Another inconvenient truth: obesity is up while sugar consumption is down – oops


Lifestyle, Arts and occasional Social Commentry blogger David P Farrar manages to put his finger on it:

I know some people hate facts getting in the way of their desire to tax anything they don’t like, but I’m quite attached to them.

Associate Professor Winsome Parnell has written at the Sugar Research Advisory Service. Professor Parnell was the Nutrition Director for the most recent NZ Adult Nutrition Survey.

New Zealanders are consuming a moderate level of sucrose that’swithin the WHO recommendation for added sugars:  below 10% of our total energy intake. Sucrose consumption can be used as a proxy for measuring added sugar intake, and sucrose intakes declined between 1997 and 2008/09, from a median of 53g/day to 48g/day. That’s about a teaspoon less per person a day – nearly 2kgs less a year!

So sugar consumption is declining in NZ, even though obesity is rising. So why is a tax on soda drinks the answer?

The latest adult nutrition survey also indicates a reduction in the proportion of sucrose from non-alcoholic beverages and sweets, and an increase in the proportion of sucrose from fruit, compared with 1997.

And less sugar is coming from soda drinks.


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Oh Please

    All part of the anti-USA propaganda from the left. Only the hard of thinking would fall for it.

  • Brian Smaller

    The anti-sugar people will trot out that it is about kids and their rotting teeth. Never mind that the problem with rotting teeth is useless parents who don’t make sure their kids teeth are properly brushed from the time they are wee things. Milk and fruit juice are as bad if not worse for teeth than fizzy drinks if you don’t make sure your kids have good oral hygiene.

  • XCIA

    I believe that lack of sleep and tiredness has a part to play. Work patterns are changing because of motorway congestion and commitments and this flows on to sleep patterns. It seems there are not enough hours in the day anymore for a fair chunk of the population.

    • pisces8284 .

      Just what I say when Selina tells you on Breakfast, while showing this horrendous line of traffic, that it is an hour and half to the CBD. Sitting still most of the time.

  • Win

    Seems to me that obesity is caused by eating too much, too often and not doing sufficient exercise to burn the calories off. In NZ men’s weight increased by 7kg between 1970 and 2009, and women by 15kg in the same period. (These figures from Encyclopedia of NZ). From memory, these years also saw the introduction of mainstream fast foods e.g. KFC, and restaurants, increasingly the availability of when food could be purchased and consumed. Before 1970 it was really pretty grim. There weren’t any restaurants in NZ, except for the occasional hotel dining room.

  • taxpayer

    “This is a blind war against Coca-Cola. Sugar intake from fizzy drinks is a small part of the overall sugar intake”.
    Yeah, it’s plainly obvious that this push for a tax on soft drink is nothing more than than a lefty crusade against corporations.
    American corporations to be precise, as we all know how much the left hate the USA.
    It must be that free speech is in their constitution that makes the left hate them so much.
    As we know, to a lefty you may only speak if you agree with whatever they are saying or you must be shouted down or silenced.
    I am sure the Prof Swindburn and the rest of those pushing for this tax are not so thick as to think a ten cent tax on a bottle of coke will make any difference to obesity whatsoever.
    So it stands to reason that they hate corporations, and love that sickly sweet trough Boyd and his mates are all tucked in to, gobbling up dollars to tell us all how to shop and live.
    Get lost the lot of you.

  • Jane

    Is it possible that one is a lead measure and one is a lag measure? I.e obesity is up, so our population is consuming less sugar is down to prevent further gain? I’m not sure you can claim these stats as collateral for your point. What if the WHO sugar recommendation is too high?

    I don’t see the answer in either political camp.

    The old reduce intake, increase exercise via education line hasn’t been working in twenty years.

    I have yet to see a taxation system that works either.

    Many food companies now forumulate foods with the optimal balance of fat, sugar and salt to trigger cravings and repurchase. Meanwhile less educated groups of the population get further and further away from their food supply chain without understanding what these food formulations are designed to do.