No, no, of course the slippery slope argument is not valid logic

The average fruit juices and smoothies contains at least twice as much sugar as drinks which will be subject to new Government taxes, a BMJ study reveals.
The research on 158 drinks led by the University of Liverpool found that the average juice drink contains 5.6 g of sugar per 100ml – meaning it would just cross the threshold to be affected by new planned taxes.
But pure fruit juices – which will be exempt from George Osborne’s tax – contained twice this amount, while smoothies, also not covered, had even more sugar in them, the major study found.
Researchers called on manufacturers to cut their sugar content, or covered by the new taxes.
They said fruit juices and smoothies should no longer be included as part of “five a day” consumption.

Sigh.

38 thoughts on “No, no, of course the slippery slope argument is not valid logic”

  1. If at some point the sugar tax is extended to food (not that big an if) I wonder if they’ll say the same thing about actual lumps of fruit.

  2. And look at the sugar content of even dry wine. It (plus the alcohol) works out at about 600kCal per bottle.

    I bet this ends up as a tax on sugar content irrespective of what food or drink it is…

  3. Why are we worrying about ISIS. They don’t seem to be the ones ought to bring down western civilisation, despite the bombings…

  4. Tomorrow’s menu:

    Breakfast: Bland gruel.

    Lunch: Bland gruel.

    Dinner: Gruel with a side of despair.

    The leader is good
    The leader is great
    We surrender our will
    As of this date

    Now that you are indoctrinated please send all of you money to help poor children in the former Rhodesia. We promise to use the money efficiently so these disadvantaged youth can have access to decent gruel. We further swear that our ice cream sundaes were not paid for using any of that money.

  5. “But pure fruit juices [… ] contained twice this amount, while smoothies[… ] Researchers called on manufacturers to cut their sugar content, [… ]”

    I really hope this isn’t just bad writing, and some pillock is going to argue publicly that pure fruit juice should have some of the sugar taken out before its sold.

  6. There are plenty of “light” juices that do something similar. Instead of taking out the sugar they add water.

    What I understand, and most others seem to miss, is that you can make your own “light” juice. I buy the full strength version and add my own water. Since the water I add is only a few pennies and the juice is around $4 I am basically getting free juice compared to the person that buys light.

    The real problem again is uneducated consumers. Let’s ban those first and capitalism will solve everything else.

  7. And look at the sugar content of even dry wine.

    Kinda hard to, given the French lobbied the EU to ensure wine was exempt from listing ingredients. The wine makers would have you believe it contains grape juice and nothing else.

  8. abacab

    The sugar content of still dry wine is small — 4-9 g/litre, often less, iirc — and the sugars present are not the di-sacchyride sucrose, but the mono-sacchyrides glucose (blood sugar) fructose (fruit sugar), xylose, rhamnose, etc. Sucrose added during ‘chapatilisation’ is consumed during fermentation.

    Sucrose can be added to sparkling wines (‘dosage’) – only sparklers termed Brut Nature, Brut Integral, Zero etc are free of added sucrose.

    Over-consumption of sucrose and (in artificially concentrated form) fructose appears to have adverse effects on health. These sugars, and not the sugars in wine (or MBE, fruit), aren’t to be taxed and shouldn’t be.

  9. Oops, final sentence should read:

    ‘These sugars, and not the sugars in wine (or MBE, fruit), are to be taxed.’

  10. You’ve really bought into this, haven’t you? Fructose is fructose, concentrated or not. The sugar they’re all whining about in fruit juice is fructose.

  11. I’m ashamed to admit I’m dreadfully ignorant of the science here. Are fructose and sucrose or their effects massively different?

  12. On the savannah for a short glorious season our ancestors fattened on fruit to keep going through lean times: fructose to fat is a more efficient transformation than the other sugars. I guess the five a dayer health nazis haven’t rethought this.

  13. Tim

    No, I haven’t bought into anything. I am trying to steer a middle course between the ideologues arguing for and against sugar and a sugar tax.

