So, let’s ban the sale of sugar then

Here instead is a grab-bag of ideas that would convey the same message, some or all of which will one day be enacted. Ban fast-food outlets from stations and airports. Ban the sale of confectionery and sugary drinks to the under-16s. Ban the sale of over-sugared products in supermarkets (as measured by a ratio of sugar to other nutrients). Ban the bringing into schools of unhealthy foods. Ban the presence in offices (like our own here at The Times) of vending machines that seem to sell mainly crisps and chocolate. Specify a weight-to-height ratio limit on air passengers wishing to avoid a surcharge.

Twat.

28 thoughts on “So, let’s ban the sale of sugar then”

  1. No mention of banning the Great British Bake Off – a paean to the delights of sugar and empty calories.

  2. His communist past just came back with a bang.

    Ban sales of confectionery to under-16s? Ban vending machines in offices? No food outlets at airports? What the fuck?

  3. “Specify a weight-to-height ratio limit on air passengers wishing to avoid a surcharge.”

    The author won’t be flying anywhere again then.

  4. The Meissen Bison

    Perhaps if his grab-bag were given a severe tug, that might also convey a useful message?

  5. Much simpler solution. Dismantle the NHS and the market will work its magic on the so-called obesity crisis.

  6. “Ban fast-food outlets from stations and airports. ”

    The others are disturbing but do have some internal logic. This one is plain daft.

    Stations and airports are not exactly ideal places for “slow food” outlets, are they? Just think it through practically for a moment. (Not just in terms of being on time for flight or train, but the physical space it requires – restaurants having a much slower throughput of clientele.)

    The “fatty surcharge” on travellers is almost as bad. Simple arithmetical ratios fail to capture underlying health. Moreover some people are obese due to medical conditions and are presumably protected under the Equality Act. Are passengers really going to have to stand in line, get weighed and measured, have to present their medical exemption information? The whole thing is barmy.

  7. The flights thing is interesting though. Wife and I have both had the privilege of having part of our seat taken by the passenger sat next to us. Flight crew unsympathetic and a miserable journey.

    Don’t see why I shouldn’t parlay my comparatively light 70kg into extra baggage allowance or a discounted ticket. It’s the combined weight they’re flying, not the person.

    Of course it’d mean chaos at the check-in, so it’ll never happen. Unless Ryanair.

  8. Luckily the Islamists are about to drag us into WW3, so we’ll have rationing and everyone will walk everywhere.

  9. I’ve felt similar to Steve above. My 70kg body plus 30kg bag gets some ridiculous excess baggage charge but the 120kg obese fella behind me with his 23kg bag is fine. Of course you can’t be weighing people at check in but it still feels bloody unfair.

  10. “Of course you can’t be weighing people at check in but it still feels bloody unfair.”

    I get weighted in going offshore, and quite often flying small planes. Its not actually any more difficult than weighing in bags.

    Samoa Air weigh people in and you get your wish of paying a price based on combined person and baggage weight.

  11. “Dismantle the NHS and the market will work its magic on the so-called obesity crisis.”

    Exactly.

  12. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Of course you can’t be weighing people at check in but it still feels bloody unfair.”

    It can’t be beyond the wit of man to extend the scales at check-in to include a pad in front of the desk.

    Whether or not that’s commercially acceptable is a different story.

  13. I didn’t mean in a practical sense but it’s a bit degrading to be weighed like cattle when getting on a plane. Can’t imagine it being popular…… The Guardian writers would have a field day.

  14. @burningears, why is it barmy? At present, we have just an invisible subsidy by light people towards heavy ones. In any case, with the magic of markets….if you don’t want to be weighted for flying, take an airline that doesn’t do so.

    As for medical reasons, would you have an example of one that makes you fat? I always thought that if your calorie intake is below what your body needs, you will lose weight (works for me) so I am genuinely puzzled as to which ailment would still make you gain weight?

    It’d be interesting to know what the relationship is in flying cost between weight differences. Is it linear for example?

  15. “It’d be interesting to know what the relationship is in flying cost between weight differences. Is it linear for example?”

    It’s certainly not linear. The greater the mass of an aircraft, the more fuel it has to burn to create the required lift. But that fuel also has mass & has to be carried during the flight, until it’s burned. Requiring still more fuel…..

  16. @monoi Hypothyroidism for instance?

    Btw is passenger weight really a major determinant of journey costs? I doubt a few kilograms here or there make much difference in comparison to eg the weight of the plane itself, and fuel costs though considerable are far from the only cost airlines face.

    I can see passenger girth as more of an issue – if you knew all your passengers were going to be skinny, you could stuff everybody into smaller seats and fit a lot more seats in. But once the seats are arranged you’re stuck with it, so there’s no particular benefit to having a thin passenger. Passengers who go over onto adjacent seats are a different matter I guess.

  17. The Meissen Bison

    There are very few pleasures to be gained from flying but one of them is when the steward or stewardess has to move a fatso from the seat by the emergency exit.

