As much as we labour under excuses that we don’t know what we are doing, let’s face the truth. We do.
As a teenager I was shown a film about Eskimos’ teeth. Well, it might have been about Eskimos in general but what I distinctly remember was their teeth and being told they were so sparkling white and healthy because they didn’t eat sugar and instead existed on fishy delights. I was left in no doubt that sugar was bad for my mouth but felt guilty that I was relieved I ate sugar and not seal.
With various health campaigns over the years I, like the rest of the nation, know that sugar is bad for my buttocks, belly and other wobbly bits. So why is it that we are still arguing about what to do with sugar? Taxes, select committees, clearer packaging, fresh cooking. We’ve heard these themes expressed time and time again, yet we waddle more. We’re getting bigger and bigger and no one wants to accept the blame. But who should?
To me it’s obvious. It’s me. It’s you. It’s the person that owns the mouth which is busily stuffing in sweets, drinks, pre-processed foods. All of that. As much as we labour under excuses that we can’t help ourselves, that it’s cheaper, that we don’t know what we are doing, let’s face the truth. We do. We are responsible for our mouths. We are responsible for our health. And we should be doing all we can to remain in tip-top shape in order to save the NHS from our greed and our bodies from self-inflicted shutdown.
It could be made easier for us to understand how much sugar we are consuming, and I am all for packaging showing the total amount of sugar – in teaspoons – that the entire contents contain. Enough of the grams per quarter portion etc. Make it plain, make it simple. But then, I am aware – as is surely everyone in the country – that processed, pre-made, pre-packaged foods contain more sugar than a dinner you make from scratch with such old-fashioned items as fresh vegetables and a portion of fresh meat or fish.
I don’t know if taxing sugary goods will have much effect. But reminding people they are in charge of what goes in their mouths – maybe that’ll help as it’s that fact so many of us seem to have forgotten.