A sugar free NZ

March 6th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

writes in the Dom Post:

Boffins at the University of Otago have tested the blood of 3000 randomly chosen people over the age of 15.

Seven per cent of them had diabetes. That’s over 200 people. A further 18 per cent had early signs of diabetes. That’s over 500 people. Together, they’re more than a quarter of the people tested. That’s an epidemic.

Meanwhile, across the ocean at the University of California, more boffins have been bent over the test tubes and the stats. As you’d expect, their study dwarfed the local one.

They analysed the incidence of diabetes in 175 countries. Effectively that means everywhere. And they found that if the amount of in a national food supply goes up, so does the incidence of diabetes. …

As for education, every youth in the country has been bombarded with dietary advice from here to my Aunt Fanny. They’ve been told about five-plus-a-day, the evils of burgers, the wonder of veges, the joys of exercise and the way to radiant health. The result: the chubbiest generation in the history of our species.

So, if people cannot be taught to do themselves good, they will have to be forced. We need to set a date by which New Zealand shall be sugar-free: 2025 feels about right. Then we need to work towards it.

Bennett is being satirical, but I suspect there lobby groups will soon be pushing for this!

Money’s always a good place to start. There needs to be a tax on sugar, a tax that rises automatically and drastically at the start of every year. That’ll get them yelping.

Next comes plain packaging. We all know the sophistication of the marketing buggers, how they hook kids on to brands by association. Well, brands will be dead.

In the fizzy-drinks business, for example, there’ll be no more Pepsi or Coke or Fanta or Mountain Bloody Dew, with their pretty colours and their brand insignia. No, they’ll all just come in plain metal tubes labelled “Flavoured Sugar-laden Poison”.

Schools will become sugar-free zones. In the period before abolition, lollies will be hidden from view in dairies and sold only to over-18s. Anyone supplying sugar to minors will be liable to a fine or a term of imprisonment.

Parents eating icecream in front of their kids won’t just get a finger-wagging. They’ll have their kids taken into care. And it will all be enforced by us, the sugar cops.

Joe shouldn’t write the Green Party manifesto for them!

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37 Responses to “A sugar free NZ”

  1. krazykiwi (8,040 comments) says:

    Yes, easy to see the humour in his writing. So what does Bennett suggest we do to arrest the burgeoning costs of treating type-II diabetes?

    I’ve read research which suggests more than 40% of the growth in spending on NZ public healthcare is due to this entirely preventable disease. Should those who are careful with their own health be forced to pick up the tab for the increasing numbers that aren’t?

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  2. Redbaiter (10,361 comments) says:

    Even though this is a humerous article, the reality still is that once you agree to allowing the state to provide you with health care, this is the kind of intrusion you can expect.

    End they system that exists in NZ and replace it with the system used in Switzerland, which works better than any other European system and is based on a competitive private insurance market.

    If you value your freedom, you cannot allow the government to provide your health care.

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  3. Carlos (683 comments) says:

    @ Redbaiter
    I noticed you mentioned the Swiss Healthcare system yesterday, too. Have you got any good articles or links that give a comprehensive overview of it? I’m interested learning more about it. Thanks in advance.

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  4. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    If you value your freedom, you cannot allow the government to provide your health care.

    If you value your life, and the lives of your kids, then you will readily allow the Government to provide much of the more intensive and more extensive healthcare at least.

    In New Zealand it’s literally a fact of life.

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  5. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    Was told I was pre-diabetic couple of years back. Own fault – went from relatively lean hard exercise 5-6 times a week to fat couch potato in my mid 40s after doing in a knee.

    They had support services that were frankly impressive; free courses in dietary, cooking, self diagnosis etc. free annual eye and feet checks; free sessions with the practise nurse. They really work hard on the preventative side. If you follow the advice then blood sugar drops pretty much to normal in my case within weeks. At one of the courses though there were people on their 2nd and sometimes even 3rd attendance – they were just incapable or unwilling to make the changes. I can understand why as it’s a slog.

