Tax on fizzy drinks and curb on takeaway outlets to fight obesity: good idea or not?

(206 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 18-Feb-13 17:20:19


Today, doctors are calling on the government to levy an experimental 20% tax on sugary soft drinks and to make local councils limit the number of fast-food outlets outside schools, colleges and leisure centres - to help prevent the UK's obesity crisis becoming "unresolvable".

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (which represents nearly every doctor in the UK) says it wants measures like these brought in to break the cycle of "generation after generation falling victim to obesity-related illnesses and death".

One in four adults in England is obese, and predictions are that obesity rates will soon rise to 60% of men, 50% of women and 25% of children.

The British Retail Consortium has countered by saying it's wrong to "demonise" fast-food outlets and it's down to parents to help children "build a healthy and responsible attitude to eating a balanced diet overall".

What do you think?

Do we all need measures like the doctors are suggesting to help us - and our children - stay at a healthy weight?

Or should we be left alone to eat - and feed our children - whatever we choose?

colditz Mon 18-Feb-13 17:21:36

Actually I think it would be fantastic to stop fast food places opening near comprehensive schools. I went to the chippy every day for two years when I was a teenager!

LouiseFisher Mon 18-Feb-13 17:22:15

I think that's a fantastic idea tbh! Cut down on it!

If they are going to use the extra money in tax to subsidise the price of healthy food, then yes.

If not, then no.

HorizonFocus Mon 18-Feb-13 17:28:33

Demonisation of fizzy drinks = hurrah.
Demonisation of fat, i.e. butter, very bad idea.

Not sure about the fast food outlets, I think crappy chicken inc is better than boarded up shops.

iliketea Mon 18-Feb-13 17:33:50

I think it would be better to
1. reduce the price of healthy food, so it's cheaper to eat well
2. offer cheap cooking classes so people know how to cook from scratch / have cooking and nutrition as part of the national curriculum so children know how to cook.

If the "tax" is used for that, then it would be okay to tax unhealthy food.

limit the number of fast-food outlets outside schools, colleges and leisure centres

I agree with this bit but in all honesty, it's ignorance/apathy and not availability that is the problem.

sittinginthesun Mon 18-Feb-13 17:35:06

My gut feeling is that it is very good idea. We all know fizzy drinks are bad for you, but it takes a huge amount of self discipline to blank out the constant pressure to consume!

I don't drink fizzy drinks, as I suffered from terrible PMS in my late teens, and found that cutting out sugar was the solution. I simply won't have them in the house, won't buy them in shops and cafes etc, and both my children have therefore been brought up to avoid them. But, it actually takes a huge amount of effort. Too often the default option is junk, and I have to ask for water (at rip off prices!).

IMO opinion, the only solution is to tax them.

BreadForMyBREADGUN Mon 18-Feb-13 17:37:53

There is nothing good about fizzy drinks at all. Maybe if this legislation came on then the drinks companies would be forced to create healthier versions (though am possibly in dreamland with that one)

I also think shite like relentless should not be sold to under 16s

Manchesterhistorygirl Mon 18-Feb-13 17:41:45

Better education in school to help children how to learn from scratch, cheap or free tap water in restaurants would be more beneficial than yet another tax! I'd say when the Fsa get their own house in order then we should begin a discussion on taxes on healthy/unhealthy.

nextphase Mon 18-Feb-13 17:42:49

I don't think you can ban fast food outlets near all schools - our secondary school happens to back onto the only parade of shops in town. Does that mean we are all to be deprived of the occasional takeout because of the way the planning has worked?

I also agree with Horizon - it will need very careful wording to exclude what they want without demonising the things that are required in small amounts to cook successfully from home.

Equally are we going to add 20% tax to lager and champagne, and leave the normal vino alone? What about sparkling water????

I may be in a minority but I resent the idea of a nanny state making our decisions for us. I am capable of deciding whether or not to have a fizzy drink for myself.

The fizzy drink levy is a good idea, but only if the tax generated goes towards healthy eating promotion in some way.

I dont really see how curbing takeaways will help. If people want to eat shit they will. Perhaps councils need to create incentives for more healthy eating options to be opened around schools/colleges etc so that its not damaging businesses or local economies!

sittinginthesun Mon 18-Feb-13 17:47:45

Fan - I know where you're coming from, but I guess that line of argument means you have to be against drug legislation, compulsory seat belts, speed limits, car MOT, building regulation controls. Isn't it just a case of where we draw the line?

FairyJen Mon 18-Feb-13 17:50:43

In theory great however what about shops that are already established by local schools??

In my experience people will buy what they like regardless however I agree that more education needs to be done and healthier options such come at a reduced price if tax is imposed on the unhealthy options

Gintonic Mon 18-Feb-13 17:55:49

Tax on fizzy drinks - yes definitely, as they haven't any nutritional value and are often aimed at children.

Limit on takeaway outlets - well I personally would like to see fewer take aways in general, not just near schools, as they create loads of litter and push out decent shops. But that would not be very fair on people who use them. At my school you were not allowed out at lunchtime until you were around 15, which might be a better way of preventing children/young people going to these places every day.

EstherRancid Mon 18-Feb-13 17:56:19

maybe the powers that be could do something to limit the constant bombardment we are subject due to advertising junk food?

there must be billions spent in advertising crap food/drink, the research and money that goes into it is astounding.

target this instead of the kids who want a treat now and again but see the likes of McDs and C-Cola advertising spots events?

EstherRancid Mon 18-Feb-13 17:57:09


(although spots is another good reason to give them up grin )

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 18-Feb-13 18:01:30

Better education in schools? Have you seen all the whinging threads about lunchboxes and parents' rights to put what they want in them?
You can do all the educating you like, until parents change the lifestyles on offer to their children, then obesity will continue to increase. Children may know what a healthy diet is in theory, but they can't implement it by themselves. Food education classes for adults would be more use.
More exercise as a family, less junk being eaten.
Yes to tax on useless crap like fizzy drinks, but lower the price of fruit and veg.

MadBusLady Mon 18-Feb-13 18:10:18

Do they actually know a 20% levy would work as a deterrent? I get twitchy when doctors give fiscal advice rather than medical advice. It sounds suspiciously like the kind of figure you'd pluck out of thin air as "about right for a tax" if you didn't know anything about the taxation system.

I am generally uneasy about the tax system being used to influence behaviour. The purpose of the tax system is to raise revenue in a fair way to allow governments to spend money on the things they need to spend it on. You start clouding that purpose, you will get bad, over-complex law.

Saying that, fizzy drinks are the devil's work. A lot of people joke about being "addicted" to diet coke, but I actually think they are. I used to be.

AppleStroodles Mon 18-Feb-13 18:18:05

Yes! I think it's a fantastic idea, the 'Nanny State' yes, but when the sale of these drinks is making an impact of the nations health (financially & otherwise) I think they are within their rights to attempt to curb sales.

AppleStroodles Mon 18-Feb-13 18:19:04

Yes to lowering the price of fruit and veg too.... Works both ways!!!!

ouryve Mon 18-Feb-13 18:20:39

People happily pay well over a quid for a small bottle of sugary fizzy stuff. I don't think taxing it is going to make any difference.

how about just banning fructose glucose syrup and trans fat like everyone knows needs doing instead of pretending a longer queue at the chip shop and 10p on a can of coke will do anything?

if nanny actually gives a shit than nanny should do something that actually makes a difference but nanny seems to care more about global companies than health in reality and wouldn't want to tell them what to do.

instead it can patronise us with a coke tax and less takeaways hmm

No, I don't like it.

As said upthread, it's a nanny state thing. I can make my own decisions about fizzy drinks and takeaway.

The fact is, the price of decent food has soared. I hate cooking but I am in a fortunate position where I can buy decent ingredients and force myself to do it - for the good of my family. I can afford cookbooks/Internet and look up nice recipes that are easy enough and that my family will like.

For those who don't have the time, or the drive to do so for whatever reason I can see the appeal of a takeaway as a regular thing. Where I lived previously, where food choices are an issue and a barrier to healthy living, there was a takeaway within easy reach of most of the houses on the estate. For £2 you could get a huge kebab and chips, or fish and chips, or curry and chips. It was shite quality, yes - and I was in a position where I could see this and make the right choices. A decent supermarket was a bus ride away - another prohibitive factor.

Spend money on teaching children how to cook healthy food. But most importantly - teach them how to cook things that they will want to eat. Even if it's home made chicken nuggets and potato wedges. Make it translate to what they see at home, what they want at home. It's okay teaching children to make "staple" foods but if it's not what they have at home, particularly when they're not the ones in charge of what's on the home menu, then the skills will be lost.

The schools I worked in would do something similar - decide on a dish as a class, cook it in an after school club and invite the parents in to share a meal. For some children it was - literally - the only time they could remember sitting down and eating with their families.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 18-Feb-13 18:34:52

I thnk it's a good idea to have a 'sugar tax', clearly something needs to be done.

But how will it work with diet drinks? If they remain at the same price while their full sugar versions get more expensive, then people will just but the diet versions and end up with all sorts of other health problems from too much aspartame and whatever other sweetners are used. So I'd like some clarification on that before I can fully support it.

The tax needs to be applied to plenty of other things though, not just fizzy drinks.

I'd like to see an age restriction on fizzy drinks, and especially on energy drinks.

RedToothBrush Mon 18-Feb-13 18:50:51

Its a terrible idea.

Why? Because it means that instead of sugary drinks, 'sugar-free' drinks with artificial sweeteners in will be even more commonplace.

And sweeteners have been scientifically shown in several recent studies to make people put on even more weight than their full sugar counterparts.

Total genius idea. hmm

Sittinginthesun, the problem with comparing things like for like is that a duff car on the road being driven over the limit is not just endangering the driver but also others. The state intervening about individual decision which can affect others sucj as the ones you mentioned are different. But your own health is your own responsibility.

Piemother Mon 18-Feb-13 18:55:29

I think action is required but its treating the outcome not the cause.
I think the tax is a good idea but I would like the cash spent on mandatory life skills lessons in schools which include cooking on a budget/nutrition (but user friendly not abstract science) as well as how to manage in adult life (bit getting in debt/plug wiring and lots of other stuff). I do thi m that perhaps we gave raised a generation of incompetent adults because I doubt many obese people want to be that way hmm

Shellington Mon 18-Feb-13 18:58:49

I thought diet drinks were a factor in obesity, diet coke being a prime example? Am not sure of the science behind it, something to do with the sweeteners / cravings confused

I would be interested to hear what dentists' views are about the proposals, they must see a more immediate and tangible result of poor diet / lots of sugar more than doctors.

