New Year, Sugar Tax and David and Goliath
Joy, mince pies, party bites, laughter, festive snacks, good times, bubbles, fun, puddings, hot chocolates, inspirational cupcakes, treats and ever-present deliciousness. Sparkly glamorous overindulgence… twenty-eighth, twenty ninth, thirtieth, thirty-first… fireworks and Happy New Year! Deep breath. What has just happened?
Overfed and over-sweetened brains are lazily waking up to the grey January, browsing for new gym memberships, personal trainers, fitness gadgets and planning active holidays. Again. And again and again, every year. As predictably as the change in seasons.
What happened to the healthy lifestyles and habits, moderation and treating yourself from time to time only? Food Standards Scotland, in December’s report on the Scottish Diet, said that the treats of yesterday are the snacks of today and that we are far off meeting Scottish Dietary Goals with the urgent need to start eating more fibre, vegetables and fruit and less sugar and fat. Sugar tax debate in the UK parliament held at the end of November last year, inspired by Jamie Oliver’s petition, showed strong support by MPs for the tax. Dr Philippa Whitford pointed to the power of obesogenic environments. She said, “We spend more than £600 million on obesity prevention, but £256 billion is spent on advertising unhealthy foods. It is David and Goliath. It is difficult for people to make healthy choices”. It does not seem to be a fair play. And is our health really only up to us?
New Year, new you, new start. How hard can it be? Modern humans lived on Earth without any knowledge of nutrition for about 200, 000 years and somehow they knew what to do. Let’s put a reminder on the 2016 fridge: more wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and cooking at home; less sugar, fat and processed food. Then, let’s open that fridge, take some #healthyshelfies and inspire friends to do the same. The game was never fair but let David and Goliath’s story encourage you.
Make January the month you assess how YOU can best stack the odds in favour of cancer prevention!
Dr Anna Strachan,
Policy Officer – Obesity Action Scotland