    Read all the backs of the packaging for several weeks and got hold of a mate’s blood sugar tester to see what happens with different foods, exercises etc. Found lots of things that I never realised before:

    Breakfast cereals are the devil’s spawn from a sugar perspective – it’s pretty much impossible to find a breakfast cereal that does not have a massive sugar component – a fry up is healthier for a diabetic than breakfast cereal

    Alcohol is another real killer as it is basically a simple carbohydrate

    Always eat carbohydrates with protein – the combination drops the GL

    Banning lollies and soft drinks is not going to help as it’s not the problem. The problem is a sedentary lifestyle, excessive simple carbohydrates in much of the food we eat and not following the basic dietary rules about 5 a day and the ratios of carbs to veges to protein. Few, if any, of the diabetic/pre-diabetics I spoke to had ever eaten sweets or soft drinks in any volume.

    Ice cream often has an OK GL as it can have lots of fat. White rice and backed potato would normally be worse.

    You have to exercise reasonably hard 4 or more times a week.

    [Edit] – and you you would be surprised how many, even simple, foods in a can have added sugar -lots

    Putting the GL value on foods would help

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  6. Redbaiter (10,361 comments) says:

    Carlos-

    You do not hear much about the Swiss government in our media because it fails to comply with the Progressive dictates that are so fashionable here in NZ and Europe and the US.

    Its why I so often vent at the National Party. There are solutions to our problems, but because they exist outside the Marxist/ socialist/ progressive paradigm, the useless Key and his left wing sycophants cannot imagine them.

    Here is an article from The Spectator from a couple of years ago that gives a good picture of Switzerland’s system of government, including its health care.

    Apparently we can’t do this kind of thing here in NZ, or even consider it for I have never heard such options ever being discussed by any NZ politician. Useless socialist pull string dolls every one of them.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/6142898/swiss-welfare-runs-like-clockwork/

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  7. berend (1,688 comments) says:

    And you know what the really sad thing is? If the next Labour/Green government implements this, National won’t repeal it. Too risky electorally (and they actually liked the idea).

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  8. Redbaiter (10,361 comments) says:

    Berend-

    It actually wouldn’t be risky politically if it was handled the right way, but when the Nats are led by a populist poll driven political coward completely bereft of vision and strategy and unable to articulate any message of principle, you’re right, it would be.

    Margaret Thatcher (for example) did many things that the left hated, but she was able to carry it off with the strength of her convictions and her outstanding ability to articulate those convictions.

    Key has neither the convictions or the ability to articulate them if he had them.

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  9. Carlos (683 comments) says:

    @ Redbaiter
    Thanks for that.

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  10. Harriet (5,199 comments) says:

    It is no crime to hurt yourself by smoking or eating the wrong foods. And people shouldn’t be treated as criminals for doing so. Ever.

    For one reason it is because public hospitals are for sick people – you don’t have public hospitals for healthy people!

    People are taxed so that the unhealthy are cared for – not taxed so the unhealthy are persecuted against!

    If the health budget can’t afford to cater to those who fall sick, be it by smoking or sugar, then do something about it:
    privatise it, or enforce health insurance, or tax people more[general tax].

    But to ban or tax food -and smokes- so that people don’t consume them is Orwellian.

    As my doctor says “If you can’t give up smokes then cut down, smoking is ok once or twice a day, but death if you smoke all day.” :cool:

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  11. Scott (1,807 comments) says:

    Berend – sadly you are very right. National hasn’t repealed any of labour’s left-wing ideas. Working for families, interest-free student loans? All still in place.

    Anti-smacking legislation opposed by 85% of New Zealanders? Don’t you worry Sue Bradford, National has got your back!

    Rainbow agenda rejected in the last 2 elections? Gay activists need never fear. We have the gayest, Prime Minister ever. You know that if you organise any gay parade our man John will be there!

    Now they are keen on banning tobacco. Apparently we are working towards a smoke-free New Zealand by 2025? Who knew?

    And now the good Mr Bennett has shown the next brave new frontier for our government to conquer. That most insidious of all evils – sugar!!! Oh the horror!

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  12. kowtow (8,927 comments) says:

    Government money (taxes) pay for this “research” which is then used to justify the raising of yet more taxes.