However, it is much more to do with lifestyles - having a car / computer / sedentary job / internet shopping / labour-saving gadgets - one 'quick fix' will surely only address a percentage of the cause.

JollyRedGiant Mon 18-Feb-13 19:00:40

Our local authority does not allow hot food or ice cream vans to trade within 400m of a secondary school. They have no jurisdiction over shops though.

I think everything should be VATted unless it is totally free from additives.

These things should be tax free:
Unprocessed Meat
No salt/sugar bread
No salt/sugar breakfast cereals
Processed fruit (without additives)
Processed meat (without additives)

These things should be heavily taxed:
Anything with added salt
Anything with added sugar
Anything with E numbers or artificial sweeteners

MadBusLady Mon 18-Feb-13 19:04:01

That's a good point about diet drinks redtoothbrush/shellington. I was assuming this would be all fizzy drinks, but the industry would be bound to argue the diet ones are "better" and I think that's bollocks.

bigbluebus Mon 18-Feb-13 19:04:15

Sorry but I don't agree with this proposal. I think people should be better educated about what to eat and drink including how few calories they need to consume compared with what they would get from take-away food and fizzy drinks. I would also prefer to see school children doing more exercise and sport - then they might actually car about what they put into their bodies.

I am sick to death of the nanny state trying to push up prices just to try and stop people buying things - it will not work. Not everyone who eats take-aways and drinks fizzy drinks is poor. I generally eat healthily, don't very often drink fizzy drinks, moderate my alcohol intake and I exercise vigorously 3 times a week. I don't see why I should have to pay more for my occasional 'treats' just because some people don't know how to moderate their intake of crap food.

And as for Doctors deciding this should happen - I assume they were all healthy eating, non alcohol drinking, non-smoking, regular exercise kind of doctors - as I have seen plenty of overweight, junk food eating, alcohol swilling doctors, who do no exercise in my time!!!! And overweight MPs too!

RedToothBrush Mon 18-Feb-13 19:17:50

It also doesn't help me as I do have a reaction to certain sweeteners...

Given that fruit juice is often very high in sugar, this may also have another negative health effect.

It does seem to be about ALL sugary drinks rather than just fizzy drinks from the news articles, I've seen on the subject too.

If doctors really want to dictate what people buy/eat then why not cut to the chase and really make it a nanny state, by having a weigh in at supermarket check outs. That would be targeting the people who have a problem...

... and no I'm not serious in the slightest with that idea. I think its just as ridiculous as this one though.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 18-Feb-13 19:20:34

I think it's a terrible idea

The day we lay down and allow the government to tax foods that they think are 'bad for us' will be a very dark day.

Education & advertising - both fine.

Making companies stop using transfats/fructose other ingredients - fine.

But levying a tax on food a government thinks is bad for us 'NO' - even the top Drs can't agree on many things -whether they are good or bad for us... what kind of a mess will we be in if we let the govt make those decisons????

Oh and no agenda here - for the tiny bit of coke & tonic I buy in a year, doubling the price wouldn't bother me if I actually thought it would do anygood.

Limiting food outlets <shrug> whatever... not really bothered either way.

No BigBlueBus they won't be - but they will still be able to afford to buy whatever they choose & dine out in expensive restaurants.

good point - would fat mps and doctors be slim if coke was 10p more a can and there were 10% less takeaways?

it's idiotic.

there's nothing wrong with the occasional takeaway or the occasional fizzy drink (champagne anyone). but if you ban transfats and glucose fructose syrups they will be healthier as will all the other fat inducing products they stuff them in including children's yoghurts that market themselves as 'healthy'.

there is so much data to say that these need banning and are major players in the mass expansion of obesity figures.

it would definitely be effective.

i cannot comprehend taxing a sugary drink but allowing it to be filled with glucose fructose syrup.

sieglinde Mon 18-Feb-13 19:22:43

I'm for a tax on fizzy drinks. They are really unnecessary - like fags and booze and the stuff that attracts a luxury tax. They and every other kind of junk should also attract VAT. So all chocolates, confectionary, crisps.

Mimsy, agree the cost of food has rocketed, but benefits have too. In 1980 I was on the dole and I used to have a food budget of 5 quid a week. Not enough for soft drinks grin.

I used to work in a Coke factory - you DON'T want to know what really goes into it. A woman was dragged into a machine and killed before my eyes... People who fret over battery chickens probably never consider the human cost of the nice clean soda. Nor the mice in the bottles. A bit of horse meat would have been a relief.

RedToothBrush Mon 18-Feb-13 19:24:32

Oh, and the idea that is also part of this proposal:

'Food labels to include calorie information for children' is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

They already do this for adults saying that an average woman's calorie intake should be 2000 calories a day. The trouble is this mythical average woman doesn't actually exist. Many women, like me, need far fewer calories; many women will need more. It simply depends on how big you are and how active you are. There is no magic calorie figure. These figures are totally meaningless in the real world.

So all in all, I think that whoever these doctors are who dreamt up these proposals they should loose their jobs. They are supposed to be intelligent. And yet these suggestions have been made up by a bunch of absolute idiots.

All it will do, is raise a extra few quid for the treasury, not educate anyone, not solve any problems and make everyone out there poorer all round.

Idiots. Total idiots.

Yfronts Mon 18-Feb-13 19:38:32

I think a lot of parents are badly educated and can't cook. I think the government needs to take every possible step to ensure the nations health is better.

ArcticRoll Mon 18-Feb-13 19:42:07

Think it is excellent idea.

Tee2072 Mon 18-Feb-13 19:44:48

Nope. It's not up to the government to decide for me what I should eat.

Also, cheaper food? Why do you think they are finding horse in mince? How soon before it's found everywhere? Why? Because people want cheap food.

Cheap food is made cheaply.

Too much government interference as it is. Stay out of my kitchen and my bedroom.

ICBINEG Mon 18-Feb-13 19:45:16

Agree about the averages being for shit.

I wonder if everyone could do a day in a calorimeter and get a more reasonable estimate of their own personal calorie balance?

kids must need even more wildly different intakes than adults.

happybubblebrain Mon 18-Feb-13 19:48:15

It won't work. It's a stupid idea.

People will still be obese if they eat too much. You'd have to put a levy on all foods to stop people from eating more than they need. As long as people have fridges full of food there will be overweight people. Takeaways and fizzy drinks are not the culprits. Eating too much of anything will make you fat, including homecooked "healthy" food. If you are going to put a levy on takeaway chips you'd have to put a levy on cooking oil and potatoes because people will just make their own chips when the takeways get too expensive.

happybubblebrain Mon 18-Feb-13 19:52:23

hmm and confused at yet another genius government plan.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 20:00:53

I think it's a fantastic idea and waaaaay overdue.In actual fact I think it needs to go further.

Processed foods high in fat,sugar and crap should have some kind of flash across them so you can just walk on by easily. Fed up with scrolling through ingredients and trying to work out figures in the midst of a shop.Said food manufactures would then work hard to ensure their products didn't have to carry said label.

Oh and supermarkets should be made to put all the cereal below 20g of sugar in 100g on one shelf so we don't have to spend ages searching through-it's like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Tee2072 Mon 18-Feb-13 20:10:20

BTW, has there been any research done to see how many people have quit smoking just because of the price of cigarettes? It's certainly not why I quit.

ICBINEG Mon 18-Feb-13 20:14:22

So erm no drinking of fizzy drinks indoors might be a better plan?

<might not be as mad as it sounds>

ICBINEG Mon 18-Feb-13 20:15:16

On the one hand I don't think putting up the price of fizzy drinks will change obesity levels.

On the other hand noone needs fizzy drinks in their diet so why not scrounge some much needed cash for the government?

MrsSonky Mon 18-Feb-13 20:20:04

Sugar is a major industry and has powerful lobbyists. Fat doesn't. I think that's why we've had such a drive to cut out fats from our diets. It's the easy target, and of course saturated fat does harm our bodies when taken in excess but does take the spotlight away from an alternative - sugar. Scientists now think sugar is far more problematic for our bodies, but we don't really hear about it.

I'm not suggesting everyone has a fry-up everyday but sugar is in everything. Just have a look at the back of some of the packets in your cupboards. Sucrose, fructose, dextrose, malt extract, invert sugar syrup. Just some of the lovelies I found in under a minute in my cupboard. The only one I couldn't find was high fructose corn syrup - give me time I'm sure it's in there somewhere.

We've all got a naturally sweet tooth and manufacturers exploit this. A low fat diet should be ideally between 5% - 10% per 100g but i haven't a clue about sugar. If you don't cook everything from scratch then I bet we all exceed whatever the recommended daily intake is.

Better education and a reduction across all products, not just fizzy drinks.

Snowkey Mon 18-Feb-13 20:20:13

The cost of cigarettes was certainly a big factor in why I quit, that and all the legislation that was progressively banning smoking in every square inch of the planet - it was just bloody easier to give up!

Snowkey Mon 18-Feb-13 20:24:15

Oh and I think a tax on sugar is a great idea - not forgetting all the fructose syrups, concentrated fruit sugar garbage etc either.

Last time I was a A&E we couldn't get a glass of cold water in the waiting room, fizzy drinks from a vending machine was the only choice.

Nanny state may be but who's paying for all this? The state!

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Mon 18-Feb-13 20:25:27

I don't mind a tax on fizzy drinks and other 'luxury' foods with no nutritional value but I suppose alcohol tax would have to go up too to maintain alcohol as more expensive than pop.

I think the takeaway thing is to complicated though. Presumably they can't shut down existing businesses so it will only apply to new businesses and I don't think there will be enough secondary school that have the potential for a takeaway near them but nobody has opened one for it to have any impact at all. Not because people are so desperate to sell chips to kids but because school are usually in built up areas. I would be a bit pissed off if I could never, ever get a takeaway because all suitable sites for a business with a takeaway licence were near schools. When I was at school we weren't allowed out at lunchtime and we didn't have cash for lunch anyway. You had to eat in school. I had chips everyday and was still under 7 stone when I left.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 20:31:46

Also the fact is those that are addicted to sugar and refuse to do anything about it are costing the NHS millions so really they should pay more.

