Say no to sugar taxes

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Drone alert in more ways than one…

Healthy Food Guide reports today that

“A petition calling for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages that collected nearly 10,000 signatures was presented to Maori and Green Party MPs in Parliament last week”

That’s on the HFG site that is so paranoid that it has blocked the right mouse button function to prevent people copying or printing its articles and recipes. Heads up, team, all that does is force people to other sites more friendly (you’re not that unique), to use the browser drop-down menu, and/or just give you a miss: most, if not all of your recipes are available elsewhere (it’s not called the world-wide web for nothing you know)…just Google the recipe title to see if you can’t find the same -or often a better – recipe elsewhere…

But…back to the sugar thing…dear food fun Nazis, please get a grip…taxes don’t stop people using commodities they want to use…increasing taxes hasn’t drastically changed usage stats for spray paint, petrol, alcohol or nicotine, nor, had the legislation been enacted, would it have stopped sheep farting…all taxes on products like these is make them more expense so that people waste more money on them (less the sheep farting – sheep farts will always be free).

If you really want to stop people using something, then ban it and make it totally unavailable, except of course, for the bootleg and black market alternatives that will spring into existence the second the ban goes into effect. Bans – certainly where the market mass is most of the population – are rarely (not really!!) effective.

Ongoing effective education is the solution. Not anti-sugar propaganda because even kids can see through that. Tell it like it is. Put the truth – not truth, not your truth – out there. Be first with the truth. It’s not perfect but have a read of That Sugar Story anyway. Damon Gameau is a bit OTT at times but his basic premise is pretty good and pretty healthy – and you don’t need any laws or taxes to make it work. Consume less sugar. Avoid hidden sugars: quick tip, if it’s in a plastic wrapper that says it’s healthy, don’t touch it…you DON’T have to give up food fun to be healthy…there’s more to healthy food than water and lentils …

(lentils get a bad rap sometimes)

Stop trying to protect everyone from themselves. Nanny-stating has an opposite effect in the long term: instead of protecting the people from themselves, the increasing absence of challenge turns them into mindless drones incapable of applying judgement, solving problems or thinking for themselves.

I caught up with an old friend last week – someone who I had not physically seen 2007 but whom the miracle of Facebook had kept me in touch with. She made the very telling comment that the more support services we offer, the more people demand AND the less capable they become of thinking and fending for themselves. More and more people expect everyone to be nice to them and for ‘someone else’ to doing all think and supporting for them as well…

The truth is that sometimes life throws up challenges; life is sometimes a bit hard; things do not always go according to plan. ‘The people’ need to make their own decisions and accept the consequences of those decisions. They need to be given opportunities every day to exercise and practise those skills. Taking away their ability, indeed their right, to make lifestyle decisions for them and their families doesn’t make us smarter or healthier as a nation…

Look askance at any politician babbling in support of a sugar tax…

 

That Sugar Book

 

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I posted this on Goodreads but decided to use it as the basis for a post as well because it is so fundamental to my green journey. Although I was already on the this path before I saw the movie (another great Bubble recommendation!), I thought that it would be interesting and add more substance to the movie’s messages to read the book – so when I saw it going for a good price at the The Book Depository…

That Sugar Book┬áis an enjoyable read but not as effective in getting the counter-sugar message across as the movie – I would give the movie 5 stars for both entertainment and narrative…Possibly because it is in written form, and equally possibly because the author is a movie-maker not an author by trade and thus more experienced getting his messages across graphically, the messages are more subject to critical analysis in the book…

It is not quite clear in the book whether the message is counter-sugar or more against processed food with a high and possibly concealed sugar content. The author’s light approach is effective in the movie but does not translate as well across to a print medium and he comes across in a number of sections as more flippant than serious. He doesn’t help ‘the science’ of his case by sprinkling sugar over common food – trying too hard to make his point – instead of sticking to his stated programme of only eating apparently healthy food. Even in the recipes, he uses bananas but with a caution about their high fructose (bad sugars!!!) levels – I thought this was quite inconsistent: fructose is either bad and should be avoided or it just needs to be mitigated – just because it comes delivered in a fresh banana doesn’t make any any less bad – does it?

For me, possibly because I am already sold on the main message, the best part of the book is the last section which is also recipes. The narrative sections, I can take or leave…I think that the author needs to be clearer in his conclusions as to whether sugar is bad (we need some sugars to live), whether apparently healthy foods with concealed high sugar ratings are bad, and/or whether processed food in general is bad.

I lean towards these in reverse sequence of weighting i.e. processed food is bad, then foods with high levels of concealed sugars, and then finally some sugars being bad. This is based on my own experience as recently as yesterday when the apparently healthy muffins that I made for my granddaughters – even with the sugar halved – still set off a massive sugar craving that was aggravated by having commercial crumbed chicken – with a very sweet (and not stated on the label!) crumb mix – for dinner…it didn’t take long before the munchies had me climbing the wall…I only managed to quell them with a pineapple and coconut smoothie and three (big) glasses of water…

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If I wasn’t sure before, this definitely convinced me that there is something to this sugar rush/craving/addiction thing: if I still had stocks of chips and chocolate bars in the house they would have taking a hammering last night!!

If you buy this book, buy it for the recipes…if you’re more into the message, get the movie…