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Cut the Sugar and Save Lives - Financial Times

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 LeeWood 23 Jul 2020

Latest discussion on reforming UK's food industry, which has feedback into the covid-19 equation. A chance to change policy on sugar and ultra processed food cat's before the 2nd wave hits.

Q: The new world seems to divide into those who look leaner and those who have put on the corona-kilos. The trouble is, this isn’t just an aesthetic issue. After age, obesity is the second biggest risk factor for hospitalisation from Covid-19.

Q: You cannot “level up” the nation, as Boris Johnson wants to do, unless you close this health gap. The prime minister’s near-death experience in intensive care has converted him from libertarian to obesity warrior. Yet vested interests are trying to dilute his ambitions.

https://www.ft.com/content/6d4e0ceb-199b-4938-bc70-b4ca8f1ae6d7

But it's not just obesity - and it's not just sugar ! Q:

  • Obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome associated with an up to 10-fold increase risk in death from COVID-19
  • Ultra-processed food which makes up half of British diet blamed as primary culprit
  • Only 1 in 8 adults are metabolically healthy
  • Dietary changes can rapidly reduce risk of health complications and can potentially send type 2 diabetes into remission within weeks.
  • International experts in medicine, dietetics and nutrition call for immediate update on public health messaging to eat whole nutritious food to rapidly reduce risk of COVID-19 complications and potentially save hundreds and thousands of lives.

https://robertlustig.com/2020/04/covid-19-risk-factors/

Even if the government takes no action this is an issue we can all take control of personally. Doing so will prepare us for the second wave, and indeed any future virus. A robust precaution which pre-empts the development-cycle-time delay for a vaccine.

Post edited at 08:16
1
 wercat 23 Jul 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

David Davis has worked tirelessly in the Sugar industry for years.  Big Sugar - can't really expect much from his party

4
 Lankyman 23 Jul 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

> Latest discussion on reforming UK's food industry, which has feedback into the covid-19 equation. A chance to change policy on sugar and ultra processed food cat's before the 2nd wave hits.

> Q: The new world seems to divide into those who look leaner and those who have put on the corona-kilos. The trouble is, this isn’t just an aesthetic issue. After age, obesity is the second biggest risk factor for hospitalisation from Covid-19.

> Q: You cannot “level up” the nation, as Boris Johnson wants to do, unless you close this health gap. The prime minister’s near-death experience in intensive care has converted him from libertarian to obesity warrior. Yet vested interests are trying to dilute his ambitions.

> But it's not just obesity - and it's not just sugar ! Q:

> Obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome associated with an up to 10-fold increase risk in death from COVID-19

> Ultra-processed food which makes up half of British diet blamed as primary culprit

> Only 1 in 8 adults are metabolically healthy

> Dietary changes can rapidly reduce risk of health complications and can potentially send type 2 diabetes into remission within weeks.

> International experts in medicine, dietetics and nutrition call for immediate update on public health messaging to eat whole nutritious food to rapidly reduce risk of COVID-19 complications and potentially save hundreds and thousands of lives.

> Even if the government takes no action this is an issue we can all take control of personally. Doing so will prepare us for the second wave, and indeed any future virus. A robust precaution which pre-empts the development-cycle-time delay for a vaccine.


A good dump in the morning is all you need.

5
In reply to wercat:

> David Davis has worked tirelessly in the Sugar industry for years.  Big Sugar - can't really expect much from his party

So he's the Big Sugar Daddy?

In reply to LeeWood:

> Even if the government takes no action this is an issue we can all take control of personally. Doing so will prepare us for the second wave, and indeed any future virus. A robust precaution which pre-empts the development-cycle-time delay for a vaccine.

I'm not sure about pre-empting a vaccine (obesity isn't the only risk factor) but yes, obesity is a serious health issue and worsens the prognosis of pretty much any other health condition.

And well done!  A genuine, well-evidenced and important health issue!

 MeMeMe 23 Jul 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

> Only 1 in 8 adults are metabolically healthy

I'm worried now that I'm not metabolically healthy. What does it mean? How do I tell?

 Lankyman 23 Jul 2020
In reply to MeMeMe:

> metabolically healthy. What does it mean? How do I tell?

It's verybigimportantspeak for 'a good dump in the morning'. Check the pan for reassurance.

In reply to LeeWood:

Whilst I'll not suggest sugar is Ok, it's over eating and lack of activity which is causing the obesity problem. 