I also think parents will think twice,some of these kids must consume gallons of the stuff and if you've got 3 thirsty children, a tight budget which we all have and a tap you'll be far more likely to revert to the tap if buying drinks x3 7 days a week becomes even more expensive.

I'm amazed anybody can afford these drinks to be frank.

Corygal Mon 18-Feb-13 20:33:00

I would like the FSA to check what our meat is and where it comes from before launching distracting, silly campaigns like this.

RedToothBrush Mon 18-Feb-13 20:34:35

Takeaways... so how many takeaway places serve what people might call 'healthy food'. So how do you decide what is a healthy acceptable takeaway? Or do you just remove choice... and does this mean that supermarkets who sell -crap and equally unhealthy-- lunches will also be targeted?

Thought not. Nuff said.

Frankly, all this 'healthy food' crap is part of the problem. You can eat too much 'healthy food' and still have a problem.

You have to understand whats in your food, not just ban it.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 20:35:31

I don't.Obesity is costing billions and shortening the lives of kids who deserve better. Horsemeat however unsavoury is nowhere near as dangerous.Also you could always go veggie!

bigbluebus Mon 18-Feb-13 20:52:24

My brother and sister-in-law are both very overweight. They do not eat take-aways or drink coke - they live on a diet of home cooked food, but obviously just eat too much of it. I have friends who are the same. So how exactly will putting the price of fizzy drinks up by 20% cure their obesity problems?

AmberSocks Mon 18-Feb-13 20:52:57

I think its sad how parents are happy to take less and less responsibility for their childrens health and happiness,its lazy and pathetic.

Jellykat Mon 18-Feb-13 20:58:23

I agree with these ideas, but my only problem with this idea is who exactly decides which drinks should be taxed?
There are some sparkling drinks we buy occasionally that contain no added sugar, yet they could still be classed as 'soft drinks' - Bottle green sparkling juices, Curiosity Cola and Purdeys are the main ones that spring to my mind... They are already expensive in comparison to your bog standard Colas etc, because they are ethically produced and don't contain crap.
I think it is a possibility that these smaller independent companies may get into trouble should there products be forced to go up in price.

My DS's school doesn't allow pupils out at any breaktimes, as many schools don't, so the fast food outlet idea would be void at many schools. I know his school (and many others) serves crappy meals still, so that problem still hasn't been solved despite Jamie Olivers best attempts.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:00:08

Big won't cure your family but it will help millions of others.

The fact is sugar is as addictive as crack,it is killing people and costing the NHS millions. I'm not a drug addict but fighting drug addiction is good for me too and children born into families with drug addicts.

Tee2072 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:02:33

Sugar is as addictive as crack? Proof?

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:02:54

Jelly. I think they should all be treated the same,don't care how pretty the packaging is.In fact these are the companies we should be focusing on particularly,far too often you think ah a pretty Eco type bottle must be better for me-if it is still full of sugar it isn't.

newgirl Mon 18-Feb-13 21:03:05

gov was very happy to accept coca cola sponsoring the olympics...

yes make it expensive

i dont think eating healthy is expensive - potatoes, lentils, seasonal apples, tinned tomatoes, bananas etc - bag of each of those costs less than a bottle of coke

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:06:59

Tee Google it.

bigbluebus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:10:39

But polkadot adding extra tax is not going to stop peoples' addiction to sugar. If people can afford regular take-aways then they cannot be poor - so charging them a bit extra will not stop them.
Likewise, if they have a taste for fizzy sugary drinks, they are not going to suddenly get a taste for drinking water. Taxing these items is not going to change everyone's taste buds - that takes will power. I can remember giving up the 2 spoons of sugar that I used to take in coffee, it took weeks of determination and pulling faces at the bitter taste - but I got there in the end.

RedToothBrush Mon 18-Feb-13 21:13:09

The difference between putting up the price on drinks compared with cigarettes.

You HAVE to eat. You do not HAVE to smoke.

Therefore whatever you cut out of your diet, you need to replace somehow.

Therefore the ONLY way to solve problems about diet is to educate people properly.

You can have changes like this until you are blue in the face, but it will only cause new problems unless you actually tackle the root causes.

And as I said upthread, if 'diet' drinks are in fact WORSE than sugary drinks which seems to be the case, then what the fuck is this actually going to solve? And people will just switch to diet drinks unless they have education to do differently.

redlac Mon 18-Feb-13 21:15:50

Will never happen - Scottish Government fighting in court to get minimum pricing on alcohol to save thousands of lives and you can bet that the likes of Coca Cola, McDs etc will do exactly the same thing to stop this tax

Bloody fabulous idea though and would totally support it - apart from taxing Irn Bru! it's the juice of the gods smile

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:16:30

Nobody has to drink soft drinks,that is the point.They serve absolutely no purpose.Tax them until they're unaffordable for everybody as far as I'm concerned.They are simply sugar,water and shite which make companies millions.We all have taps with clean water.

Tee2072 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:19:54

But you don't have to drink fizzy drinks or eat junk.

And yes, if they do this, will the government not accept their sponsorship? Or how about tax companies that do accept their sponsorship?

Who sponsors FA Cup? Wimbledon? Most of the reality TV shows?

The apple farmers? I doubt it.

Polka Why should I? You made a statement, back it up.

RedToothBrush Mon 18-Feb-13 21:23:44

Yeah, but have you TRIED to give up the sugary taste?

They are addicted to the taste, and will try and find other ways to get that 'hit' rather than switch to water. Hence the switch to 'diet' drinks.

You yourself said "sugar is as addictive as crack" so if thats the case, do you really think this is the solution?

You need to educate people to get unhooked to ALL sugary tastes, if you want to tackle obesity. Otherwise you have to tax ALL drinks that not only have sugar in them, but also ones with sugar substitutes.

Thats the point. The solution they are proposing doesn't actually solve the problem here if diet drinks are also a cause.

BTW, if anyone is interested and thinks there may be something more sinister in all this, look at the price of sugar compared to various sugar substitutes. Then look at who owns the patents to this sugar substitutes. Hello Coca Cola (amongst others). There is actually more profit to be made in diet drinks than sugary ones...

ivykaty44 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:24:54

taxing smoking doesn't stop people smoking

stopping smoking in public places has reduced people smoking and encouraged them to give up.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:29:39

Well it's there and I can't be arsed to link.

'twas highly reported only recently,sugar as an addiction has also been known about for years.

Interestingly my uncle is an obesity/diabetes medical scientist in North America,he's been saying for years that America's sugar and hfcs addiction will eventually bring their whole health system(such as it is)down.

I suspect doctors in this country know what they're talking about and we simply can't carry on like this.

RedToothBrush Mon 18-Feb-13 21:30:23

If you want a better method of trying to solve the problem, you'd be better to stop the sale of small bottles of anything but water.

People don't want to lug huge bottles around all the time.

merrymouse Mon 18-Feb-13 21:31:29

Whilst they are at it could they do something about the labelling on fizzy drinks?

Bottles of Fanta, clearly designed to be drank at a sitting are labelled as x amount of calories 'per serving', the serving being half a bottle.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:32:18

Red. I agree they need to tackle diet crap too,maybe they're planning to?Also I suspect education would come too.

If a tax only goes to giving the NHS more money it would be a start.

roundtoit Mon 18-Feb-13 21:35:42

its fizzy drinks today but what about in a few years time they decide we are eating too much white bread, tax that and make us all eat brown, how about biscuits, tax them too, all cakes, potatoes, some people are making chips lets tax them too. Something needs to be done but not more taxes .

MadBusLady Mon 18-Feb-13 21:39:46

This does worry me as well. It seems to me there are actually very few foods and/or nutrients whose precise impact on national obesity is understood. Sugar is such an obviously unnecessary substance that I don't really care what they do with fizzy drinks but I'd argue strongly against taxes on (say) butter and cheese.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:42:58

But obesity is costing the NHS millions and draining resources.

I loath white bread but not sure it is as damaging and pointless as sugary drinks.Maybe biscuits and chips over a certain calorie and fat content should be taxed more-we'd eat less of them that's for sure.Since food prices have gone up I've stopped buying all sorts if things we can't afford.

Drinks are a great place to start as they serve zero purpose.

roundtoit Mon 18-Feb-13 21:51:13

what i meant was today its fizzy drinks but next it could be all food getting VAT added, because this government will do anything to get more money off us.

RedToothBrush Mon 18-Feb-13 21:51:48

merrymouse, they do that on ALL food products and it drives me nuts. You have to be really on the ball when reading the labels.

But thats the other half of the issue, people are eating too much and everyone thinks a 'serving' is actually a lot bigger than it is in reality. So when you have an understanding of portion sizes that is wrong, then it doesn't really matter whether they are eating home cooked or processed food. Your perception is still wrong. Why is it that one of the best diets out there is supposed to be the 9" plate diet?! (But who makes money from this diet? Not the food manufacturers... Not the magazines who can sell you the next latest diet fad in a few months time.)

As for doctors knowing what they are talking about; I don't buy into giving doctors infallibility status I'm afraid. See BigPharma for a few examples.

And no Polka, there doesn't seem to be ANYTHING in the proposals about diet drinks. Sugary drinks are an easy target because it panders to the public's limited understanding of the problem. That in itself is an issue. The public doesn't understand what's killing them and even the word 'diet' is suggestive. As are labels like sugar free, or fat free if people don't properly understand what they put in their food instead and that there is no such thing as a 'bad' food only too much of it. Because these are the messages we have been sold and bought into, time and time again.

So for doctors, of all people, to be actually ENDORSING this way of thinking and are COMPLICIT with it; I get really angry about it all.

All of these things are something that can be sold as 'being good for us' with a lot more ease. And the likes of Coca Cola, won't put up too much of a fight on this one because they will welcome a change like this more than they will like education!

Its all just more advertising and propaganda. Rather than trying to actually solve the problems.

