Will taxing sugar end up damaging the health of the nation?

28th April 2018

England recently introduced a sugar tax, making it more expensive to buy food and drink that contains sugar. We are mainly talking about soft drinks here, such as Coke and Irn Bru and concentrated orange juice and suchlike. Many people celebrated this as a great step forward in tackling obesity. Including many people that I like, and get on with, and agree with on most things.

Not, on this however. Firstly, on principle, I do not like the idea of using the state machinery of law making, banning, taxing and suchlike to enforce social controls. It is an attack on personal liberty and represents an unpleasant form of the nanny state. Where does it end?

Don’t climb mountains because you might fall and hurt yourself. Don’t swim in the sea, you may drown. Only state approved ‘healthy’ activities are to be allowed. Hmmmm. No thanks. I would rather make my own choices thanks very much.

Aside from this, you must be absolutely one hundred per cent certain that if you are going to use lumbering, soul destroying, personal freedom crushing, state machinery, that you are going to do a lot more good than harm. Indeed, you should do no harm at all.

Especially when it comes to dietary interventions, which will affect every single person in the country. As readers of this blog know, the dietary guidelines introduced in the US and UK in the late 1970s, early 1980s have almost certainly been the main driving force behind the modern epidemics of both obesity and diabetes. Eat less fat and more carbohydrates was the cry. Yes, and look what happened.

These guidelines were not turned into laws and taxes, in most countries, but Denmark did go as far as introducing a fat tax, in 2011. Luckily, they dropped it fairly rapidly. The Netherlands too have considered it, and it may happen:

‘Although the Netherlands has refrained from introducing a “fat tax”, support for such a tax is gaining momentum in several EU member states, thus raising the question whether the EU should consider stepping in so as to adopt an EU-wide “fat tax” scheme that is to be applied in all EU member states.’ 1

Things have gone a bit quiet on this front. Although it was interesting if we had both a fat tax and a sugar tax. Sugar is just the simplest form of carbohydrate, so you could argue we may shortly have both fat and carbohydrate taxes. What would that leave us to eat? Protein.

If I have seen one macronutrient that can cause major health issues, if eaten to excess, it is protein.

‘Protein poisoning (also referred to colloquially as rabbit starvation, mal de caribou, or fat starvation) is a rare form of acute malnutrition thought to be caused by a complete absence of fat in the diet.

Excess protein is sometimes cited as the cause of this issue; when meat and fat are consumed in the correct ratio, such as that found in pemmican (which is 50% fat by volume), the diet is considered nutritionally complete and can support humans for months or more.

Other stressors, such as severe cold or a dry environment, may intensify symptoms or decrease time to onset. Symptoms include diarrhoea, headache, fatigue, low blood pressure, slow heart rate, and a vague discomfort and hunger (very similar to a food craving) that can be satisfied only by the consumption of fat.

 Protein poisoning was first noted as a consequence of eating rabbit meat exclusively, hence the term, “rabbit starvation”. Rabbit meat is very lean; commercial rabbit meat has 50–100 g dissectable fat per 2 kg (live weight). Based on a carcass yield of 60%, rabbit meat is around 8.3% fat while beef and pork are 32% fat and lamb 28%.’2

In my practice I have seen two young super-enthusiastic body-builders who ate virtually nothing but protein and protein shakes and suchlike who became very ill indeed. Only when they cut out the protein did they recover. Now, this is not common, but there are only three macronutrients. Fat, carbohydrate and protein, and we are thinking of taxing two of them? Maybe we should just tax protein as well and be done with it.

All food found to be unhealthy, and to be taxed, by order of HM Govt.’

Anyway, to return to the sugar tax. What possible downside could there be to this, you may ask? Apart from infantilising the entire population. ‘You are too thick to make decisions about your life, so we will make them for you.’

Well, if you tax drinks containing sugar, more and more people are likely to shift to drinking zero carb alternatives. Coke zero and suchlike. These drinks contain artificial sweeteners, and so the consumption of artificial sweeteners is bound to rise pretty dramatically. Could this do more harm than good? Well, last year a paper came out in the journal Stroke. Called ‘Sugar and artificially sweetened beverages and the risks of incident stroke and dementia – A prospective Cohort Study.’

The main findings were, as follows:

‘Results—After adjustments for age, sex, education (for analysis of dementia), caloric intake, diet quality, physical activity, and smoking, higher recent and higher cumulative intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks were associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke, all-cause dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

When comparing daily cumulative intake to 0 per week (reference), the hazard ratios were 2.96 (95% confidence interval, 1.26–6.97) for ischemic stroke and 2.89 (95% confidence interval, 1.18–7.07) for Alzheimer’s disease. Sugar-sweetened beverages were not associated with stroke or dementia.3

In short, those who drank more artificially sweetened soft drinks were nearly three-fold more likely to have a stroke. In addition, they were very nearly three times as likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. This, most certainly, does not come under my definition of ‘first do no harm.’

If I want a soft drink, I shall be paying the sugar tax. I do not want to end up with Alzheimer’s, thank you very much. I would be interested to know if the sugar tax will help pay for the millions of extra people who will now, very likely, develop dementia over the next few years.

1: https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2013/uk/no-fat-tax-in-the-netherlands

2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein_poisoning

3: Stroke. 2017;48:1139-1146. DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.116.016027

663 thoughts on “Will taxing sugar end up damaging the health of the nation?

  1. William Robinson

    I agree. Tell this to Dr. Lustig, Dr. Eenfeldt, and others
    who have advocated such a tax for a while now. Taxes
    should never be used for social engineering.

  2. Ishbel Bertram

    I’ve tried to discuss the nasty side of artificial sweeteners with people and sadly many of them just see sweeteners as wonderful – fewer calories, low sugar; what’s not to like? These are ‘educated’ people who like fizzy drinks and have learned that sugar is bad for you so having artificial sweeteners has to be good doesn’t it? Grandchildren get fruit cordials with sweeteners instead of sugar.

    I can taste artificial sweeteners which is beginning to limit what I eat and drink as they seem to be in everything now. Inconvenient for sure but it does limit my intake.

    1. Gerard Pinzone (@GerardPinzone)

      You shouldn’t be surprised to find a “link” between artificial sweeteners and disease. Most healthy and thin people do not drink “diet” anything until they become sick and obese.

      For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin, these “deadly” products have been used for decades now in spite of the dire warnings made so many years ago. Where are the bodies being buried?

      1. chris c

        Oh yes I pondered that as well.

        I used to know a couple who each had a reaction to different sweeteners, but the effects were mild and certainly not life-threatening.

        I used to use Splenda tabs in my coffee as I preferred the taste, but a couple of years back they were taken off the shelf in the local supermarket and are no longer to be found in any of the other shops in town. This makes me a bit concerned that something was discovered – but it could merely be a financial decision.

      2. chris c

        Oh yes I also pondered that.

        I used to know a couple who each had reactions to different sweeteners, but mildly annoying rather than life-threatening.

        I preferred Splenda tabs in my coffee, purely for the taste, but a couple of years back they disappeared from the local supermarket and subsequently all other shops in town. I wonder if there was something they are covering up, or if it was purely a financial decision.

      3. chris c

        Oops sorry, first reply vanished so I rewrote it, and now here they both are. Is the internet broken again?

      4. shirley3349

        Don’t bother with Splenda, which is bulked out with other things and is not zero calories, but get pure sucralose powder. It’s expensive, about £10 for 50 grams inc. postage, but one uses very, very, little as it is so sweet. The suppliers provide one with a half ml scoop and suggest taking a fifth of that, i.e. 0.1 ml, per tumbler of liquid, but I find that way too much. I use the tiniest trace, a few mg. at most and this is plenty sweet enough for me.

        Here is my recipe for delicious, almost carbohydrate free lemonade.
        Weigh the juice of one lemon, about 22 g (which includes about 2 g of sugar) into a small jug and make up to 100 g with water. Add a trace of sucralose to taste. Keep in the fridge for a few hours. Then dilute with more water or fizzy mineral water to taste. Makes 2 or 3 servings depending on how strong one likes it.

        A trace of sucralose, plus a few drops of orange oil food flavouring, makes bulk, food grade, mineral and vitamin supplements a lot more palatable too.

  3. JDPatten

    Education is the best way to address societal issues such as this. The first actual task of education is guidance in THINKING. Children are often discouraged in this natural inclination.
    Next is how to ferret out facts – using those thought skills. (The “facts” of healthful living, and diet in particular, that we’ve been taught for almost a half-century have been destructively incorrect.)
    The last task of education is to wipe out those destructive misapprehensions by clearly, forcefully, convincingly presenting Truth. (Truth as determined by the scientific application of determined unbiased thought. It’s the best we can do.)

    Would that what we have going here had the force of MeToo!!

    1. BobM

      Education doesn’t really work, especially in America. For instance, we drink full fat milk at home (when our kids drink milk, that is, which is not often these days, and neither my wife nor I drink it at all), but our kids cannot get full fat milk at school. It’s not allowed due to the rules (fat = bad, remember). They can, however, get highly sugared, zero fat, chocolate milk.

      And everything is built around junk food. I went to several breakfasts with my children that were run by the schools. One had donuts (or doughnuts), which are highly sugared and fried in high Omega 6 oils. One had muffins, again highly sugared.

      We educate our kids in our homes to avoid eating sugar and fried foods and breads, but they go to school, and guess what is served? It’s all garbage. They can get pizza and skim chocolate milk at school, as it’s low in fat, and therefore “good”. There’s only so much we can advise them, and we’re telling them to do exactly the opposite of what the rules are in schools.

      And my kids have to take lessons on “healthy eating”, where they tell them to eat low fat and avoid saturate fat and eat “healthy” whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. Meanwhile, I eat no grains, few vegetables and little to no fruit (and try to eat these in season, if I do eat them). What they’re being taught in school is exactly the opposite of the way I live and what I believe.

      1. Bill In Oz

        BoBM, I sympathise with you completely. Fortunately here in my part of Oz, such idiotic ideology has not yet become part of the school curriculum.

        I wonder if you are ‘permitted’ to withdraw your kids from such bad nutrition classes in the school. As for the breakfast issue. There is a solution guarranteed to get supporp : offer to arrange a proper breakfast with eggs, bacon etc…And NO sugary crap.

      2. Andy S

        BobM, don’t give up on education, it takes a long time to correct bad education.

  4. Jean Humphreys

    Thanks for that.
    One thing that really annoys me is the way that fizzy drinks have become so over sweetened. Even the ones that have sugar in have artificial sweeteners as well. I am sure that the stuff the Corona man brought round on his lorry on Saturdays was sharper and more refreshing.
    Another thing. How are the diabetes police going to do a glucose tolerance test? Or, as it should be said,, a Lucozade tolerance test which means a great deal more iffy stuff than just glucose, not to mention carbon dioxide, which will alter the effect.
    The idea is about as good as compulsory fluoridation, to protect my neighbour’s plastic teeth, aong with my kitchen sink, and lavatory bowl, from decay. While the poor nippers who have the rotting teeth are sucking on bottles of strangely coloured fluids that never came out of a domestic tap.
    Beware of unintended consequences.

    1. anglosvizzera

      Bring back the Corona man – that’ll cut down the amount of fizzy pop people drink. We only had a couple of bottles about once a month as a treat to share round the family!

  5. Göran Sjöberg


    Thirty years ago I was living in the US for a year during which year I gained 10 kg of weight. By coincidence (?) I was also a big consumer of Diet Coke which I bought in the convenient 24 packages offered. Returning back to Sweden, with no more Diet Coke, I dropped 5 of those kilos within a short period of time. Turning to strikt LCHF 20 years later I dropped twenty more kilos in a couple of years without any intentions of reducing my weight.

    By the way, sugar is a strikt no-no in LCHF. Actually it is the first item to drop especially if you have an addiction to sugar and her I notice a large number of victims in my surroundings.

    1. Richard David Feinman

      Anecdotally (as here) many people successfully use diet soda as a method for going LCHF. There is no scientific basis (as distinct from epidemiology) for assuming harm for most people with diet soda.

      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Richard. The scientific basis – that I like – goes like this. Do not stick artificial chemicals in your brain because it is unlikely that good things will come of it. It’s kind of like the trans-fats/margarine thing.

      2. Brian Norwood, MD

        I completely agree with Dr. Feinman (and I love your book). I agree with almost everything you write about Dr. Kendrick, but I have to disagree on this point. The science condemning artificial sweeteners is shoddy at best. People who drink artificially sweetened beverages are different than those who don’t. Correlation does not equal causation.

      3. Richard Gibbs

        Anecdotally some people get seizures on aspartame. Also frequent occurrence of headaches.