    The altercation is always entertaining because the reason has to remain largely unspoken. Of course the check-in people could have declined to issue the seat in the first place but the buck-passing (apart from showing human nature at its finest) serves to maximise embarrassment and annoyance and so must be applauded.

  18. Would there be a commercial advantage to an airline that weighed its passengers and priced the tickets accordingly? I’m thinking this would discourage fatties from using such a carrier, and result in lighter passenger loads, resulting in less fuel used, lower costs etc.

    If the figures stack up I’m surprised Michael O’Leary hasn’t introduced it on Ryanair.

  19. What about pregnancy, would pregnant women have to pay an excess charge, can just see the outraged headlines about fetus being charged for flight.
    Though I wouldn’t put it past Ryanair

  20. Bloke in Costa Rica

    When I’ve been on puddle-jumpers going from San José to the beach they weigh the passengers, because we’re flying in Twin Otters and if you have a pair of fucking immense sweaty Hawaiian shirt-wearing hamplanets from Dubuque you have to sit ’em either side of the aisle and over the wing, then tell ’em not to move. This isn’t quite such an issue on a 777.

  21. Bloke in North Dorset

    BICR,

    Not quite the same,, but I’ve been on half empty planes where the Captain made it quite clear we weren’t allowed to move seats once the seat belt light went off because of trim issues. I presume he didn’t want us all rushing to one side of the plane.

  22. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Well, as any fule kno, that’s why Poles have to be on the left-hand side of the plane.

  23. “As for medical reasons, would you have an example of one that makes you fat?”

    Ad-36 infection. A study of obese Americans indicates that about 30% of the obese individuals and only 5% of non-obese individuals have antibodies to Ad-36. It causes damage to fat cells affecting the insulin-mediated appetite feedback.

    Also, for those who like toilet humour…
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31168511

    “I always thought that if your calorie intake is below what your body needs, you will lose weight (works for me) so I am genuinely puzzled as to which ailment would still make you gain weight?”

    Your body’s needs can vary too. If your body energy stores fall below a certain threshold, your body goes into an energy conservation mode. Your metabolism slows, you can become cold and lethargic, and low-priority systems like your immune system get trimmed back. A system evolved over millions of years to survive persistent periodic famines has lots of ways to conserve energy use. They’re not necessarily good for your long-term health, but they’re better than starving to death.

    The body’s energy balance is like any other biochemical system – tightly controlled by complex feedback mechanisms. Your blood CO2 level controls your rate of breathing. You don’t ever die of oxygen starvation because you accidentally got distracted and forgot to breathe.

    If you was to somehow come to the belief that high oxygen levels were bad for your health, you could of course consciously hold your breath. If you breathe in less oxygen than your body needs, your blood oxygen level will go down. (It works for me.) It takes an ever-increasing amount of willpower, but it’s doable. But isn’t that missing the point?

    The point is that there’s already a feedback control system in place to regulate your oxygen level. You don’t *need* to hold your breath, or consciously adjust your breathing rate to maintain the required level.

    The bigger question is what makes you think it’s broken, that you have to take over control? How sure are you that you’re right and your body’s evolved mechanisms are wrong? Remember, the idea that being overweight is bad is brought to you by the same people who told you saturated fat was bad for your heart. And every other diet fad, too.

    Diets only work temporarily – rather like holding your breath does. Everyone loses weight for at least the first six months, as their calorie intake is less than their expenditure. Most people then slowly put it back on over the next five years, as the body shifts its internal mechanisms to compensate, and the psychological pressure to eat more gets more difficult to resist.

    That’s because – unless the system is seriously broken – everyone has a feedback control system that maintains your weight in a designed range; one that is mostly down to genetics. Within about 20% you can adjust it freely, with relatively little pressure, but bump up against the limits and you’ll either lose your appetite while your metabolism goes into overdrive (in the Vermont prison experiment, one subject was eating 10,000 Calories a day and *not* gaining any weight), or at the other end you become obsessed with food while your metabolism shuts down (there are plenty of real-world experiments on the effects of starvation, too).

    The feedback-controlled weight setting increases with age, which is what this was originally all about.

    Slimness is a visible sign of youth and fertility, and therefore seen as attractive. It’s a trade-off between health/famine-tolerance and speed – young people are less at risk health-wise so can afford to be a little underweight for the speed advantage, but as they get older and their bodies wear out, they’re first to suffer when the famines come round, so better health and a bigger safety margin becomes more important.

    As famines became a thing of the past, that safety margin became less of a priority. People started by deliberately starving themselves to try to get/keep a better mate, once they were past their prime. There was therefore soon a mass market for ways to make that easier, and it soon was making billions. And of course, having built a multi-billion dollar industry and countless careers depending on people wanting to diet, their marketing people found ways to expand their markets.

    And since it takes a certain religious obsession to force yourself to diet, it appeals to the puritanical authoritarians who want everyone else to live virtuous lives too. For their own good, of course.

    Hence the totalitarian call to regulate what other people are allowed to eat.

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