MN044 Mon 18-Feb-13 22:00:14

It's a ridiculous idea. How long have we been fed the line that 'diet' foods are the way to lose weight and have a healthy diet? All we've ended up with are a load of frankenstein foods full of god knows what. Margarine, low fat, low sugar, anything that has a list of ingredients that looks like it would be more at home on a shampoo bottle or in a lab than in your body. We're told to eat pasta, baked potatoes, drink fruit juice. But actually, in my own experience, I had to go very low carb to lose the weight I'd stacked on through an unhealthy diet and in pregnancy. It's very easy to say 'ooooh but I eat so well, I cook everything from scratch'. If you eat too much, you will become overweight. For me, low carb works. So no sugar, but plenty of good fats. Real butter, cream. No fruit juice or yoghurts packed with sweetner. But that's ME. Who decides what's healthy and what's not? And councils can't town plan for a fig anyway. What of convenience shops close to schools? There's one at the end of our road that is packed every day after the primary school kicks out, full of children buying sweets. There are 2 aisles of sweets in a small corner shop. There's 2 tiny shelves of wilting veg. But I wouldn't want it closed. The economy is bad enough without shops having to shut because they're too close to a school for goodness sake. Personal responsibility is what is going to stop an obesity epidemic. But like far too much nowadays, people are complacent. People have normailsed their size as they're surrounded by people of a similar size. It makes me despair when I see how many of my 8 and 4 yo's classmates are already seriously overweight, and for their sakes I wish there was a simple answer. If a child was seriously underweight I think people would be more quick to refer them for help and to expect the parents to do something. But it's almost become a question of ettiquette as well- it's considered very rude to suggest someone is overweight.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 22:08:44

Red I think you need both.

I'm food educated but have to say trawling through food can be time consuming,not all people have that and cost/labelling would help hugely.We're all becoming driven more by cost and to be able to know also which convenience foods were high in sugar would certainly help me.

A tax on sugary drinks could help to fund more education.Fact is we need more money to treat obesity and to educate about it.

Dr Robert Lustig is very vocal about the evils of sugar.

Taxing this is a very blunt instrument. Stop the outlets discounting fizzy drinks and stop the whole bottomless glass offers.

But taxing it is so stupid. It sounds like such a great idea to tax it and then earmark the money for better education, but it never happens and no tax revenue is ever ringfenced and used to solve the reason for the tax.

RedToothBrush Mon 18-Feb-13 22:17:34

So why are doctors endorsing this OVER AND ABOVE education.

Let me be clear about this.

The AoMRC who are behind these proposals. Its here for the purposes of highlighting this and showing that the BBC news report didn't miss something.

The list of recommendations that it highlights on its own bulletin are:

* Food-based standards to be mandatory in all UK hospitals
* A ban on new fast food outlets being located close to schools and colleges
* A duty on all sugary soft drinks, increasing the price by at least 20%, to be piloted
* Traffic light food labelling to include calorie information for children and adolescents – with visible calorie indicators for restaurants, especially fast food outlets
* £100m in each of the next three years to be spent on increasing provision of weight management services across the country
* A ban on advertising of foods high in saturated fats, sugar and salt before 9pm
* Existing mandatory food- and nutrient-based standards in England to be statutory in free schools and academies

But not ONE of these is in any way related to education! NOT ONE.

Viviennemary Mon 18-Feb-13 22:21:04

No I don't agree with the tax on fizzy drinks. Why are they being targetted and not sweets, cakes and biscuits which not only contain sugar but also saturated fat. And are no better for our health. I agree with teaching all children about healthy food. And children should be given lessons on healthy eating, cookery and meal planning.

And some school meals still leave a lot to be desired. So a start could be made there.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 22:26:34

Errr weight management centres have a part to play in education,you can't just teach kids in school as they're not buying their food.A few home ec lessons won't solve the problem.

Also every one of those things on that list would be valuable.

Loudy Mon 18-Feb-13 22:26:36

I never buy fizzy drinks for my two boys, and have always made healthy meals at home. They have both now moved to senior school I'm appalled at quality of the food at morning break and lunchtime. My youngest seems to have pizza for morning break and then pizza at lunchtime most days. There is also a vending machine with bottles of fizzy pop and surgar soft drinks. I am thinking of changing them onto packed lunches as I feel that all the good work in their early years is now going to waste.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 22:27:54

My kids are 8 and 9 they have already covered eating at school.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 22:28:29

Healthy eating

wasabipeanut Mon 18-Feb-13 22:31:32

I agree with pretty much all these proposals actually. The counter argument that we should educate children to make the right choices is failing IMO because it takes too long and because we're not on a level playing field because of the cash that junk food producers can throw at advertising.

There is nothing good in a sweet, fizzy drink. Nothing. Even diet ones might not have the calories but they have loads of chemicals in them that are just not necessary at best and downright harmful at worst.

I can't help feeling that when it comes to fizzy drinks in particular we're going the way of the US and their 64oz buckets of pop. If you need two hands to hold a drink, it's too fucking big. Really.

Having said all that the whole horse meat scandal demonstrates just how far we've become removed from food production. I think it's all a lot more complicated that just whacking a tax on harmful food and drink. I think the sad truth is that a lot of people will shove anything in their mouth and I'm really not sure how we can teach people to respect themselves and their health to try and change this.

ironhorse Mon 18-Feb-13 22:40:15

i dont think its a particularly good idea because i dont know anyone who has got obese drinking ONLY drinking fizzy drinks - they are only a tiny part of the problem. on the TV there was a chap with a bottle of ribena and he said it had 12 or 14 teaspoons of sugar in it - ribena isnt a fizzy drink though... i think what would be better is making them print on the bottle the amount of sugar they have in them expressed in terms everyone understand e.g. teaspoons.

they also need to provide a healthy alternative, not everyone drinks tea or coffee and water is pretty bland.

as for banning fast food outlets beside schools that only affects children - what about everyone else in society? that to me says its ok to have lots of fast food outlets but as long as they arent near schools we wont mind as much.

its easy saying teach people to cook etc. but i think they need to provide better quality food which has less hidden ingrediants, go back to more natural foods that arent filled with fillers, bulking material, fat, sugars. i think half the time they add fat or sugar to hide the taste of all the other crap they put in food - i also think a lot of ill health comes from the additives in food which helps mae it cheaper.

I don't particularly agree with these proposals simply because these ideas are already being used in regards to tobacco and alcohol, and don't really work.

Yes, the extra taxation has made some people give up consuming these things, but doesn't have much of an effect on the target audience, who still smoke and drink as normal.

Why use a method which is being shown to not work, and which will penalise society at large for the choices of a minority?

jenbird Mon 18-Feb-13 23:14:14

This is a subject I feel very strongly on. I agree that fizzy drinks should be taxed higher (all of them inc diet). They are a "luxury item" and totally unnecessary to any diet. I think we should move longer term to higher tax on all products which have huge percentages of "added" sugar and salt.
I don't like the idea of a nanny state and yes ultimately we should have personal responsibility but the truth is we don't. That is why our obesity levels are increasing rapidly. We do need to educate and provide healthy alternatives but as a state we also need to pay for the ever increasing cost to the healthcare system that is a direct result of an unhealthy diet.

Johnnysknickers Mon 18-Feb-13 23:27:11

I like fizzy drinks and am definitely not fat. For me, it's not a good thing. I'll continue to drink them and just pay more as will most people who like them I feel.

Tortington Mon 18-Feb-13 23:28:46

i think they should tax rich people 10p in every pound and then use that money to fund parenting classes which would include a healthy eating element.

what is this tosh anyway - ont take your eye off the suicide creation that is the welfare reform people.

cola and horsemeat are not the problem. the tories are

Ruprekt Mon 18-Feb-13 23:41:02

Great programme on radio 2 today about this. Expert said that sugar was as addictive as cocaine.

Since I started low carbing, I have cut out ALL sugar and feel SO much better. Am also looking at cutting sugar in my boys food too.

Startail Tue 19-Feb-13 00:30:21

utterly ridiculous,

I hate the taste of artificial sweeteners, but 90% of the time I drink, black coffee or tea with semi skimmed milk and no sugar.

why on earth should I pay extra for the very few sweet drinks I have.

As for limiting fast food joints, people will just take the car to a further one or stuff junk from the local spar if they haven't got a car.

starving teen, who cant be bothered to wait for mum to get in from work isn't suddenly going to start eating apples or putting together a wholesome salad.

MerylStrop Tue 19-Feb-13 00:31:41

What Custardo said

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 19-Feb-13 00:45:34

Pointless idea.

It would be much better to do something about the supermarkets almost obsessive processing of almost everything they sell and how they dictate almost everything we eat.

Kiwiinkits Tue 19-Feb-13 01:26:50

Don't agree with the 'ban' on fastfood outlets near schools - too difficult to implement.

I think there's something in the idea of bottle sizes, that someone noted above. ie, make it mandatory for bottles to contain either one serving (with a restriction on the amount of calories possible for one serving of any drink) or more than 10 servings. So that it's really hard for people to inadvertently drink 3 servings thinking they're only having one. Obvs there would be effects on the number of plastic bottles that are produced and discarded, with the corresponding environmental consequences, and this would have to be taken into account.

Also strongly support the idea of regulating "energy" drinks, e.g. drinks over a certain number of calories per serving are only to be sold to 18+. I think this is done in Canada? In NZ it is common to see 7-8 year old (boys usually) with HUGE cans of energy drink, which contain 25+ tsps of sugar. Disgusting.

wintersweet Tue 19-Feb-13 05:23:05

Taxing things doesn't work. just look at cigarettes and alcohol, there has been a reduction in smoking but that is due to education and banning smoking in public buildings.

Also I don't want to pay more for the few luxuries I want to enjoy. I have a large family and due to becoming a single parent since having them I have a very small budget, why should my children miss out on treats such as a chippy tea because I don't have a lot of disposable cash? Why should I miss out on fizzy drinks or proper butter? I can't afford to drink or smoke, I don't go out more than a few times a year and I only buy myself new clothes when I don't have any choice.

I'm lucky enough to have been taught to cook by my parents but I have a friend who didn't even know how to microwave beans when she met me, her parents didn't cook so she'd never learnt how to. Giving her a recipe book didn't work as she didn't understand most of the terms in it. Her standard evening meal consisted of "chips from the chippy". She could feed herself, her partner and her three kids for less than £3. Now she can cook, she always wanted to but didn't know how to learn. Didn't know what boiling water looked like, didn't know what a medium hot pan was or how to dice food. She's learnt the different terms and styles and now finds new recipes on the internet and cooks every night. People need someone they can ask without being made to feel stupid.

It would be better to offer free nutrition and cookery classes to expectant (natural and adoptive) parents. It isn't expensive to make home made food from fresh ingredients (assuming you live near enough the right shops) although it is cheaper and quicker to buy take away/processed food. I can feed my family of six for three meals a day for less than £50 per week. The thing is that you need to learn how to use the cheaper cuts of meat, seasonal veg and how to shop economically.