    Same with all the other “progressive” agenda targets that are in the sites of the cosy govt/acitivist/academic cabal.Smoking,alcohol,the weather(carbon dioxide) etc

    It’s a merry go round of tax,spend,tax…….bankruptcy.

    Financial ,personal,societal bankruptcy.

    We have never been so well educated,housed ,fed etc and yet what have we got?

    A completly broken society of fat ,indulged lazy sloths crashing the health system.

    Same thing with the global financial crisis……..you can have a house/houses you can’t afford and never will be able to.
    Instead of working hard to afford a house ,we can create cheap money ,tons of it………you deserve it.It’s a human right.Equality and all that.

    We can pass laws to make it so.

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  13. hj (7,139 comments) says:

    the problem with advertising is that it is chicanery but that is the price we pay for “free” programming. In so far as the public are duped we need equivalent resources spent on anti advertising

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  14. Redbaiter (10,361 comments) says:

    Scott- don’t forget Key’s agreement with the Maori Party allowing the “Constitutional review” process, really just a Trojan Horse to get apartheid and separatism and racism entrenched into the NZ political/ legal system.

    An insidious evil we should never have on the table if not for John Key.

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  15. hj (7,139 comments) says:

    If people had to pay for their own health care they may be more careful what they put in their mouth, but while we hae a free (tax funded system) system the right to intervene is strong.

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  16. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    @slijmbal

    Thanks for interesting personal insight. I think that challenge of shifting entrenched habits in some people is going to be a persistent issue.

    Diabetes has a number of factors contributing to it, and lifestyle is definitely one. I don’t think anybody has a good idea of how to get people off the couch and exercising more.

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  17. Redbaiter (10,361 comments) says:

    ” I don’t think anybody has a good idea of how to get people off the couch and exercising more.”

    No, but if government just keeps working away at it, they’re sure to come up with a solution eventually right?

    Pfffftt.. just the usual hopeless socialist big government worshiping tosh.

    It’s a matter for each and every INDIVIDUAL.

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  18. Manolo (14,161 comments) says:

    I’ll keep repeating it: today’s National Party is an emasculated left-leaning organisation full of yes-men and cowards.

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  19. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    The problem arises from the anti-fat campaigns of the past; fat provides flavour in food if you take it out you need something else. This led to sugar being added to foods that then were/are marketed as Low Fat = Healthy! So people think they are making healthy choices but it simply isn’t true. From a nutritional perspective you are probably better off with moderate fat levels rather than extremely high levels of added sugar as the body needs it for a lot of basic functions such as cell growth and it is more filling. Look at a can of soup that is advertised as 98% fat free and it will have a heap of added sugar and almost as bad a lot of added salt! It is very expensive buying raw whole foods as opposed to mass produced processed food and thus people are eating a lot more sugar in everything they eat! It would be impossible to be sugar free since it occurs naturally but I think a campaign reducing added processed sugar would be a good step!

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  20. Scott (1,807 comments) says:

    Redbaiter at 10:06 a.m.– Quite right, I forgot about that. Not many people realise what is happening to our country. Apparently the Urewera’s are now under the control of the Maori tribe. You have to pay another Maori tribe money if you want to have a sporting contest involving Lake Taupo. And of course the decision to fly the Maori separatist flag on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

    But John Key does need votes. And my goodness he will get them – whether it be from the Maori party or the soft Labour voter that likes gay issues – John Key must get his votes and continue to be the most popular Prime Minister and get a 3rd term.
    And if he has to outlaw Sugar then John is up to the challenge! Founding principles of the National party be damned! Our boy John must get a 3rd term. Everything else is just commentary.

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  21. tvb (4,553 comments) says:

    There should be an excise tax on sugar. I see not food value in sugary drinks. They can be priced off the shelved. I weep when I see cans and cans of the rubbish being bought in supermarkets.

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  22. Tharg (15 comments) says:

    My son’s (year 4) class read a book last year called ‘Bootleg’ which was about a world in which sugar was banned – seemed like an introduction to the dystopian genre for primary kids and certainly got some interesting discussions going.

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  23. Manolo (14,161 comments) says:

    I weep when I see cans and cans of the rubbish being bought in supermarkets.

