10 Sep, 2015

Jamie Oliver is right: it’s madness not to clamp down on sugar

The Guardian | Gaby Hinsliff | Health | Friday 4 September 2015

The food crusader’s campaign is much needed. We’re addicted to the sweet stuff and it’s killing us.

No matter what you think of Saint Jamie of Oliver, his timing is impeccable. Barely had the Frosties been cleared from the nation’s breakfast tables yesterday morning when, via Instagram, he launched his latest moral crusade.

Pictured in hospital scrubs and solemnly exhorting us to “save our NHS”, at first glance the chef could almost have been campaigning against cuts or privatisation. But his intended target is in its way just as political; the toxic alliance of a food industry peddling obscenely calorific junk with humans who seemingly can’t stop eating it, which some fear could together overwhelm western healthcare systems. 

Abstract: The argument for taxing or otherwise regulating the white stuff is almost always framed as saving the kiddies from an untimely death (Oliver says he was inspired by seeing his own four bombarded with fizzy-drink ads while watching telly). But what separates this war on Big Sugar from his school dinners project, or even from sin taxes on age-restricted products like booze and fags, is that there’s no way of weaning children off sugar without also affecting adult diets. And many grown-ups respond to that with all the fury of toddlers denied a biscuit.