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UK Against Fluoridation

Friday, February 05, 2016

Spoonful of sugar - Should government dictate our diet?

Cake - sugar taxThe latest advice from the UK’s Chief Medical Officers is that men should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week. This latest figure brings them down from 21 units per week to the same level as women.

Responses from some commentators, on both the right and the left, was that the new guidelines represented a “patronising” nanny state. Simon Jenkins in the Guardian said the new limit was “about a vague national self-image of puritanism, not health”.

However, the decision was based on research evidence, collated by the Committee on Carcinogenicity (COC), that alcohol is linked to seven types of cancer, including a greater risk of breast, mouth, throat and oesophageal cancers from even low-level drinking.

If other food and drink types present risks to our health, should government intervene in a similar way? Would even stronger measures such as advertising bans, minimum pricing or even taxation constitute a nanny state?
Speaking to Holyrood, public health minister Maureen Watt says: “Well ultimately, of course, it’s down to the individual what he or she eats or drinks. But there is a clear role for government - and the food and drink industry - to try and make it as easy as possible for people to eat healthily.”
When Food Standards Scotland (FSS) was launched on 1 April last year, it was given an expanded role. As well as responsibility over food safety and standards, the new public body was to advise on nutrition and labelling with an eye to people’s health.
This came from overwhelming evidence showing the Scottish diet is too high in calories, fats, sugars and salt, and too low in fibre, fruit and vegetables. What’s more, poor eating patterns appear to be ingrained, with most Scots thinking their diet is healthier than it actually is and many parents not recognising when their children are overweight.............................

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