    What a hopeless do-gooder you are!

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  24. Psycho Milt (2,423 comments) says:

    Bennett is being satirical, but I suspect there lobby groups will soon be pushing for this!

    Yes, I wouldn’t put it past health lobbyists to wipe the smiles off our faces. There’s no doubt sugar is a contributor to the spread of Type 2 Diabetes (actually not so much sugar as refined carbs in all their forms, but sugar’s the poster boy), so if you’re a mother-knows-best health lobbyist, getting the government to pay you to lobby the govt to impose disincentives on sugar consumption should be a no-brainer.

    Back the early 80s, Judge Dredd comic strips featured many battles against drug dealers peddling the illegal drug sugar. It was a piss-take of contemporary drugs law enforcement involving other white powders and how we laughed at the time, but you never know – may turn out to be prophetic.

    Breakfast cereals are the devil’s spawn from a sugar perspective – it’s pretty much impossible to find a breakfast cereal that does not have a massive sugar component – a fry up is healthier for a diabetic than breakfast cereal.

    You fucking bet it is. It winds me up no end when the shitbags that make breakfast cereal quack on about how “healthy” it is or even how it will help you lose weight – lying fucks.

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  25. Psycho Milt (2,423 comments) says:

    I see not food value in sugary drinks.

    You don’t? Sugary drinks have enormous, monumentally gigantic food value – that’s exactly the problem with them.

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  26. RRM (10,097 comments) says:

    :mrgreen: Joe Bennett is awesome!

    Drink machine on the train wasn’t working last night. And I was dying for a can of coke. Merde…

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  27. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    Banning sweets and sugary drinks would have a minor effect.

    It’s exceedingly likely that the majority of additional Type II diabetes is a combination of lifestyle factors. White rice, potatoes, crappy white bread, no veges, alcohol etc and excess weight and no exercise do the trick fine thank you very much.

    Also coincidentally did work with the Northlands DHB about 8 years ago. They were crapping themselves about an oncoming diabetes epidemic. The trouble was the locals did not manage the condition. They were already seeing bumps in amputations, blindness, heart attacks and kidney failures as a result of unmanaged diabetes. If you have diabetes and are rich I would suggest buying a dialysis machine as there will not be enough to go around in the health system.

    The problem with diabetes is that once the knock on effects kick in they get very pricey to treat. You do tend to die earlier but not very quickly and not without a lot of costs.

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  28. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    I don’t see obviously high sugar products as being as big a problem as foods you don’t expect to be high in sugar having it added to it. It is easy to avoid lollies and soft drink if you are worried about your sugar intake but it is added to basically everything that is processed; this is what makes if difficult. I heard someone say [can’t remember the source I will try to dig it out later at home] that we should shop around the outside of the super market aisles Fruit, Vegetables, Meat and Dairy and try to avoid the middle as much as possible if we want to eat healthy.

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  29. Left Right and Centre (3,007 comments) says:

    One red tick for spelling as ‘humerous’…. unforgivable… I *hope* that it was a rushed typing error….

    And I wanted to spell unforgivable as unforgiveable and had to correct my own ignorance… appalling….

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  30. Left Right and Centre (3,007 comments) says:

    slijmbal (807)
    March 6th, 2013 at 9:23 am

    From a sugar point of view… I started looking at and learning how to read the nutrition labels and the amount of products that contain sugar and the quantity… and you think… why?

    Apart from the obvious… people crave it.

    When I looked at tomato sauce, steak sauce…. dressings etc… 80-90% of the damn calories came from sugar.

    So when you look at supermarket shelves…. all you see is shelf after shelf of unnecessary extra sugar that people have in their diet.

    It’s simply education…. educating people to at least know and understand why they want to eat certain products.

    I said to a now ex-mate; ‘do you know why you love tomato sauce? It’s because all the calories in it come from sugar’. And people are hard-wired to crave fat, sugar, salt… and high calories. For survival. Doesn’t work in NZ in 2013. High calories are cheap and easily available.

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  31. Left Right and Centre (3,007 comments) says:

    I actually have the nerve to talk to strangers at the supermarket about calories.

