Letter from China No:6

Why did I spend 2 hours today walking along the coastline of Hainan in hot sunny weather? Am I crazy? Am I wasting my time? The answer to these 3 questions is simple and obvious to me. I do exercise most days because I want to remain healthy. I watch what I eat and try to avoid unhealthy food like sugar, sugar, sugar, greasy fats and white flour. I do not smoke and I drink just a couple of glasses of wine or beer a week at the most.

Here in China, Pizza Hut, KFC, McDonalds and a million other sugary, greasy flour based food suppliers are selling their products like there is no tomorrow. Local fruit and vegetables, freshly caught fish are being replaced by these manufactured poisons. Their slogans “I lov’in it”, etc, are like the slogans outside some notorious concentration camp – “Arbeit macht frei”. Both bodies have the same result although one tortures the inmates by starvation and cruelty and the other through obesity and commercial dishonesty.

It appears that out feckless government has given in to the sugar lobby represented by the European Commission. We all know how bad sugar is for children and adults. It is probably as bad for our general health as tobacco, salt and fats. The sugar tax was without any doubt a good move but far short of being really effective. Instead of removing it the government should have increased it royally. Why should you and I pay for the high cost of obesity and its accompanying diseases when simple price mechanisms can easily knock a hole in demand? You only have to spend 5 minutes in a supermarket to see how much sugar has entered the processed food chain – yoghurts, drinks, canned fruits, ice cream, biscuits, cakes, bottled tea and coffee, sweets – almost 25% of the shop floor is a temple to sugar… With 2 retail chains holding 65% market share… you know the rest about who finances the parties.