Remarkable: The Royal Society goes anti-sugar

The Royal Society is a scientific body.  To see it enter advocacy is a real problem to me.

New Zealand should look at making it mandatory for food labels to include the amount of added sugar, the Royal Society says.

The society, which represents top scholars and scientists, has just put out a fact sheet with the latest evidence about the sweetener’s health risks.

It said the issue was urgent, given a third of adults and 11 percent of children aged between two to 14 are obese.

Society president Richard Bedford said it was difficult for people to know how much sugar they were consuming.

“With a typical can of sugar-sweetened fizzy drink containing nine teaspoons of sugar, and sugar added to a wide range of food products in New Zealand … it is likely that many New Zealanders are exceeding World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines regularly, if not every day.”

89% of children are just fine.   And of the 11% remaining, all 11% are due to sugar?  Not fat?  Not lack of exercise?  Not shit parenting?   This problem – and it is one – is not solved by hitting 89% of the kids over the head for something they’re not doing in the first place, and placing compliance costs and other overheads onto industry when there is absolutely zero indication that it actually makes a practical difference. 

Professor Bedford said there was a lot of research under way to determine whether different sugars have different affects on health.

“There is growing evidence that fructose has a role in several diseases, including gout development, which is of particular interest to New Zealand given the high prevalence of gout in New Zealand’s Pacific Island population.”

The fact sheet said the US Food and Drug Administration had made it compulsory to include added sugars in grams and as a percentage of the daily diet to food labels in the US from 2018.

It said at present there was no move to do the same in this country, but it would encourage a similar move in New Zealand.

Want to drink coke?  You can choose from Diet, Zero, and that green bottle as well as the old fashioned one.  Industry has already responded to the market.  Customers can already choose to buy or not buy.

And yet these people think that putting an extra line on the nutritional information panel is going to save some of those 11% of children that can’t make good life choices right now?

“NO added fat!”  “NO added sugar”.  Go have a look at products that claim those, and see what they will do to your health if ingested regularly.

But in the end, Royal Society, you are not an advocacy body.  Go down that path and you’ll end up facing an argument from industry that goes beyond science.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.