Fat chance

“Obesity is unlikely to occur (although it is not unknown) without the refinement of foods, because without such refinement it is hard for the body to process enough food to obtain a large excess of calories. Modern refinement frees calories and provides them in concentrated packages, making  over-consumption possible. Given the costs of transportation and handling, low bulk, high calorie foods are comparatively cheap so there is an incentive for people to eat them.”

The above incisive summation is from “Health and the Rise of Civilisation” by Nathan Cohen – available from the behemoth that begins with A (linking to them is not in my philosophy).

This very well expressed paragraph indicates that a start on a sugar (that most refined of all foodstuffs) tax is absolutely essential.

Coca-Cola keeps bleating that it employs thousands of people. It does, as of course does the NHS – indeed rather more. But this is just another inaccuracy of GDP. However you define economics, it is not the purpose of a so called civilised society to employ one lot of people to make us sick and another lot to make us well.

Life should be rather more fulfilling than that.

When diabetes costs the NHS over £1.5m an hour or 10% of the NHS budget for England and Wales you would have thought that our Health Minister would consider sugar tax a priority. And even if he didn’t at the very least dietary guidance should be a quick win.

Indeed the suggestion of free cooking classes as part of Universal Basic Services should be, not required as part of a grand plan, but simply a self-financing benefit for the state and, in fact, everyone.

As a plus why don’t we all – as well as those cooking classes –  embrace the balanced, careful, omnivore status of Joanna Blythman?


  1. Neil Robertson -

    Absolutely agree.

    It was comical (but also tragic) to hear the governments proposals on sugar. First the planned reduction in sugar in processed food was a very poor 5% (I thought that was bad enough) and then the next part was that it was voluntary!

    Allowing food companies to formulate products specifically designed/packaged/portioned to make people consume more whilst the NHS picks up the tab for the sickness caused is a typical example of private profit producing public sector cost and causing misery in the process.

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