Diet and the British Establishment
By Karen Harradine –
Post-liberal Puritans are now terrified of butter and hummus. All food deemed unsuitable for us is now banned from adverts on the London underground and television, lest our eyes are metaphorically scarred by viewing such corrupting morsels.
In February Transport for London (TfL) banned all junk food advertising1. A sycophantic nod to the United Nations (UN) war on fat, sugar and salt, this decree has left the faceless apparatchiks who run TfL unable to distinguish between a McDonalds’s burger and a yoghurt2.
They even banned an advert on the London Underground by on-line grocer Farmdrop because it contained, amongst other deadly ‘sins’, butter and bacon3. If the self-appointed dieticians at TfL are trying to save us from eating food with causes heart disease, cancer or obesity, they would be far better banning high carbohydrate and processed food than natural, appetite controlling ones. Censoring what we are allowed to see is tyrannical enough, but basing banning decisions on sheer ignorance is literally harmful to our health.
And last month TfL re-drew nine cultural tourist maps because they had a picture of a bowl of strawberries and cream representing Wimbledon4. The cost of these censorship amendments is over £16,000. Surely this money would be better spent on increasing police presence in London rather than policing food adverts? Perception is what matters in politics and regardless of the causes of knife crime and gang warfare, Londoners are scared and feel they are living in a lawless society. With their exaggerated focus on adverts, public servants enhance the perception that they are more concerned with censoring adverts than with protecting citizens from crime.
This overblown focus on fat, salt and sugar is spearheaded by the UN and its subsidiary – the World Health Organisation (WHO)5. The establishment, including civil servants, often blindly follow any UN decree, regardless of how counterproductive and senseless these can sometimes be.
TfL advisors, appointing themselves as arbiters on all woke issues, have now adopted the UN lingo – high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) compliant. The word ‘compliant’ sums up their Orwellian thinking on food6.
Thousands of pounds have been spent by TfL airbrushing out banned food from adverts. Not only is this censorship but the HFSS guidelines -unthinkingly implemented by inane administrators and public servants – are false and shockingly outdated. Food production in the UK is highly regulated under the Food Standard Act of 19997. The government has strict laws on how food is prepared, sold and advertised. Any food which is dangerous for human consumption is outlawed and not allowed to be advertised. So why is it necessary for TfL to add on another layer of legislation, when it is not needed? Especially one which is based on nonsensical dietary advice.
A picture of strawberries, a low sugar fruit, is now forbidden by TfL because it was placed next to a bowl of cream and transgresses both their clueless sugar and fat rules. But anyone who practices clean eating knows that natural is best. What could be more natural than strawberries and cream? Fruit contains fibre which public agencies insist that we eat. Low intake of fruit is responsible for millions of disabilities and deaths, globally8. Fruit is an essential component of a healthy diet. So why is TfL banning adverts featuring strawberries?
Even the Middle Eastern favourite – hummus – is declared a junk food under TfL’s censorious rules9. It doesn’t matter that it is one of the most popular foods in Israel, a country which has the healthiest diet in the world. Eggs are a universally nutritious and cheap source of protein. Genetics influence individual responses to cholesterol and so should act as a guide for how many eggs we choose to eat daily. To ban them like TfL has is truly bizarre10. Their advisors are like prophets of doom holding up their signs warning of the end of the world – hysteria to the point of insanity. Not only have they taken it upon themselves to dictate which food we are allowed to see advertised but have based their decisions on ancient food science debunked by contemporary nutritionists who know what they are talking about.
It is true that too much salt in the diet can cause high blood pressure leading to heart disease. But too little salt is bad for the body too. My sodium level has been so low at times that I needed to increase my intake to bring it up again. And some groups, like the elderly, risk low blood pressure if they cut out too much sodium11.
Processed sugar is indeed disastrous for the body – inflammatory, a depressive and insulin inducing. The irony is that many low-fat foods – promoted as healthy by WHO and the National Health Service (NHS) – contain vast amounts of the stuff, in addition to salt 12 13.
Censoring adverts is bad enough. Censoring them on the basis of bad science is even worse. No mention is made of carbohydrates, the main culprit in weight gain. Although good fats play a role in weight control they are incorrectly demonised. But these disaster antics are not just confined to TfL. Excess consumption of carbohydrates leads to the body storing these calories as fat and the more these foods are eaten the more they are craved because they don’t convert to the much needed energy our bodies need. Fat and protein do the opposite – these are converted to energy and keep us satiated far longer than carbohydrates do 14 15.