I agree with MimsyBorogroves in that you have to teach people how to cook healthier versions of what they already eat. Presenting people with unfamiliar dishes and saying don't eat that eat this won't work.

The other point to be made is that children under five need full fat dairy products, taxing butter and cream etc is going to make it harder for poorer parents to provide these. Also to many carbohydrates are the reason that most people are overweight in the UK.

And finally made from concentrate fruit juice has the same amount of sugar in as a full fat coke. A 10oz glass of either contains 7 teaspoons of sugar, will the Government be taxing that?

cuppateaanyone Tue 19-Feb-13 07:01:04

Mmmmmh, so fizzy drinks today and then what's next, white bread? Fried chicken? Sweets? Chocolate?...... People know fizzy drinks are bad for you just like booze and cigarettes are but it's about making choices and we (as adults)should be free to make them, we pay quite a bit of tax already.
I totally agree that schools, colleges and lesisure centres should not have vending machines full of drinks, Crisps and sweets or sell Chips etc but they do it to make money!
If we want people to eat more healthily then remove vending machines, plough funds into education, make healthy foods less expensive, maybe make fruit free in schools and stop public bodies serving unhealthy food so they set a good example.

Snog Tue 19-Feb-13 07:01:47

I would like to see one hour of sport every day in schools and proper nutritious food in hospitals.
Our hospital has a Burger King - go figure.
An exclusion zone around schools is sensible.
And more cooking lessons in school and food budgeting too.
Tax on high sugar foods could be spent on research into obesity.
And trans fats need to go

sorry i keep repeating myself about transfats and fructose glucose syrup - but what is the point of banning soft drinks or chips say when petit filous (marketed to babys and kids as 'healthy') has fructose glucose syrup in it and is made of skimmed milk powder? people really believe this crap is good for their toddlers instead of picking up a natural yoghurt whose only sugar is naturally occurring from milk and has more nutrition in it and no added crap and adding a spoonful of pureed apple?

we need to stop pretending that it's just we eat too many chips or sit around swigging coke all day. the very stuff marketed to us and our kids as healthy is full of crap that contributes to obesity.

first port of call is banning trans fats (we know they're horrendous killers but still allow manufacturers to put them in our food) and fructose glucose. if ten years after that we still have problems you can look to the next culprit but i'm guessing takeaways will be low down the list of actual harmful obesity producing food practices and habits in the food industry.

petit filous is a bit of a bug bear of mine - i heard bloody health visitors in baby clinics recommending that and dairy lea sodding triangles to mothers who were weaning!?!?! like what???

why would you train your baby/toddler into eating processed, nutrion-less, sugar filled crap right from the start? and why a dairy lea triangle rather than a bit of regular cheese?

coke and takeaways are the least of our problems. they are foods we can see and know are not good for us so can choose to moderate. it's the stock foods that people are consuming that are full of this crap without most people realising that need to be addressed.

it's like dealing with tightening your purse strings by saying well i won't buy that ice cream i have once a month on the beach whilst still sticking brand name ketchup and m&s finest in your trolly every week.

Salbertina Tue 19-Feb-13 07:30:43

Hear, hear, Swallowed! Kids far better off with natural, full fat food and ideally water/milk to drink with v occasional juice.

Salbertina Tue 19-Feb-13 07:33:07

Hey, cuppa, nothing wrong with fried chicken..or even (decent) chocolate ad a treat. Sweets/white bread complete junk tho, zero nutritional value, not "food" at all.

PolkadotCircus Tue 19-Feb-13 07:34:55

It isn't just poor uneducated people who are overweight.There was a report recently that showed that middle class parents in Leeds had more overweight kids than poorer parents.

We all need help repackaged food which most of us buy from time to time.

Something really needs to be done however inconvenient to us as individuals.Many of these proposals could go someway to help.None would work on their own and there would still be work to be done but it would be a start- a very good one.

Totally agree with the trans fat and high fructose syrup posters.Wasn't so long ago I had a roastingfor criticising high fructose syrup as several posters thought it was just a fruit derivative.We are all often duped by food manufacturers-even highly educated MNers!

it's so easy as well - i used to lightly boil the apple to mush use the strained water/juice to add to water for flavour and faux juice, add the apple to natural yoghurt. takes minutes and costs next to nothing.

now if parents knew the crap that was in the most basic things they were encouraged to give to kids and facilitated to do simple things like this then that goes forward into an interest in what's in food and what to feed their kids and maybe into what is in their own food.

putting extra money on coke and making it harder to get a takeaway is just punitive stupidity that brings out the rebellion in people - it's natural human nature.

exoticfruits Tue 19-Feb-13 07:42:46

Sounds a great idea to me. It isn't a nanny state because people are free to choose them, they just pay more- why not?
I don't think it workable to not have fast food outlets near schools but you can stop pupils leaving the school at lunchtimes.

gazzalw Tue 19-Feb-13 08:28:53

I don't feel comfortable about this at all and I'm saying that as someone whose family doesn't do sugary drinks (except a glass of lemonade as as treat when we are out for a meal) and don't have them in the house.

It's not just the fizzy drinks that are making people/children fat, is it? It's a combination of things, including lifestyle. And you are right that drinks full of artificial sweeteners are probably worse for people than those containing 'natural' sugars.

Also, teenagers have always eaten rubbish. They are also growing so need the extra calories. I don't think that the fast food outlets outside schools are the problem per se either. It's much more complicated than that! Of course those in power who spent their school years at Eton (and the like) won't have been "down the chippie" in their lunchbreak but if it's not chips, it's sweets or crisps. Find me a teenager who doesn't eat 'ket'. If you find an overweight teenager chances are that they will have been overweight since childhood (suggesting other factors to be at work too) rather than just because of chips, sweets and crisps.

And note it is very often the unhealthy food/drink options that are on special offers in the supermarkets...funny that! Perhaps the supermarkets have a duty of care to ensure that only 'wholesome' healthy foods are used in special offer promotions.

sieglinde Tue 19-Feb-13 08:50:50

Lots of issues being confused here.

1. The tax on fizzy drinks won't in itself cure obesity - whoever thought it would? But it might be one minor factor in ameliorating it.

2. Fizzy drinks are a luxury, and should be taxed as one. This in itself should deter people from making them a fixture of their lives.

3. The smoking tax HAS had an impact - far far fewer people smoke now than was the case thirty years ago.

PolkadotCircus Tue 19-Feb-13 08:53:25

Sooooooo you do nothing?

It is but one thing in a pretty comprehensive list that starts to tackle the problem.None would work on their own and all wouldn't solve it.More will need to be done too.

There is no quick fix possible but a whole host of solutions that will take time to have an impact.

We sooo need to get started on something instead of everybody pontificating,sticking their heads in the sand and doing nothing.

RabidCarrot Tue 19-Feb-13 08:56:26

Why should people who occasionally buy fizzy drink be penalised because some people are gluttons?

PolkadotCircus Tue 19-Feb-13 09:01:36

Because nobody needs them and they are very bad for health even just a couple of times a week.They can effect metabolism,make you want more and give you a very sweet tooth.They are just liquid sugar nobody should be drinking them.

Tee2072 Tue 19-Feb-13 09:16:26

But have peo

Tee2072 Tue 19-Feb-13 09:17:41


But have people stopped smoking because of the tax or because of the tax, the health factors and the fact that you freeze you ass off 9 months of the year smoking outside in the UK?

gazzalw Tue 19-Feb-13 09:42:15

Maybe we should all have 'smartcards' for food and when we've reached out maximum recommended intake of something we are not eligible to buy any more of it.....??? Big Brother gone mad but it's one solution..... it might help to cut down on alcohol consumption too....

I think that what the Govt has got to do is sit down with other interested parties and look back to see just when/why this obesity problem hit British shores. As I've said before when we were children it was very unusual to get more than one fat child in a school and obesity was rare. What has changed (portion size for one) and why?

sieglinde Tue 19-Feb-13 09:55:14

tee, I'd say the tax has a role in the smoking revolution. Again, no ONE thing has done it, but the factors you cite have worked TOGETHER to save lives. (My mother died of lung cancer..)

Same with obesity. It doesn't have a SINGLE cause, but many caused in combination - increasing sugar levels in everything, transfats, reduced exercise levels, sodas and lattes, snacking and snack foods, increased portions. All play a part. So we need to chip away at it. Taxes are one way, though only one.

Rosieeo Tue 19-Feb-13 09:55:40

Hmmm, I'm vastly overweight and only ever drink diet drinks. Maybe Diet Coke should be banned. And lettuce. I eat a lot of lettuce too...

gazzalw Tue 19-Feb-13 09:58:56

Perhaps, Rosieeo, you should consider trying the non-diet versions for a month and see if it makes any difference? Isn't there supposed to be something about using artificial sweeteners in drinks which tricks your body into continuing to feel hunger? So you drink a calorie-free drink to save on calories but then feel hungry so eat twice as much? hmm.

PolkadotCircus Tue 19-Feb-13 10:09:01

Perhaps Rosie you eat too much,consume too much fat and sugar and get too little exercise alongside eating lettuce and drinking diet drinks.

gazzalw Tue 19-Feb-13 10:11:50

A bit harsh, PolkadotCircus!

MoreBeta Tue 19-Feb-13 10:21:24

I agree with the idea of imposing 20% VAT on all processed and take away food but it should be zero rated (ie VAT free) for all unpackaged raw fresh food. I would then remove all VAT on domestic home heating fuel, domestic natural gas and domestic electricity supplies.

That way, people on low incomes would not be worse off and could actually be better off if they bought fresh foods to cook at home.

Tax can be 'good' if we tax the things that are bad for people. I do not agree that tax should be some sort of punishment on 'fat people' or imposed in such a way that it disroportionately hits the poorest peple in society or impose tax on essential goods like food, heat and shelter.

We very rarely drink fizzy drinks - me probably about once a month, the children, probably once a week / fortnight once holidays are factored in. If it was taxed, it would cost me a bit more, but not much because we don't drink that much.

For those that do drink lots, maybe the tax might be something they take account of? Clearly the Doctors think so, but it would be good to see a bit of research on the matter.

A friend of mine is a dentist who works in deprived areas. She has seen some appalling teeth, the result of excessive fizzy drinks (that is all that some people drink....suggesting that water might be suitable was apparently greeted with shock and disbelief) and poor diet. I do think that education is at the root of the problem, but there is a hell of a way to go. Having done some voluntary work (cooking lessons) in a Sure Start centre, it was eyeopening for me - as detailed in one of the posts above. Some people have NO IDEA where to start. Bring back Home Ecomonics.