      4. AnnaM

        What I have heard is that the artificial sweeteners increase appetite and fool your brain, thus leading to weight gain. I met a very large guy who said he dropped 80 pounds when he stopped drinking them.

  6. Lee

    I’m completely with you on this. I noticed a reduced sugar content a few months ago but didn’t know that there was a tax coming in.
    What annoys me most is that the industry has responded by reducing sugar content of their sugared version and adding sweetner, so it takes away choice. I detest artificial sweetner, so I won’t be buying.
    Some brands like proper coke are staying with full sugar and if I want a coke then I’ll be having it and paying the tax.
    I don’t drink much pop but when I do, it’s when I’m on a long bike to prevent bonking; so low sugar content is no use nor ornament.
    Unfortunately this has been lobbied for by the likes of Action on sugar, Malhotra and Lustig, in addition to the low carb community. I’ve got nothing against any of them but I do have an issue with the Nanny State.

    1. shirley3349

      Since going on an LCHF diet about 18 months ago, my favourite tipple has been about 50 ml of orange (or pink grapefruit) juice diluted in about 150 ml carbonated mineral water. This gives about 5g of sugar which is part of in my allowance (50-70g) of carbohydrate a day. Gin can be added as and when required. Not good for what’s left of my teeth, unfortunately.
      Progress in weight loss is slow, my prediabetes remains stable, and I am sticking to the diet with occasional lapses. e.g.a slice of my homemade, strawberry and cream sponge birthday cake later this month, when I will be able to rely on my grandchildren to devour any leftovers.

  7. Chancery Stone

    I greatly disapprove of the sugar tax and consider ‘folie de rich-white-people-who-shop-in-waitrose-and-wish-to-tidy-up-the-unsettling-unattractive-appearance-of-the-corpulent-poor’. The fact is the well-off middle classes are not affected by the sugar tax and it won’t change their purchase of organic cakes and elderflower cordial one iota. However the poor, who are the chief users of poor quality and therefore sugar-rich foods, won’t now be able to somehow afford a better diet, better education or more elevating life choices thanks to the sugar tax. In fact, their finances will be hit harder and the ‘luxuries’ and treats they do buy will cost them more. None of this educates them, it just lines somebody’s pockets somewhere (where is the sugar tax money going?)

    Both prohibition and tobacco taxes have proven that people will do pretty much anything to get their drugs of choice (including actual drugs bought illegally despite ferocious sentencing and persecution) so who and how is any of this helping – by somehow miraculously rewriting history with a different ending?

    It’s an absurdist case of the Emperor’s New Clothes, with everyone pretending their doing something constructive while knowing in their heart of hearts it does absolutely nothing. Instead of actually legislating what manufacturers can claim (all those misused health, natural and goodness words) or forcing them to be bitterly honest on labelling (big red letter warnings right on the front of packages), they are slapping the wrists of the collective poor and fat-shaming them into carrying yet another burden.

    1. Mike Smith

      “However the poor, who are the chief users of poor quality and therefore sugar-rich foods, won’t now be able to somehow afford a better diet”

      Wow do I disagree with that statement on a big scale. You are suggesting that it is the poor who cant afford a better diet, here’s a thought for you, why don’t the poor stop buying junk sodas and drink tea, coffee or god forbid water from the tap and with the money they have just saved buy some vegetables instead. Box of salad from Aldi – £1, around the same for a can of coke!

      1. Chancery Stone

        And I disagree comprehensively with yours, Mike. To put this into a clearer context, poor people have a restricted budget that never covers their needs (if it did they wouldn’t be poor, by definition), so invariably eating becomes an either/or situation. So, it becomes vegetables or cake, not both. The meat pies they are eating in 10 packs from Iceland claim to be “meat and vegetable” pie, so if they just serve that up with chips from huge bargain bags they have a rounded satisfying meal that all the family will eat. What’s more, they can now afford a cake on top, to cheer everybody up, since their miserable hand-to-mouth existence means everybody needs cheering up, usually on a daily basis. They actually physically need that cake, or that Coke, because their bodies have become so reliant on the lift from the sugars that without them they are barely able to function. Low grade depression is their normal state, so it’s either sugar, alcohol or hard drugs. Sugar is by far the best choice out of the three. It is the most socially acceptable and the easiest to acquire plus it appears to do less damage. The effects of it are only seen long-term, hence hospitals being full of lower class overweight sick people.

        You can’t separate the poor’s eating habits from their life circumstances. It’s a counsel of perfection to tell someone who can’t make ends meet, while they work three part time jobs and try to support four children, that they should eat broccoli instead of Battenberg. Yes it would be better for them in the long-term, but they don’t know that and don’t much care. They need an emotional crutch now and cheap ice cream can deliver that where carrots can’t.

        There’s a famous quote from Mackintosh of Mackintosh’s toffee fame when he was asked to support a temperance movement for the poor and he refused, saying,”If I had to live their lives I’d drink too”. Well the same thing is in operation here. If you want to help the poor eat better you need to improve their lives, not throw vegetables at them.

      2. AH Notepad

        I would paraphrase your statement “The poor eat rubbish, they like rubbish, they can’t function without rubbish, so lets keep feeding them rubbish”. This is making the assumption that poor people are stupid. That is not the case, there are poor people who are as clever as any who post on this blog. Circumstances have caused them to be in a worse financial position than most of us, but it doesn’t mean they can’t function without rubbish food.

    2. David

      Sorry to disappoint you but:-
      Announced by former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, in the budget of April 2016, the ‘Soft Drinks Industry Levy’ – dubbed the ‘sugar tax’ – consists of two categories.

      The first is a tax on the total sugar content of drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml (taxed on point of production or importation at a cost of 18p per litre), and the second, a higher tax (24p per litre) on those drinks with 8g or more sugar per 100ml. —
      Not a tax on sugar.

  8. Patrick Scully

    Sorry Malcolm, you are WAY off the mark with this one. Sugar is uniquely toxic, and a likely cause of Alzheimer’s, the one paper u cherrypick notwithstanding. Sugar should not only be taxed, it’s should be banned. Also nonsense re nanny state…..there are certain toxic substances, lucrative to sell, that require Government control. Tobacco, alcohol, sugar.

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Sugar as in? Table sugar, fructose and glucose. Or glucose, or, all carbohydrates that will be broken down into simple sugars in the gut? Would your ban include all fruits, vegetables and grains? Of course all fats/trigylcerides contain glycerol which is converted to glucose in the liver. Should fats then, also be banned, as they contain ‘sugar’ Of course, proteins can be broken down/converted into simply sugars for use as energy. Perhaps, therefore, we should ban them to? I am interested as to the exact wording of your ban. You would, of course, have to bear in mind that without glucose we enter a hypoglycemic coma – then die. I suppose that this would be one way of preventing Alzheimer’s.

      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Well, maybe. I suspect, however, that any funds that come in will pay for researchers to prove that everyone with diabetes should avoid fat and eat carbs. Anyhoo, must get to bed.

    2. Craig E

      I am in complete agreement with Dr K on this. Also I cannot agree with the assertion that sugar is uniquely toxic. We have enzymes to metabolise fructose and galactose – the main simple sugars in our diet other than glucose. People might counter that by saying that fructose and galactose can only be metabolized in the liver to which I would say so what? Gluconeogenesis primarily occurs in the liver but we don’t hear people decrying ketogenic diets because of the burden on the liver. The anti fructose hysteria dwells on rodent studies with unrealistically high doses of fructose. Some say fructose from fruit ok but not from sucrose…but your liver doesn’t know where the fructose came from.

      What we are looking at here is a problem of excess. As Dr K described you can get into strife eating too much protein. The argument against refined carbs should mostly be centrered around the fact that they are energy rich but don’t contain many of the essential nutrients needed by our body – and they are easy to overconsume.

      1. anglosvizzera

        I guess the body/liver responds to the amount of fructose that arrives depending on the source – the fibre content of most fruits slows down the digestion of the fruit so that the liver doesn’t receive a sudden high dose of fructose as it does with HFCS, and it obviously evolved to cope with fructose in the amounts and formats in which it occurs naturally. If one were to chew on a piece of sugar cane, it would have a different effect on the body from having a spoonful of refined sugar, I imagine.

        I think the message about healthy fats being necessary for the body is getting through, so I doubt whether we’d end up just being recommended to eat protein. Even the latest US dietary guidelines (changed in 2015) have removed the limit on dietary fats:


      2. Jennifer

        Craig E.I agree with your response.
        Dr K’s topics invariably end up with us discussing food. We all have our ideas of what to eat for the best, and can generally quote research to back up our reasons for following this or that regime. But, I conclude that :-
        a) a little of what you fancy does you good.
        b) everything in moderation.
        In other words, many of the ills of the modern era seem to be caused by overconsumption, and its causes seem complex; I am content to let researchers pursue an answer. However, I feel that this discussion ought to focus on the pros and cons of taxing, or not, sugar, that pure,white and toxic substance. All the rest, if you beg my pardon, is flim-flam.
        I wonder if we could have a simple survey on the blog, to clear the air?
        ‘should pure sugar be taxed?’ yes or no.

      3. Gary Ogden

        Jennifer: No. And I think my vote should count for about a hundred, just because. We would all benefit from lower taxes and a shrunken government. Essential, too, to put the banksters in jail, maybe in Guantanamo in those cages so we could throw rotten fruit at them.

      4. Craig E

        Hi Jennifer. In the blog post about lead and CVD I weighed in (off topic) to mention that we, as humans, require roughly 40 essential nutrients, meaning we need them in our diet because we can’t make them. This list includes minerals, vitamins, a couple of polyunsaturated fatty acids and about half of the amino acids. Although I appear to be defending sugar it is only to the extent that it not toxic in reasonable doses. Given that (particularly added) sugar is present in many nutrionally poor foods, it doesn’t make sense to eat these foods when all you get is energy and not much else. I have weighed in to other debates too about whether sugar (or at least glucose) is a ‘nutrient’. It is definitely not ‘essential’ but glucose is a nutrient as it is a precursor to the production of 5 carbon sugars required by the body and also is essential for red blood cells as an energy source. As far as taxing sugar goes, a token tax isn’t going to go very far in reducing consumption methinks, although it’d be nice to see results from countries that have had the tax for some time.

      1. Jennifer

        Mike…certainly, your brief statement is true BUT, I detest pure, white and deadly sugar being added to many foods. However, as you/we acknowledge that unrefined carbs ultimately turn to glucose, let us not throw the baby out with the bath water. There are certainly good carb foodstuffs, which when they are grown, harvested and used in moderation, add to the enjoyment of meals, and, dare I say it, add variety and nutrients too. The subject of “sugar” is far more complex, and ultimately confuses and restricts the issue when bringing all carbs into the discussion.
        Along with tobacco and alcohol, I therefore put pure sugar in the nanny state category. I do not hold with the assumption that it is the thin end of the wedge, and likely to be followed by fats, then proteins. Sometimes, we need to be saved from ourselves, and taxation is a way round the problem. If anyone has a better solution, I am sure the powers that be would welcome suggestions as to how to reduce consumption of this deadly substance.
        Let us keep to the main problem….pure sugar is a cause of chronic illness, and premature death when consumed to excess……one issue at a time. We will tackle others when this subject is addressed properly.l

  9. Chancery Stone

    Sorry, the opening sentence of my comment SHOULD read: I greatly disapprove of the sugar tax and consider it a ‘folie de rich-white-people-who-shop-in-waitrose-and-wish-to-tidy-up-the-unsettling-unattractive-appearance-of-the-corpulent-poor’. (No way to get in and edit it!)

    1. Frances Chaloner

      To Chancery Stone:
      What’s shopping at Waitrose got to do with it? At least it is employee owned unlike other supermarket chains. You seem to have a lot of strange assumptions about people who shop there too.
      Keep your ridiculous prejudices to yourself and stick to the issue under discussion

      1. Chancery Stone

        Sorry, Frances, I take it you shop at Waitrose. But unfortunately shopping at Waitrose has a lot to do with it and is very relevant to the discussion in hand. Not because it’s not a lovely firm with lovely staff and lovely customers, but because only a certain income bracket can afford to shop there, and sadly, humans being humans that means that a blinkered vision can come into play. It’s very common for people to imagine that if the poor only pull their socks up they could improve their lot (see mike Smith’s reply to my comment above for precisely that thinking in action) and one of the things that has been proven in many scientific studies is that humans of one income bracket often lack empathy for those in another income bracket – hence my use of Waitrose as an umbrella for this phenomenon.

        Sadly it’s not a “ridiculous prejudice” on my part but a fact.

