« Jobs Guarantees, good and bad | Main | David Bowie & consumption capital »

January 06, 2013


Clive King

Puzzled why they don't propose banning suger.

Does Labour hate Ultra runners or long distance cyclists? Getting enough calories down your neck is a serious challange when trying to run for 24 hours. Its an education trying to fill your Tesco trolly with the highest calories per unit weight that won't make you throw up.

This highlights an other problem with this managerialist ideology. It always adversly impacts an other section of society in ways you would never expect.

Long distance runners and cyclist as voters don't carry any importance, so who cares.


If you will forgive me for posting something that I wrote elsewhere on this, I think you may agree with my line even though its slightly different from yours?

What's more annoying:
a) ZaNuLieBore nanny staters want to totally BAN frosties and throw people in prison for eating them and stuff - Orwellian huh?


b) Politicians feel the need to spit out a stream of gestures and signals, be seen to be saying something to please a clueless, oversimplified opinion-on-everything-knowledge-about-nothing commentariat every now and then even going so far as to enact some legislation that is so impractical and badly drafted that it ends up being repealed or quietly removed or modified a bit like the huge, ever-growing perma-updating junk of code that makes up a Microsoft PC?

Me? The second one really bothers me. It mildly irritates me that people keep saying the first thing.


Quite right Chris. Even children can regulate themselves. My eleven-year-old won't eat Frosties. He complains they're too sweet. His dad, on the other hand, is rather partial to them.

Paul - no we won't forgive you. In the WOF (War on Frosties) you have to decide whose side you're on - you either stand with Tony the Tiger or you align yourself with the forces of darkness.

Luis Enrique

"people can't choose the best diet for themselves or their kids"

Is that managerialist ideology, or a statement of fact that explains obesity rates? After all, you can buy healthy food cheaply enough.

I confess I am torn on this one. I don't like nanny statism, but we do seem to have an thriving industry producing more sugary food than is good for people (of course only some people eat badly). Perhaps the government should observe widespread health problems and do nothing about them. But we don't take that attitude usually. So what's going to change our sugar consumption if not state intervention? Obviously there are more sensible varieties of intervention than banning specific cereals.

Jean Robinson

I would have thought the most sensible approach would be to tax sugar to the point where price modifies behaviour and adds to the state coffers at the same time. There is growing evidence that sugar availability is linked to obesity and that high prices can modify behaviour as it has with tobacco.

BT London

Chris is going *way* too abstract on this.

The state bans the sale of lots of things that people like but are bad for their health. Hard drugs, unhealthy medicines, alcohol before you are 18, cigarettes before you are 18, driving a car before you are 16, etc, etc.

So why not ban the sale of extremely unhealthy foods? If not, then at least force labelling with number of calories on the front of the packet. And ban advertising of these products, like the cigarette advertising ban.

The sweet tooth is a genetic trait that was useful in the jungle but is now an extremely harmful vestige that humans have to deal with.


I'll tell you why, BT dude. Sugar isn't bad for you. I appreciate this is counter to the received wisdom but it isn't. Neither is salt. Having *too much* is the problem. I've got a better idea: in French schools they get an hour and a half for lunch. At mine, there's 40 minutes. Kids prefer fast food to the crap made in the canteen (everything cooked without salt)? Doh! It's the usual story with these politicians. Haven't got a clue how ordinary people live. See the fat kids? I'd bet my bottom dollar that most of them don't have breakfast at all.

gastro george

"After all, you can buy healthy food cheaply enough."

It's the advertising, surely?


Umm, BT: There is a large, standard-looking table on every piece of packaged food that clearly lists Calories per serving, and the serving size. As I recall (Not having food in front of me at the moment) the calorific content is the first number on the list. I don't think moving the number to the front of the packet will make any difference at all.

Shuggy: be grateful for 40 minutes. At my kids' US elementary school, there is precisely 10 minutes allocated for lunch, followed by a 10 minute recess. Most kids bolt a few mouthfuls of something and don't even finish their lunch, because they want an extra 5 minutes outside. It's complete madness.


I do sucbscribe to the view that we should ban the addition of 'Fructose' but not 'Glucose' to food.

