Time to Introduce a Fat Tax

The health of nations is more important than the wealth of nations.

-Will Durant

Chief Medical Officer of Barbados Dr. Kenneth George was quoted in the news recently his concern about the rise of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs). He singled out hypertension commonly referred to as the silent killer.

His intervention on the vexing issue of the high incidence of NCDs should give the country pause. A scan of the 2019-2020 Draft Estimates (TABLE 5) confirms what we know, taxpayers for another year will be asked to finance a significant national health budget allocation.  Several years on if an honest assessment were to be made the conclusion has to be, we MUST change our health policy. In other words, Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Minister Jeffery Bostic- the country has not only descended into the economic doldrums, please add the health of citizens.

Barbadians have enthusiastically ingested the fast food culture exported from the Great White North. There is a generation weaned on Chefette and KFC menus. A typical pastime on social media is to be on the lookout for the ‘specials. The consumption behaviour of fast food will not change anytime soon. We should expect the ramification of the addiction to remove a large slice from national budget pie.

Under normal circumstances the adage that “the most important part of solving a problem is to know” will not apply. We have crossed the Rubicon. To impose a fat tax – call it what you want – will cause a sitting government to lose at the next general election. It is that serious.

Instead we prefer to glamorize obesity and blame a busy lifestyle which does not permit finding one hour to cook a meal.

Instead we prefer to glamorised oversized men and women to justify that to engage in an unhealthy lifestyle is acceptable because we are too busy doing some irrelevant activity.

Our health is not important enough to make time. Read the excuses now!

The blogmaster is not so naive to disregard the right of individuals to do as they please within the bounds of the law. However, if the errant behaviour will increase my tax contribution there is a good argument that those intent on feeding a negative lifestyle should pay a disproportionate the tax contribution.







  • Another prominent doctor has come to share findings of a study done in the schools that separate the behaviour of boys and girls up to about 13 years old. Boys are more active than girls, factors driving the behaviour are many. Clearly 11 Plus exam in but one.


  • i am always talking about acetyl Co A on BU

    here is a well written article by one of my Biochem students on the subject


    List the ketone bodies
    The ketone bodies are acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate (also called 3-hydroxybutyrate)

    Explain how they are formed.
    The synthesis of ketone bodies occurs through the process of ketogenesis, which takes place mainly in the liver and mitochondrion. During ketogenesis, acetyl CoA is converted to ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are formed by two molecules of acetyl CoA combining to form acetoacetyl CoA by reversal of the thiolase reaction. After the formation of acetoacetyl CoA, an additional acetyl CoA reacts with acetoacetyl AcoA to produce HMG-CoA, which is then converted to acetyl and acetoacetate by HMG-CoA lyase. After acetoacetate forms, it produces beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetone. Acetone is formed when acetoacetate undergoes decarboxylation and loses CO2. Ketone bodies function as additional fuel for cells and are transported from the liver mitochondria into the blood and peripheral tissues where they are converted back into acetyl CoA and oxidized by the citric acid cycle.

    State the tissues in which they are formed.
    Ketone bodies are produced mainly in the liver, and are then transported to cells in the heart, brain, and skeletal muscle. They diffuse from the liver into the mitochondria into the blood, and are transported into tissues in the body where they are converted back to acetyl CoA.

    Discuss the conditions under which they are formed.
    Ketone bodies are formed when fatty acids breakdown. Low carbohydrate utilization or deficiencies (either due to fasting, diabetes, or starvation) cause the levels of oxaloacetate to drop. This results in a reduced flux of the TCA cycle. When this occurs, less acetyl CoA from the beta-oxidation pathway is available to enter the citric acid cycle. In these circumstances, oxaloacetate is diverted to gluconeogenesis and acetyl CoA is diverted to from the ketone bodies. These ketone bodies are released by the liver for use as fuel by other tissues.

    What are the fate and the functions of the ketone bodies once they are formed?
    Acetoacetate and beta-hyroxybutyrate are important metabolic fuels for the heart and for skeletal muscle. Acetone is a waste product that is excreted as urine or exhaled. Heart muscle and the renal cortex use acetoacetate in preference to glucose. Cardiac muscle also commonly uses ketones as fuel. During periods of starvation, the brain adapts to the utilization of acetoacetate.

    In which tissues are ketone bodies used?
    Ketone bodies are used by tissues that utilize fatty acids, with the exception of the brain and liver. Ketone bodies are used as fuel for the kidneys, heart, muscle, and brain (under periods of starvation or diabetes).

    In which tissues are ketone bodies NOT used. Why is this so?

    The two tissues that do not use ketone bodies as fuel are the liver and red blood cells. The liver does not use ketone bodies as fuel because it does not have thiotransferase, the enzyme that is necessary for the conversion of acetoacetate back into acetyl CoA. Instead, the liver serves as the powerhouse for ketone synthesis. Red blood cells do not use ketone bodies as a source of fuel because they do not have mitochondria, which is necessary for the activation of acetoacetate. The brain prefers glucose over ketones for fuel, but will resort to ketones as fuel source if it needs to. The brain undergoes metabolic changes to adapt to the decreased availability of glucose. Starvation signals the brain and other tissues to increase the synthesis of the enzyme b-ketoacyl-CoA transferase which causes the body to be deficient in oxaloacetate. Acetyl CoA cannot enter the citric acid cycle and is then diverted to form ketone bodies. Ketone bodies then provide energy to the brain in conditions of limited glucose availability.

    Discuss ketone bodies in relation to diabetes mellitus in detail, ensuring that you describe why ketoacidosis occurs, and why it is dangerous.

    Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which insulin is either not secreted in sufficient amounts or does not stimulate target cells efficiently. As a result of insulin not functioning properly, glucose cannot be utilized or stored as glycogen. Insufficient amounts of glucose are available in the muscle, liver and adipose tissue. To compensate this, the liver synthesizes glucose from noncarbohydrate sources via gluconeogenesis and breaks down fat, via lipogenolysis, which elevates the acetyl CoA level. Excess acetyl CoA undergoes ketogenesis and ketone bodies accumulate in the blood. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes have high concentrations of blood glucose that exceed the ability of the kidneys to reabsorb glucose. At this point, glucose appears in the urine. High levels of glucose in the blood creates osmotic pressure, which leads to frequent urination and excessive thirst. Treatment for diabetes includes limiting carbohydrate intake and daily injections of insulin medication.

    Ketones may be elevated in diabetes mellitus. With diabetes, glucose does not enter the cells and cannot be efficiently utilized. Triglycerides then break down to provide the fatty acids and acetyl CoA to be used as fuel. The increased production of acetyl-CoA leads to ketone body production that exceeds the ability of peripheral tissues to oxidize them. Since ketone bodies are relatively strong acids, their pH can lower the blood when they are not completely metabolized by the body. If the blood becomes acidic, the condition can be life-threatening because it impairs the ability of hemoglobin to bind to oxygen. Without enough oxygen in the blood, breathing can become difficult. Ketoacidosis occurs when blood pH becomes lower than 7.4. The condition can often be detected by the odor of acetone on a patient’s breath.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Boys are more active than girls, factors driving the behaviour are many. Clearly 11 Plus exam in but one.
    News flash!!! “Boys are more active than girls”, clearly a lot of brain power was expended on that research


  • Nice Thought! I really appreciate it.


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