      2. AH Notepad

        Chancery Stone, in general the lower income brackets may not shop at Waitrose, but where is the evidence to support the statement that only a certain income bracket can afford to shop there? I have seen products in Tesco which can be found at a lower price in Waitrose.

      3. chris c

        I used to work in a town with a Waitrose and a Sainsburies and live in a nearby town with another Waitrose and a Safeway. While individual items might be cheaper in the different shops the difference was not worth queueing three times at the checkouts so I stuck with the Waitrose.

        Here we have a Co-Op. One of my neighbours bought a selection of items in the Co-Op and the following week bought much the same things in the next town’s Tesco. The Tesco was more expensive. Not all the memes you believe are true.

  10. The Wizard

    I could not agree more. How and why are these decisions arrived at? I have friends who sincerely believe that they have a healthful dietary intake. Why? They insist on “diet” drinks, sweets, cakes (and low to zero fat) and have been smugly announcing that the tax won’t affect them! Such is the brainwashing of the big food corporations and Govt alike.
    Does anyone stop and think about the journey of homosapien “out of Africa”? Did we build the Pyramids drinking diet Coke and eating aspartame laden marshmallows? Perhaps the Roman army marched on sugar free “sugared” almonds? Did Brittania rule the waves drinking “lite” cocoa at bedtime?
    Come on people, just eat using the generational wisdom of our great grandparents; most of everything natural and seasonal and just a little of everything else.

    1. Göran Sjöberg

      Thank you for this link!

      This may be part of the explanation why I gained 10 kg during my one year stay in the US; my excessive Decaffeinated Diet Coke consumption. My colleagues were teasing me by asking why I drank something that didn’t contain anything and still gained weight.

      I certainly have had a “sweet tooth” and after my serious MI 1999 I decided to drop all sweets, to which I was an addict, since I considered them to be a culprit. For sure I dropped about ten kilos in a short period of time which I however slowly regained when started to cheat on the sweets again.

      2009 I drastically turned to LCHF which has worked pretty well since then, not least from the weight stability point of view – from 95 to level out around 75 in a few years.

      1. Göran Sjöberg

        I must honestly admit the I lately, during the last year, have slowly gained about four kilos back but my wife still says I “look great”. The weight gain I principally relate to having introduced much more veggies on my plates; e.g. sauerkraut and broccoli. Or could it be the muscles from the wood chopping that weighs heavy? 🙂

      2. Bill In Oz

        Goran the extra muscle that comes from chopping the fire wood is definitely heavier & denser, than fat with the same volume…That could be the reason why you look great !


      3. Göran Sjöberg

        BTW, when I left the US my colleagues there supplied me with a stock of meal substitute diet powder as a gift which I though not yet have touched not least since I have noted a Swedish colleague, who was a “fanatic” about these powders, steadily gaining weight around his waist line and also acquiring CVD problems at the same time. He was rather hostile towards my LCHF regimen although he admitted that it worked.

      4. KidPsych

        Goran, I suspect that chemicals likely impact the gut biome negatively – that could certainly account for some of the weight gain. I did the reverse of what you did – spending a semester in Sweden, where I did become leaner. My theory at the time was I just had much less access to food 24/7. Back in the states, a night out of drinking would typically end with a pizza arriving at 2 AM. That certainly was not an option in Sweden.

  11. Bill In Oz

    Malcolm on this issue I beg to differ. There are a couple of reasons why I think that a sugar tax is a good idea.
    1 : We live in a world where sugar consumption per head has risen greatly over the past 50-60 years. This is obvious to me here in Australia. I was also obvious to me in an extreme way when i was in the Philippines. I imagine the same change towards processed foods & drinks with sugar added has happened in the UK and the USA. The result in all countries has been rampant obesity. And it seems to have happened also in Mexico where a 20% sugar tax was introduced in 2016 as part of that country’s ‘cure’ for it’s rampant obesity.

    2 : Obesity has major health consequences. And in countries with developed public health systems like the UK and like Australia, those consequences have financial implications for ordinary taxpayers. Taxing the cause of the obesity problem is one way of maybe partially paying for the cost of the ill health that sugar causes. In this it is no different to the taxes on tobacco products or alcohol.

    Having said this I would never support a ‘fat tax’. Many fats are healthy and necessary for a healthy diet. Denmark’s attempt to introduce it’s fat tax was indeed nanny state’ism.. And the people of Denmark did not cooperate & gave it’s government a good kick up the arse for doing it. And the fat tax was abolished.

    1. KidPsych

      Bill, the problem with your argument is that one must presume that the government is making the correct choice. If one were to codify a tax based upon very recent diet guidelines, fat would have been taxed, with many hailing it as the removal of a burden from our overwhelmed health system. The law of unintended consequences is particularly acute when laws and taxes are broadly applied. Recently, our addled attorney general was making noise about re-criminalizing marijuana (because of “obvious” dangers) in states that had legalized it. I’m hardly a fierce advocate for pot, but his rather reflexive stance ignored the fact that in states where it had been legalized, opioid addiction had dropped.

  12. Janet

    Our old friend, The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again !

    (or, the Consequences of Lazy Legislators bites us on the posterior…

  13. Rachel Brett

    Totally agree that taxing food is bad, especially in the light of 50 years of drivel. As far as whether you have aspartame, or some other sugar substitute in your drink, I am certainly not convinced by the scientific research either. As you have pointed out on several occasions, you can twist results to make them say anything you want. And besides, I like the idea of being able to drink a diet coke, without feeling guilty that I am drinking sugar. But I love this article, almost as much as the article on drinking alcohol…. Malcolm Kendrick, you really make medicine enjoyable, (if that were ever possible).

  14. David Bailey

    Thanks Malcolm – that is a very thought-provoking piece!

    I just have one thought: Robert Lustig seems to blame sucrose primarily because of its fructose content. His argument is pretty obscure to follow, but if he is right, the complex carbohydrates are far less of a problem. This would make a lot of sense because there are plenty of traditional cultures that live mainly on starch.

    1. Richard David Feinman

      He is not right. Insulin effects are clear. Effects of fructose are not clear. The question really boils down to which is worse, replacing fat with carbohydrate, any carbohydrate, or replacing glucose with fructose.

      1. Tom Welsh


        When fruits were ripe, available, and not eaten first by birds, insects or other mammals. Hence humans would have had to eat most fruit when it was very unripe by our standards.

      2. chris c

        I suspect as with most things there is a U curve or J curve. Probably anatomically correct quantities do not do harm, but the huge quantities in a modern “low fat”diet drive up trigs and induce liver fat even more than the glucose/starch.

    2. BobM

      Which cultures live mainly on starch?

      I think fructose is unique in its effects on the liver. Of course, since sugar = glucose + fructose, it’s hard to distinguish the effects of each. You really have to get into high fruit intake to see what’s happening with fructose. Even “high fructose corn syrup” is only about 55% fructose, 45% glucose, so only slightly worse than sugar.

      For me, sweet = a trigger. My wife tells me that I have tremendous willpower, but that stops at eating something. That is, I simply don’t have ice cream. If I have ice cream, then I want more. For me, anything sweet is a trigger that causes overeating. So, I avoid anything sweet, if I can.

      I know there are those who believe “everything in moderation”. But for some of us “crack addicts” or “alcoholics”, those of us with addictive personalities, that’s not really true. Yes, 2 ounces of pasta is OK, but who the heck can eat two ounces? When I was eating pasta, I could easily eat 3/4 of a pound (dry weight) of pasta. And be hungry 15 minutes later. It’s the same for me for anything sweet.

      For me, sugar in its various forms is uniquely fattening because it’s addictive. I therefore relegate it to vacations and special occasions, and even then try to limit intake. It’s taken me 4+ years on a low to very low carb diet to get my addiction under control.

      I don’t think sugar should be taxed, though, as this is a slippery slope. Saturated fat (i.e., meat) is just behind that. And I did not get fat eating meat. In fact, the more meat I eat, the better I feel, the more muscle I have, and the less I weigh. But a sugar tax just leads to taxes on other items, anything considered “sinful” by whoever is in charge.

      1. Andy S

        BobM, re your comment “But a sugar tax just leads to taxes on other items” is not a valid argument.

  15. Georgina Wrelton

    Once again, heartfelt thanks Dr Kendrick. Your well thought out and informative comments give much food for thought.

  16. Cary Blackburn

    Would the potential reduction in obesity and diabetes be more than offset by the potential increase in dementia then? Or we talking about the lesser of 2 evils?

  17. Gay Corran

    Thank you, Dr K, for calling attention to the Nanny State we are becoming. People need to know about the dangers of using artificial sweeteners.

  18. Joyce

    I do agree whole heartedly with you Malcolm regarding “freedom of choice”. However, I doubt very much whether it will stop or slow down the vast consumption of sugar we have been brainwashed to consume. Cast your mind back over the years…after every budget, we sat with bated breath waiting to see how much our cigarettes were going up(we ALL smoked back then; sadly). We moaned, complained, and then went out and bought 20 Embassy! Unless they make coke £9 a bottle(as are 20 cigs now) it ain’t gonna happen. Although the government will do well out of it. No I don’t smoke anymore, drink soft drinks, or use sugar if I can help it. I’m perfect(ly) boring! Although to be honest it took a cardiac arrest to make me see the light(not the one at the end of the tunnel glad to say!) people are fickle when it comes to their pleasures, and a price rise isn’t enough to change them. What’s next? education? Best of luck, that’s some mountain to climb in this day and age.

    1. Vlad

      So what has the high tobacco taxes achieved, beside making smokers poorer and the government together with some health ‘charities’ whose CEOs earn more than the prime minister, richer? It cut consumption (hurrah, victory 🙂 ), but not lung cancers (which are higher every year, for example the UK lung cancer incidence was 40,900 cases in 2001 and 46,388 in 2015)

      1. AH Notepad

        It has not made the “government richer”. The cut in consumption means there is far less tax paid overall because of smoking. This means not so much income to fund the NHS.

      2. Bill In Oz

        Vlad high tobacco taxes have done a lot of good for our health by making smoking more expensive. In Australia the percentage of the population who smoke has dropped from 55% in 1960 to 12% today… And that is a hell of a lot less secondary smoke that I, a non smoker, have to breath so it’s also good for my health.

        SA selfish perspective ? Yes very ! But I don’t want smokers killing me as well thank you.

      3. Bill In Oz

        Malcolm, that is an interesting remark and raises the question : “Does another person’s obesity affect me ?”

        I agree that it is not the same as inhaling second hand smoke which is a health hazard for all around.

        However I suggest that living in a modern society where a high proportion of people are obese does indeed affect me. And each time I fly on a plane and am placed next to an obese person ‘spilling’ out of their own seat, I am reminded of it…

        If we were all living in a country like the Philippines with a quite ‘basic’ health care system, were almost all health costs are paid directly by the patient or their family, ( And yes obesity is an issue there ) I guess that then it would not be a public health expenditure issue.

        But here in Oz, expenditure on public health reflects the increasing numbers of people who are obese. i suggest it’s the same in the UK if not more so.

      4. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Yes, that may be a valid way of looking at it. I suppose I meant that if you are eating a donut/douhgnut, I do not have to ingest part of that donut at the same time. It is purely yours to eat.

      5. Bill In Oz

        Malcolm, funny you should mention dough nuts. my lovely Filipina wife loves Krispy Creem doughnuts and bought 4 of them yesterday after we went dancing tango… But earlier this evening she scraped off the icing sugar topping off the last two before eating them.. She said they were too sweet even for her !

        But while we were there in that Krispy Kreem shop late last night I too wound up eating a a very sweet sugary doughnut..There was absolutely nothing there in the shop which was healthy to eat. And no other cafe open in the CBD of Adelaide except a Hungry Jack’s Burger store…

      6. JDPatten

        Firearm regulations are different as well. If I pull the trigger, you might die. Still, here in the States, where we’re still stuck in the 18th century, it’s just a bit more likely that I’ll die if I pull the trigger. The UK regulations have saved a great number of prospective suicides.
        Should slow suicide by sweetening not be a societal consideration?
        ‘Course, it would only be suicide if you UNDERSTOOD that that is what sugar is doing to you.
        • Educate
        • Make sugar content transparent with black box warnings
        • Regulate the transparency and warnings in a reasonable fashion

      7. Andy S

        JD Patten, agree that education is the key, worked for saturated fat and cholesterol. No taxation required. Industry followed lead by supplying seed oils and cholesterol free cookies.

      8. Bill In Oz

        Andy S, I assume you are being ironic..as in the case of cholesterol scare campaign, & the introduction of industrial seed oils, there was complete misinformation & obfuscation.. More lies & propaganda !

