Mexico’s Chamber Of Deputies Oks Junk Food Tax

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“They say this stuff isn’t good for you, but everyone gets a craving.” Across the street at the Oxxo, the ubiquitous 7-Eleven -style convenience store chain, construction workers in orange hardhats were emerging at lunchtime with 2-liter bottles of Fanta Orange and bags of Bimbo cupcakes. The taxes are “a cruel way to take away the little pleasure we can give our kids,” said Juan Torres, 55, who makes a living watching parked cars for a few pesos. “How do you tell your children you are so poor you cannot give them a little soft drink?” The legislation taxes high-calorie foods, defined as those providing 275 calories or more per 100 grams, at 5% of the ticketed price and chewing gum at 16%. Soft drinks would go up in price about 8 cents per liter. A generation ago, the country’s greater problem was malnutrition, and while such deficiencies certainly continue to exist, a larger middle class had adopted some of the more lamentable consumption habits of the country to the north, puffing out waistlines and padding hips. The upside of making junk food and high-sugar drinks more expensive and reducing their consumption is the obvious health benefit. According to the United Nations ‘ Food and Agriculture Organization, 32.8% of Mexican adults are obese, and obesity-related diabetes is now the leading cause of death. Though some countries such as Samoa and Nauru have a greater percentage of obese adults, Mexico’s is the highest among large countries. In the United States, 31.8% of adults are obese, the FAO says. “The eyes of the world are focused on Mexico,” the World Health Organization said, calling for passage of the taxes in one of the many full-page newspaper ads published this week to focus attention on the issue. Warning that Mexico was dealing with an “epidemic of obesity and overweight,” the WHO urged that the taxes be even higher. But there is a downside. The items likely to be subject to new taxes are those that the poorest consume, and they will pay disproportionately. The business community also says that mom-and-pop stores, like that of Blas Luna, will be hurt the most.

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19, 2013 Getty Images You probably saw the news last week about what’s really in chicken nuggets. Researchers at University of Mississippi Medical Center performed what they called an “autopsy” of nuggets from two different national fast food chains and found that chicken meat was not the predominate componentin fact, fat made up an equal or greater portion of the nuggets, in addition to bone, nerve, and connective tissue. Lovely, huh? If you’re grossed out enough to say sayonara to fast food all together (virtual high five!), I have several still quick, but much healthier alternatives. Healthy Fast Food Alternatives Supermarket smorgasbord Grocery stores are generally in the same vicinity as fast food joints. So rather than pulling into a drive-through, pop into the supermarket and stroll through the express line. Most chains now have prepared food sections, with ready-to-eat options like chilled vegetable salads and grilled salmon. Other healthy items that don’t require prep include baby carrots and hummus, mini bananas, and nuts. Healthy Fast Food Alternatives Fast casual The concept of fast casual is ‘fresh food fast,’ and establishments that fit the bill, including Chipotle, Panera Bread, and Pei Wei are popping up all over. Many of these restaurants serve up freshly prepared dishes, made-in-house, with ingredient lists that read like a recipe from a healthy cookbook. For example, the chicken at Chipotle is made from hormone and antibiotic free chicken, water, chipotle chili, rice bran oil, cumin, garlic, oregano, black pepper, and salt. (Note: according to the web site, some cities use soybean oil.) To be sure of what you’re getting, hop online, check out the nutrition facts, and always read ingredient lists. One of my favorite go-tos is a Chipotle salad, made with Romaine lettuce, fajita veggies, black beans, mild salsa, and guacamole. Super satisfying, and about as quick and clean as it gets. Healthy Fast Food Alternatives Pack a meal If you tend to be stuck with lesser-of-various-evil options, invest in an insulated lunch sack, and toss in a meal you can whip up in a jiffy.

5 Healthy Fast Food Alternatives

And desserts often seem to render bacon fat into a congealed mess. The bacon experiment led us down a whole branch of questions: Could we total how much chicken there is on the entire site? What about how many testicles? Could we figure out how many miles of spaghetti there are? Yes, yes, and yes! (The answers are in the charts above.) But one thing we really wanted to know was: What foods are most popular now, and how has food popularity waxed and waned over time? We looked at the rates of comments on eight faddish foods: Big Food Fads, Over Time Interest in these 8 foods has waxed and waned over time. We calculated these by first finding the total number of reviews for each food. Then, we figured out what percentage of those reviews came in each quarterly period since 2007. (That arithmetic allowed us to normalize the data-otherwise, this thing would be a huge bacon chart and everything would look tiny.) Perhaps the most surprising thing is how much the answers conform to anecdotal evidence from pop culture. Low-carb diets and Portobello burgers were totally a mid-2000s thing. And sure enough, their popularity was tanking by 2007. Similarly, if you live on the coasts, youve probably found more and more restaurants and haute grocery stores touting quinoa. The trend is very recent.