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Healthy food is a base of healthy nation. Therefore, the question whether the government should regulate the amount of unhealthy food we eat frequently arises. Obviously, government regulation should have certain purposes, and the answer depends on such aims. In this case, there are two opposing purposes that could be taken into consideration. The first one is that the government should grant the individuals the full right of choice, yet avoid any interference in a food allowance of citizens. The second purpose is the formation of a healthy nation in general which may imply the government intervention in what we eat. Unfortunately, knowing about the dire consequences of unhealthy food many people still cannot avoid it. Since the health of the nation is an important part of development, the government should regulate the amount of trans fat and sugar present in junk food as well as in the other food we eat.
Trans fats and sugar are among the most common health hazards in foods, which makes the regulation of their consumption a matter of significant consideration by the government. Many experts believe that these substances may result in serious problems. For example, trans fats cause different disorders in our body, as well as lower immunity and provoke numerous diseases. Sugar is recognized as a delayed-action “poison” and frequently become a reason for obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. At the same time, sugar leads to accumulation of fatin the liver (Patz). However, Rachel K. Johnson, PhD, considers that there is no need to avoid natural sweet food like fruit, vegetables, and barriers since these products contain a small amount of sugar which in conjunction with other components of these products is poorly released into blood. What is more, David Katz, MD, states that sugar is the necessary fuel for our body (Patz). Consequently, the problem is not actually in sugar but in the amount of its consumption. At the same time, the trans fats are dangerous for our health in any amount.
The extensive consumption of trans fats and sugars did not arise in the diet of people accidentally. Firstly, they over-stimulate the taste buds which leads to addiction or even dependence. Secondly, the junk food advertising affects the subconscious of people making them vulnerable to the producers. In this unequal battle, the government must help people to withstand such impacts. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of junk food promotion as long as they have not yet developed a consistent worldview and are easy to bow to the consumption of foods containing trans fats and sugar. Therefore, the government should primarily promote the healthy nutrition of children in order to provide a further healthy generation on the whole, because the people’s health is the base for happy lives and national development.
Ryan Schwertfeger in his article “Should the government affect your eating choices?” states that the government should not controll people regarding what and how to eat, but suggests to allow people to determine it themselves. If a person eats at McDonalds, it's a private matter. There is nothing less public than what a person eats and it is exceptionally personal responsibility (Schwertfeger). With this respect, Schwertfeger considers that the only useful government policy is to allow each individual to be responsible for his or her gastronomic choices. Those who eat unhealthy food will pay more for their healthcare which would be the fateful penalty for them (Schwertfeger). Ryan’s opinion seems to be logical, provided everyone has a strong will. Obviously, complete freedom of choice is the right of every citizen. However, there is a question regarding the number of people who are actually aware of the harm of excessive consumption of trans fats and sugar, and who want to stop their consumption but cannot do this. Even though, the huge number of them does, many people are still not aware of the dangers behind their favorite food. Thus, it is an obligation of government to inform the citizens and protect them from possible implications.
Surely, the government must help people to overcome the dependence on junk food. However, the methods to influence the situation should be indirect. Regulation should take place in the field of advertising, namely social advertising of healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, instead of interfering in the junk food business, the government should strongly encourage healthy food enterprises.
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