      9. HotScot


        It’s my understanding that the most effective means of stopping people smoking has been entirely commercially driven and subject to the laws of Capitalism, vaping.

        Yet the doom mongers and do gooders are now targeting this as well. Vaping isn’t perhaps ideal, no doubt it carries risks, but far below those of tobacco.

      10. Vlad

        @Bill the fact that educated persons can believe such a thing ‘But I don’t want smokers killing me as well thank you.’ says a lot about the social engineering and brainwashing the anti-tobacco lobby has achieved. As to the general population being healthier because smoking rates dropped from +50% to less than 20% – I beg to differ. The raw data doesn’t lie – lung cancer incidence, where the statistics linking cigarettes are the strongest, are at an all time high (I checked for US (46% increase since 2000) and UK (13.4% 2001-2015) – pay attention to incidence, not mortality, because access/treatment quality has improved over time). Also healthcare spending is on an ever rising course, the NHS ‘busts at the seams’ every year, we have obesity, Alzheimer’s, diabetes at very high levels (all linked indirectly to lower smoking rates).

        So please don’t let your dislike of tobacco smoke smell cloud your judgement and believe the official propaganda.

  19. BobM

    On this one, I both agree with you and disagree with you.

    My disagreements. First, Alzheimer’s is likely caused by excessive carbohydrate/sugar intake: http://www.tuitnutrition.com/p/alzheimers_13.html Some refer to Alzheimer’s as Type III diabetes.

    Whenever one cites to epidemiological studies, one must be careful. That link contains an entire book devoted to the idea that carbs = Alzheimer’s and is well supported by evidence.

    See in more detail: https://ketodietapp.com/Blog/post/2018/01/23/is-alzheimer-s-a-metabolic-disease

    Of course, that evidence is all epi, too, so which wins? It’s hard to tell.

    However, it makes sense to me that sugar causes Alzheimer’s, whereas it’s hard to figure out how diet sodas can cause Alzheimer’s (more likely: the people WHO DRINK diet sodas are more likely to have Alzheimer’s; the question then would be, Why?).

    I’m therefore in disagreement with you regarding Alzheimer’s and diet soda (to the extent it’s possible disagree based on the crappy epi evidence we have).

    Disagreement #2: Higher protein. I’ve been testing higher protein, low carb. I personally have not found a detriment. I used a continuous glucose monitor to test for higher blood sugar and did not find anything. I know higher protein = lower ketones, but have not found a detriment to this. I also had two DEXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) scans done about 10 months apart and gained 2.1 pounds of muscle while losing 3.6 pounds of fat, while eating protein at upwards of 120 grams in a single meal. Now, I don’t eat those all the time, though. I still eat higher fat meals, too. I also lift weights twice a week, so maybe the protein I eat has something to do.

    On the other hand, a soda tax means EVIL red meat or “processed” meat is next. After all, the WHO thinks these are cancerous, so why not tax them “to save lives” (oh and “to save the planet”)? This might be a slippery slope.

    1. chris c

      Yes agreed, I see a meat tax as the next inevitable step. Probably when the “vegan meat” factories are on stream real meat will be banned. The effects on both health and the environment will NOT be what you read in the Guardian.

      I think it was Zoe Harcombe who pointed out that the sugar tax money will be used to finance “breakfast clubs” for schoolkids, stuffing them with non-sugar low fat carbs.

      1. AnnaM

        While it is certainly true that sugar isn’t good for the body, if the govt starts taxing whatever foods are currently out of fashion it could lead to it being difficult to afford good food. Surely they ought to have taxed butter, whole milk and so on. Also, there is a huge vegan agenda world wide. I don’t know what is driving it. So yes, they will likely pull out the stops proving that red meat is bad and tax that.

        As to poor people and sugar, it might not improve greatly, but they could indeed cut way back if they had not been educated relentlessly for the past 30 years to cut the fat. Here in the US, full fat dairy is sometimes hard to find and I note that it is the poorer looking customers whom I see with skim milk in their carts and they have kids, so obviously the poor blighters are being given skim milk. My 5-year-old neighbor gets served skim milk in school, and I thought that everyone knew this was not good for children.

        Yes, the poor are also the ones who didn’t get the memo to quit smoking, but if they were eating full fat dairy and not told to cut out meat and eggs, this alone might steer their appetites toward better balance.

    2. Vlad

      Here’s a conjecture on how diet soda can indirectly cause Alzheimer’s, assuming that artificial sweeteners have no role in Alzheimer’s and excess sugar has. A person that drinks diet soda (zero calories, zero sugar, hurrah 🙂 ) will compensate by eating more cakes, cookies or other processed stuff that contains sugar.

      1. Gerard Pinzone (@GerardPinzone)

        Ah, gut bacteria. Research is still so new that it’s difficult to know how to properly interpret the results. I’m reminded of the Ames Test. Bruce Ames comes up with a brilliant method for determining how mutagenic an ingredient can be. He runs this test on known pesticides and finds that they are mutagenic, therefore, potential carcinogens. The natural food advocates are ecstatic. However, Burce Ames being a good scientist also tests organic foods, too. They’re even MORE mutagenic than the foods grown with the pesticides!

        Question: Why do we focus like a laser beam on “artificial” ingredients (on mice) but not the changes in gut bacteria of natural ingredients? Has anyone done any research on that?

      1. Bill In Oz

        Because of the dietary habits developed over the past 3-40 odd years ? Yudkins 1970’s research on the dangers of excess sugar were discredited in a campaign funded by the corporations selling sugar products…
        And as part of that propaganda campaign saturated fats ( butter, cream, lard, meat fats ) became the dietary villein instead…

  20. Sylvia

    I don’t think government gives a damn about public health, they see a way to tax, easy money.
    Will be going back to medieval times and a window tax next, was their a hearth tax also, too long ago since my history O level. Thank you for your post Dr Kendrick.

    1. AH Notepad

      I have the same view Sylvia. The government doesn’t give a damn about public health. There is a 2018 report recently published by Public Health England extolling the virtues of fluoride as a savior of childrens’ teeth. There is a video by Stephen Peckham which details a study done in 2012, which found it is associated with an increase in hypothyroidism. Not surprising since fluoride was used to suppress overactive thyroids. There is a very interesting illustration of the actual fluoride contrations, which are significantly different from the PHE figures used to tell us how good it is for us to consume an industrial waste product which is not allowed to be discharged into water courses. Go figure! https://youtu.be/qOG-kxrbYrA

      So now they pretend to want to reduce the problems associated with sugar intake, while still paying farmers a subsidy to produce sugar beet, in addition to the changes recently introduced to remove the crop quotas, so growers are looking at expanding the markets. This may be intended to have more fodder available for conversion to ethanol for use in vehicles, which then produces acetaldehydes, and caused respiratory problems. Never mind, the government is going to protect you by taxing sugar. Doh!!!!!!!! My brain hurts. (Must be the proteins, better stop that too. Since most people who have died ate food, tax it all. Never stops does it?

      Back to topic, it would be a lot better to remove the drinks machines from schools (who get part of the income, even if indirectly as a rent for the space) and have only water available, as we had when I was at school. I have now taken to drinking almost exclusively water, but not the fluoride loaded tap water. I drink it, as it is much easier than making tea or coffee, and the washing up is far less.

      As for freedom of choice, there would be no need to think of sugar taxes if the brainwashing over the past 50 years (maybe 150 years) had been more restrained, but then nobody was aware of the potential problems.

      1. Olivia Rose

        There is no added fluoride in the water in the area I live in and most areas of the UK. While dentists and other oral health practitioners had been fighting for it to be added in all regions, they mostly have given up and been fighting for the sugar tax instead. Why? Most hospital admissions for children under ten are now to remove rotten teeth under general anaesthetic due to our high sugar consumption particularly through sweetened drinks.

        General Anaesthetic comes with risk, and just removing teeth doesn’t lead to adequate dietary change as dentists don’t like any form of carbonated or sweetened drinks as acid causes tooth erosion. Adding fluroide to water can not override the high amount of tooth decay and erosion due to the nation’s high sugar diet.

        In fact big process food manufacturers are running scared as they fear, like with tobacco, they will soon be blamed for destroying the health of nations, particularly those with universal healthcare coverage. So in one way this tax plays into their hands as they are now seen as doing something while their profits aren’t currently affected as there is evidence to suggest drinking artificially sweetened drinks mean people consume more of other forms of sweetened processed food e.g. cakes, biscuits, yoghurts, sauces, crisps, ready meals.

        What is more interesting some of the larger food retailers want the government to legislate and ban promotions such as 3 for 2 on processed food. Clearly they aren’t making as much profit as they like from these promotions and also don’t want to end up with the costs in future due to being blamed for promoting processed foods.

      2. Mike Smith

        Be them chem trails or fluoride, the answer to pollution is dilution. The benefit of the fluoride is only to 8 year olds who are developing adult teeth. With the invent of fluoride toothpaste one would argue that it is a useless addition. And yet during harsh times of austerity, many councils pay upwards of 500,000 quid per year to have it done – utter madness.

      3. AH Notepad

        There is an association of reduced dental decay, as far as I can understand, nothing else. The dis-benefit is the various toxic reactions, not the least of which is neural damage.

  21. Maureen Berry

    The basic problem is ‘the sweet tooth’. I agree, in some respects, with the sugar tax and I greatly support Aseem Malhotra, who I think is entirely motivated by honourable principles. But the big problem is convenience food / drinks – and they will just change their formulations to avoid taxation, and maybe the artificial sweeteners they incorporate will be even more harmful?

    When you start to ‘just eat real food’ you realise how your taste has been hijacked. ‘Normal’ food, even savoury foods, are just way too sweet for me these days, curries, pasta sauces (not that we eat the pasta) – sugar and sweetener has been incorporated into everything, if sugar is removed the sweet flavour requirement will remain and more artificial sweeteners will be added. This movement has been going on for decades – gradually changing our preferences. It is all very scary, I am not even sure that we haven’t passed the ‘no going back’ point.

    1. annielaurie98524

      Maureen, you are spot on. Over the years, as I have gone to a more natural approach in food, I find the things most people like to be cloyingly, nauseatingly, sweet. And one of the biggest lies the food industry has been able to foist on a gullible public is that junk foods taste “good”, and natural foods are “tasteless”. Nothing could be further from the truth!

    2. Martin Back

      I agree — tax sweetness, not sugar. As long as we have a craving for sweet things, industry will find a way to exploit it, whether it harms us or not. We need to get accustomed to a more natural diet, which means sweetness becomes a rare treat, not an everyday necessity.

      Here in South Africa a sugar tax on fizzy cool drinks came into effect on the first of this month, pushing the price of a can of Coke up by about 10%. But artificial sweeteners are not taxed, nor are sugar-sweetened fruit juices, both of which are actually worse than sugar-sweetened sodas, according to some people.

      The government’s stance is the tax is designed to combat obesity, which has become a major problem here. But maybe, as Dr. Kendrick points out, the adverse consequences may eclipse any benefits. We shall have to see. We are all just laboratory rats in a big experiment.

      1. JDPatten

        Rather than banning sugar, it might be in everyone’s interest if regulatory bodies arranged transparency. Large print declarations of how much – in terms of familiar measures like teaspoons or tablespoons – of what sort of sugar is in all food products.

        I used to enjoy the occasional Thai restaurant meal. Now I find it difficult to avoid a cloyingly sweet sauce even on the spicy meat dishes. There’s no way to find out in advance what the Cloy factor is. There ought to be! After all, the chef knows!

    3. chris c

      Yes pretty much everything manufactured is stuffed with sugar, and also wheat and soy. I quite agree, once you have ditched sugar it is surprising how sweet things like the purple sprouting broccoli I just ate tastes.

  22. anglosvizzera

    Regarding Alzheimer’s, Professor Chris Exley (aka ‘Mr Aluminium’) has now stated that aluminium is the main cause of Alzheimer’s. I wonder whether there is some link with artificial sweeteners and aluminium absorption?


    As for the sugar tax, as others have said, it’s unlikely to make much difference to people’s habits in the long run. Dr Lustig has stated that refined sugar is addictive and the changes in the brain it causes are stronger than willpower, so if people are already addicted no doubt they’ll find a way to get it.

    I can’t understand why, with all the experience of the past few decades, anyone would introduce a ‘fat tax’, unless it is a tax on processed fats and not ‘healthy’ fats, because we do need healthy fats in our diet. I think that a lot of mental disorders are a result of people trying to follow the low-fat health advice and are effectively starving their brains of EFAs and fat-soluble vitamins such as ‘hormone’ D.