Oblomov Tue 19-Feb-13 10:26:52

Whatever the causes of obesity, it is clearly getting worse and any messages the government or anyone else has tried to give us, clearly aren't being heard.
For 20 years we were told high fibre, low fat.
Now we are beign told no sugar.
No carbs.
No one knows whether they are coming or going.
And the answer to obesity? well it clearly isn't that simple, or else we'd all know what it is. And clearly none of us do.

ATJabberwocky Tue 19-Feb-13 10:29:17

I'm tired of Big Brother telling me what I can and cannot eat/drink,

if I want to eat chips and drink Coke, I bloody well will!

They should consider making healthy food cheaper,

I also think that schools should concentrate on getting our children good grades in essential subjects and it is parental responsibility to make sure your child is not a plonker and eats chicken nuggets and pizza for every meal.

I refer you to this conversation:

If you wont allow a 10 year old to make toast and boil a kettle, then why is there a surprise that a 18 year old cannot cook for themselves?

DialMforMummy Tue 19-Feb-13 10:34:37

I think it's a good idea but only alongside a drop in taxes in raw fresh food.
tbh, I don't think anyone needs cookery classes to learn to cook, just read a simple recipe and follow instructions.
However, I must add that in order to cook from scratch, one needs to be equipped, and kitchen equipment cost money.
As someone else said, action is better than none.

BeCool Tue 19-Feb-13 10:42:28

The sugar (and/or artificial sweetener) in fizzy drinks is just one of the many issues these products present health-wise. There's also phosphorous in very high levels which affects bone density, and caffeine for example.

Tax tax tax them away please!!

They offer nothing nutritionally positive and actually deplete our body nutritionally just processing them through our system. A healthy individual having the odd fizzy drink and an otherwise balanced diet this probably isn't a problem. If this isn't the case each fizzy drink adds a toxic burden to an already challenged and depleted system.

Get rid!

RedToothBrush Tue 19-Feb-13 10:49:07

I think that what the Govt has got to do is sit down with other interested parties

Define 'interested parties'. You see, interested parties could include food manufacturers who have a vested financial interest and without their support it will be next to impossible to enforce any changes. As I've mentioned previously on this thread many have an interest in reducing sugar intake for example.

But they actually have no interest in making us healthy. Just making money. Health is just another marketing ploy. Which is one of the reasons we are all struggling so much to understand what really is healthy. We can't tell the difference between real messages and advertising messages because the lines have been blurred.

And get rid of this 'bad' food nonsense once and for all.

sieglinde Tue 19-Feb-13 10:49:59

Rosie, there is a correlation between obesity and diet soda. Weird, but there is.

Not sure about the lettuce grin

But my point is that there are MANY reasons to tax sodas, of which the least good is that it will rid us all of obesity. It won't, not on its own. But it might play a part.

Rosieeo Tue 19-Feb-13 10:52:20

Polkadot, bless you, you say it with the air of someone giving away some great secret. Talk about pointing out the obvious - it's not rocket science and most people who are overweight are aware of those basic facts. Thanks though smile

Rosieeo Tue 19-Feb-13 10:54:27

I read something very similar Sieglinde, about the sweeteners used in diet drinks.

Not sure I can blame lettuce though grin

BeCool Tue 19-Feb-13 11:21:18

Rosieeo it might be worth a Google on the subject - there is lots of evidence linking consumption of 'diet' sodas with obesity.

PolkadotCircus Tue 19-Feb-13 11:29:51

I'd of thought the way they blow up the stomach with gas wouldn't help much either.Your stomach would never get used to needing only a little amount in it to feel full.

Sorry Rosie my post probably was a little strident.

undercoverhousewife Tue 19-Feb-13 11:44:52

YES! Most things we buy attract VAT at a rate of 20%. There are a few exceptions that do not attract VAT (technically, they attract VAT at the rate of 0% and so are known as zero-rated items). These zero rated items are supposed to be things that are social goods or necessities eg medical equipment, books, children's clothes and most food (but not hot takeaway food or chocolate biscuits). Fizzy drinks are not a necessity (unlike basic food stuffs) and are not even good for anyone so why on earth not standard rate them for VAT? The administrative procedures are already in place for retailers to be selling mixed VAT goods (as mentioned above, some luxury food is already standard rated for VAT - eg chocolate biscuits, although not cake.) Save the tax breaks for food stuffs that are healthy basics. Personally, I would like to VAT standard rate all items that are very high in sugar, and, as a trade-off, get female sanitary products (which are a necessity!) zero rated instead.

TheFallenNinja Tue 19-Feb-13 11:50:18

No, no, no, no. Fizzy drinks aren't the problem, the problem is overindulgence and lack of activity.

No problem has ever been solved by taxation.

sieglinde Tue 19-Feb-13 12:22:07

YY undercoverhousewife. Totally agree, and esp on the sanitary products, by god.

LackaDAISYcal Tue 19-Feb-13 12:26:31

No...take-aways and fizzy drinks existed when I was growing up and there were only rarely obese children...because we moved more and didn't indulge as much or sit on front of computers and video games all the time. And personally a 20% tax on fizzy drinks wouldn't stop me from buying them when I wanted to, or I would switch to an own brand variety rather than a name.

Not sure what the answer is though...

making people pay for treatment for obesity related illness?

educate children more? Bring back domestic science in schools?

make people watch embarrasing fat bodies on a constant loop till they get it?

stop the retailers pushing low fat but high sugar, "healthy choice" food at us? and filling our foods with aspartame etc and telling us that orange juice, or the talbespoon of mushy veg in my crap ready meal counts as one of my five a day.

Yes. Good idea. Also:
Tax on crisps until they are quadruple the price of what they are now, and feed the funds back into the NHS to help pay for the burden obesity is placing on the health service.

Yes to "Health tax" on crisps, fizzy drinks, junk food, tobacco and alcohol.

Tee2072 Tue 19-Feb-13 12:56:58

"making people pay for treatment for obesity related illness?"

I have type II diabetes, due to being (formerly) obese.

There was a man in my 'how to live with this horrible thing' class who wasn't obese at all, but who also had Type II diabetes.

Should he have to pay because his illness is considered obesity related?

How about people who do extreme sports? If they break something, shall we have them pay for their treatment? After all, it's their fault they did the sport and hurt themselves. Or any sport, actually.

Where does it end?

newgirl Tue 19-Feb-13 13:14:11

Smoking has gone down since cigs got very pricey and the ads - a doc was on tv saying this yesterday

I know loads of people who have stopped smoking in last few years

so yes, i think if fizzy drinks get very expensive, people will drink less of them

CaidenTaylor Tue 19-Feb-13 13:19:56

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

CaidenTaylor Tue 19-Feb-13 13:22:03

The sweeteners in diet drinks and children's cordial drinks are ARTIFICIAL ..lets see the new generation of cancer victims...have been warning folk about aspartame for years ;) wake up and smell the roses sheeple ;) xxx

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 19-Feb-13 13:26:00

How many people now live in areas with no proper greengrocer or butcher or fish monger,if your lucky you may have a farm shop near by but loads of those are so expensive and do not reflect the cost of producing the food that it beres no relation to the normal shops we used to have.

Some one who does all there shopping in chain supermarkets will have limited idea of what proper food tastes like, fruit and veg is selected by look alone, fish is brought based on how much can be provided and you really don't want to know what is done to allegedly plain unprocessed meat and how that's picked. Or how old all of it is by the time its a available to the buying public. Even bread,how many people think bread is actually surposed to stay soft then go green?

We think we are buying what we want but no we are buying what they say we can have,its a con

That's what the big change is since the 60's and why its getting worse and has done ever since.

Obviously it would be very hard to revert back to he we shopped in the 60's but we could try and make it easier for proper food shops to prosper and be available to buy real food from,

Caiden, how to put this, you dont have to try to sound goady and patronizing to get your point across. And no need to offend people with name calling.

sheeple. hmm

I would have been more than happy to discuss the dangers of aspartame with you, but not at that level.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 19-Feb-13 13:33:10

Oh and my children have tasted horse,nothing wrong with that if you know what your buying and its horse that's intended for human food.

LackaDAISYcal Tue 19-Feb-13 14:08:13

That's why I said I didn't know what the answer is Tee. Those were suggestions as to options that may be considered, not what I actually think should happen. I don't know how to address the issue. And I'm speaking as someone at risk of type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and more from my own obesity.

TheFallenNinja Tue 19-Feb-13 14:14:47

This would lead to a two tier snack system.

curryeater Tue 19-Feb-13 14:15:24


" And the answer to obesity? well it clearly isn't that simple, or else we'd all know what it is. And clearly none of us do. "

Oblomov, you are confusing contradictory advice with their being no answer. It's a common mistake by "reasonable" people - thinking that the truth must be some sort of synthesis between opposing positions - when there is no possible synthesis it is not necessarily that there is no answer, it can be that some of the positions are just wrong, and others are right.

Some people do know the answer. It's not conventional advice - which is low fat, high carb - but that doesn't make it wrong.

It's also about the fact that eating nothing, on occasion, is an important part of a healthy diet. All dietary advice seems to be about substituting x for y. How about just shutting up and waiting till lunchtime? (not aimed at anyone in particular, except, perhaps, myself)

Here is my opinion:

1. No, not because fizzy drinks are not of the devil (they are) but because this is a regressive tax
2. More particularly it is financially penalising people who are just complying with the dictates of neoliberal capitalism. If They (whoever They are) really gave a shit they would look at how consumption of all kinds is pushed, even to the huge detriment of individuals' health and happiness; and at providing realistic, alternative, healthier routes to personal satisfaction, whatever your class, whatever your income.
3. People shouldn't be financially penalised for not following Their dietary advice, whatever it might happen to be at any given moment, because They are very likely to be getting it wrong (good dietary advice is subtle and personally tailored ideally. Current conventional advice is terrible)

Yes, lets introduce Healthy Snacks, like fruit and Unhealthy snack like chocs, biccies and cripss.

Tee2072 Tue 19-Feb-13 14:21:23

Actually, Sesame Street in America sort of does that, PQ.

Except they call them 'sometimes foods'. Fancy way to say 'unhealthy'.