Post edited at 11:53
6
 elsewhere 23 Jul 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

What's this "Q:" business?

 Andy Johnson 23 Jul 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

At the root of it all is poverty.

I think it's futile to expect tories to actually do anything about this. Their world-view needs winners and losers,and the myth that winners succeed solely by their own striving. The society we have - cyclic multi-generation poverty, poor education, dead-end jobs - is the society that they diligently built.

Post edited at 12:13
10
 nikoid 23 Jul 2020
In reply to MeMeMe:

If you go to the end of the Robert Lustig article he defines the parameters for good metabolic health there. Basically don't be overweight, have the right blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

 MeMeMe 23 Jul 2020
In reply to nikoid:

Thanks!

 TomD89 23 Jul 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

Speaking from personal experience, I found that the journey to improving diet and overall health was getting into positive feedback loop:

Be very slightly more physically active

Feel and look slightly better

Eat slightly less rubbish to not squander the time invested in activity

Replace the gap left by the rubbish with something slightly healthier

Feel healthier so less resistant to further activity

Repeat

I do not believe that halving sugar in confectionery and fizzy drinks will amount to anything more than people in unhealthy patterns eating twice as many. Encouraging people into accessible and enjoyable activities to kick start this feedback loop will lead to people changing their eating patterns, or at the very least offset the damage caused by unhealthy eating.

In short, stop trying to ban your way into public health and work on promoting and funding healthy lifestyles. Ultimately individuals will have to do the hard work themselves, but ensuring they have the information and opportunity to do that hard work is the key.  

1
 Timmd 23 Jul 2020
In reply to summo:

> Whilst I'll not suggest sugar is Ok, it's over eating and lack of activity which is causing the obesity problem. 

I guess in the most simplistic terms it is (which isn't me having a dig), but in a society where many jobs are inactive, and sugar can be hidden in foods, targeting the sugar could seem to be a productive step, and something which can be definitely said to have been done, while efforts towards getting people to be more active also happen, it isn't worth not doing, one might say.

Post edited at 13:06
 Andy Johnson 23 Jul 2020
In reply to TomD89:

> In short, stop trying to ban your way into public health and work on promoting and funding healthy lifestyles. Ultimately individuals will have to do the hard work themselves, but ensuring they have the information and opportunity to do that hard work is the key.  

What do you do when the food industry spends thirty times more [1] on advertising junk food than the government spends on information about healthy eating? Does leaving it solely individuals constitute a policy that is likely to achieve anything? Or just a cycle of repeated failure?

[1] https://www.bmj.com/content/359/bmj.j4677

Post edited at 13:06
 Cobra_Head 23 Jul 2020
In reply to MeMeMe:

> I'm worried now that I'm not metabolically healthy. What does it mean? How do I tell?


It could mean that your Meta is OK

But bolically you're in big trouble. which is where we get the phrase, "getting a bollocking" from.

God luck, you sound like you'll need it.

In reply to Timmd:

> I guess in the most simplistic terms it is (which isn't me having a dig), but in a society where many jobs are inactive

I'd agree, we mechanised the work place, then built machines to exercise on when not working. 

>  and sugar can be hidden in foods

Food labelling has arguably never been better. It's not rocket science. 

> targeting the sugar could seem to be a productive step, and something which can be definitely said to have been done, while efforts towards getting people to be more active also happen, it isn't worth not doing, one might say.

Targeting sugar could also be seen as a soft touch target rather than saying you have diabetes because you are lazy and eat 500 calories a day, every day, more than you need. 

Being overweight kills... You see very few 70 year olds who are seriously obese and never see 80, 90 or 100 years old carrying 10 or 20 kilos extra. When society treats it like smoking and cancer, then we'll turn a corner. 

Post edited at 13:21
3
 LeeWood 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

> A good dump in the morning is all you need.

More truth in that than might be imagined - because general health depends on good alimentary health. But you're more likely to have a good dump if you eat right 

 LeeWood 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> I'm not sure about pre-empting a vaccine (obesity isn't the only risk factor) but yes, obesity is a serious health issue and worsens the prognosis of pretty much any other health condition.

The point here is -

A robust precaution which pre-empts the development-cycle-time delay for a vaccine.

Right now we are stressed out about the invisible lurking danger of the virus - and some would say - we're 'waiting' for a vaccine. But this waiting period (and any such which arise from a subsequent novel virus in years to come) may be considered less dangerous if we boost personal immunity.

