March 12, 2017
Denmark and Mediterranean Diet
Denmark is a pioneer country in public health. In March, 11 2003, they banned the inclusion of trans fatty acids in oils and fats or in any food product to be consumed by human beings. Recently, the Danish Government has imposed a tax on the saturated fats, 2.5 Euros (about 3.42 dollars) per kilo or 1.55 US dollar per pound. It is not much, but it is an important step to send a clear message to the population.
The tax is very innovative and was recommended by the Copenhagen University (Dr. Jensen Institute of Economics) in a serious attempt to preserve the Danish people health and to reduce costs in Public Health. Obesity is the cause of a very important economic burden that developed countries cannot afford nowadays.
The Danish Government has a clear intention. It is to make citizens to move towards a healthier diet that cannot be other than Mediterranean Diet, as can be inferred from the Danish food recommendations.
Paradoxically, one of the products that can be affected by the tax is what is mistakenly considered the paradigm or example of the Mediterranean Diet: the pizza. Homemade pizzas are healthy and Mediterranean, as they do not have much saturated fat, only the one coming from the cheese. Mozzarella is not one of the fattiest dairy products, around 25%, but sometimes can be too much. Anyway, the real problem is manufactured pizzas, where saturated fats increase in a high percentage.
At the same time, Mediterranean countries are abandoning their food culture and adopting new ones, with some added problems. In those countries, the Governments are not as active as the Danish one and their supermarkets are still full of trans fats. Only one of the Spanish chains, Eroski, is working in suppressing trans fatty acids from their brands. However, it still continues selling other products that are not trans fat free. Law is continues being permissive in this aspect.