Archive for the ‘the food police’ Category

Bend over, here it comes

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

I’ve been saying for years that this was going to happen. Now will you believe me?

A Scottish GP has called for chocolate to be taxed in the same way as alcohol and cigarettes to tackle increasing levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

This, dear readers, is the top of a very steep and very slippery slope. Firstly, the food police are one step removed from the thought police: if they can control what you eat, they can control what you think. And secondly, once one class of food is subject to a tax, you know it’s going to creep. It will start out on one “unhealthy” food (chocolate); then, just a budget or two down the line, it will spread to a few other unhealthy foods; then less-unhealthy foods — potatoes for example (because you can make chips out of potatoes), and so on. Eventually, the original stated purpose of the tax (to punish people for buying “unhealthy” foods) will be forgotten, replaced by the real, practical purpose (to raise revenue for the government); and you won’t be able to buy so much as an organic rocket salad with oil-free, egg-free, vinegar-free, salt-free, taste-free dressing without having to pay tax on it.

This is also exactly the sort of measure that, once implemented, no government will ever reverse; strident exhortations from the same press who once brayed their opposition to it will ensure that the tax stays in place, because if it’s repealed then people will get fat and anyone who opposes it wants us all to die from obesity.

Not Worth Their Salt

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

The lobbying group Consensus Action on Salt and Health have really shot themselves in the foot here with this FAQ entry:

Are there any incidences where I should up my salt intake- e.g. if I have been physically working hard on a hot day, or when abroad in a hot climate?
No, if you eat little or no salt then there is no salt in the sweat.

No s#!t, Sherlock.

The salt concentration in sweat is controlled in the exactly the same way as the urine. The body will adjust and hold onto any salt if a lot is being lost in the sweat.

The converse is also true: if you consume more salt, then you excrete more salt.

Call me paranoid if you like, but I’m finding it difficult imagining that these people do not have an ulterior motive. We’ve been eating salt for years, and some people eat quite a bit more salt than us Brits; so how come it’s only started affecting us now?

Disclaimer: Speaking as someone who once came close to dying of acute hyponatraemia, and as someone who no longer enjoys a certain high street bakery chain’s pasties because they do not contain enough salt to bring out any flavour, I do have a bit of a vested interest in this.