Don’t let them get away with the sugar scandal any more: The Truth About Sugar

Friday 27 March, 2015  

  •  A BBC documentary 'The Truth About Sugar' causes e-mail trauma

I think my poor e-mail server may have been in danger of meltdown this week.

When I logged on to check what you lovely people had been sending me I found several hundred more mails than I normally get.

This usually signifies that I have made an horrendous error somewhere and you want to put me straight.

I got myself a strong coffee and sat down with no little trepidation to take my medicine.

But I was in for a pleasant surprise.

It seems that you all wanted me to take note of a new BBC documentary by Fiona Phillips called ‘The Truth About Sugar’.

Well, I did watch it and can’t say that the conclusions that the research came to were terribly surprising.

The real truth is – The Food Industry Puts Profit Before The Nation's Health...


Sugar IS the real enemy of good health, and yet some of the world’s biggest companies think nothing of loading their products with it.

A can of Coca-Cola contains 12 teaspoons of sugar, a bottle of flavoured water from This Water Co has 4 spoons of sugar added to it (and yet it is still sold as water!) and a bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup is nearly one quarter sugar (23.7g of sugar per 100g of ketchup).

My problem with all this is quite simple.

None of this is news.

Every single politician, health minister and leader of the NHS knows all about this scandal – yet they do nothing.

The gravy train that is full of sugar

It never ceases to amaze me that our elected politicians are drawing cash from some of the most despised companies in the world.

Cigarette makers, weapons manufacturers, fracking companies and property developers can all count on support from powerful political allies.

The sort of people who will defend the rights of commercial companies to make profits – even out of someone else’s misery... just so long as they have their snouts in the trough too.

It’s the same with pharmaceutical companies and food companies.
The standard line of politicians in government is “consumption is the responsibility of the individual” and therefore they provide only ‘light touch’ legislation to affect any control.

Of course the impact of this shameful lack of action is that food, drink and retail companies pursue their interests by deploying every available tactic including marketing, branding, packaging, advertising, sports sponsorship and political lobbying. 

As a result, the soaring sales of highly addictive calorie-dense snacks, 'added value' processed foods and sugar-suffused soft drinks continue apace.

Of course the MPs involved in providing the cloak of support for the actions of such companies don’t have the decency to come out and say that they won’t do anything because it is worth too much money to them.

No, they play an entirely different game.

Take the story about alcohol pricing for instance.

An investigation by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) revealed that health officials and ministers had 130 meetings with alcohol and supermarket lobbyists while they were considering imposing a minimum price per unit of alcohol. The proposal was dropped allegedly because of a lack of "concrete evidence".

Doctors have since rightly accused the government of "dancing to the tune of the drinks industry".

More than just dancing, our elected leaders are doing a self benefitting tango with anyone who flashes a dollar bill towards them – our political system is fast becoming a lap dancing club for any big company who has the cash to buy their way in.

If you think that I’m being a bit strong let me offer you one more crumb of evidence that your health is NOT on anyone’s agenda.

The man who masterminded Boris Johnson's Mayoral campaign, who strategised the Conservative electoral approach last time out and who sits behind everything happening in government today is an advisor to the Australian tobacco and drinks industry.

Plain carton cigarette packs and set pricing for alcohol are not on his (or his wealthy clients) shopping lists anytime soon...and so they will not be allowed to happen.

A way forward

On the 4th March the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced their long awaited advice on sugar consumption.

Far from being a clear statement that the food industry has to drop sugar content they produced a piece of obfuscation worthy of instructions for a cheap self assembly wardrobe.

Their recommendation said that daily free sugar consumption should form less than 10% of adults and children’s energy intake, with a conditional recommendation of a drop to 5%.

The food industry must have felt really savaged by that...savaged by goldfish that is!

This inaction by those we trust to act in our best interests leaves the perpetrators of health destruction to do their will.

One commentator Simon Capewell, professor of epidemiology at the University of Liverpool claimed the WHO report had been subject to bias and interference from the food industry.

He claimed “denials, delays, dirty tricks and dodgy scientists disseminating distorted evidence” had been a part of the industry’s strategy, and that they had worked to protect the profit motives of those in charge.

It is time the politicians were stopped from trousering wads of cash for acting on behalf of the dishonest and deceitful food and drug companies.

Two charities are deserving of your support in this respect, both with eminent scientists backing them – Action on Sugar and Action on Salt & Health need a groundswell of public opinion to begin to make changes.

Don’t forget in the next few weeks the very same politicians and prospective MPs will be doing their sincere best to get you to vote for them in the May elections.

When they knock on my door they will not get away lightly.

Make sure you hold them to account too.

Yours, as always







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