    High fructose corn syrup, which is added to certain drinks, is similar to the fructose in fruit, but it is not the same thing. HFCS is corn syrup that has been treated with the enzyme D-xylose isomerase: it is a solution of maltose, fructose, glucose and trace enzymes, and (like sucrose) it is metabolised faster than the small amounts of fructose in wine or fruit, leading to the sudden insulin spikes that can damage human health. The human body has not evolved to cope well with over-consumption of sucrose or HFCS.

  14. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    Fructose goes straight into the bloodstream from the stomach, skipping the pancreas. Insulin in the pancreas is the regulator and tells one when you’ve had enough. This doesn’t happen with fructose and you can gorge yerself silly on it and become very fat, die of a heart attack and be carried out through the bay windows ‘cos the front door is too narrow.

    The sugar tax is all a conspiracy by door manufacturers.

  15. HFCS hardly exists in the UK. It’s an American thing. Talking about HFCS in the UK is evidence that you’ve just swallowed the hype wholesale.

  16. HFCS exists in the US because the government massively subsidises corn production, which is then a cheaper feedstock for making sugar than beet or cane.

    Whereas in the UK (and on the Continong) we chuck sucrose in instead because the EU massively subsidises sugar beet production, so this is the cheapest feedstock for making sugar.

    Back in the 90s I noticed that “Tescos Value” and equivalent cheap fizzy pop in the UK was pretty much sugar free, whereas in the US and Canada it was full of HFCS…..

  17. So Much For Subtlety

    They said fruit juices and smoothies should no longer be included as part of “five a day” consumption.

    Well of course I would never touch the stuff. But “five a day” is easy since I started adding a slice of lemon to my gin and tonic.

  18. “I’m ashamed to admit I’m dreadfully ignorant of the science here. Are fructose and sucrose or their effects massively different?”

    As I understand it (and this is based entirely on what I’ve read and seen on t’internet) the human body metabolises glucose and fructose in entirely different manners. Glucose is used directly without alteration to carry energy around the body in the blood and its absorption into the body is fairly simple. Fructose on the other hand has to go through a fairly complex metabolic pathway (including I think through the liver) before it is assimilated. The argument thus goes that it is fructose that causes the health problem of excess obesity etc, as a like for like consumption of the same amounts of either will have differing physical effects on the body.

    Sucrose is the name for table sugar, which consists of one glucose molecule lightly bonded to one fructose molecule. All that happens when you eat table sugar is the body immediately splits that bond and then metabolises the two types of sugar in separate ways. Its the fructose that tastes ‘sweet’, glucose on its own is a rather bland powder. Hence why fructose syrup is used in carbonated drinks etc, its more ‘sweet’ than pure sugar and you need less of it to have the same taste effect (and its cheap to manufacture from maize).

    This a long presentation but it covers it in some detail:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

  19. How long before bees are moved from the sacred to the evil list ? At this rate I can see a tax on beehives coming eventually.

  20. Indeed. The ‘major study’ of 158 drinks? That’s an afternoon spent down the supermarket reading labels and an evening with the calculator on their phone. All for the seemingly astounding result that fruit juice contains sugar. And people get paid for this stuff?

  21. “High Fructose Corn Sugar” isn’t typically high in fructose. It’s usually either 40% or 55% whereas sucrose contains 50% lightly bonded (as Jim said) to glucose. But because the fructose in HFCS isn’t bonded it’s tastes sweeter than sucrose, so for the same level of sweetness, with HFCS instead of sucrose you consume fewer grams of sugar. On that argument, HFCS should be welcomed by everyone who has a childish palate.

  22. Tim

    Talking about HFCS in the UK is evidence that you’ve just swallowed the hype wholesale.

    The point is that high doses of sucrose or fructose are unhealthy. The human body has not evolved to cope with high doses of these substances.

    And, given we have a socialist healthcare system where the costs of lifestyle choices are funded by general taxation, we either ban or tax these substances, and taxing is always better than banning. And if the tax should prove lucrative, it could be used to fund cuts in taxes on income or companies.

