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Jamie Oliver and Sugar

Jamie Oliver declares war on SUGAR. Why it matters for the common individual.

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Sugar. Take a stroll in your local supermarket and most things on the shelves will have sugar as a main ingredient. It is a sweetener, it is a bulking agent, and it is a preservative. Sugar comes in many forms: glucose, fructose, and sucrose. In its basic form, sugar, or glucose, provides energy for the body. However, the rise of refined sugar in our diet has been attributed to a rise in multiple health problems. From a dental perspective, a high sugar diet is one of the main contributors to tooth decay.

While many know the dangers of overconsumption of sugar, the sugar industry is still booming. World-renowned chef, Jamie Oliver, believes in tackling this problem early: sugary drinks in children. His newest TV documentary, ‘Jamie’s Sugar Rush’ aims to drum the issue on a larger scale.

“…It will expose the true cost of sugar (particularly sugar-sweetened drinks) on global health and connect this to the fact that we now have 700 amputations per year in the UK from diabetes. It will help explain why childhood obesity rates have risen so dramatically within a generation: in the US, where a third of children are overweight or obese, the average weight of a child has risen by more than 5kg in three decades. And it will show how a “soda tax” in Mexico has, it seems, helped stop the rot of soaring incidences of diabetes in the land once dubbed “Mexicoke”…”

That has been met with resistance as the excerpt below notes:

“…But he’s not so appealing to the food and drink industry. So far, its rebuttal to Oliver’s comeback campaign has been predictable. Ian Wright, a spokesman for the Food and Drink Federation, told the Grocer magazine: “It’s up to parents to decide what kids watch and what they eat and it’s certainly not up to self-appointed but ill-judged characters like Jamie Oliver.” He further argued that the Oliver manifesto would be a “curtailment of freedom and personal responsibility. The world will have gone mad if we have a TV chef deciding health policy. What’s next, would we have economic policy decided by Ian Beale?”

…At every turn the initiatives that could make a difference seem to be thwarted by a globalised food industry run by transnational corporations and at the service of foreign capital, aided and abetted by World Trade Organisation rules…”

The WHO sums up the issues affecting global health:

As Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organisation, put it: “It’s not just Big Tobacco any more, public health must also contend with Big Food, Big Soda and Big Alcohol. All of these industries fear regulation and protect themselves by using the same tactics, including lobbying lawsuits, promises of self-regulation and industry-funded research that confuses the evidence and keeps the public in doubt.”

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