Considering the evidence it's hard to understand government inaction - when this basic factor can have such significant impact. The question of 'personal freedom' and 'freedom of choice' in this matter must obviously be re-prioritised in the greater frame of freedoms eg. lockdown and mask wearing

 Timmd 23 Jul 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

I think obesity is one of those things where the freedom to eat and live how one wishes, at some point impacts upon wider society in it's costs to the NHS, and somewhere in the mix is the space which the sugar industry is given so that foods one wouldn't think to check can have several tea or table spoons of sugar in them.

On the face of it, I think it's pretty logical and sensible for the government to target the sugar which goes into food, people can always add more at home, and where people don't it'll improve their health, and as new shoppers are born they won't have the same taste for sugar in the foods it used to be in, which could gradually have an impact if done alongside other public health schemes.

I can see where people are coming from on the principle of people needing to take some responsibility for checking what they're buying, but we could be waiting a long time for everybody to be doing that to enough of a degree.

Post edited at 19:23
In reply to Timmd:

Tax sugar... but kebab and chips, curries etc are Ok? 

1
In reply to Lankyman:

There have been some anecdotal references to vitamin D and its part in boosting immunity. I have not done any follow up research but I do keep my vitamin D levels at the appropriate level in any case.

In reply to Andy Johnson:

> At the root of it all is poverty.

> I think it's futile to expect tories to actually do anything about this. Their world-view needs winners and losers,and the myth that winners succeed solely by their own striving. The society we have - cyclic multi-generation poverty, poor education, dead-end jobs - is the society that they diligently built.

Are you sure?

I used to be very well off and decently fat.

Now I'm less well off and less fat. 

 Timmd 23 Jul 2020
In reply to summo:

> Tax sugar... but kebab and chips, curries etc are Ok? 

I wouldn't think taxation would be needed to address the amount of sugar in things like sauces? Regulation could be a different approach, 

Post edited at 19:53
1
 LeeWood 23 Jul 2020
In reply to bouldery bits:

> Are you sure?

> I used to be very well off and decently fat.

> Now I'm less well off and less fat. 

I think there's a worst case scenario for poorer people - w r t money and education. But there's far too much tempting trash on the shop shelves - considering the quantity, range and convenience of such products - enough tricks and treats to exploit people of any and all wage brackets.

In reply to LeeWood:

I agree!

In reply to LeeWood:

Tax high sugar foods (and other foods causing a known problem) in a sum to cover the cost to the NHS.

That is all that should be done.  If people choose to eat those foods to excess knowing they are bad for them, their choice.  (It does differ rather from smoking in that if not eaten to excess there's no real issue).

Post edited at 20:08
 Timmd 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Tax high sugar foods (and other foods causing a known problem) in a sum to cover the cost to the NHS.

> That is all that should be done.  If people choose to eat those foods to excess knowing they are bad for them, their choice.  (It does differ rather from smoking in that if not eaten to excess there's no real issue).

'Raises hand', as a type 1 diabetic, sugary foods and drinks can be rather helpful on those occasions when my blood sugar drops too low, or is close to doing.  Things like Jelly Babies and similar packets of sweets especially.

Post edited at 20:29
 LeeWood 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Tax high sugar foods (and other foods causing a known problem) in a sum to cover the cost to the NHS.

> That is all that should be done.  If people choose to eat those foods to excess knowing they are bad for them, their choice.  (It does differ rather from smoking in that if not eaten to excess there's no real issue).

That logic would have been reasonable pre-pandemic. Now however it is known that - after the age vulnerable - the 2nd biggest cat' is contributing significantly to hospital beds ie. pandemic hospital overload. If imposed restrictions reduce hospital cases sufficiently - then lockdown may be avoidable.

This could be a worse case than smokers sharing their fumes !

In reply to Timmd:

> I wouldn't think taxation would be needed to address the amount of sugar in things like sauces? Regulation could be a different approach, 

It's fats in stuff like curries, cream etc.. 

Why not just sort out the very antiquated vat rules for food. Rather than worry about if something is a cake or biscuit, cooked or reheated etc. Perhaps the general health of the product should dictate vat code. 

1
 LeeWood 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Timmd:

> 'Raises hand', as a type 1 diabetic, sugary foods and drinks can be rather helpful on those occasions when my blood sugar drops too low, or is close to doing.  Things like Jelly Babies and similar packets of sweets especially.