Research by American scientists show that personalised diets, and not trendy ones, are what helps the most when it comes to controlling weight. More importantly, the low fat diet that politicians insists inflicting on the rest of us contributes to obesity. In 1990, only 15% of Americans were obese. After decades of being told to follow a low fat diet 40% are now classified as obese16. The statistics speak for themselves. And Britons are no better17. As seen with climate change and transgenderism, the British government tends to listen to the wrong advice. Big governments should not act like Big Dietician because most of the advice they give, and have given over the past five decades, is wrong. What governments can do is focus their resources into proper food research – not be held hostage by lobbyists – and stop using our taxes to finance inane slogans like ‘five a day’. Governments should stay out of our grocery baskets and stop censoring our choices. We are not children, most of us are aware of our individual optimal way to create and maintain good health.
Anyone who is interested in keeping thin and healthy will know this. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, the British government insists on promoting a diet high in carbohydrates and low in good fats18.
In a bizarre attempt to tackle high levels of childhood obesity in the UK, the government led Childhood Obesity Strategy has declared a virtual ban on adverts and sales promotions on all food not HFFS compliant including the very healthy hummus19.
In a hair tearing case of one bureaucratic hand not knowing what the other one is doing, this decree included a ban on honey and raisins; food the NHS recommends as healthy sugar swaps. Interference of government in food advertising and what we put on our plate to eat is indicative of a government which wants to exert unnecessary control over our individual choices. If consumers are grown up enough to work and pay their bills, then they are adult enough to make their own food choices without government coercion, especially when it stems from advice based on bad science.
The government, in its desperate attempt to seem oh so woke, has capitulated to the vegan lobby, insisting that a vegan diet is healthy – a notion based mainly on trendy dogma rather than science20.
Vegans often resort to eating processed food and a diet heavy in carbohydrates, both of which are anathema to maintaining optimal health. And despite claims that veganism is ‘good for the environment’ soya and maize crops (vegan staples) contain far more chemicals and pesticides, and require more farmland than sustainable and organic livestock farming21.
In fact, beef farming is negligible when it comes to carbon emissions – a reason why people go vegan – in comparison to fossil fuels22. And sustainable cattle farming means more grasslands can flourish, essential in the reduction of carbon emissions and impossible to achieve if farmland is mainly to grow grain crops.
And no more apparent is this dubious food dogma epitomised than in the notorious Eat Well Plate, created by the government and prodigiously treated as revered truth by the bossy harridans who run NHS dietetics23.
The NHS system has institutionalised people. We are harangued into being grateful for the chaotic and inefficient medical system, inflicted onto us by successive governments.
There are better ways to run a health care system24. Countries like Malaysia run a two-tiered system, where those who can afford it pay for private medial care and those who cannot have access to government medical care – subsided by all taxpayers regardless whether they use public medical facilities or not25.
Even the Canadian socialised health system works better than the NHS26. Controls on usage are far more strict. For example, non-Canadians cannot access the health system for free until they have been resident in the country for three months. Until then, they either have to have private health insurance or pay for their usage of the health system. This cuts down on health tourism, a divisive and costly issue for the NHS. There is no need to implement an American type health care system. A two-tiered one functions far better, giving access to free or cheap medical care for all, and offering more choice and personal agency while cutting down on wait times.
But because the NHS is the UK’s sacred cow, the worship of which by its supporters borders on cult-like devotion, no change seems likely despite change being desperately needed. Nurses are revered as angels and doctors as gods, and most don’t like to be challenged. NHS staff dictate a one size fits all policy on all medical conditions – including obesity – no matter the damage. No dissent is allowed. Their attitude is that they know best and insist the rest of us blindly follow their medical articles of faith.
Unsuspecting overweight people are told that starchy food like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice must make up a third of everything they eat because these contain fibre and supposedly give us energy. But eating a plate of mashed potatoes is anything but energy giving27. The Eat Well Plate recommends a daily intake of 200-300 grams of carbohydrates but updated research shows this advice to be disastrously wrong28.
Professor Tim Noakes, who has popularised the low carbohydrate Banting diet, suggests eating as little as 25 grams of carbohydrate a day to promote weight loss. Anything over 100 grams will cause weight gain29. A community led website, Diabetes UK, also recommends following a similar low carbohydrate or Ketogenic diet to help with reversing insulin resistance and therefore preventing weight gain30.