    But Professor John Yudkin described refined sugar as ‘pure, white and deadly’ so perhaps it should be considered hazardous to health alongside alcohol and tobacco after all? (I mean the refined stuff of course, not ‘sugar’ as found in fruit and so on, just to clarify)

  23. Andy S

    Governments must appear to be doing something about epidemics: diabetes, heart disease, cancer, flue epidemics, etc.. Government mass education vilified saturated fat and cholesterol, now it is time to admit the error and state that sugar (sucrose) is the problem. Cannot move forward without admitting the error. When will the war on cholesterol end and statins banned?

  24. Frances Chaloner

    It is a very valid point to make.
    It is the companies selling this processed rubbish that should be taxed not the individuals buying it. I have always thought fizzy drinks hideous and it still amazes me that anyone would want to drink them. All they are good for is sugar salt balance in an attack of malaria

    1. Hugh Mannity

      Taxing the companies making or selling junk food won’t affect them — they’ll just pass the cost of the taxes on to the consume. Same as they do with all the other taxes charged against them.

      Taxation is theft!

  25. Kay

    Thank you for this. I wonder what John Yudkin would say.

    Your “sugar as in. . .” paragraph is genius and should have been required reading for the folks who drummed up this tax, and for any others who think it would be a good idea. I’ve cringed when Lustig and others have advocated government intervention.

    Fructose has been singled out by some, including Lustig, as uniquely unhealthful. This quote from an article by Feinman and Fine is of interest on the subject of fructose:
    “We conclude that fructose is best understood as part of carbohydrate metabolism. The pathways of fructose and glucose metabolism converge at the level of the triose-phosphates and, therefore, any downstream effects also occur with glucose. In addition, a substantial part of ingested fructose is turned to glucose.”

    It will be interesting to see if the “nutrition facts” labels of these taxed-to-discourage-consumption items continue to list total carbohydrates (including sugar) as x% of daily value.

    1. Frederica Huxley

      As I understand it, Prof Lustig is particularly adamant about the dangers of processed fructose, i.e. high fructose corn syrup, not so much natural fructose that is consumed as part of a fruit. There is a great difference in the digestion of the two forms.

    2. chris c

      So many people are now diabetic or “prediabetic” that carbs should really be a front of pack label. When you look at the back of the pack the Government states that we should consume 230 – 300g/day carbohydrate including 70 – 90g “sugar”, of course in order to avoid those instantly lethal fats. THIS IS NOT WORKING!!!

      I’m not sure if they count intrinsic sugars or just added sugar in this, or HFCS. Either way it amounts to 45g fructose alone.

      Of course dieticians are now stating that they ALWAYS told people to limit “sugar”. That’s a pretty big limit.

  26. annielaurie98524

    As a lifelong “liberal”, probably more like a radical, I have always vehemently opposed social engineering in regard to personal habits — and, BTW, the trend to social engineering is just as prevalent amongst conservative types, just on different issues (cf. eugenics). The problem is that politicians of all stripes think they know more than they really do. Any politician can find a science-whore (yes, Keyes et al, I am talking to you) to give a phony high-tech veneer to whatever agenda he/she is pushing. In truth, other than the assumed-logical-because-it-has-worked-for-2.5million-years concept of eating whole, unadulterated foods, and the obvious caveat that one-size-doesn’t-fit-all, our knowledge of ideal human nutrition is woefully, pitifully primitive. How recently did we “discover” the gut microbiome? Besides which, it is a futile endeavor to save humans from their own folly, because there is no such thing as fool-proof. Everytime we think we have fool-proof, along comes a more creative fool. And everytime we think we know it all, or 99% of it, along comes an Einstein and those damned quantum scientists.

  27. Jillm

    Thank you Dr Kendrick. The sugar tax debate may be causing the public to think about how much hidden sugar is in processed foods. A lady told me that after her flu injection, her blood glucose went way too high. Sugar is one of the ingredients.

    1. AH Notepad

      Let’s hope it will put her off flu jabs. There is no safe and effective vaccine, nutrition is the key. (My, I sound like a broken record 🤪 )

    2. Frederica Huxley

      There is also aspartame, effectively ‘hidden’ in a number is pharmaceuticals, especially in medicines for infants and children.

      1. Gary Ogden

        anglosvizzera: You are correct. The excipient list for Enzira does not include sucrose, nor in the U.S. do Fluad, Fluarix, Flublok, Flucelvax, Fluvalal, or Fluvarin.

      2. Gary Ogden

        anglosvizzera: Two thoughts: 1. Surely there must be more than one flu vaccine licensed in the U.K. We have eleven here in the U.S., of which five contain sucrose. 2. How would the sucrose be metabolized (in order to raise blood glucose), since most vaccinations are given intramuscularly?

      3. anglosvizzera

        @Gary Ogden, yes we have more than one flu vaccine which is why I put “Here’s a link to one of the ones used in the UK” – naturally, as I don’t have a flu vaccine I don’t know which ones are mostly used and some are for children etc, so I just picked a likely one at random. But I did look at some of the others and none of them had sucrose in, or any other “-ose” in any of the active or non-active ingredients

    3. Gary Ogden

      Jillm: I’ve checked, and you’re right. You have different vaccines licensed over there, but here in the U.S., Afluria Trivalent & Quadrivalent contains sucrose; Fluzone Quadrivalent contains sucrose as well as thimerosal (multi-dose vials), which is 49% mercury; Fluzone High Dose contains sucrose; Fluzone Intradermal contains sucrose; FluMist Quadrivalent contains sucrose, and interestingly EDTA, as well. My advice to anyone considering getting the flu shot is do your research, just as you have done for heart disease and other aspects of your health. World Mercury Project has lots of good information, and BMJ has published some useful information from both the Cochrane and Nordic Cochrane groups. Based upon my own research I consider the flu shot both worthless and dangerous, especially for those over 65.

      1. anglosvizzera

        Hi Gary, you prompted me to look at each of our UK vaccines used in 2017/2018 season and only one, Fluenz Tetra Nasal Spray, used in school children, contains sucrose. None of them contain any mercury preservative either. Here’s the link to our list:


        And here’s the link to the manufacturers’ data where I looked up each one for the ingredients and excipients:


      2. Gary Ogden

        anglosvizzera: Thanks! Useful information to have. We are asleep at the wheel here in the U.S. You have 13, and we only have 11!

  28. Gary Ogden

    Thanks, Dr. Kendrick. I’m with you completely. There never will be a sugar tax in the U.S. because the industry is too powerful. Some cities have attempted to pass them, though. The other ugly downside to sin taxes is that they affect the poor the most, and the wealthy not at all.

      1. Gary Ogden

        Gerard Pinzone: My meaning was that there never will be a sugar tax on the national level in the U.S. If you reread my second sentence, it contains a qualifier. I knew some cities had proposed them, but, since I no longer read the mainstream press, I wasn’t aware any had passed. I only recall Bloomberg trying to pass one in New York, but failing. According to the sugar tax map link to in an earlier comment, eight U.S. cities have passed them, most of them in lunatic-fringe California; the others I believe were Boulder, CO, Seattle, WA, and the city of brotherly love.

  29. Sue Richardson

    I did initially think Jamie Oliver et al were right about taxing sugar. I now see how wrong it is when they are talking about a ‘fat tax’. Just hadn’t occurred to me. You can’t pick and choose what to tax depending on what you personally think is bad for people. People have their own ideas and the thought of a Nanny State is really frightening. Thanks for this Dr K.

    1. AH Notepad

      As long as the tax is on all fat, including all vegetable oils. Though they are totally bonkers if they tax butter and cream, however, if it puts people off eating butter and cream, all the more for me.

      1. anglosvizzera

        Maybe exclude coconut oil and EV olive oil too? I still want those healthy fats in my diet!

  30. Philip Brownlow

    I couldn’t agree more. The ridiculous the sugar tax makes me more mad by the day. It’s now almost impossible to get drinks without toxic sweeteners in them. They don’t even give you the choice to pay the sugar tax if that’s what you prefer. Well as for sweeteners I refuse to buy anything that uses them.
    Treating everyone like children because some people can’t control what they eat is the worst type of government meddling. Of course the key word here is tax. It’s all about raising money though another tax and nothing really to do with health. If the government really cared about health they wouldn’t be destroying the NHS.

    1. HotScot

      Philip Brownlow

      When I began working in the early 70’s my income tax at around 30%, and NI contributions, covered virtually everything the state provided from road building to bin collections and the NHS.

      I agreed with the introduction of VAT at 8% as I believed it would reduce my income tax and I would have a choice to spend my money on items attracting VAT, or not.

      Well now some 40 years later, VAT is at 20%, my income tax bill hasn’t fallen substantially, and I now pay Council tax whilst local authorities are examining ways to charge for waste disposal by weight. I pay for prescriptions, and higher education for my children is now running at £9,000 per year. My energy bills include subsidy payments for the ludicrous scam that is renewable energy (a tax by any analysis), car fuel is now more tax than product, and anything that remotely represents a threat to NHS waiting times like cigarettes, alcohol, and now sugar is a target for yet more taxes.

      A sugar tax in itself doesn’t represent a threat in my eyes, but add it to all the other taxes imposed because successive governments have screwed up, and subsequently coined the term ‘austerity’ (a term suggesting the public is at fault for the appalling government mismanagement of the public purse) as the friendly face of excessive taxation, and it becomes a real problem.

      Nor is it the disputed cause/effect of sugar/alcohol/tobacco/climate change etc. which is the problem, it’s the governments complicity in distorting science to suit their fiscal requirements.

      There is one, JUST ONE, observable manifestation of the effect increased CO2 has on humanity, and it is that the planet has greened by 14% over the last 30 years according to NASA. No one has observed CO2 melting polar ice caps nor raising sea levels. Yet I believe the UK alone is well on the way to wasting £300bn by 2030 on climate change mitigation.

      This is the abject mis-management of public finances we tolerate. So why does anyone imagine a sugar tax will do any good to individuals, or the money raised, be put to responsible use?

      1. Andy S

        Politicians come and go, the real power is in the hands of corporations supported by evil scientists. Taxing “sugar” will not work, will also need to tax “organic evaporated cane juice”.

      2. anglosvizzera

        Just wondering who to believe about the melting sea ice – this chart shows that the trend is definitely downwards (range from 1979-2018):


        …as is the northern hemisphere snow cover, which affects the planet’s albedo (ie the amount of light/radiation reflected off the planet…snow and ice being white reflect more than the non-snow covered areas which absorb the radiation instead and contributes to global warming:


      3. Gary Ogden

        anglosvizzera: Read Dr. Judith Curry’s blog (Climate, etc) to get a perspective on the meaning all the information we have been given about climate. A forty-year record (of sea ice extent or anything else) is too short to have value for log-term projections. A warming climate actually increases snowfall, as warm air contains more water vapor than cold. It is a myth that the polar bear is in imminent danger from the reduction in sea ice; they are adaptable, and have adapted for many millenia to both much warmer and much colder climatic conditions than present, and current populations are stable.

      4. HotScot

        Andy S

        “the real power is in the hands of corporations supported by evil scientists.”

        That would be companies that have furthered cures for cancer, heart disease, asthma, dementia etc. Those would be free market Capitalist companies who do their best work when left alone to do it.

        The UK’s answer to free market Capitalism? NICE, an organisation dedicated to determining who deserves what drugs. The free market can do that quite well, rather better than NICE, but because of our unique NHS it’s necessary to control free market Capitalism by government diktat. It also means more people employed by the state.

        Nor have I ever met an evil scientist, and my wife is head of department at a prominent university, with 50 or so scientists reporting directly to her.

      5. barovsky

        Or, it’s their ‘lifestyle’ that propels them to do evil. Bought and sold by the corporations and of course, ego, macho and a patriarchal society where it’s men who make the decisions, who decide what we investigate as scientists and the corporations who make weapons. There’s nothing neutral about science.

      6. barovsky

        An additional thought: The NHS spends billions dealing with the results of our utterly insane economy, one based on absurd levels of consumption and most of it crap. So not only are we taxed at source to keep the whole mad enterprise afloat, we pay for again when we end up at the gp or the hospital. Of course of it’s unsustainble, just like the economy itself.

      7. HotScot


        My belief is it’s the politicians who can’t resist Pandoras box, it’s the scientists who clear up the mess afterwards.

        And the politicians blame the scientists, then take the credit for clearing up.

      8. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        You may be right, but I think that scientists can also easily be lead by intellectual curiosity – which can lead us all into very difficult areas e.g. genetic engineering, and cloning and suchlike. I don’t think politicians opened that box. They didn’t even know that box existed. But they are going to have to try to sort out the moral and ethical dilemmas posed.

