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Obesity Research

How government subsidies, taxes and restaurants affect our weight

How government subsidies, taxes and restaurants affect our weight

Over the holiday weekend, many Americans enjoyed the tastes of freedom: hot dogs and hamburgers fresh off the grill; corn dripping with melted butter; potatoes flash-fried in oil, smothered in mayonnaise, covered with salt. At parades, parks and backyard barbecues everywhere, the high-fructose corn syrup flowed freely.

Alas, as we are so often reminded, freedom isn’t free. And, as a bumper crop of research reminded us on Tuesday, neither are our dietary choices.

American diets are shaped by federal agricultural subsidies that assure cheap and easy access to the highest-calorie foods. Restaurants add salt and saturated fats to lure us away from our...

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