Since low-fat diets were declared de rigueur in the 1970’s – based on flawed research by Ancel Keys31 – the rate of type two diabetes has increased32. The problem with low fat diets is that not only will they increase hunger because of the recommended excessive intake of carbohydrates, so will the lack of good fats33. Starchy foods cause an insulin resistance response, increasing the appetite so one eats more of them and ends up gaining weight. Eating a bowl of pasta is akin to eating a bowl of sugar, yet it is government recommended34. Sugar and carbohydrates – like pasta – are both converted into glucose and then stored as fat in the body35.
Yet the message we are given – reinforced by censorship – is to avoid good fats like butter in place of processed spreads and low fat foods, both of which are adulterated with chemicals or sugar to make them taste palatable36. No mention is made of the harm which low fat processed food poses. Our bodies can’t metabolise any of this type of food, which also messes with our endocrine system and can lead to weight gain.
The Eat Well Platte advice disparages butter, a natural food full of health benefits which helps us metabolise the nutrients from vegetables and protein, and is high in vitamin D37. A small amount of butter curbs the appetite far more than margarine does, and is much better for the body. Margarine is made from chemicals and is a processed food, and so our bodies struggle to process it properly compared to butter.
Some might dismiss Paleo and Keto diets as crank nonsense. But these have far more science behind them than the nonsense the government tries to push onto us.
If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself. Eat a sandwich with margarine and low fat cheese for lunch one day. The next day eat an omelette made with a pat of butter – or a couple of hard boiled eggs with small amounts of full fat mayonnaise if not at home – together with some salad. I guarantee that the eggs– a low carbohydrate food containing good fats and protein – will be far more satiating than the low fat, high carbohydrate sandwich will ever be.
That the NHS insists on shovelling down our collective metaphorical throats a low fat, high carbohydrate diet shows that they truly have no idea what they are doing. Their obsession with low fat food and fibre is like a bad haircut from the 80’s – out of style and never that great the first time around38.
High Costs + Low Expectations.
The foods recommended for the Eat Well Plate are extraordinarily bad – it’s like reading a recipe for obesity. Bread, pasta, potatoes, low fat processed food and low fat diary products laced with sugar are just some of the fattening foods listed as ‘healthy’ and desirable to eat. In our dystopian present, it is fitting that the government promotes the low fat diet – anathema for good health – which costs the NHS billions each year in obesity induced illnesses – £5.1 billion to be exact. In 2015/2016 bariatric surgery cost the NHS over £36 million39. It’s clear to most of us, except our hubristic politicians, that the low fat diet exacerbates obesity.
There may be a few whose metabolism suits a low fat diet but most put the weight back on again after following a low fat diet. Metabolic rates, lifestyle socio-economic factors and mental health have a major influence on weight loss and many, as shown by recent research, benefit from a low carbohydrate high fat diet, known as LCHF.
But the government insists we follow the low fat diet despite it causing many people to become sick and fat. This disproved diet theory is reinforced by the mindless bureaucrats – like those at TfL – who sanctimoniously censor adverts and recite diktats from clueless politicians who adhere to anything imparted to them by the UN, which is as stuck on the low fat diet as our own government40. A warped dietary echo chamber seemingly exists between public bodies and the UN, proliferating each other’s disastrous diet advice and ignoring any outside theories which don’t harmonise with their eternal feedback loop, no matter how correct they are.
Like lemmings leaping over a cliff, they follow any official edit to the death. They all really should be relocated into a Ministry of Silly Food where they can piously spend their time hectoring each other with atrocious dietary advice and leave the rest of us alone. What has happened to common sense? Or are these people so institutionalised – a by-product of the NHS system – that they can’t think for themselves and end up banning adverts containing pictures of eggs and scaremongering about cream?
They are obviously too terrified to break away from the prevailing diet dogma, lest they lose their seats of petty power.
Instead they prefer to treat us all as fat babies unable to control our impulses. This bigotry of low expectations – assuming the worst in human nature – pervades every part of our culture, including food. The nanny state attempts to remove our personal agency resulting in destructive groupthink and the perpetuation of ill health. Acting like an abusive parent, with a side job as a drug pusher, the government hectors us to eat bad food and bans nutritious food essential to weight loss.
