Monday 23 January 2017

Are we helpless against 'Coca Cola' climate?

Everywhere we go, we're assaulted by processed crap and food-like substances pumped with sugar. Are we reaching a tipping point? asks Brendan O'Connor

Published 23/08/2015 | 02:30

Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver

One glass of wine a day can give you breast cancer. Sitting down is as dangerous as smoking. It turns out that carbs are good and the Paleo diet is wrong. But it turns out fats are good too. Working long hours causes a stroke. I'm guessing you've had enough health-scare pieces in the past week. There's even a danger at this stage that we're going to start ignoring it all. After all, it's nanny stateism and health fascism and these scientists and doctors change their minds all the time anyway about what's good for us and bad for us, don't they? And what's the point in living to be 100 if you're miserable and eating twigs and seeds?

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But the one health scare that just won't go away right now is sugar. Concern about sugar, much like sugar itself, is everywhere these days. You would imagine that the whole thing is nearing a tipping point now. And you wonder if Jamie Oliver could be that tipping point. Earlier this year, Oliver started charging a "tax" on the sugary drinks he sells in his restaurants, the proceeds of which will go to educating kids about healthy eating. You could argue that it would be less hypocritical for him not to sell the drinks at all. You could argue it's just as cynical as Tesco's pledge to reduce the amount of sugar in their own brand fizzy drinks by 5pc. But let's give him and Tesco the benefit of the doubt. At least they are doing something.

Now, in the run-up to his new book and series Jamie's Super Food, Oliver is indicating that healthy eating for kids, and sugar intake in particular, is going to be his next big campaign. And Oliver's campaigns tend to have impact. Oliver could become the face for the increasing clamour about sugar, could become its tipping point in the UK and Ireland.

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