      9. Gary Ogden

        Dr. Kendrick: Agreed. They can also be led by funding sources and the desire for career advancement. There remains a great deal of integrity among working scientists, but when electoral politics are involved, all bets are off.

      10. Andy S

        Hi HotScot, have to admit that I do not know any evil scientists either. Scientists working for Monsanto to develop Roundup ready GMOs and polluting the planet with glyphosate are good people just following orders. Why are most medical studies unreliable?

        I am not expecting corporations to come up with cures for heart disease, cancer, dementia etc., treatment is where the money is.

      11. AH Notepad

        HotScot, the free market in the US, where the major corporations manufactrue novel, effective drugs for curing all manner of conditions, kills more than illegal drugs. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/26/prescription-drugs-number-one-cause-preventable-death-in-us.aspx. So the free market is not that good.

        Between them, the scientists and the medical practicioners are either evil, or ignorant, or they just obey orders. Since you are probably right in that they are not (in general) evil, then they are either ignorant or just obeying orders. The latter is only one step away from evil.

      12. HotScot


        I don’t want to drag this off topic so, the short answer to your query is that melting sea ice will never, and can never have any effect on sea level.

        And my point is that no one has yet proven that increased atmospheric CO2 causes anything to melt, far less sea ice, other than by convoluted, dubious science so distorted it squeals.

        The only measurable phenomenon emerging from increased atmospheric CO2 is that the greening of the planet @ 14%, by far outstrips anything yet measured, that is questionably and negatively related to CO2.

      13. Gary Ogden

        HotScot: Right on target. Another great tragedy of both climate-change alarmism and public health alarmism is the negative effect it has had on science, making it more difficult for honorable scientists (which I think is most of them) to do their work and causing a reduction in public trust in science. It is a myth that the purpose of our taxes is to pay for public services of benefit to all. Some portion of them are, of course, used this way, but an increasing share are redirected to industry coffers due to tax-law chicanery. One example: In 2016 Amazon made $25 billion in profit. They paid no tax; instead they received a $170 million refund. I cannot imagine the revenue from a sugar tax being used for any sort of actual public good, since governments far and wide are largely captured by industry and the level of competence of our political leaders is at a low point.

      14. anglosvizzera

        @Gary Ogden, from what I’ve just read on Judith Curry’s blog, her opinion is that ‘we just don’t know’. I’m not saying that climate change is man-made, it’s a natural cycle, but as she points out, we don’t know what the consequences will be, if any, or whether they’ll happen quickly enough for us to be concerned or will be spread out over a few centuries.

        “I don’t know how concerned I should be about it — on what time scale that might happen, whether that’s 100 or 200 years, what societies will be like, what other things are going on with the natural climate,” Curry says. “I just don’t know what the next hundred or 200 years will hold, and whether this will be regarded as an important issue. I just don’t know.”

        “…she doesn’t deny the basic principles of climate change.

        “If all other things remain equal, it’s clear that adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere will warm the planet,” she told the committee.

        “Climate scientist Judith Curry believes that if climate scientists more readily would acknowledge the inherent uncertainties of the issue, skeptics would more likely accept the established central tenets of global warming.

        “But, she went on, not all things are equal. She says there’s so much uncertainty about the role of natural variation in the climate that she doesn’t know what’s going to happen. She says a catastrophe is possible, but warming could also turn out to be not such a big deal.” ”


      15. Gary Ogden

        anglosvizzera: Exactly! We don’t really know what the future holds, especially the distant future. And climate is so vastly complex that certainty is entirely out of the question. Caution is certainly advisable; alarm is not. Isn’t she wonderful? Dr. Curry is one of those scientists who reinforce my lifelong reverence for science and for free inquiry.

      16. AH Notepad

        Climate change, global warming, call it what you like, it doesn’t matter to me except on a personal level. On a world level the planet will survive as it has in the past. It just changes which species dominate next. That it might not be humans is a good thing when you look at what we’ve done collectively, even in the past 100 years, or maybe just the last 50 years. It would e exciting to be able to continue living just to watch from the sidelines what happens next. It would have been fascinating to observe first hand the world of dinosaurs, and other pre-historic ages. Let’s not have the nanny state approach to climate if we are to claim sugar tax is a nanny state interference. At least be consistent.

      17. HotScot

        AH Notepad

        That article clearly describes the misuse of prescription drugs. It does not condemn the drugs themselves, nor the scientists who develop them.

        This is nothing more than a scandal article whipping up yet another fake crisis to condemn pharmaceutical companies for deaths they are not responsible for.

        “More than 40 percent of high school seniors reported that painkillers are ‘fairly’ or ‘very’ easy to get.”

        We’re talking paracetamol or aspirin here, of course they’re easy to get, and are beneficial if used responsibly. But swallow a whole packet of paracetamol and anyone who does will get seriously ill or die.

        Scientists and pharmaceutical companies are not the problem here, irresponsible consumers are the problem. Michael Jackson allegedly died from an overdose of pain killers administered by a doctor; but what the hell was he taking such high doses of pain killers for in the first place? Perhaps to alleviate the pain of the grotesque facial enhancing operation he put himself through?

        Whose fault is that?

      18. AH Notepad

        Pharmaceutical companies. Their business model is treatment for profit. The model is not to cure. They get fined $billions, and it is nothing more that cost of doing business. Non steroidal anti-inflammatories are not good if you are trying to reduce inflammation, since the inflammation is the healing process.

      19. HotScot

        AH Notepad

        With the best will in the world, this is a futile debate.

        I work as an Ambulance Care Assistant, my friend is a Foster Parent, we are both paid by the state, in other words, we profit from the taxpayer.

        Malcolm is a doctor (and a scientist) and is employed by, and profits from the state.

        What I’m saying is, there is no competition to ‘the state’ there is only domination.

        If a a pharmaceutical company develops a drug to cure cancer, another will come along and develop a similar drug, then another, then another. They will all engage in competition to promote their drugs, results will judge the winner and healthy competition the price.

        When the state gets involved in that contest, the result is destined by political influence, not scientific rigour.

        My employment, as my friends is, and Malcolm’s is, profit motivated. None of us would work for nothing because we have families to feed.

        Without investors, you wouldn’t have a basic state pension, everyone in the UK contributes to that. So what’s wrong with investors profiting from a pension scheme that wouldn’t exist without them. Some of the biggest pension investment opportunities are with evil pharmaceutical and petrochemical companies and millions profit from that in pension returns.

        Institutional investors don’t simply stuff their pockets and bugger off, because the world of finance revolves around generating profit, so returns are reinvested. They create jobs and income and state benefits and taxes and everything else you can think of.

        Some of the objectors to Capitalism march in protest (to almost anything) with grey beards and daft headgear without first understanding where their income that allows them to march comes from.

        ‘Evil’ companies are a figment of the left imagination. They do exist, but how can they profit when it’s as easy to run an honest company, unless influenced by state intervention.

        The Trump appointee Scott Pruitt has had to intervene in the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to ensure it’s scientific research is transparent. It hasn’t been up until his intervention and America has suffered badly.

        Where are all the evil scientist’s? Yep, operating under state control, if anywhere.

        What does that say about the state.

      20. HotScot

        With apologies to all state employed scientists. 99% of whom are no doubt honest and decent.

      21. HotScot


        After nearly 50 years of listening to catastrophic climate change predictions, including the 70’s certainty that we were heading for a global ice age, I now find that not one prediction has come true.

        “She says a catastrophe is possible, but warming could also turn out to be not such a big deal.”

        I think Judith is rather hedging her bets. So far, over the last 40 years, predictions of warming have turned out to be just that, no big deal.

        Even millennials, brought up on the AGW catastrophe concept, shown Al Gores Inconvenient Truth nonsense in school, and been subjected to media hype their entire lives are beginning to question the whole concept.

        And the fact remains, that despite all the science thrown at climate change, the unanticipated greening of our planet remains the only empirical manifestation of increased atmospheric CO2. Strangely, it includes the greening of equatorial deserts as well.

        The planet is the coldest it has ever been without descending into an ice age; atmospheric CO2 dropped to it’s lowest level not so many years ago, 180 ppm, (meaningful plant-life dies around 150 ppm, bye bye humanity); sub mariners happily operate with CO2 levels of 6,000 ppm;, farmers produce crops in greenhouses with levels around 1,500 ppm with no detriment to workers; and if temperatures go up, perhaps the vast acreage of Russia and Canada will be released from permafrost to provide fertile agricultural land.

        Sorry Malcolm, way off topic here, but I’ll try to make amends.

        Like CAGW, the sugar debate has been driven largely by the media who distort anything they can get their hands on to serve their own purposes; selling newspapers or gaining viewers. Our trusted BBC is no different.

        Your point on child education is excellent, but I maintain there is nothing wrong with a meal of ‘meat and two veg’ e.g. meat, green vegetables and potatoes, which isn’t far off an oriental diet of, say, fish, green vegetables and rice. Nor is the occasional boiled sweet sinful, as long as it’s not a packet at a time (guilty as charged m’lud, on the rare occasion I now eat sweets at all). Our western problem is everything to excess, rather than in moderation.

        My late father sported a six pack, well into his 40”s. He took no more exercise than golf, but always maintained we should leave the dinner table hungry, because the stomach takes ten minutes to send the ‘full’ signal to the brain. No idea if it’s true, but it worked for him.

        Now, instead of telling people to eat a balanced diet, fad diets are in vogue and sugar is the latest villain because people, and in particular, children, aren’t simply told moderation is the key to health, including exercise which, done to excess, will also kill you.

        Of course, cholesterol in eggs was bad for us (never did a chicken any harm); saturated fat was bad for us; coffee causes cancer, then it didn’t, then it did, then red wine did, then it didn’t, then it did; when Chernobyl blew up everyone stopped eating Scottish lamb because someone hypothesised wind might carry radiated particles to Scotland and contaminate the grass, then the sheep, then us. So why just Scotland? And what happened with the Mercury contaminated Tuna scare anyway?

        Good health is relatively simple: a balanced diet (no need to over analyse it unless one has a particular problem) moderation of consumption (leave the table hungry) refined sugar is an occasional treat (not a lifestyle requirement) and exercise should be regular and moderate (get a manual job or, spend 4 hours twice a week golfing, walking or swimming etc.) and stop worrying about a bit of fat, either eating it or carrying it (I suspect Malcolm will agree with that one). Sticking to those rough guidelines would see 90% of any population in better health than they currently are.

        As for climate – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weather_rock#/media/File:The_Milestone_weather_forecasting_stone_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1708774.jpg

      22. HotScot

        AH Notepad

        “That it might not be humans is a good thing when you look at what we’ve done collectively, even in the past 100 years, or maybe just the last 50 years.”

        I find that comment (the entire comment, not just my extract) offensive.

        Mankind has been a power for good, despite it’s shortcomings.

        Mankind is more peaceful, more affluent, more healthy and less poverty stricken.than it has ever been in it’s entire history.

        We have virtually eradicated the black death, polio, measles, and are working on heart disease and cancer amongst others like dementia (old lady madness) and mental health (lunatics). May God forbid you suffer from any of them.

        Not too long ago, the planet existed at 180 ppm atmospheric CO2 (meaningful plant life dies around 150 ppm). Out of nowhere, man appeared and discovered fire. Man then discovered an ancient, accidental, but naturally sequestered resource known now as fossil fuel (coal, oil, gas, peat etc.) and burned it, thereby contributing to a beneficial rise in atmospheric CO2.

        In other words, mankind might be the unwitting architect of the planets survival, or he might be the instrument of God.

        I prefer the former, but I remain to be convinced the latter is possible.

        How bad is man, really?

      23. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        How bad is man really? Well, we do not have a comparison group, so that answer must be that humans are both the worst of things, and the best of things, and scientists are just the same as everyone else, only more so. Or, to squeeze in my favourite communist joke. Capitalism is the exploitation of man, by man. Communism, however, is the exact opposite.

      24. AH Notepad

        HotScot, “offensive” seems a novel use of a word to describe a post.

        Looking at the past few hundred years or so, there has been the wholesale subjugation of many peoples around the world, done principally by European nations. Not “good”. In more recent years there have been the extinction of many species, and the dramatic reduction of many more. Not “good”.

        “More peacful”? Well that depends in where you happen to be, at what time. I’m sure nations in the middle east might like to discuss that, as may those in Malaysia, or others that may have suggested they no longer wish to trade oil in US$.

        Eradicated diseases? Yes, significant reduction in some: largely done by improvements in sanitation and nutrition. Very little has been achieved by medical means. Measles had already declined by well over 90% of it’s peak around 1800 to 1900 before any vaccine was available. The 60,000 cases a year currently in India, caused entirely by the polio vaccine, as wild polio seems to no longer exist, cannot really qualify as “eradication”. However, the reference book I recommend is “Dissolving Ilussions” by Suzanne Humphries and Roman Bystrianyk.

