IT’s time for the food extremists to back off. Sugar is not cyanide. Neither is meat, nor salt, nor carbs, nor protein nor any of the other pleasurable things we are told we should not eat by an increasingly angry, hysterical brigade of busy-bodies. Amusingly, fat, which was held up as being the primary health risk during the 1980s, is rarely mentioned these days. Lots of nice things can be and often actually are bad for people’s health, and too much sugar (for example) or red meat has negative consequences (though different people can cope with different amounts). But comparing these with tobacco, which is unambiguously terrible for people’s health, is a sensationalist exaggeration. Sensible, scientific attempts at trying to understand what is healthy and what isn’t – and the latest findings on sugar are fascinating – have been hijacked by political activists who want to tax and regulate and control everything that moves. Food companies and supermarkets will be next in politicians’ sights – after banks, energy companies and property companies – but also restaurants, an important area of entrepreneurial activity that has yet to be demonised. People should have the right to choose what they eat, and to be unhealthy and indulge if that makes them happy. Freedom is a good thing; treating adults like children will merely infantilise our society. It may well be that sugar can potentially be addictive – many things, sadly, probably are. But that doesn’t mean that it should be taxed, or that the public cannot be trusted to make choices. It is right for doctors, medical professionals and scientists to warn the public of risks to their health, and we need better schooling in general to ensure that more people can take rational, informed and statistically correct decisions when living their lives. Some vulnerable people will need help. But we don’t need any more regulations, and we have way too many taxes already.
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