.

So should the government be allowed to regulate the unhealthy foods a person consumes? With so many things to consider, it’s hard to determine what is best for this situation. If the government were to place a tax on these unhealthy ingredients or possibly place a ban on the sale of sugary drinks of a particular size, how exactly would that stop people from finding the same drinks in different sizes, or finding alternatives drinks that are just as unhealthy? How would this regulation benefit the overall wellbeing of the consumers, and how would it negatively affect them in the long run? When first viewed, the idea of the government taking control of the situation and creating a boundary between people and junk food may seem easy and viable. But when weighing both the pros and cons of this theoretical policy, the best course of action would seem to be to not allow the government to control this issue.

To properly understand why the government should not be allowed to have jurisdiction over this matter, there must first be an examination as to what ideas have prompted the judgements as to why it should. In Daniel E. Lieberman’s piece “Evolution’s Sweet Tooth”, he argues that because of new technology that makes the process of creating sugar faster and easily attainable, people have become so accustomed to consuming unhealthy foods on a regular basis, that they cannot and do not want to stop themselves from indulging into their wants. Therefore, people who are in favor of a governing body regulating the intake of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients may believe that because people are so abundantly used to eating fattening foods whenever they want, they need to be coerced into eating healthier. Many may also believe that by only taking an educational approach of informing consumers of the cons of unhealthy lifestyles, it will not result in as high amount of change as a restrictive barrier, such as a tax or ban, would. As such, these people hypothesize that a tax must be used to create successful growth towards healthier eating.

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But if the government were to have the ability to impose this tax or ban on unhealthy foods, the outcome would be drastically different from what is expected. While one may assume consumer rates to decrease if unhealthy foods are taxed or banned for its size and ingredient contents, the ironic fact is that many people would still be able to get the same product in smaller sizes and/or find similar counterparts that are just as unhealthy. These restrictions would not necessarily help in creating healthier lifestyles for people, especially since foods that may be perceived as healthier can still contain a lot of the similar ingredients that are found in unhealthy foods. Similarly, if a tax were set in place on these particular items, many have argued that an extra charge will not stop them from spending money on them. As one responder stated in Letters of Response by Fizer et al, “The government has no right to try to tell me how I should be spending the money I earn to buy the food that I want to eat. If I want to buy a Milky Way bar and eat it, I can and I will, even if I have to pay a few cents extra for it.” This illustrates the displeasure that many people would experience if they felt that their freedom to consume what they choose is hindered.

Apart from the issues stated previously, there is another dilemma that many people would face if this policy were to ever go forward. If there was a tax placed on unhealthy foods, it is highly likely that it would become an economic stressor for many people. In the article “Should Governments Tax Unhealthy Foods and Drinks?”, Donald Marron states that the tax would be “imposing more than four times as much burden” on low income families. The reason for this is because in most instances, people who are on the lower end of the economy can only afford to eat food that is generally lower in price, which is not always the healthiest. Causes for this include: not being able to afford anything else, not having the time to make food, and many other valid reasons they may have. Michael D. Thomas, the writer of “Junk Food Taxes Don’t Work.”, emphasizes this when he states “Convenience is an important aspect of food purchases.” Because these people may not have the time or resources to find new and healthier alternatives, when the only things that they were able to afford start to become overpriced, it can become a large burden to them both economically and physically as they do not have many options to choose from.

So what could be done to stop this serious epidemic from increasing, and to begin the process of creating a healthier society? The following will provide a few beginning ideas. First, as a person who responded in “Letters of Response by Fizer et al” said, “Companies need to take the lead.” This means that changes must be made from within the actual ingredients of the food people are consuming, instead of its monetary component. If more is done to garner support for healthier foods, it will create an incentive for companies to create healthier products for the people. In addition to that, there needs to be an easier access to healthy food. In “Increasing Access to Healthful Foods: A Qualitative Study with Residents of Low-Income Communities,” the authors state that “Other studies have found similar results and underscore the importance of the affordability, variety, and quality of food as well as proximity to grocery stores as main influences on where to shop”. If there is better accessibility to the foods and nutrients that a person needs to sustain a healthier lifestyle, there is a possibility that the presence of these illnesses and diseases will not be as high as it is now.

All in all, when both sides of this issue are compared to each other, many can see that the taxation of foods high in fat and sugar would ultimately be regressive to the common people as it would not necessarily do anything to change consumer behaviors and would negatively affect the economic welfare of those same people. Thus, in order to combat this prominent issue, there must be newer ideas that involve both the producers of these foods and consumers to work together and motivate themselves to live better and eat healthier. 

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Junk Food: Why The Government Shouldn’t Regulate A Person’s Intake Of Unhealthy Foods. (2021, October 26). WritingBros. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/junk-food-why-the-government-shouldnt-regulate-a-persons-intake-of-unhealthy-foods/
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Junk Food: Why The Government Shouldn’t Regulate A Person’s Intake Of Unhealthy Foods. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/junk-food-why-the-government-shouldnt-regulate-a-persons-intake-of-unhealthy-foods/> [Accessed 24 Jan. 2022].
Junk Food: Why The Government Shouldn’t Regulate A Person’s Intake Of Unhealthy Foods [Internet]. WritingBros. 2021 Oct 26 [cited 2022 Jan 24]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/junk-food-why-the-government-shouldnt-regulate-a-persons-intake-of-unhealthy-foods/
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