Author Archives: Ben Wōden

Is there a scientific basis for the sugar levy?

Discussion of the sugar levy has focused on effectiveness and moral/political hazards. I want to focus on one problem that makes those redundant: Does it make scientific sense?

Not obviously.

A popular narrative: In the past, we thought obese people were that way because they lacked willpower and ate too much food, particularly fat, which obviously made you “fat” – it’s called fat! Then, scientists who had previously been silenced by the nutrition science establishment (which was in Big Sugar’s pocket) bravely spoke up and educated us on the Science!™, and now we know that it’s sugar, not fat, that makes you obese.

Reality is more complicated.

The supposedly debunked “fat = evil” paradigm was never a scientific consensus, but merely a pop-science one. It was less the work of the nutrition scientists than of sugar companies and the makers of low-fat diet products. The supposedly triumphant “sugar = evil” paradigm also has little support amongst nutrition scientists. At best, they are marginally more concerned with the impact of sugar on health than they were 50 years ago, and marginally less concerned about fat.

It isn’t hard to blow the simplistic anti-sugar position out of the water. This graph does it impressively, and should make everyone update their beliefs significantly away from thinking that sugar is a major cause of obesity, and should absolutely torpedo the simplistic “sugar = evil” position that has taken hold in many parts of the population and, seemingly, in government.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 23 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarNonconformistradical 26th Aug - 6:43am
    @Jayne Mansfield "If I have been able to take any lesson from what I know of the current Labour Party, it is that a divided...
  • User Avatarpmknowles 26th Aug - 6:00am
    One of the reasons that HS2 is needed (but north of Birmingham) is the capacity issue. I often stand on the station at Manchester Oxford...
  • User AvatarAntony Watts 25th Aug - 11:42pm
    Continental High Speed lines are a glue that holds the social cohesion of the Eu together. The issue is that the isolated UK does not...
  • User Avatarsiv white 25th Aug - 10:45pm
    THEAKES, You are overestimating how much people think or know about politics. It is quite simple, people either think Brexit is stupid or wonderful and...
  • User Avatarfrankie 25th Aug - 10:19pm
    There is a desire to get things finished with, let us return to nice times they squeal and many will sign up to that. A...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 25th Aug - 10:12pm
    David Warren and Michael BG. I agree that the outcome of this working group has been rather disappointing, and it is strange in my opinion...