Do we need a sugar tax to tackle obesity and Type 2 Diabetes? I think we do. But we also need to ban Coca Cola – one of the biggest culprits fuelling the diabesity epidemic, from sponsoring sports.
Do you know how many grams of sugar are in a can of Coca Cola? Thirty-Nine grams. That is 10 teaspoons of sugar in one can (I’m taking a teaspoon to be around 4g).
Do you know what the UK government recommended amount of sugar for the entire day is for an adult? 30g, or just 6 teaspoons.
So Coca Cola contains more sugar than the total amount of recommended sugar per day for an adult.
That is a fact. And yet they are allowed to market this product to children!
So why on earth are we allowing Coca Cola to sponsor the Premier League?
Tobacco sponsorship of sport was banned in 2005. But tobacco was aimed at adults not kids.
I am already hearing the shouts of nanny State and freedom of choice. But is it freedom of choice to market a harmful product to children? Is it really the nanny state if the NHS guideline is 30g (or 6 teaspoons) sugar a day for adults and this one can contains 39g (10 teaspoons) sugar?
There is no need for sugary Coca Cola as they have devised non-sugar versions. The UK Government should stop being hypocrites and ban the sale of the sugar-filled versions of Coca Cola, Fanta and other fizzy drinks in the UK immediately.
The UK Government should also ban immediately any of these products sponsoring any sporting event or team in the UK.
I agree with Professor Tim Noakes who states that the sugar scandal will be much bigger than tobacco. We all know. The Government knows and the manufacturers know that excess sugar is fuelling the obesity and Type 2 diabetes epidemic in the UK and of course it is being pushed to kids.
Tobacco and alcohol advertising are banned across the internet but my Facebook timeline has been full these past few weeks of adverts for Coca Cola, these too should be banned.
Is it the nanny state to call for bans on sugary drinks? You may ask, well my answer would be that these nanny state arguments were the same ones employed by the Tobacco companies and lobby when they were getting banned.
I’ve been in the radio and media world long enough to have heard all of these arguments. In fact, I will be brutally honest and admit I use to be one of the cheerleaders of the anti-nanny state brigade.
I use to agree with the likes of Christopher Snowden @cjsnowden from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and I was firmly in the pro-choice libertarian camp when it came to the nanny state and tobacco, alcohol and sugar camps.
This was despite me being morbidly obese and not ever having been a smoker. But in the immortal words of the Blues Brothers: I have seen the light. In the last 12 months have lost over 5 stones and reversed my Type 2 Diabetes.
Now like the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, I have realised that we must tackle the rising tide of diabesity in the UK and I am afraid bans on advertising have to be part of our armoury.
We have at least 4.5 million Type 2 diabetics in the country and when you ask how many amputations are carried out each week due to diabetes the answer is stark. It is more than 135!
Then just google how much Type 2 Diabetes costs the NHS.
According to www.diabetes.co.uk it costs a staggering £1.5m an hour or 10% of the NHS budget for England and Wales. This equates to over £25,000 being spent on diabetes every minute.
In total, an estimated £14 billion pounds is spent a year on treating diabetes and its complications.
For a moment forget the cash, although let’s face it if we could change the dietary guidelines and get everyone eating Low Carb High Fat diets like www.simpleasfat we could save the NHS, not just the £14 billion but actually save the whole blooming structure from financial collapse. But as I say forget the financial cost and think of the human and family suffering that be reduced and the life span that could be extended?
Still not convinced that we need to ban Coca Cola and its sponsorship of sports?
Well consider this, Christopher Snowden, who I used to so enthusiastically support, and his Institute of Economic Affairs is mired in accusations of being a mouthpiece for the food industry, the tobacco and alcohol lobby.
It was founded by a Battery farmer, Anthony Fisher, in 1955 and has been funded by many tobacco organisations, including British American Tobacco. Christopher Snowden also disclosed that they had received alcohol industry funding in a response to a British Medical Journal article in 2014.
Still not convinced? Google this: did a sugar company sponsor the Conservative Party conference in 2017? I will save you the time, shall I? Tate and Lyle sponsored the Manchester conference. So, we witnessed the breath-taking hypocrisy of the then Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, talking about tackling childhood obesity whilst wearing a conference lanyard with Tate and Lyle written all over it!
My point is simple, Big Food is clearly too close to most major governments in the world. This is clearly illustrated in Jacque Peretti’s brilliant documentary, “The Men who made us Fat,” which traces the obesity epidemic back to its source which is President Nixon’s desire to use corn and corn syrup to lower food prices in the USA.
This is the exact moment that Coca Cola was allowed to extend its global reach by replacing sugar with much cheaper corn syrup in its drinks. Corn syrup was up to 30 percent cheaper than sugar. This is when the free refills started and the oversize cups appeared and this is where the epidemic of obesity began, You must watch this https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xrjihz
In this film, the ex-marketing director of Coca Cola, Hank Cardello, states that it was the swap to corn syrup which allowed Coke to expand globally and which led to their dominance of the soft drink market in the states and worldwide. Of course, this is what now allows them to spend multi millions on the Premier League straight after being in bed with the World Cup.
Jon Woods, general manager of Coca Cola Great Britain, tells Marketing Week: “This partnership will allow us to accelerate growth on low sugar variants faster and is the beginning of more multi-brand campaigns. It allows us to bring the whole portfolio to life.”
He also tells Campaign magazine: “It’s generally all the light variants that are performing best. They’re totally mainstream now – 58% of the cola we sell is either Diet Coke or Coke Zero Sugar. So, the majority of our cola business actually is no sugar. That’s been a trend that’s been going on since I joined the company. I don’t think that’s going to change.”
This all sounds great doesn’t it?
Coca Cola really care and they want to push us all to non-sugar versions of their drinks don’t they?
Yes, but people like me have a long memory and these are exactly the same arguments that tobacco used years ago. I interviewed their spokesman ex-Luton MP, John Carlisle, many, many times and he had the same repeated mantra that the advertising was only about telling existing smokers that other brands were available and not about promoting smoking to non-smokers. It was poppy cock then, and when applied to fizzy drinks it is still dangerous poppy cock today.
If Jon Woods is so convinced that the move to non-sugar versions is something he wants, why doesn’t he just accelerate the speed of change by voluntarily stopping the manufacture and sale of the sugar-filled obesity-fuelling Coca Cola?
Why doesn’t the UK Government just ban its sale in this country and immediately help by banning sports sponsorship by the sugar laden versions? It is simple, dead simple.
So, I am with the likes of leading Cardiologist Doctor Aseem Malhotra and Labour MP Tom Watson in wanting a sugar tax but I want to go further, much further, much quicker.
Coca Cola should not be allowed to sponsor the Premier league. Mars should not be allowed to sponsor the England football teams. Gary Lineker and any other high-profile footballer should not be allowed to push crisps.
If that makes me a member of the nanny state then so be it but in years to come I will be proved correct because sugar is quite literally fuelling a global genocide and responsible governments and responsible citizens need to stand up and be counted.
Let’s put health before profit, shall we?