I hope you don't get out of control too often ?? There must be many other healthier alternatives - bananas, dried fruit etc

1
In reply to LeeWood:

> I hope you don't get out of control too often ?? There must be many other healthier alternatives - bananas, dried fruit etc

It's the speed of absorption that some diabetics need, not total sugar content. Many just always have a few sweets in wrappers with them 24/7 just in case. Bananas are not exactly so convenient. 

 Timmd 23 Jul 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

> I hope you don't get out of control too often ?? There must be many other healthier alternatives - bananas, dried fruit etc

It's either fruit juice or something sugary, it comes down to convenience too, what fits in one's pocket most easily, and doesn't go off with the heat, and can be taken into clubs and pubs and music events etc without undue hassle. 

Post edited at 21:06
 1poundSOCKS 23 Jul 2020
In reply to summo:

> Targeting sugar could also be seen as a soft touch target rather than saying you have diabetes because you are lazy and eat 500 calories a day, every day, more than you need. 

I think type 2 diabetes starts as insulin resistance. So it's not necessarily about being lazy or calories. I'd say eating less foods that spike insulin levels (the insulin index) and eating less often (rather than necessarily trying to eat less) would help. Fats have a low insulin response, lower then protein and especially carbs. Even though they have twice the calories.

Obesity and diabetes tend to correlate because they're both signs of a 'broken' metabolism. But I don't think it's necessarily causation. People with high insulin levels tend to feel hungry all the time so they eat more. And the high insulin means they store more as fat.

Post edited at 21:02
 Timmd 23 Jul 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

> I hope you don't get out of control too often ?? There must be many other healthier alternatives - bananas, dried fruit etc

It's one of those things where aiming for the least bad is second to ideal - and isn't 'too' bad in itself, if one doesn't go unconscious it's basically harmless except to one's teeth. I'm just getting back into driving lessons again, and the drivers who never have to deal with a hypo or approaching hypo while driving, tend to be the one's who have blood sugar which goes unhealthily high, which causes health problems that don't occur from having a 'hypo' (which is where it goes too low). Which means I'll need to stop and test every so often to avoid being unsafe to myself and other people. 

With sugar in undue amounts being bad for the heart, as far as I understand, it's worth avoiding, but as somebody who likes to be active for the sake of it and eats fairly healthily, in the scheme of things there's worse things than needing to treat hypos with Jelly Babies (except for my teeth, which are mostly fillings). 

nb: I've never gone unconscious, too.

Post edited at 21:17
 Ridge 23 Jul 2020
In reply to summo:

> Whilst I'll not suggest sugar is Ok, it's over eating and lack of activity which is causing the obesity problem. 

I'll leave George Orwell to comment on that:

"Would it not be better if they spent more money on wholesome things like oranges and wholemeal bread or if they even, like the writer of the letter to the New Statesman, saved on fuel and ate their carrots raw?

Yes, it would, but the point is that no ordinary human being is ever going to do such a thing. The ordinary human being would sooner starve than live on brown bread and raw carrots. And the peculiar evil is this, that the less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food.

A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn't. Here the tendency of which I spoke at the end of the last chapter comes into play. When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don't want to eat dull wholesome food.

You want something a little bit 'tasty'. There is always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you."

 Timmd 23 Jul 2020
In reply to summo:

> It's fats in stuff like curries, cream etc.. 

> Why not just sort out the very antiquated vat rules for food. Rather than worry about if something is a cake or biscuit, cooked or reheated etc. Perhaps the general health of the product should dictate vat code. 

This study seems to suggest that a high amount of sugar can increase the risk of heart disease in healthy people. It could be that I need to look afresh at the amount of sugar I consume.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319663

I couldn't claim to know anything about healthy and unhealthy fats...

 Timmd 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Ridge:

It seems he was wise in many ways.

Edit: Where is that taken from, please?

Post edited at 21:46
 Ridge 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Timmd:

The Road to Wigan Pier

 Timmd 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Ridge:

Many thanks, Ridge. 

Post edited at 21:58
In reply to LeeWood: All

I wasn't defending sugar. 