Sorry, Lacka, I misunderstood. smile

CarlingBlackMabel Tue 19-Feb-13 14:34:06

I agree that sugary and additivey fizzy drinks and all sweet drinks sold in bottles (This Water has as much sugar as pop, but has a healthy sort of image and is still) should be taxed equally - driving people to aspartamane and sorbitol instead of sugar is nobody's victory.

And politicians need to consider this: it's all very well going on and on about healthy food and cooking from scratch, but I heard a politician from S London on the radio saying that the poorest constituents HAVE NO COOKER. Only a microwave.

Elderflower cordial when mixed with water, has as much sugar as a can of coke...

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Tue 19-Feb-13 15:12:36

I think the fizzy drinks levy is worth doing, if they include diet drinks in that.

However, I'm not sure education is the whole answer. I can cook. DH can cook. We both know how to eat healthily. We just don't do it enough. Chocolate tastes good, as do takeaways/cake/biscuits etc. I'm hovering around a BMI of 25 but DH is somewhere in the region of 28 or 29. Sometimes it is time - if you're tired after a long work day, the last thing you want to do is cook from scratch when you get home. We do try to batch cook at weekends and microwave something, but to be honest, sometimes the chipper has more allure on a dark winter's evening. Hot, instant food.

It's also a bit ingrained - if you have visitors in the afternoon, you offer them biscuits/cake. I buy or DH bakes something specifically for people coming round. Then we eat what's left over the next few days.

Alcohol's a big thing for some people (it's not one of our major vices as I've been pg/bf for the last 3 years) - people put on weight from alcohol, but they also lose inhibitions and maybe buy chips/kebab on their way home, or decide after a few drinks to order pizza instead of cooking, or perhaps they have a fry-up/bacon roll in the morning to deal with the hangover.

Food is really tied up with manners - it's impolite not to accept if your host offers you something, for instance. It's also a comfort thing - we say 'comfort food' all the time. Chocolate is seen as a treat, or a reward. All of these things combine to create a culture where if you like chocolate/cake/chippers and can afford them, then why not?

Is there an answer to well-educated adults making poor choices? How about cracking down on advertising? That might help. Or, as various posters have suggested, banning artifical shite - even when you think you're eating healthily you might not be, half the time. More transparancy of what goes into food to preserve it.

MadBusLady Tue 19-Feb-13 15:20:15

Another problem with the whole "ban this, tax that" idea is that the processed food industry is always going to be more ingenious at getting round regulations than a government can ever be at making them.

Huge sums of money are at stake, so the industry employs highly intelligent people to create and market new products that fall in line with current thinking. For years it was "low fat this and that", which turned out to be full of other rubbish. Now you can get "low carb" products.

Anything that is processed offers the chance for (a) high profit margins owing to cheap filler ingredients and (b) sleight of hand with "healthy" messaging. So taxing any one variety of processed food is just going to send the industry scurrying in the other direction. You tax fizzy drinks, they'll just come up with something else - or revamp and remarket the other non-fizzy product lines they already have.

CarlingBlackMabel Tue 19-Feb-13 15:38:02

The people who are currently a healthy weight are presumably not succumbing to BOGOF offers on massive silo-sized bottles of Coke, or stuffing their faces with chicken and chips from a KFC lookalike , so price and availability can hardly be the whole story. Chip shop meals are already expensive - we can't afford fish and chips for the family in the normal run of the weekly budget! (and I am too fussy to contemplate anyone eating a saveloy in batter).

So, what aer s,im and poor pepole eating? WHY are they not hoovering this stuff up? Rathe than thrashing about for answers, let's look at the habits of the healthy weight and fit, and how they resist the temptations of marketed cheap crap.

CaidenTaylor Tue 19-Feb-13 15:41:38

exactly, the sheeple eat unhealthy food all the time, but they think it is normal and healthy foods because the powers that be tell them so, hence no horse, etc..

Tee2072 Tue 19-Feb-13 16:48:01

Does this mean Solent Green is sheeple....

Kendodd Tue 19-Feb-13 17:46:59

Sorry, somebody may have asked this already but, I love diet coke and try as much as I can to replace it with fizzy water, will fizzy water be taxed as a fizzy drink? Is it going to be the 'fizzy' bit that's taxed or the sugar content? In that, will Fruit Shoots and Sunny D escape tax, while fizzy water is taxed?

fuzzpig Tue 19-Feb-13 17:47:13

I think lots of things need to be banned - trans fats, the various syrup things people have mentioned, aspartame etc... I don't know how manufacturers have got away with putting so much shit in our food. But it'd need to be all or nothing really, as if you only ban a couple of things they will just find other crap to use instead.

I really detest the manipulative packaging/marketing too. Like someone upthread mentioned the serving size thing. Another one I was contemplating earlier - flavour vs flavoured: something marked 'strawberry flavour' has absolutely no strawberry in it, something marked 'strawberry flavourED' has at some point seen strawberry hmm - manufacturers follow the rules, just like on serving size etc, but it is easy to miss the difference if you're in a hurry or if you don't know the rule.

Mominatrix Tue 19-Feb-13 17:51:08

Terrible idea. Some of the most sugary drinks out there are fruit juices and smoothies - supposedly healthy options. Should they be included then in the tax due to their net sugar per serving levels?

Kendodd Tue 19-Feb-13 17:55:12

"Some of the most sugary drinks out there are fruit juices and smoothies - supposedly healthy options. "

Surely they ARE healthy options though? Nutrition's not all about sugar is it?

Tee2072 Tue 19-Feb-13 18:22:18

It says, right in the OP, "...on sugary soft drinks and to make local councils limit the number of fast-food outlets..." (emphasis mine).

No where does it say 'fizzy', 'ban all' or 'diet'.

Perhaps we should all read the actual article rather than jumping on our bandwagons?

Classic example of not reading the OP. Classic...

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

i think what partly actually pisses me off is the idea you will tax people who buy this stuff in the pretense of 'caring' for their health rather than ban advertising and limit how much of what crap they can put it in it if you did actually care about people's health.

this is tokenism aimed at the individuals pocket as usual rather than hitting corporations. tax the people who peddle this stuff - tax the food manufacturers who are making essentially lethal food. why hit the consumer and not the producer?

Angelico Tue 19-Feb-13 18:26:45

Great idea, long overdue - as long as the money is put into offsetting the price of fruit and veg or healthier foods. But I think this should be extended to cover other foods high in sugar, especially those marketed at parents for young children.

it's like tobacco - why tax the smoker tons who you have already allowed to become addicted by allowing an industry to sell deadly drugs legally on every street corner? the pretense of caring when actually just making revenue is farcical. or taxing fuel guzzling high emission car drivers which just makes them a privilege of the rich rather than banning companies from selling them. or introducing congestion charges that price poor people off the road who can't afford the exorbitant cost of public transport whilst the rich swan around on them in 2l engines.

they never go for the cause - just attack the victims of the cause.

but why angelico - why not stop manufacturers producing and targeting food like at that children? why not ban selling fizzy drinks to kids if they're so bad and we really care about these children's health? why think oh we'll make a bit more money and they'll pay 5p more for their fizzy drinks rather than just ban their sale to kids?

RedToothBrush Tue 19-Feb-13 18:36:13

If you can only become obese if you are rich, then wouldn't it make it a status symbol?!

it is in some cultures (particularly ones with a lot of poverty - fat as a sign of wealth). suppose it would be one way to get rid of the greedy one per cent.

Tee2072 Tue 19-Feb-13 18:56:32

It used to be a status symbol, being fat. It meant you could afford to eat as much as you wanted.

fuzzpig Tue 19-Feb-13 19:00:49

The singular is Sherson, swallowed grin

Snog Tue 19-Feb-13 19:36:21

We need more research into the mechanisms of appetite and obesity as this will better inform how to tackle it.

I work in this area and it is certainly not the case that we are all made the same and the overweight just need to exercise more and eat less.

leniwhite Tue 19-Feb-13 19:56:57

I still find it hard to see how anyone thinks that fast food is in any way cheaper than home cooking. It just isn't!

I see kids everyday eating greasy chicken rubbish and then dropping the waste on the floor and this just didn't happen in the countryside where i grew up because we had no fast food in my village.

Despite parents' best intentions, if kids have these outlets close by, they're likely to go there for lunch or after school. Where I live in London there are fried chicken shops literally next door to each other. We're also lucky enough to have proper greengrocers, butchers, bakers and fishmongers, but they struggle because people can only buy the ingredients rather than crap in a box ready made.

I can buy enough fresh fruit and veg for a week for less than a tenner in the greengrocer, so why would I want to eat grease? However, I'm very aware that many people go for that option because it's there.

It isn't expensive to buy healthy ingredients, doesn't need to be organic, just requires some cooking!

pixi2 Tue 19-Feb-13 20:29:27

Not their best idea for me.

But then, takeaways are a once a month treat and fizzy drinks are only in the house as mixers when we host parties.

Much rather they slap taxes on the motorway burger vans and service station outlets.

Oh, and a tax on advertising fast food too.

ivykaty44 Tue 19-Feb-13 22:29:34

Chip shop meals are already expensive - we can't afford fish and chips for the family in the normal run of the weekly budget!

This would probably be our most regular take away choice - about one every three to four months. I purchase one fish and chips and a small chips - that will feed four people and there is always chips left stuck to the paper grin It cost about £6.

I refuse to buy any soft fizzy drinks though....

ivykaty44 Tue 19-Feb-13 22:32:39

I would be happy for the taxes on fizzy drinks and takeaway food to go solely on trained coaches to take PE lessons in junior school, after school sports activities and secondary school after school sports activities along with more funding available to set up sports clubs in local communities.

That way it will eventually save money on health care as active children usually stay active

plinkyplonks Tue 19-Feb-13 23:02:53

I don't agree with it - unless the money was directly and solely funding our NHS. Otherwise it's just more government taxation with no reward.

It would be much better for the government to encourage people to grow their own fruit and veg. Additionally, fresh fruit and veg is so cheap on the continent - if good food was cheaper and more widely available (my local Tesco has only a small amount of veg but yet has room for loads of cake, crisps and sugary crap?!) people would be more inclined to eat it.

stickylittlefingers Tue 19-Feb-13 23:22:17

I suspect it's more about changing lifestyles: making dinner is about washing and chopping veg for example, not taking a box out the freezer and putting it into a microwave. But if you don't sit to eat dinner as a family because of work commitments, for example, is it too inconvenient to have that sort of a family meal? What is stopping people eating healthily? It's not cost for everyone, so is it lack of time or skills or what is it?

