In which I again venture onto Chris Snowdon\’s territory

But of course smoking was different, wasn\’t it? There\’s no slippery slope leading to the same sorts of restrictions on other things at all:

This month, the National Child Measurement Programme reported that one-third of children are overweight by the time they leave primary school. This should have the food industry\’s attention. Instead, \”big food\” continues to engage in behaviour that undermines public health. Obesity expert Professor Robert Lustig has studied the toxic, addictive and appetite-driving properties of sugar on the body, leading to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and cancer. It\’s causing obesity in babies, giving teenagers diabetes. \”Sugar is cheap, it tastes good and it sells. So companies have little incentive to change,\” he says. Sugar is the new tobacco.

Perhaps comparisons with the tobacco industry are instructive in other ways.

No no, no slippery slope at all.

7 comments on “In which I again venture onto Chris Snowdon\’s territory

  1. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the Slippery Slope is a logical fallacy. Yet it is an empirical reality. What do we conclude?

    That being a logical fallacy may be of no importance if your premises were divorced from reality, I’d suggest.

  2. Or that our explanation, while erroneous, is a good enough approximation to reality to make it a worthwhile rule of thumb. Like Newtonian mechanics (or, frankly, General Relativity – although we haven’t worked out a better approximation than the latter, yet.)

  3. Of course they miss the main point – companies have to put a lot of sugar into foods because otherwise they taste like crap. They taste like crap because so many food companies are following the government’s advice and reducing fats.

    It is simple. People like food that tastes nice. That means either sugar or animal fat. Or both. Given we have little evidence fat is bad for you, and the obesity epidemic has followed the government pushing a high carbohydrate diet on the rest of us, perhaps the sensible solution is for them, government and experts both, to learn some humility, realise they don’t know what they are talking about, shut the f**k up and leave the rest of us alone?

    But of course they won’t. And the writing was on the wall a long time ago when someone ran a joke – passive eating I think it was.

  4. Unfortunately, the problem is that the food nuts are following a basic puritan philosophy that anything that is a sensual pleasure (like tasty food) must be bad for you. This is why I draw the distinction between morals and puritanism (used in the perjorative sense). Morals are rules for enabling people to get along without harming each other or causing general ruin. Puritanism is just being a miserable bugger for the sake of it.

    Yes, I agree that it’s unfortunate that puritan these days doesn’t mean the same as it did when people were arguing about prayer books. But, look what they done to the word “liberal”, ma. It’s as good a word as we’re going to get.

    So anyway, that’s the bottom line. They dislike sugar not because it’s medically bad for you, but because it’s bad for you in the sense that enjoying yourself is bad for you.

    I just wish these idiots would one day realise that the more you take away life’s little pleasures, the more people go off in search of the stuff that really throws you off the rails.

  5. They dislike sugar not because it’s medically bad for you, but because it’s bad for you in the sense that enjoying yourself is bad for you.

    That is generally untrue among pop. nutrition writers. They tend to be split between people who think refined carbohydrates are the root of all evil and people who think animal fats are the root of all evil.

    The idea that obesity in Britain is a consequence of attempts to decrease saturated fat intake, by the way, seems odd considering that our diets were far higher in fat during the latter half of 20th Century than they had been in the first.

  6. Might this obesity thing not be paertly connected with:
    a) the unkindness of competition leading to the reduction in the amount of sport played by children at school
    b) Councils taking advcantage of the reduction in sports to sell off the school playing fields.

    Just a thought.

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