  23. “The point is that high doses of sucrose or fructose are unhealthy.” Perhaps so, but I can’t help noticing that this creed is preached by the same sort of zealots who told us utter lies about the dangers of saturated fats in the diet over the last fifty years or so. Why should I believe them this time?

    The only reason I can think of, and it’s a bit weak, is that removing animal fats from the diet made food taste worse whereas cutting down on sugar would make food taste better. Therefore the new creed might appeal less to puritans.

    But then the notion that less sugar means more taste is a foreign idea to, for instance, children, chavs and Americans, so the zealots will perhaps get their puritanical kicks after all.

  24. I’ve always assumed that we are best designed to eat what our caveman ancestors would have eaten – greens, meat and a limited amount of fruit in season. Farming, as opposed to hunter gathering, has not been around for long enough for our digestive systems to evolve to deal with it. Complex carbs via grains and year round sugar intake just aren’t what we are capable of dealing with.

  25. ” I can’t help noticing that this creed is preached by the same sort of zealots who told us utter lies about the dangers of saturated fats in the diet over the last fifty years or so. Why should I believe them this time?”

    Don’t listen to the health zealots, they attach themselves to anything that gives them a chance of ordering people around. In the wrong situation they’d be the ones herding people into gas chambers. Giving orders gives them a kick. But even a stopped clock is right occasionally, eventually they will alight on something correct by pure random chance.

    Listen instead to those who have been crying in the wilderness for years, and been denigrated by the same people who have now jumped on the band wagon. I’ve been watching all this evolve over the last 10 years or so, since I had to sort out my own digestive issues, its noticeable that the evidence (ie real medical evidence in the form of large studies) began to confirm my own conclusions a couple of years ago, to very little fanfare, because it totally contradicted 40 years of medical advice (‘saturated fat bad, carbs good’).

    And true to form the health zealots have grabbed this information as another way to control people, rather than what should be done with it, which was to ram it up the fundament of the medical profession as a reminder for them to stop thinking they are Gods put on earth to tell others how to live their lives.

  26. Christopher Snowdon has a blog post mocking this, pointing out that a single apple contains nearly all of a child’s “daily allowance” of sugar.

    These people are crazy fanatics, but have somehow convinced a large number of people, especially in government and the media, that they are genuine independent scientists.

  27. Since the huge multiplication of human numbers occurred after the farming revolution, of course we’ve evolved to consume farming products, as Tim’s example demonstrates.

    Added to which, we don’t know what “what our caveman ancestors would have eaten”. Tubers, mushrooms and bone marrow for all I know. We have some idea of what mesolithic Britons ate, at least in one location in one season. Mussels and hazelnuts; lovely meals, no doubt, but a hell of a restricted diet. Any volunteers?

  28. Theo- I was just checking that Arnald was talking about the same thing Tim was. To be pendantic, glucose-fructose syrup, or indeed isoglucose as it is known in the trade, is not necessarily corn derived so not always HFCS. Analytically there is little difference (but it does blow one of the common anti arguments – that it is derived from GM corn- out of the water) Isoglucose is still under quota in the EU, not manufactured in the UK and market demand is negligible compared to bog standard glucose syrups so Arnald’s claim that it is in common use is incorrect. As for your claim that high doses of sucrose and fructose are unhealthy, you can apply that argument to virtually anything. Sola dosis facit venenum and all that. The fact is that sugar consumption has been dropping since the 80s, according to the government’s own figures, so to conclude that the increase in obesity over the same period in eating too much sugar is quite bizarre. This is a very transparent money making exercise sold to the seal clapping plebs as a hammer blow to evil Big Fizzy, when we all know that ultimately all of that cash will come out of the pockets of those very same plebs.

  29. Let’s do the world a favor and put coke back in coke. We can then tax the fizzy drinks for something a little less normal to human evolution so sugar isn’t the problem. This has the added advantage of giving Colombian farmers a legal market which will ‘reform’ hundreds of thousands of ‘criminals’.

    At least we are talking about a tax and not a ban. I’m not sure exactly what a woman would have to do for her sugar daddy with a ban but I can say it would be far less innocent than the current system.

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