        From https://e360.yale.edu/features/how-the-world-passed-a-carbon-threshold-400ppm-and-why-it-matters. Some way down the page is a graph of CO2 over the ages, and has the following printed just to the right of the graph:

        “CO2 levels over the last 400 million years. The last time CO2 levels were as high as today’s was about 3 million years ago. FOSTER ET AL/DESCENT INTO THE ICEHOUSE”

        “There’s a lot of debate about both temperatures and CO2 levels from millions of years ago. But the evidence is much firmer for the last 800,000 years, when ice cores show that CO2 concentrations stayed tight between 180 and 290 ppm, hovering at around 280 ppm for some 10,000 years before the industrial revolution hit.”

        I note the low concentrations “stayed tight between 180 and 290 ppm” for 800,000 years, so not in imminent danger of collapsing to 150ppm.

        Man does nothing for the planet’s survival, or it’s demise. The planet has been through plenty of major changes, one difference nowadays is the unprecedented quantity of pollutants discharged into the environment, and the depletion of the soil borne nutrients, hence the number of posters on this blog who think it beneficial to supplement their diets. Not “good”

      25. HotScot

        AH Notepad

        There was a scientific paper written, peer reviewed and submitted to a journal for publication. It was called “The case for Colonialism” by Bruce Gilley of the
        Department of Political Science, Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA

        It was never published, not because it wasn’t a rigorous scientific document, but because of death threats to the journals editor and family.

        This is and example of how scientific debate is stifled. The link to where the article should have appeared is here https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01436597.2017.1369037

        “Very little has been achieved by medical means.” So you’re saying that the millions of hospitals and scientific institutions around the world, treating the sick and administering antibiotics, chemotherapy etc. etc. are wasting their time?

        Your article on CO2 is written based on the false assumption that CO2 is the principle control button of global warming when it remains and odourless, entirely beneficial trace gas. If you want to worry about a real greenhouse gas, try water vapour which is around 33 times greater than CO2 in our atmosphere and yet, isn’t mentioned in your article.

        If you want a true representation of CO2 Vs temperature over time, do it properly, not just select the periods that suit climate alarmists best. There is no relationship between the planet warming and increasing CO2 as illustrated here http://www.biocab.org/Geological_Timescale.jpg

        “There’s a lot of debate about both temperatures and CO2 levels from millions of years ago. But the evidence is much firmer for the last 800,000 years,………”

        Somehow CO2 changed because we have ice core records, themselves now questioned.

        Furthermore, your article is littered with computer projections and wild statements: “Today we could conceivably change our atmosphere by thousands of parts per million in just a couple of hundred years.” Alarmism and conjecture with no scientific foundation. and again, “CO2 concentrations could easily pass 500 ppm in the coming decades, and even reach 2,000 by 2250, if CO2 emissions are not brought under control.”

        “In the IPCC’s most pessimistic scenario, where the population booms, technology stagnates, and emissions keep rising, the atmosphere gets to a startling 2,000 ppm by about 2250.” Yet more computer projections, based on a worst case scenario, and the IPCC’s best case scenario for global temperature change is barely being achieved by the planet right now, if the planet doesn’t start heating up a bit more, temperatures are likely to fall below the minimum the IPCC projected.

        And I’m fairly certain that unless a specific dietary supplement is identified as lacking, there is no need for people to do anything more than maintain a balanced diet, exercise, and not worry, least of all about climate change. Other than, that is, it’s detrimental effects on our wallets with the UK government wasting £300 bn on renewable energy which delivers little and costs a fortune, which hits the poorest hardest.

        Like I said, the only empirical manifestation of increasing atmospheric CO2 is that the planet is greening. That is very “good”.

      26. Martin Back

        My favourite communist joke:

        Q: Why are soviet cats born communist but become capitalist after ten days?

        A: Because after ten days kittens open their eyes.

    2. AnnaM

      Wow, I did not realize the sugar tax would result in companies putting artificial sweeteners in everything. That would be a total deal breaker for me. Luckily, I can’t stand sweet drinks.

  31. Fergus Glencross

    “Lumbering, soul destroying state intervention”. Absolutely love your prose! You should be a writer….oh you are! Unfortunately the pious, self righteous tones of Nicola et al make me sick. Keep up the good work doc.

  32. Mike Smith

    I saw a documentary called Aspartane, Sweet Misery ages ago and that basically warned of the dangers of replacing one poison with tanother. In fairness to our governments, whenever they intervene with diet and nutrition they consistently get it wrong on a big scale time after time. At the end of the day is it so bad to either have a glass of water or a cup of tea or coffee. Why do we need to constantly poison ourselves with processed food and drink.
    Besides, Sugar’s not all that bad, its great to get rats over their cocaine addiction 😉

  33. Roy Firus

    My Word ! What a simplistic rant from such an obviously otherwise extremely intelligent person !Here’s an idea-why not extend the tax to cover synthetic sweetners and products containing them as well ? And comparing a sugar tax to an attack on your individual freedom to choose what you want to eat by the nanny state ? Give me a break !! In that case we should remove all taxes on tobacco products also !!

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Well, you could keep extending taxes and banning, I suppose. Once you start there may be no end to the number of things you could think of taxing or banning, or criminalising. It is a form of social control that gains a great deal of support from many people. As for the end result? Well, history provides many examples of where this ends.

      1. anglosvizzera

        Making vaccines mandatory is another one that I definitely don’t agree with, yet this is happening in more and more countries… 😦

      2. Gary Ogden

        We can thank Barack Obama for greasing the skids for the recent push for forcible vaccination in so many countries. He convened a secret White House meeting in 2014, and included among the attendees was the current Italian health minister, who traded all of Italy’s children for 1 billion Euros from GSK.

      3. AH Notepad

        Fortunately the party now in power is moving to overturn the compulsory euthanasia, sorry, I mean vaccination. Or so I was informed by an Italian lady.

      4. Gary Ogden

        AH Notepad: Good news indeed. Will GSK then pick up its toys and go home? Right! Nothing spells diabolical better than “pharmaceutical company.”

      5. Roy Firus

        Your commentary consists of vast generalizations without any specific examples of how taxing any item has led to a DECREASE in the health of any nation. and you are well aware of that.Detailed studies in the Scandanavian countries and in other countries have proven beyond any doubt that taxing tobacco products HAS led to a dramatic reduction of us
        e which as a doctor you must know is good for the health of any nation.I find it tragic that you combine your brilliant medical objective commentaries with your own purely subjective political and social opinions and even worse try to link them .Might I suggest that you write two columns – so that we readers who strongly disagree with your subjective opinions be spared.

      6. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Thank you for your comments. You may be aware of the latest move for authors of articles to list, not just financial conflicts of interest, but personal conflicts – such as religious or political affiliations. This is so that the reader is aware of other, potential, sources of bias in articles. I believe it is only fair for people reading my blog to know that my own political beliefs are very much libertarian, therefore I do not like State interference in areas that I believe should be left to personal choice. Would you rather I kept this hidden?

      7. Bill In Oz

        Roy Firus, you wrote “I find it tragic that you combine your brilliant medical objective commentaries with your own purely subjective political and social opinions”

        How very odd ! Each & every one of us here does exactly the same thing. I do. So does Dr Kendrick. In fact you so do you.
        I disagree with Dr Kendrick’s opinion on this issue of taxing sugar. I think it is a useful tool for keeping a society more healthy.

        However I object to your comment. It is an attempt at some kind of censorship and thus change radically the nature of this blog and the discussions that take place here. There is a choice you need to make : either accept the character of the blog as it is and has been or leave it to find a blog which better suits your own needs.

    2. HotScot

      Roy Firus

      All taxes are an attack on our personal freedom. UK governments largely get away with it by dangling the carrot of the NHS. They tax alcohol, tobacco, now sugar on the premise that it’ll relieve pressure on the NHS when everyone stops smoking, drinking and consuming sugary drinks. But it won’t.

      Whilst a diet rich in sugar isn’t healthy, nor is the woeful neglect of exercise especially in our children. Nor do I mean going out and running marathons, I mean physical exercise at work instead of sitting behind a desk. If there were more physical jobs that consumed 8 hours of our day, obesity wouldn’t be a problem.

      Case in point, I joined the Patient Transport Service in February because I spent the last 30 years or so in sedentary employment. My first 11 years was spent as a policeman with no weight gain in that period despite my diabolical diet of Irn Bru, Beer, Cigarettes and as much fatty and sweet food as I could get down my neck. I have lost around three stone with no change to my current diet which only excludes Irn Bru, sweets and cigarettes (not that I ate the cigarettes).

      Sadly, with the demise of nationalised industry’s in the 70’s and 80’s, the remaining political battleground is the NHS, and our politicians have made the most of it ever since.

      Meanwhile, they expand their domain of civil servants, hand out cash to pseudo charities used as lobbying tools/quango’s, and still can’t balance the books.

      The public are kept in a perpetual state of fear, frequently campaigned by government funded charities, which would’t exist if public support were the only source of funds. Thanks to this any suggestion to tax something is met with least resistance, if not rabid support.

      So instead of taxing everything that moves, how about granting people a degree of intelligence, educate them at school on diet, and teach all kids to cook real food. That’s where obesity starts, so nip it in the bud.

      They tried taxing cigarettes and nothing happened; since then, I believe the only notable success in smoking reduction has been by free market capitalism when vaping was offered as an alternative. Guess what? The ner do wells want to ban that now!

      And as Malcolm is at pains to point out, social engineering has proven a failure in any country it has been tried. A sugar tax is merely a manifestation of Big government flexing it’s muscles and micro managing the proletariat.

      1. anglosvizzera

        Sadly education on diet at school is still way behind the latest thinking. I worked in a secondary school a few years ago and recall a science lesson teaching macronutrients and that a just over a third of daily diet should consist of carbohydrates. The lesson continued with the children having to identify which food group certain ‘foods’ were in, one of the latter being ‘boiled sweets’. The teacher, having stressed the importance of carbs, initially told the children that no, boiled sweets aren’t carbs but then realised that there was little else they could be! So children are getting confused by the education system. Of course, she should have distinguished between just ‘carbs’ and ‘starchy carbs’ which is what the NHS recommends – but what we know is a failed experiment done on the population over several decades!

    3. Gary Ogden

      Roy Firus: Yes, remove them. I would argue that education has played the largest role in the reduction in smoking, the taxes merely supporting a bloated bureaucracy Road taxes pay for roads, a public good. The same is true of much of tax revenue. But in my view, government has no business telling people what they should, or should not, eat. They can play a role in banning dangerous drugs and chemicals, but they’ve done a terrible job with that, so how can we trust them?

      1. Bill In Oz

        Sorry Gary, I have to disagree.. Taxing tobacco has made a huge beneficial impact here in Oz. But the following measures have been part of the mix:
        1: No smoking at all in public spaces or on public transportation
        2: All packaging is plain paper not the glossy wonderful advertising mush that is standard elsewhere.
        3: All cigarette packaging have large photos of what cigarettes do to the health of smokers
        4: All tobacco advertising is banned nationwide
        5: All tobacco products for sale are kept in closed cupboards until a packet is purchased
        6: Sales to anyone under 18 years are banned
        7 : No smoking at all in private vehicles or cars with children under 16 on board. Getting caught by the police doing this gets one a fine of $280 in South Australia

        Yep we are on this issue we a ‘nanny state’. But bugger me, it works !

        Smokers now comprise just 12% of the total population..Down from 60% in 1960…But there must be something attractive about the way we do things as we get roughly 2 million applications to migrate here each year. And most are rejected. Permanent residence visas are capped at only 290,000 a year…

        And if I had my way all persons who smoke applying to migrate to Australia or planning to visit, would be denied visas as well. But then I’m an extremist on this. 🙂

        Why ? My dad died of throat cancer at 64, from smoking all adult his life: 40-50 day ! And I have no idea what the impact of 20 years of inhaling secondary smoke will have long term, on me.

        By the way Vlad, Yes, the actual number of lung cancers is still increasing each year. Why ? Because the total population is increasing every year. In 1960 it was just 8.5 million. Now it is almost 25 million.

        A PS : Years ago I read that one of the reasons why smoking in the USA, Australia, the UK etc caued so many cancers was that the tobacco in these countries was ‘cured’ with sugar of all things and so made acidic smoke when burned. Whereas the French style made Gauloise cigarettes were not cured with sugar and & made an alkaline smoke when burned….