But also activity, be it active work or exercise makes the body work to maintain sugar levels, which reduces some of factors causing diabetes. 

 girlymonkey 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Timmd:

I presume they could be prescribed though for type 1 diabetics. It can't be beyond the whit of man to sort that issue out! 

 girlymonkey 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Ridge:

Raw carrots have always been a favourite snack of mine! I used to take a raw carrot to primary school as my play piece! I will not have it said that they are dull!! And granary bread was also a treat for me. My parents could only afford cheapo cotton wool bread, but when my Grandma came to visit she would take me to the baker's for a granary loaf (I thought it was called a Granny loaf because it was grannies and Grandmas who bought it! Lol) Nothing dull about the right wholesome foods!

 Jack 23 Jul 2020
In reply to MeMeMe:

It's all about you you you.

 Timmd 24 Jul 2020
In reply to girlymonkey: I've always preferred wholesome granary bread and other brown breads to 'plastic bread', as relatives used to call the ready sliced white bread.

 LeeWood 24 Jul 2020
In reply to Ridge:

> You want something a little bit 'tasty'. There is always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you.

Interesting prose - but it's logic is outdated. It is known that the last 2-3 decades have seen a massive proliferation of strategies to hoodwink the jaded consumer. Furthermore we are incited to be 'busier' than ever with faster hi-tech lives - and the convenience element levers many into tasty junkfood purchase.

If we rolled the choices back to Orwell's tastiest - of his day - national health would naturally be better - as it was indeed. What year was that book written ?

In reply to LeeWood:

> Interesting prose - but it's logic is outdated. It is known that the last 2-3 decades have seen a massive proliferation of strategies to hoodwink the jaded consumer. Furthermore we are incited to be 'busier' than ever with faster hi-tech lives - and the convenience element levers many into tasty junkfood purchase.

If you said that 8 months ago I'd agree, but we are now in the home working, furloughed worker and millions about to be jobless world... fast food on the go is a thing of the past for many. Combined with the fact that covid takes the obese and those with diabetes more readily, there has unlikely never been a better time for a shift in direction.

Even the evil Tories have just banned junk food adverts before the watershed. Just need to stop companies like mcds and cola sponsoring the Olympics. The association between red bull and some sports is pretty naff too. 

1
 Ridge 24 Jul 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> Raw carrots have always been a favourite snack of mine! I used to take a raw carrot to primary school as my play piece! I will not have it said that they are dull!! And granary bread was also a treat for me. My parents could only afford cheapo cotton wool bread, but when my Grandma came to visit she would take me to the baker's for a granary loaf (I thought it was called a Granny loaf because it was grannies and Grandmas who bought it! Lol) Nothing dull about the right wholesome foods!

Agree completely, although you have to remember it was in written in 1937.

It's interesting you mention granary loaves. I'm looking at a tesco granary loaf that is ''green' on the label for sugar, but contains 1.5g per (thin) slice, thats over a teaspoon in 3 slices, I put that in a very large homemade loaf. It also has about 4 times the salt content.

 girlymonkey 24 Jul 2020
In reply to Ridge:

Yes, shop bought bread can be pretty bad. These days I have the luxury of a bread maker, so no sugar or salt at all in mine. 

That is a shocking amount of sugar in the one you mention!!

 Timmd 24 Jul 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

Shop bought bread is probably the bread which most people eat, and Tesco is one of the 'big 4' IIRC. I alternate between Sainsburys organic brown sliced bread, and organic bread from my local green grocers, in case there's something in the theory that the pesticide which is sprayed onto the wheat kernels gets bound into the bread and eaten. I think I hope that chasing away the flab gathering around my middle by being active will help against any negative health aspects salt and sugar level related due to the bread. One good side to diabetes is the regular health checks, it's probably the only one, but it's a useful thing.

Post edited at 08:46
 ring ouzel 24 Jul 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

From a health point of view reducing sugar and (for most people) losing weight is a no brainer.

From the Govt's point of view, this is a fantastic thing to promote. The Govt will be seen as doing something positive in pushing the lose weight message. And when the covid-19 second wave hits and hits hard, the Govt can absolve itself of all responsibility by pointing the finger at the public and saying it's our fault for not losing enough weight. Genius!!

Cynical? Moi?

 Ridge 24 Jul 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

> Interesting prose - but it's logic is outdated. It is known that the last 2-3 decades have seen a massive proliferation of strategies to hoodwink the jaded consumer. Furthermore we are incited to be 'busier' than ever with faster hi-tech lives - and the convenience element levers many into tasty junkfood purchase.

> If we rolled the choices back to Orwell's tastiest - of his day - national health would naturally be better - as it was indeed. What year was that book written ?

1937.