    One very very fat Island lady who grabbed a tin of tuna in oil (as I was trying to source my own tuna in brine as the useless pricks at pak n save had an empty space where my fish should be) gave me the old chestnut line: Doesn’t like the taste of the fish in brine. Has to have the oil. The same tuna in oil is around 800kj. The tuna in brine is 380kj. No brainer. No briner for her though.

    It’s not a surprise though, is it? Fat bitch… has to have the high calorie version of the same fish. Twice as many calories.

    Her answer? (She wasn’t a dumb fob… she was quite kiwi.. this was a NW after all) She drains off the oil and adds it to veges. I asked her does that really work? I don’t know but I doubt if that does work. The fish is coated in oil and I don’t think you can reduce the calories of it much by trying to drain it off.

    I approached a bloke with full sugar soft drink. Couldn’t handle the taste of zero sugar. Oh dear. He wasn’t any kind of intellectual. A white dumbarse. It’s generally the naturally ignorant dumb working class masses that are clueless and don’t give a shit about health or calories or anything that buy all of the crap for sale in supermarkets.

    In the shop yesterday…. fat fat fat fat big as a house brown women were ripping two litre ice cream containers out of the freezer… four of them. I don’t know what their diet is but you don’t get to be that size by starving yourself for weeks. It’s things you see like that and you think….mmmhmmm…. there it is happening in front of me….

    I get it… I really do. At the moment I’m fighting the urge to fill a bowl with Pam’s strawberry ripple to which I’d add Pam’s raspberry jam heated up and strawberry flavoured homemade sherbert. That’s so bloody tempting. I don’t miss out on junk at all… I want to get away with as much as I can… but far out… at least know the choice you’re making armed with facts.

    Most of the downtrodden deadend deadhead ignorant masses that I see… there’s very little hope for them. Fat, ugly morons that can’t keep away from fat, sugar, flour, alcohol, red meat, dairy and giant portion sizes.

    No-one has ever made a late night extra trip to the shop because they’ve just got to have some boiled cabbage… hahahahaha

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  32. Hodor (38 comments) says:

    Is homemade muesli as bad as bought stuff? Mine has oil, whole rolled oats, seeds, nuts, coconut, honey, OJ, dried apricots and sultanas – must be better right?

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  33. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    @hodor

    from memory a lot of dried fruit has an awful GL – so sultanas and I think less so apricots are a bit of an issue but in general homemade muesli is a lot better than the bought stuff – assuming you don’t overdo the dried fruit and honey

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  34. krazykiwi (8,040 comments) says:

    I too make homemade muesli – a microwave recipie, and I grow veges. Arrived home this evening to find a rat enjoying one of my delicious tomatoes. @#$%^&. I need a cat! Perhaps Gareth has a spare :)

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  35. Hodor (38 comments) says:

    Thanks slijmbal, will lower the dried fruit ratio!

    Although they are the best bits…

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  36. Harriet (5,199 comments) says:

    “….from memory a lot of dried fruit has an awful GL – so sultanas and I think less so apricots are a bit of an issue but in general homemade muesli is a lot better than the bought stuff – assuming you don’t overdo the dried fruit and honey…”

    Crap!

    They are the sugars that you SHOULD be eating.

    It is mostly ‘cane’ suger that is in most packeted foods – the white sugars, that have been refined from the likes of raw and brown sugars. Adding raw sugar to coffee, baking etc is better than castor or confectionary sugars[icing sugar].
    Yes, there is fructose, sucrose, lactose, inverted, ect too in packaged foods, but they are pretty good for you – but like anything else – it is all about moderation.

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  37. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    I have lost 37Kgs since April 2012 and all I did was stop adding sugar to food and try to avoid sugary drinks. I avoid fruit juice like the plague as it is one of the worst things you can drink; nature packages fruit with the antidote (fibre) so why would you drink poison without the antidote? I do favour personal responsibility on most issues and this one is no different but it is hard when food manufacturers add it to everything; the reason is it tastes good and it is addictive! If you have a small budget to feed a family you aren’t going to be able to afford only nautral raw foods so a lot of processed foods go into the trolley!

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