Is Fair Go actually fair?


Last night Mark Crysell had a piece on Fair Go called Sweet Bitterness.

You only had to watch the first 25 seconds and hear sugar being described as “…sweet, seductive, and deadly, sugar is the big mac-daddy bad boy food of our generation” to know how the programme was going to be framed.

As usual, it started out with Mark Crysell putting teaspoons of sugar into a glass saying that New Zealanders’ on average are consuming between 20-30 teaspoons of sugar per day when the WHO says we should only be consuming 12 teaspoons per day.

Maybe I’m just being picky, but is that 20-30 heaped teaspoons or should it have been 20-30 level teaspoons of sugar?  

Because as you can see, there is a bit of a difference. And it does make a difference.

Here is a screen-grab of Fair-Go’s teaspoon of sugar from last night’s show, that shows their approach.


As a result, there is a real risk that Fair Go has mislead its viewers.

With people being shown 12 heaped teaspoons as being the amount of added sugar that New Zealanders are, on average, consuming per day, then Fair Go is actually overstating the amount of sugar by double.

So next time you see MSM showing the quantity of sugar in a product, have a look at how they are actually measuring the sugar.

Then again this is the Media party, and they are inherently dishonest players when it comes to this sort of ‘advocacy’ journalism.



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  • Tiger

    In the packaging industry, single sugar servings are 3 grams. I have heard the media describe a single serving as being 5 grams. A heaped teaspoon would be about 5 grams.

    • biscuit barrel

      I understand the nutritionists say a teaspoon is 4 grams granulated.

      Wasnt the main point was the misleading front packaging saying ‘25% less sugar’ when they still have a whopping amount ( in tiny print hidden somewhere)

  • Woody

    Glad that has been raised as I said exactly the same to my wife and even the bowl of sugar shown with I think was supposed to be 20 teaspoons I remarked that it looked like 20 heaped teaspoons to me.

    As for their blathering that manufacturers list sugar in teaspoons because the idiot presenters couldn’t do their sums – give me strength. 5 grams or 50 grams or whatever is a proper measurement but not so a teaspoon.

    • sheppy

      When they rolled out that line it lost what little credibility it had. It beggars belief that someone who has to watch their sugar intake can’t do a little maths when not getting ill depends on it!

  • Seriously?

    Fair Go has not been fair for some time, and ought to just go.

    The best advice I heard was from a former presenter of the show: If they turn up on your doorstep refuse to talk to them and ask them to leave. Do not try to explain anything to them. If they don’t leave, call the police.

    • waldopepper

      yes. i had a family member involved as one party on one of their shows. the bias was clear from the beginning. he was named with first and last name, where as she was named just by her first name, which made her sound nice and lovely and warm and friendly and cuddly, and him like the villain. the matter went to court on the show, and he won, but they still followed him down the street cornering him with loaded and biased questions as if he was still the bad guy, despite the court ruling otherwise only moments before. just a joke of a show. i think 20 years ago it may have had some integrity, whereas now its just trash.

    • SteveWrathall

      Best Idea, Demand a live interview, then turn up dressed as the prophet muhammed (PBUH)

  • Aucky

    Even in Kevin Milne’s day Fair Go was a whiney cringe of a programme presented largely for the titillation of a willing TV audience. Over recent years an ever increasing amount of political correctness has been added to the mix. Our instructions to staff in the unlikely event of Fair Go’s cameras hitting our premises was to deny entry and
    refuse any comment. The programme has always been heavily biassed.

  • XCIA

    I have, for many years often wondered once “journalists” obtain their qualifications if there is some sort of secret ceremony where they swear on the bones of someone like William Joyce never to tell the truth about anything to anyone.

  • Rebecca

    The WHO recommendation of a maximum of 12-13 tsp is for ADDED sugar also called free or refined sugar. Whereas the figure of up to 30tsp daily consumption for NZ adults is for TOTAL sugar that includes natural sugars in food, particularly fruit.

    Comparing one to the other may be sensational, but it’s also misleading. Thanks, MSM.

    According to the 2008/09 NZ Adult Nutrition Survey, sucrose (table sugar) is the major contributor of added sugar with men eating 55g (14 tsp) and females 42g (10.5 tsp). Compare that to the WHO recommendation of 12-13 tsp and suddenly the shock horror seems a little weak, especially for females who might conclude that another muffin for lunch is recommended for them.

    Actually the WHO has recommended reduction of free sugar to 5% of daily total energy, meaning 6 tsp so there’s some way to go. To respect the public it ought to be possible to express that without misleading comparisons to total daily consumption.

    • biscuit barrel

      Some actually add fruit juice ( fructose) to so they can say ‘ no added sugar’
      Where do you decide ? 32g of sugar for a small bottle tonic water ?

  • Chris EM

    I stopped watching Fair Go two years ago, it had become pathetic. I decided to record it and give it a chance last night, just to see if things had improved. It hasn’t. Pushed stop then delete.

  • Graham Pilgrim

    Being rather partial to a Gin & Tonic, I switched off last night when told that a small bottle of Schweppes Tonic Water contained 13 teaspoons of sugar.


  • Kiwi101

    Fair Go is anything but. They should be made to put up a graphic telling people who is sponsoring each segment. Its worse than an infomercial on breakfast TV.