Health advocates are drawing battle lines against “Big Food”, claiming drastic intervention is needed to stave off a diabetes crisis in New Zealand.
As adult obesity nears a third of the population, individual responsibility for diet and exercise is clearly not enough, said Dr Gabrielle Jenkin, an Otago University of Wellington health academic who is co-ordinating a seminar today in Wellington.
Government policymakers were reluctant to legislate against “Big Food” – industry powers such as Fonterra, Coca-Cola, Heinz Wattie’s, fast food chains and Foodstuffs and Progressive supermarkets, she said. Many so-called nutrition research bodies were sponsored by Big Food, she said. Dietitians New Zealand, for instance, stated on its website that it is backed by Unilever and Nestle.
How terrible. I’ve got a rule of thumb which is often correct. When so called researchers are more focused on the companies involved in an industry, than anything else, they’ve lost perspective. They just want to damage the companies they personally disapprove of.
Jenkin said “tainted” research was presented at select committees as unbiased fact. “They’re corrupting science.”
The translation here is that anything I disagree with is corrupt.
She claimed Big Food was more powerful than Big Tobacco, and likely to be more aggressive if policy turned against it.
The industry put the onus on individuals to fight obesity, so governments tended to promote diet and exercise rather than legislating against unhealthy food, she said.
Of course it fucking is, because there is nothing wrong with so called unhealthy food in moderation. I almost never eat chocolate due to its very high calorie and sugar count. But when I go tramping, then I buy some chocolate to make up scroggin for energy during the tramp.
I don’t want any fucking busy bodies legislating to tell me I can’t buy chocolate because it is unhealthy.
However,some governments had stood up to Big Food. In Britain, manufacturers have been forced to reduce fat, sugar and salt, and New York’s governor attempted to restrict portion sizes and introduce nutritional information in restaurants.
Including nutritional information empowers choice. That is a good thing. But having the state try to regulate portion sizes and dictate food composition is barking mad. These researchers seem to think that individual choice and consequences have no role in society.
Over 20 years I became very large. This was not due to advertising, or sugar in fizzy drinks or anything like that. It was simply because I ate too much food. It wasn’t the type of food as much as the amount of food. And then a couple of years I lost most of it by simply eating less and exercising more. It is that simple. Not easy, but simple.
In New Zealand, politicians remained cowed by Big Food, she said. In deprived towns and suburbs, fast food outlets were so numerous as to be unavoidable.
So effing what? It isn’t compulsory to go in. And even if you do, one can actually get quite healthy food in them. It’s about balance, not about banning food.