There was a survey recently saying that 1 in 10 adults have done no physical exercise for a decade and 40% of British adults have not broken into a run at any point in the last year. So why not? Lack of time? Lack of facilities (though going for a run doesn't require much by way of facilities...)?

The obesity epidemic is about a lot more than the cost of fizzy drinks.

midastouch Tue 19-Feb-13 23:40:01

Doesn't bother me I rarely have fizzy drinks, but people will do what they want with they're money, its expensive as it is so i cant imagine an increase in tax on it stopping those who drink it

Greensleeves Wed 20-Feb-13 02:26:00

I know I probably sound like an idiot (and haven't read the whole thread yet), but one concern that keeps niggling me about this is that crappy fast food outlets that are open late at night seem to be the only source of cheap hot food for some people who are homeless or have disordered lives or certain mental health problems. Sometimes a packet of hot chips is the only cheap way someone is going to get something warm inside them.

Added to my general unease about micro-controlling legislation, that makes it a no from me.

Monty27 Wed 20-Feb-13 02:42:11

Green I agree and it's all some people can afford, they are cheaper than school dinners for example, however I can't stand the nannying bullying state. I think it should be dealt with differently: ban the offensive sugar, salts additives etc, do not allow them anywhere near; and stop the conglomerate bastard shops ripping us off and selling us rubbish GRRRRR.

I went to Nando's once co-erced by two teen dcs's I couldn't believe the utter rubbish they produced labelled as food. And it wasn't that cheap either, it made macdonalds look good imho.

It's that lot that need to be banned Grrrr.

best off to bed as ranting again and not very articulately to boot lol

Snog Wed 20-Feb-13 06:14:31

I ate ready meals until I was 35 - now I cook from scratch. The reason for cooking ready meals was simply lack of cooking skills. I didn't learn have cooking lessons at school (academic girls school in the 1980s where cooking was viewed as not something women should be doing anymore!) and my parents didn't teach me at home. I didn't find following a recipe at all easy despite someone saying up thread that this is "all you need to do".
So I would certainly advocate equipping children with cooking skills in school.

Instead of doing that, they should make fresh produce a lot cheaper!
I love making meals from scarch but in all honesty it is expensive. Once you have bought the meat, the vege & the spices etc, one homemade meal can cost over £10, great if your well of, but not if you are short of money.

Not only that but making things expensive will not stop people buying it!-the same with booze, drugs & cigarattes!

Why is it all about money and never about responsibility? The government took away all the playing fields and sport in schools and reduced PE to nothing in schools (in my sons primary school they do dance and it is ridiculous) so now they have to 'tax' everything to put right a problem they introduced by removing exercise? Bloody stupid if you ask me.

In my opinion - which is quite limited in schools where kids are forced to do 3/4 lots of sports of a week (ok that may be independent schools) you dont get many overweight kids - so maybe if the government brought back school sport they wouldn't have to do this (and I guess it will cost an awful lot of money to bring in this legislation and cost a lot of jobs to boot!)

I agree Alien, ie fields & more sport!
They are looking at it all wrong imo!
Healthy foods need to be made cheaper and exercise needs to be increased & also made more fun.
Harassing children over treats & taxing them will just make those treats more attractive and make parents skint to boot!

curryeater Wed 20-Feb-13 09:55:11

Monty27, why do you think Nandos is so terrible? I mean no one should be eating chips every day, but I think it is a completely different echelon from MacD's - the chicken is a proper cut, so you know what part it is, and it comes with vegetables or salads. Yes, if you eat chicken + chips + dressed salad you will have consumed a lot of calories, but as a treat I would far rather eat that, or give that to my kids, than burgers in white buns (though I know I can't eat the chips so wouldn't have them, and we all drink tap water, which is freely available)

Mirage Wed 20-Feb-13 12:18:20

I only drink lemonade or such if we are out and I'm the designated driver,but I think it is a bad idea.If we start banning something because someone thinks it isn't healthy,where does it end?

I say ban lycra instead.It is my firm belief that since the introduction of lycra and cheap clothes in the late 80's / 90's people have got fatter.If you are wearing clothes that expand with you,it is far easier not to notice that you are getting porkier.And cheap clothes mean it is easy to go out and buy the next size up.In the 70's clothing was far more expensive and if your clothes got too tight,you'd lay off the cake until they weren't.

What happens if their is a medical need for it?

I have a genetic condition and from that chronic fatigue, I drink lots of energy drinks because without them I can't function (like literally struggle to do anything). I'm also on disabled benefits so am utterly skint and wouldn't be able to afford them if they became more expensive. confused

There* not their. hmm

RedToothBrush Wed 20-Feb-13 13:58:16

You're screwed Schro. Thats what happens.

ICBINEG Wed 20-Feb-13 15:06:30

Can you not just mix sugar with water yourself? food colouring is cheap...

It's the caffeine, not the sugar, everything I drink is sugar free.

Have started making my own in the Sodastream as they have brought out a red bull type syrup for it but I am wondering how much the price will go up as it makes 12 litres. confused

fuzzpig Wed 20-Feb-13 16:12:54

Hey schro, I have recently been advised to drink lucozade sport type drinks in the morning because I have POTS. I've actually really gone off them now that I'm supposed to drink them daily, but I wonder if they will be covered by a tax.

Fuzz At my tilt table test I very narrowly missed a POTS diagnosis. My BP just didn't lower quite enough on that time but I have been hospitalised for it umpteen times. hmm

This is another reason I need the caffeine drinks!

Sodastream do a Lucozade/powerade type drink as well, hopefully they wont put the tax up on them? I drink so much of the stuff, the sodastream saves a fortune in the long run, maybe you could try that?

Monty27 Wed 20-Feb-13 18:50:25

Curryeater there was very little chicken on my chicken grin

I don't actually eat McD's I was just using it as a comparison.

My teen dc's love Nando's confused

snoworneahva Thu 21-Feb-13 13:21:06

Alien your observations on the local independent school having fewer obese kids may have more to do with their wealth and the education of their parents than the playing fields available at their school, middle class kids at state schools are also less likely to be obese.
There is a definite link between obesity and poverty. I come from a relatively wealthy area, you get used to they way people look and I was shocked on visiting a relatively poorer town close by, I couldn't help but notice how many people were obese and immobile, lots carrying walking sticks and on mobility scooters with grey skin.
Crap food is cheap, it's easy to eat and requires no prep...I believe that a multi-pronged approach is needed - crap food needs to be taxed and unprocessed food needs to be subsidized. mind you the recent Change4life campaign by the Gov was a pile of crap too - the money wasted on that scheme was shameful, loads of companies made a lot of money out of achieving very little. Most of what we received was plastic marketing junk and went in the bin - it wasn't helpful at all.

fuzzpig Thu 21-Feb-13 13:37:31

I thought change4life was quite good although I was quite enthusiastic about improving things to start with. Like any scheme you need people to want to be helped or it will fall on deaf ears.

Schro - might be worth seeking advice again about the symptoms if you were close to a POTS diagnosis. I was advised to increase salt and fluid intake (to increase blood volume) but I was also told to avoid caffeine as much as possible due to its affect on the heart.

fuzzpig Thu 21-Feb-13 13:39:53

(That wasn't supposed to sound like a criticism BTW snow - just realised it sounds like it. What I meant was that I found the C4L engaging myself, although admittedly rather patronising)

Fuzzpig I am going to, I haven't been back to actually see the consultant due to a mix up with addresses (we moved and they hadn't logged the new address, seems to have been a system error) so I have only heard results from the GP who said that I only marginally missed the dx and only because of blood pressure as my heart rate shot up confused.

Interesting about the caffeine though as everything I have come across so far says that the caffeine can help as long as it's not excessive, I'm not great with salt but have tried to raise my intake as much as I can.

Kiwiinkits Fri 22-Feb-13 01:11:35

Snow, you're right, you can tell people who have a terrible diet because their skin is grey. It's so sad because its so preventable. I feel like shaking them and saying "your life could be sooo much better if you ate some greens!" lol.

CobOnTheCorn Sun 24-Feb-13 18:01:46

This sounds wrong to me. Why fill the shelves of supermarkets with crap to tempt people with, wait for them to taste, enjoy and possibly become addicted to it and then hike the price?

These two previous posts I agree with wholly:

It would be much better to do something about the supermarkets almost obsessive processing of almost everything they sell and how they dictate almost everything we eat.

I think lots of things need to be banned - trans fats, the various syrup things people have mentioned, aspartame etc... I don't know how manufacturers have got away with putting so much shit in our food. But it'd need to be all or nothing really, as if you only ban a couple of things they will just find other crap to use instead.

why not stop manufacturers producing and targeting food like at that children? why not ban selling fizzy drinks to kids if they're so bad and we really care about these children's health? why think oh we'll make a bit more money and they'll pay 5p more for their fizzy drinks rather than just ban their sale to kids?

I have read recently that the founders of Leon (Henry Dimbleby and somebody else) have persuaded the government to introduce HE/cooking to schools from 7 years old. They have a website called cook 5 if you want to take a look.

My concern with the government giving advice is that it's isn't always good. I thought change 4 life was poor advice, advocating high fibre and low fat. I have read so much recently about low carb/primal way of eating and this makes the most sense to me. It is a total move away from overprocessed food which I think is a huge problem is our diets today.

I'm not sure what to suggest for people who don't have ovens, only microwaves. I was thinking about huge communal cooking areas but health and safety would be a problem. Perhaps more slow cookers.

I know it sounds equally nanny state but if I was in charge I would put far more pressure on the food industry (production and peddlers, ie supermarkets) to not make/sell such terrible food. How do they get away with it?

CobOnTheCorn Sun 24-Feb-13 18:08:35

Oh, and regarding fast food outlets, they should be obliged to sell a certain amount of freshly prepared food and offer free tap water. So if they are the only option available, people can still buy food that isn't too dreadful. I have been to fish and chip shops (not in the uk) where you can choose for the fish not to be in batter and have salad instead of chips. Also, a shish kebab is not always a bad option. Some griddled meat and salad is ok. I like the street food way of eating, where food is literally cooked in front of you. Not made in a factory hundreds of miles away, transported and sat on shelves for months. Yuk!

CaidenTaylor Thu 28-Feb-13 13:46:06


My posts cannot "sound" anything or have a tone -they are typed ;).

My typed words are not goading or patronising either..they contain smiles and kisses.

Please note: "We ask members to respect each other's opinions even if they don't agree with them".


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