Our politicians generally do not show signs of intelligent life. So it’s disturbing that so many of them have appointed themselves chief dieticians in charge. What is just as concerning is their insistence that their damaging diet is a one size fits all. This reeks of creeping socialism, where achieving equality of outcome is not only an unrealistic goal, but one that stymies progress but can be destructive in implementation. The mantra that we are all born equal is now applied to every domain in our lives, including diet. The fact that we are all genetically unique and respond in different ways to chronic illnesses and other medical conditions, is ignored. Because so many still believe that governments know what is best for us, advice given by public bodies like the NHS is unquestionably swallowed.
But we are not born equal.
Everyone Is Different. Everyone Must be Free
I was born with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – an inherited genetic disorder41. This flaw makes me less equal to other women who don’t have it. Women with PCOS are seven times more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, strokes and heart disease, if they don’t control their symptoms. There is no cure, but PCOS symptoms can be controlled by a high protein/low carbohydrate diet and sometimes medication.
Not that the NHS knows this valuable information. Almost a decade ago, after cluelessly following the government’s low fat diet advice for years, I was obese. My GP sent me to a local government run PCOS clinic, where the NHS dietician told me that if I wanted to lose weight I had to eat bred with every meal to keep my blood sugar levels stable. Although I didn’t know then what I now know about LCHF diets, her advice, explained in a patronising manner, felt counterintuitive. I called a more knowledgeable friend and cried on the phone to her about my obese body. Her reply, consisting of three words – ‘cut the carbs’ – changed my life. And ‘cut the carbs’ I did, loosing thirty kilograms and keeping the weight off. Now I am just an ordinary middle-aged woman who just wants to lose those last few kilos. I am no longer that obese woman desperate to lose weight and wondering why following the government recommended diet for PCOS was making me heavier. I never went back to that clinic or any other. I dread to think what would have happened to my health if I had listened to that bossy dietician.
If I didn’t have this condition I could probably eat far more carbohydrates than I do without gaining weight. But I do so I can’t and instead I eat a high protein, moderate fat and low carbohydrate diet instead. And no two women with PCOS are the same. I eat fruit for breakfast every day and find that if I eat eggs instead – a suggested breakfast for women with PCOS – my appetite spikes for the rest of the day.
The point is that we are all different and require different diets to keep us in optimal health and at our desired weight. Most in the West lead sedentary lives where their intake of carbohydrates is excessive and leads to weight gain. This is why a low carbohydrate diet is of benefit to many, regardless of whether they have a unique health condition or not.
No wonder we have an obesity crisis. Those poor souls who are harangued by domineering NHS staff to follow the nutritiously empty Eat Well Plate end up putting weight back on. And so the vicious circle of the low fat high carbohydrate diet continues, making millions miserable and costing the NHS even more.
In the West, the rich are getting richer and wraith thin, and the poor are getting poorer and fatter. The less privileged among us are usually the ones suffering from obesity because bad food is generally cheaper, and government recommended. For those holding down two jobs just to survive, keeping up with the latest developments in dietary science is an impossible task.
Politicians should not get involved in our food choices. Invariably they will get it wrong because they are usually held sway by lobbyists or, as it is with British bureaucrats, infatuated with the UN. The Tories masquerade as conservatives yet their big government tendencies show them to be anything but. So much of our freedom in the West is taken for granted. That it is being ebbed away by an increasingly tyrannical and politically correct establishment should worry us all.
Invariably governments tend to get most of their decisions wrong. The current chaos seen in the UK, and our dismal crop of MPs, are a reflection of that. So why are we letting them dictate our food choices to the point of banning adverts which contain images of food deemed bad by politicians and civil servants who are unable to think for themselves? The role of a government is to ensure that a country is a safe and prosperous place to live in, with public bodies which serve and not dictate to us the minutia of our lives.
The freedom to eat what we want without being bullied by government flunkies is part of being free. The more control that we acquiesce to big government, including what we eat, the more we infantilise ourselves and risk relinquishing the last paltry crumbs of our freedom.
7. See https://www.food.gov.uk/about-us/key-regulations
25. See https://internationalliving.com/countries/malaysia/healthcare-in-malaysia/
33. See http://doctoraseem.com
40. See http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2019/04/a-global-diet-in-an-obese-and-starving-world/
1. Cover Image: Uncooked Linguine Pastas photographed by Heather Gill
2. Strawberries photographed by Massimiliano Martini
3. Cubes of Sugar photographed by Mae Mu
4. Cover Image: Title: Finger art of family during quarrel. The concept of parents scolded her daughter, she was crying. Image ID : 45362273 Copyright : mukhina1 (Follow) Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_mukhina1′>mukhina1 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>