Johnson’s new dietary advice

Might include this soup produced in honour of his recent visit to Baxter’s Scottish factory:

The rest of the ‘Conservative’ range is, it is said, suitably rich, thick and tasteless…

On a more serious note the details of the Johnson diet that have been trailed so far seem to revolve around bicycling on the NHS, when Johnson is (or was) a very regular cyclist – yet he has somehow, in spite of this, never been known for his svelte figure. You have to wonder why he thinks cycling is such a great prescription.

We know that you cannot outrun a bad diet because calories in do not equal calories out. Otherwise a couple of calories of digestive biscuits would be just as good – or bad – for you as a couple of calories of calibrese.

What you eat matters and the idea that stopping food advertising before the ‘watershed’ (as if programmes are not yet recorded or on demand!) will have any effect, is for the birds. Stopping all food and drink advertising just might.

But really we are back to the effects of neoliberal economics continually eroding old – better, lets call them ‘traditional’ – values.

So we need to ensure the large numbers of overweight children are given opportunities to leap about and ensure schools have easily accessible playing fields by law, have nutritionally controlled school meals served in every school also by law, as they were pre-Thatcher.

Reopen Youth Centres and ‘Sure Starts’ more than 750 and 1100 of which are thought to have closed since the Conservatives first formed the government. Get Youth Centres and ‘Sure Starts’ to deliver nutritional food where appropriate and they all need to be enlisted to help deliver the message on nutrition to their youth participants in the one instance and to parents in the other.

Then we need to ensure that the NHS ‘eat well’ guide is of a much better standard and no longer pays attention to food trade ‘advice’. It needs to place much less emphasis on carbohydrates, which cannot be used for the vast majority of the daily calorie requirement.

Then ‘eating well’ has got to be affordable for all. It is no use exhorting rich and poor alike to eat well when the number of foodbank parcels has doubled over the pandemic period and when the recipients have no control over the contents. Government needs to ensure that people in (food) poverty have the means to, as the libertarians would put it, make the right choice.

At the moment the poor are fatter than the rich.

And we still need to tax sweetness and not just sugar…

All this is just for starters – and if it is to be effective in reducing susceptibility to Coronavirus it really does needs to start today.

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