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He also pointed to another scholarly work that suggested a shocking alternative explanation for obesity. People may actually be eating junk food because they like the way it tastes.

This hits it right on the head. Ask any CEO in the quick service restaurant industry how well "healthy" options sell vs the regular stuff. People don't want the healthy stuff when they eat out; especially at the price points offered by the QSR restaurants (which reflect the higher cost of produce vs institutional ground meet/cut potatoes.

The QSR industry then gets demonized for offering nutritionally poor choices, yet they offer what people want to buy. I don't go into Wendy's wanting to pay $5 for a salad, when I could get a chicken sandwich and fries for the same price or less.

Regarding grocery store items, I'd like to see proposals and studies about removing the sales tax exemption on everything other than "ingredients". Produce, raw meats, flour, sugar, oils, pasta, rice, even canned and frozen vegetables, etc would all remain tax exempt (I'm basing this whole argument on Massachusetts’s taxation of food, and I know it won't hold true for some other states). Items such as pre-cooked frozen breaded chicken, frozen pizzas, Hamburger helper, mac and cheese, chips, microwavable meals would all lose their exemption. This would a) provide an incentive for people to move towards healthier (and generally cheaper overall) self-prepared meals, and also provide states with additional tax revenue. Most grocery stores sales item databases already have a flag for grocery item vs prepared food item. There would be some rough edges around determining what's an "ingredient" vs a "prepared meal" - jars of pasta sauce come to mind, as does salsa. However, I’d much rather see this given some thought rather than some of the proposals of outright bans that we’re seeing today.
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