"As you can see by looking at any greengrocer’s shop, what the majority of English people mean by an apple is a lump of highly-coloured cotton wool from America or Australia; they will devour these things, apparently with pleasure, and let the English apples rot under the trees. It is the shiny, standardized, machine-made look of the American apple that appeals to them; the superior taste of the English apple is something they simply do not notice.

Or look at the factory-made, foil wrapped cheeses and ‘blended’ butter in a grocer’s; look at the hideous rows of tins which usurp more and more of the space in any food-shop, even a dairy; look at a sixpenny Swiss roll or a twopenny ice-cream; look at the filthy chemical by-product that people will pour down their throats under the name of beer."

Diet actually improved after that, due to rationing.

Post edited at 09:29
 LeeWood 25 Jul 2020
In reply to summo:

> Even the evil Tories have just banned junk food adverts before the watershed. Just need to stop companies like mcds and cola sponsoring the Olympics. The association between red bull and some sports is pretty naff too. 

The food-reform campaign progress moves on - yesterday's FT report - but with some irony - no impact for the 2nd wave :

Title Q: Johnson rushes to put UK junk food advertising on a diet

Q: The government is expected to propose enacting the reforms before the next election, due in 2024, with primary legislation required for the restrictions on online advertising. The process could take several years to conclude.

https://www.ft.com/content/27072e9d-175e-4f9f-adff-0b8491a07046

However, it sounds like progress with definite intention all helps to re-enforce the message -

Q: In June he told Times Radio that he had abandoned his “libertarian stance on obesity”, saying: “We will be happier, fitter and more resistant to diseases like Covid if we can tackle obesity.”

Post edited at 07:58
 LeeWood 25 Jul 2020
In reply to Ridge:

> It's interesting you mention granary loaves. I'm looking at a tesco granary loaf that is ''green' on the label for sugar, but contains 1.5g per (thin) slice, thats over a teaspoon in 3 slices, I put that in a very large homemade loaf. It also has about 4 times the salt content.

Ahh - granary bread - with honey and p-nut butter - an old fav  

 Snozzwanger 25 Jul 2020
In reply to Ridge:

> I'll leave George Orwell to comment on that:

> "Would it not be better if they spent more money on wholesome things like oranges and wholemeal bread or if they even, like the writer of the letter to the New Statesman, saved on fuel and ate their carrots raw?

> Yes, it would, but the point is that no ordinary human being is ever going to do such a thing. The ordinary human being would sooner starve than live on brown bread and raw carrots. And the peculiar evil is this, that the less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food.

> A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn't. Here the tendency of which I spoke at the end of the last chapter comes into play. When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don't want to eat dull wholesome food.

> You want something a little bit 'tasty'. There is always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you."

 An interesting post, thanks.

 Big Bruva 25 Jul 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

People usually find the self-discipline to deal with things they care about.

My neighbour is very overweight but her house is super tidy. She spends hours every week keeping it that way. I'm (fairly) lean but my house is a tip. I spend hours staying lean.

Which begs 2 questions for me:

  • Why don't people care about being lean?
  • If they don't care, why should anyone else?

(Swap 'being lean' for 'mess' and you have equally valid questions!) 

So apart from ensuring that the population is aware of the dangers of being overweight, I'm not sure the government should be doing much else.

The biggest strain on the health and care systems are old people who are invariably lean, so that argument doesn't hold up.

And if we really wanted to save people from themselves we would ban dangerous sporting activities. Considering climbing to be more worthy than enjoying food and drink is just cultural snobbism.

This was pretty much Boris's view as well before he became Prime Minister. Was he always a closet meddler but hid the fact because he knew that being libertarian is a vote winner? Or does power invariably turn people into meddlers? 

Mmmmm!

1
In reply to Big Bruva:

> The biggest strain on the health and care systems are old people who are invariably lean, 

Because all the fatties have died young?

Saves worrying about retirement homes or even saving for pension, get fat and bang out early. 

 LeeWood 25 Jul 2020
In reply to Big Bruva:

> And if we really wanted to save people from themselves we would ban dangerous sporting activities. Considering climbing to be more worthy than enjoying food and drink is just cultural snobbism.

1st issue of this thread - is to relate the % of hospital entrants during pandemic - for which critical threshold insists we need lockdown. If by increasing collective national health we can avoid lockdown - then this becomes a group concern.

