Sunday, 17 April 2016


 John Lanchester on sugar as the new tobacco, from earlier this year from this article:

‘Eighty per cent of all foods in British supermarkets contain added sugars. Once you start looking at sugar content you find yourself again and again recoiling in horror. My personal unfavourite is Sainsbury’s “American-style mustard”, which clocks up an astounding 16.8 per cent sugar. Well, OK, I thought, after my first encounter with that horror, but this is really the fault of the American mustard they’re trying to emulate. Not so. French’s mustard, immediately next to Sainsbury’s concoction on the supermarket shelf, is a mere 0.9 per cent sugar. It contains no added sugar at all. Sainsbury’s mustard is 19 times more sugary than the thing it’s emulating.’

80% of all foods in British supermarkets contain added sugars. But most people say it's the fault of the individual that they get obese and get diabetes since they choose what to put in their mouths. So we should all just buy the 20% of food which hasn't had any sugar added?  I submit that this is completely unrealistic. For a kick off, even if people read the ingredients (which are always in very small writing), the different types of sugar come under a variety of names. And the sugar laden foods tend to always be available and on apparent special offers. And they generally taste nicer.

If a food is widely available, cheap, and nice, then inevitably many people will buy it. Blaming the individual is essentially to ignore human nature. We can't expect human nature to change to ignore the environment, we have to change the environment to accommodate human nature. In short this 80% figure has to be drastically reduced, or the diabesity epidemic will continue.

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