The way the body processes 'Fructose' in the quantities resulting from the addition of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS aka Modified Starch). Rhis can affect obesity and feelings of been 'full'.

Ill heath (from a component added to food) imposes costs on society and is not in the intrests of the individual.


"By contrast, the possibility that corporate managers will make incompetent decisions (for example in deciding not to invest or hire) doesn't get the attention it should."

Whereas state bureaucrats will make those decisions so much more wisely?


"The way the body processes 'Fructose' in the quantities resulting from the addition of High Fructose Corn Syrup"

This isn't a thing in the UK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_fructose_corn_syrup#European_Union

Luis Enrique

interesting idea about lunch break length, although I'd be surprised if it makes that much difference. Obesity has increased over time - have lunch breaks shortened and school meals worsened over time too?

Philip Walker

"If Labour were consistently statist, it would occasionally blunder into an intelligent use of the state"

I don't know that that follows: Labour's chief policymakers could be so incompetent they can't even recognise competence and its opposite in others. Which seems to be the thrust of your criticism...


I guess the decision to ban Sugar Puffs et al. is probably based on scientific evidences as was nicely pointed out by "aragon" and "bt london". What banning a potentially harmful substance has to do with Labour or any other political affiliation? Should we call statism relying on experts advice?


"...school meals worsened over time too?"

Much as I dislike Jamie Oliver, it must be admitted that they are much better. It was chips and burgers, and occasionally chips and pizza, when I was at school. I visited the place a couple of years ago, tucked into my stew and was informed that it was liver.

I suspect Shuggy is right about the kids at school not eating breakfast. Studies have shown that cereal eaters tend to be thinner...



Which is not to say that Frosties are at all healthy but that people who eat meals are less liable to snack. The prevalence of snacking, and the prevalence of foods perceived to be suitable for it, is a big factor.

Donald Norfolk  FRSPH

Obesity has now overtaken smoking as the world’s number one cause of avoidable sickness and premature death. Most adults in the Western world are now overweight, which renders them prone to Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary disease, strokes and at lest six types of cancer. People who succumb to these obesity-related maladies shorten their lives by an average of nine years. A recent study of 50 countries, published in the Lancet, a leading British medical journal, revealed that there has been an 82 per cent increase in obesity rates during the two decades from 1990 to 2010. If during that period there had been a similar growth in any other killer disease - tuberculosis, smallpox or the bubonic plague – the world’s health authorities would have launched massive campaigns to tackle the spread of the lethal pandemics. Instead they’re issuing vague suggestions that circumferentially challenged people should aim to eat less and exercise more. This they’ve been saying for fifty years with little or no effect. At some point the world at large must recognize that obesity is a multi-factorial life style disorder. Weight is generally put on slowly - at a rate of roughly a pound a year - and is best whittled down at an equally gentle pace. There’s no need to pump iron, run marathon races on go on starvation diets. All that’s needed for natural, and permanent, life time weight control is to adopt a healthier modus vivendi. And that’s best done by making a series of simple incremental life style changes, as I demonstrate on my regularly updated website www.donaldnorfolk.co.uk and in my recently published book More or Less?, which offers a medically approved 39-step guide to healthy life style change.

Ralph Musgrave

Chris, I don’t agree with your claim that Labour is wrong or inconsistent to incorporate the private sector in workfare or “job guarantees” or other temporary employment subsidies. We’ve had dozens if not hundreds of different employment subsidies in the West since WWII, and most labour market economists are happy with the idea that the private sector should make use of subsidised labour (whether those subsidies fall within the definition of “job guarantee” or not).

There are actually some very good reasons for incorporating the private sector here. One is that the private sector is better at employing relatively unskilled labour than the public sector. Second, there is good evidence that the post subsidised employment work record of those in temporary private sector subsidised jobs is better than those in temporary subsidised public sector jobs.


@Alex(12:55): it may be subject to a quota, but it crops up pretty regularly on the ingredients lists on products. I watch what I eat carefully (to avoid fructose as much as possible) so end up looking at lots of ingredients lists in supermarkets. Perhaps that quota gets used all the UK, I don't know. But it seems to be in quite a lot of UK products.

Anon of Not Searched

Surely, anything that's 30% sugar is a dessert and subject to VAT?

The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Blog powered by Typepad