Otherwise we are generally happy if science or the gov identifies toxic elements in our food supplies - normally applied to chemicals eg. pesticide/herbicides or oestrogen mimics. BUT with increasing technology driving the variety and complexity of product range, the divide food-chemical boundary is getting blurred. (quite apart from real chemicals which are indeed used as eg. anti-oxidants / flavouring etc )

At the least we should be informed of the risks our food presents; as climbers risk is always a conscious element. 

 Big Bruva 26 Jul 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

> If by increasing collective national health we can avoid lockdown - then this becomes a group concern.

You're correct, but government strategies need to be predictable. Relying on people to lose weight is not a strategy you can depend on. People are notoriously bad at making even minor individual sacrifices for the greater good and no government would ever actually enforce weight loss!

Improving treatment/testing facilities and making masks obligatory are strategies with at least partly predictable outcomes because the government has an element of control over their deployment. However they require massive investment in the NHS (which the government is loathe to do) and police enforcement (which the public is loathe to accept).

Making a big show about weight loss has little cost and serves the purpose of shifting the blame onto 'the people'. Now who could have convinced Boris to go along with that plan?!

> At the least we should be informed of the risks our food presents

Absolutely. 

 StoneManky 26 Jul 2020

I think national strategy should just be to teach calories in < calories out. It's simple, it works, and the science seems to be strongest for it as a method of cutting weight. It's always what I've used. I've never put a huge focus on macros. For me, and I think for almost everyone, the simple calories in < calories out equation is the be all and end all of losing weight, or maintaining weight. 

I think the issue we have is that so much of food packaging is made to obfuscate how much you're eating. 

You know that voluntary (an issue in of itself) labeling on the front of lots of prepackaged food products? The traffic light system, which tells you calories, and the macros, with red/amber/green to denote if it's good. Well that's an absolute con, as often if you look carefully you'll see it's just for a 'portion'. For example, it might display the details for 1/4 of a small pizza... Who is eating 1/4 of a small pizza? I saw some jelly tots once and they had a serving size of 6 jelly tots. Who the hell is eating 6 jelly tots? You scoff the entire bag. 

The entire system is broken as is. What we need is compulsory and simple to understand nutritional information. 

I'd propose doing away with calories, at least on the front of the packet. Keep them, and all the normal info that currently exists (macros, etc) on the back.

They're too complicated, too intimidating to look at, needlessly precise, and too hard to track in your head over the course of a day. We need a system a 5 year old can do, so that it's done almost subconsciously by adults. 

On the front, display a new unit of measurement for food. Could call it a foodie, or whatever. This unit should be calories, divided by 100, rounded up to nearest whole number. 

So:

150 calorie chocolate bar becomes 2 foodies. 

566 calorie gingsters pasty becomes 6 foodies. 

Etc, etc. 

Then you put these numbers on the front of foods, and the numbers are for the entire product as packaged. Not for a portion. People can divide the number 6 by 2, if needed. They don't need help with that. 

Along with the number should be a QR code with all the nutritional information in it. 

The government should also release a phone app, with a simple to use interface that allows people to easily track their consumption of food by scanning the QR codes. 

Fast food places should also be required to display these QR codes for their foods. 

Then the government should do a national advertising campaign, as an ongoing concern, advertising the fact that the average male needs 23 foodies a day and the average female needs 20 foodies a day. And to download the app (which would then allow for some intuitive customization to more accurately set someones foodie goal, using height and weight)..

Add an hour into the school curriculum each year to teach the foodie system to kids.

Knowing how much you're eating needs to be completely intuitive, and the only way to do that is by simplifying the shit out of it, imo. The current system isn't fit for purpose.  

Make the system so simple, that it takes effort *not* to count calories. See a big 5 printed on the front of the packet, you're going to have a hard time not adding that to the big 6 you saw earlier. 

Post edited at 09:35
1
 1poundSOCKS 26 Jul 2020
In reply to StoneManky:

> I think national strategy should just be to teach calories in < calories out.

Do you think a significant proportion of people don't know this?

> It's simple, it works, and the science seems to be strongest for it as a method of cutting weight.

Obviously a calorie deficit works and you're not going to lose weight without achieving it. The debate is how best to get people to achieve it.

Should we be concentrating on food as simple numbers to indicate the energy content, or look at the nutritional value? And how the food affects the metabolism and health, which is really the underlying issue which obesity is part of. No point being stick thin and unhealthy.

 marsbar 26 Jul 2020
In reply to StoneManky:

We do teach healthy eating and I'm sure they learn about calories in Science. 

However we also have to be careful as teenagers are at risk of eating disorders and calorie counting at a young age can easily lead to obsessive behaviour.  We don't want to end up with outbreaks of anorexia either.  

Personally I think we need to make sure they get more exercise time.  Make sure sugary drinks aren't tolerated at school.  Too many kids stock up with rubbish at the shops on the way in to school.  

 GerM 26 Jul 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

> A good dump in the morning is all you need

>More truth in that than might be imagined - because general health depends on good alimentary health. But you're more likely to have a good dump if you eat right 

There is a little Welsh verse I used to hear my grandmother recite:

"Yr iach a gach y bore, yr afiach a gach yr hwyr,

Yr afiach a gach ychydig bach, yr iach a gach yn llwyr."

Roughly translated:

"The healthy shit in the morning, the unhealthy shit in the evening,

The unhealthy shit a little bit, the healthy shit the lot."

Post edited at 13:12
 DancingOnRock 26 Jul 2020
In reply to Ridge:

No. That’s ‘sugars’ not sugar. There’s a lot of natural sugars in bread from the part fermentation of the yeast. And given the low content of fat it doesn’t hit the ‘magic addiction ratio’ that the fast processed foods have. There’s a mix of fat/sugar that creates a craving for certain foods. 
 

There’s no point in demonising fat or sugar. Sugar is pretty bad for you, but I think most people would struggle to eat more than 100grams of jelly babies in one sitting without feeling sick, but could easily eat 400g of chocolate. 
 

Then we could look at the quantities and availability of beer and wine. Alcohol switches off your liver’s processing of carbohydrate in order to metabolise the alcohol. Hence on a night out your blood sugar drops and you crave a kebab or whatever fast food is available. You’re not actually hungry, it’s just your liver has stopped working. 
 

There’s a very complex mechanism going on, simply banning sugar isn’t the way to go. 
 

 LeeWood 27 Jul 2020
In reply to StoneManky:

> Knowing how much you're eating needs to be completely intuitive, and the only way to do that is by simplifying the shit out of it, imo.

Good try - and I wish this were possible. However, food is v complex and it can't all be reduced to calories. I don't know the solution - but it it is in part - the synthetic creation of foodstuffs which make some more dangerous than 'just calories'.

Overall it's useful to understand the rating of Glyceamic Index - which tells you how fast glucose can be absorbed from a foodstuff. The (equal) calories from a potato do less harm than those from a sticky toffee.

> - DancingRock - There’s a mix of fat/sugar that creates a craving for certain foods. 

The issue of of 'appeal' is important - remarked on above. Food technology creates compulsive eating habits by the desire for un-natural combinations of elements. As well as fat/sugar, (and which fats / sugars !) the industry uses ingredients (& chemicals !) to add texture, colour and flavour - all contributing to appeal.

Furthermore some insidious chemicals actually change body chemistry - oestrogen mimics - which have no place in food - act upon hormone regulation which instructs to store excess sugar as fat. Among other sources these are known to leach their way into fatty foodstuffs from plastic wrapping.

So there's a few points on weight control alone. I'm thin as a rake so no worries for obesity - but bad food makes me - and you - ill in many other ways. There are numerous reasons to justify gov regulation for all this - to chop out known poisons in addition to enforcing clear presentation. 

But finally there needs to be greater education so that public can make informed choices. It would need a minor revolution to correctly inform every-one from infancy - starting with parental knowledge.

 LeeWood 27 Jul 2020
In reply to GerM:

> Roughly translated

As well as a 'a little and a lot' the other issue is transit-time - keep an eye on the matter ;) next time you eat sweetcorn. Charcoal tablets and spinach also create unambiguous colour tracking.   

 LeeWood 27 Jul 2020
In reply to Big Bruva:

> Making a big show about weight loss has little cost and serves the purpose of shifting the blame onto 'the people'. Now who could have convinced Boris to go along with that plan?!

I am intrigued ! But can't help seeing some truth here. The government has far reaching strategies which will steer us towards (largely) unspoken goals. We need 20/20 vision to look deeper than the facade and see what's happening.

1
 Ketu 28 Jul 2020
In reply to MeMeMe:

> I'm worried now that I'm not metabolically healthy. What does it mean? How do I tell?

Count how many bottles of pills you have in your bathroom cabinet


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