      2. Gary Ogden

        Bill in Oz: I agree that many of those things on your list are good social policy. Nevertheless, taxation is entirely different. The more money government hoovers up, the more they will throw away. Very little of sin tax money is utilized for public good; it is mainly used to fund bureaucracies which become ever more bloated. As smoking has declined, those agencies have not shrunk; they just hoover up money from some other source.

      3. Bill In Oz

        Gary in a world where advanced countries have seen the collapse of real jobs making things, there is a real need for increased employment..Increased bureaucracies providing ‘services’ are one way of doing this. The alternative is depression, massive social unrest and as in the 1930’s, war.

      4. HotScot

        Bill In Oz

        Even as an ex smoker, I find your anti smoking views impose on individual rights. Nor am I certain you should worry about secondary smoking, assuming you have been free of it for ten years or so. My belief is that after ten years of abstinence, a smoker is medically considered at no more risk to the effects of smoking than a non smoker. Although I stand to be corrected on that.

        I’m entirely unconvinced Aussie immigration applications are influenced in any way by the attitude to smoking. To be honest, I think immigration is most influenced by the fantastic marketing job done by Australia.

        I liked your observations on the difference in acidity levels between US/UK/Aus and French cigarettes. I’ll also add to that, as I understand it, most modern cigarettes are filled with tobacco impregnated, shredded paper, not tobacco leaves as we mostly imagine. The paper wrappings also include salt peter, to ensure a nice, even burn that doesn’t extinguish itself after a minute or two, as found with roll up cigarettes, although I suspect those papers still have salt peter, or something similar included.

        And I agree with you on a number of points, in fact most of them, banning cigarettes from public places and cars with kids etc. is entirely sensible. What I don’t agree with is the vilification of smokers by making them seem pariah’s, or enemy’s of the state.

        Next it might be the great Australian tradition of a cold beer, or the right to indulge in surfing because there are sharks n the sea, or kids playing in the garden because there are snakes.

        The whole debate is more than the subject, it’s about the principle of individual freedom.

      5. Bill In Oz

        Hey HotScot, re smoking, I assume you are not living here in Oz….While I was deliberately making an ‘inflammatory’ remark before, on this subject I was & remain serious…
        Tobacco smoking is an addictive & poisonous habit. I don’t particularly object to addicted smokers getting their ‘hit’, provided others ( including myself ) are not also effected..

        Unfortunately often that is not the case. I am reminded of the time I gave a lift to a young male hitch hiker. On the dash of the car was a ‘please no smoking’ sign. And immediately after he got in my car he asked me ” Do you mind if I smoke?” I relied No but he lit up a cigarette anyway. I then pulled up and said “You either put the cigarette out or you get out. ” He put the cigarette out.. But was quietly offended the rest of the ride.

      6. Gary Ogden

        Published in the April Harpers: Number one country from which gazillionaires are fleeing: France. Number one country to which they are fleeing: Australia. Also in May: “Chance that a Swede under the age of thirty is vegetarian or vegan: 1 in 5.” I think the good news is that they’ll outgrow it.

      7. Bill In Oz

        Gary I looked on the Harpur’s website but could not find anything about this. Do you have a link ?
        I have no idea what is happening in France.
        But plenty of wealthy Chinese have arranged ‘insurance’ for themselves here in Oz, in the event of any major additional policy shifts by the Chinese Communist party government. This has meant getting permanent residence visas, arranging private schooling for kids, tertiary educaion for kids, buying houses and apartments and investing in businesses..

      8. Gary Ogden

        Bill in Oz: It is in the monthly page of factoids called “Harper’s Index.” I rarely visit the archive, and it may only be accessible to subscribers. It must have been in the March issue, which I can’t find at the moment (they always list sources). They are fleeing France because of the millionaire tax. Gerard Depardieu fled to Russia!

    4. Bob

      A rubbish blog indeed, but the tax is regressive and will change nothing. And people must have the right to eat what they wish.

  34. Richard David Feinman

    I agree for most of the reasons cited but “Sugar is just the simplest form of carbohydrate, so you could argue we may shortly have both fat and carbohydrate taxes.” That is not what they think and is the fundamental intellectual error in the whole thing. They (whoever they are) are not down on carbohydrates, nor do they approve of protein. They want us all to be consuming those healthy high fiber carbohydrates. Separating sugar and carbohydrates is the indication that this is not about science at all. The artificial sweetener thing is also flim-flam. Who uses diet sweeteners? Maybe people who have more problems with weight or other metabolic problems (and of course people who choose — are not compelled — to reduce sugar). Nutrition has mostly given up on science but if you step back and look at what we know from biochemistry, we can ignore the medical politics, pay whatever tax they can inflict, and reduce carbohydrate, all kinds — starch is almost surely worse than sugar for diabetes. Science gave us the big strategy and individuals can work out the details for themselves. Halberg, et al. is the latest good science that re-iterates the value of carbohydrate restriction. And the role of insulin allows you to generalize their study on diabetes to all metabolic conditions. It’s hard to be optimistic but it’s worth recognizing that science has given us some solid guidelines.

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Richard I agree with the science, as you well know. My point… well, hopefully I managed to make my point in my blog – although some people disagree with it. Science, persuasion and education are what I like. These are slow, frustrating and prone to interference by politics, money, stupidity and dogma. But in the end, scientific truth will win.

      1. Bill In Oz

        Adding to my comment above, I think that sugar should be listed as a toxic drug and regulated as such just like other drugs. Growing sugar on farm and manufacturing it should be regulated in the same way that opium and it’s derivatives are …

        Sugar should only be available only via prescription. And putting sugar in foods should be prohibited.

        My reason for expressing this opinion, is that so many here have responded to the introduction a sugar tax as if it is threat to their access to their drug of choice !!


      2. Craig E

        @Bill the problem with that approach is that:
        1. I don’t think you can equate sugar to drugs in the sense of addiction. There are many people I know that have a preference for savory foods over sweet and find it easy to avoid sweet foods. For me I find cheese irresistible but don’t think I’m addicted to it as in the drug sense.
        2. Sugar (sucrose or hfcs) is not toxic. Obviously if you consume dramatically large quantities over a long period of time you could end up with problems. But it’s about dose. As another example water is not toxic but if you drink way too much you can end up with hyponatremia, which can be fatal

      3. Bill In Oz

        Craig I watch folks getting their sugar hit and the sedating look that people get afterwards…

        Looks like an addiction to me…

        In 1970 after reading Yudkins book on sugar, when I did a cold turkey on sugar in my tea & coffee, for about 6 weeks I was grumpy as hell.. But I was living by myself so I could get away with being like that for that time..

      4. Craig E

        Bill I too ditched the added sugar in my coffee about 4 years ago but not because I think it’s toxic – more because it’s a nutritionally poor energy source. I doubt that a sugar tax here in Oz would do much unless it was set at a rate that made it unaffordable to the average person. The tax on cigarettes has been rising well beyond inflation which no doubt has contributed to a reduction in smokers. For example last year’s tax increase on cigs was 12.5% and for each of the next 3 years it’ll increase by the same. That kind of massive ongoing rise is going to have effect…but a flat 20% rate on sugar won’t do much IMO. As others have said the Government would probably squander any revenue from it.

      5. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Until the point where it becomes worthwhile smuggling in tax free cigarettes and selling them at half price. At which point smokers will be putting ‘God knows what’ into their mouths. Analogies with prohibition and the illegal drug trade springs to mind.

      6. HotScot

        Bill In Oz

        “Adding to my comment above, I think that sugar should be listed as a toxic drug and regulated as such just like other drugs.”

        Sorry mate, you”re way out there in communist land.

        Human progress has been made by encouraging freedom of choice. Wherever that has been stifled, so has progress.

        Regulate sugar? Sure, what type of sugar? Cane sugar? Beet sugar? Refined sugar? Oranges? Apples? Or perhaps the starchy stuff that just turns into sugar like bread, potatoes, pasta, rice etc. when we eat it.

        Precisely what materials would you make available for mankind to eat, smoke, drink or wash in?

        Sorry mate, but you have bought into the socialist idyll, hook, line and sinker.

        Your beef about smoking, I can almost understand because of the smell on clothing after a night out. But dictating what people can and can’t eat because you don’t like it, sorry, but that’s beyond socialism, that’s fascism.

      7. Bill In Oz

        HotScot you asked ” Regulate sugar? Sure, what type of sugar? ”

        The answer is easy. The lot !


      8. Bill In Oz

        Daft ? Bugger !
        I was trying to be a bit provocative to twist the tail of some of my fellow commentators..
        But perhaps my intent was not clear enough to all…
        My actual pinion is not actually so extreme…
        But I will leave that for later..

    2. David Bailey


      Robert. Lustig Seems to blame sucrose in particular because it breaks down into 50% fructose, which he considers to be particularly toxic. That would let most other carbohydrates off the hook, because they are mostly polymers of glucose, and justify focussing on ordinary sugar.

      Are you saying that RL is mistaken in this? It might explain why people can live on a predominantly rice diet without being harmed.

      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        At the risk of ending up with a salutary lesson in biochemistry from Richard, I shall attempt to answer this question, as I understand it. Fructose is mostly (entirely?) converted to glucose in the liver. After this, assuming glucose/glycogen stores are full (probably earlier filled up by the glucose you have eaten), this excess glucose, made from fructose, is converted to fat in the process known as De Novo Lipogenesis (DNL). This process needs to be driven by quite a high level of insulin and, over time, creates both insulin resistance – in the liver – and Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NALFD). This is turn helps to drive the development of type II diabetes and NAFLD can turn into Non Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) which can further lead to cirrhosis and death. Is this unique to fructose? I don’t know, but I would definitely be careful about consuming too much fructose.

      2. David Bailey


        RL went into a mass of biochemistry presented at high speed, if I had been an eager student, I could not have even taken notes!

        I think what he said could probably be roughly condensed into your account, and it sounds as if you too suspect that fructose may be worse than glucose.

        I always have in mind a Gedanken experiment, in which one group is fed meals of starchy foods, while the other is drip fed the equivalent amount of sucrose solution. This would avoid any spike of glucose in the blood and simulate the slower hydrolysis of the starch, but would those two diets be equally damaging (disregarding the tooth rot)? Common sense suggests the sugar drip would be worse.

      3. Craig E

        David and Dr K both fructose and galactose are converted to glycolytic intermediates. There is an argument that fructose bypasses one of the three rate limiting steps of glycolysis leading to more pyruvate the acetyl-coa which is both a substrate for fatty acid synthesis and an input molecule for the citric acid cycle. I read a paper by Tappy et al discussing the use of isotopic tracers that showed only a small percentage of fructose is coverted to fat at realistic human doses of fructose. As I have said before it’s overconsumption that is the issue not fructose per se. People might be intrerested in the fact that fructose and galactose have the same chemical formula as glucose – they are isomers.

      4. Eric

        It’s been a long time since I’ve last watched Lustic’s first fructose talk where he spends a few minutes on the Krebs cycle and explains how fructose is diffeferent. As far as I remember, Craig catches the gist of it quite well in that fructose and alcohol get directly converted to fat which gets stored in the liver or shipped out. I like the idea that is dose is important. There appear to be parallel pathways, and the dominant pathway will depend on the fructose load.

        Also, lets not forget that fructose has about 10x higher glycating activity than either glucose or galactose.

        The tought experiment proposed by David was also something I’ve been thinking about. I can probably eat 250 g Pasta (dry weight) or half a loaf of sugar-free sourdough bread with just olive oil or butter without feeling off (not that I do that very often). 200 g of chocolate (well, that could also be the fat) or 150 g of gummi bear will make me feel positively nauseous.

        The pasta or bread are definetely worse in terms of insulin spike but I suspect its the fructose in the gummi bears that does me in. I don’t think there is a substantial difference between starch and glucose, as enzymes in the saliva will almost instantaneously split the starch. Would be interesting to add rice syrup (almost 100% glucose) and agave syrup (about 80% fructose) to this experimental matrix…

      5. HotScot


        would it be rude of me to suggest that part of your argument is spoiled by the way people eat nowadays?

        You make reference to the influence of saliva on the digestive process, but watch many people consume a meal in a public place today and saliva barely has a chance to touch the food as it’s gulped down in massive mouthfuls with barely a mastication in sight. Helped down by, yes, sweet fizzy drinks that dilute, if not entirely eradicate saliva.

        Some years ago I read an article which helped me understand the value of the digestive process. Since then, I rarely drink during a meal, and for ten minutes or so afterwards. OK, I can’t resist a nice glass of red with a Bolognese or Greek olives, but otherwise, it’s food first, then drink.

    3. Bob

      Could you point me toward information on starch V sugar vis a vis diabetes? Honestly curious. I try to avoid added sugar and don’t eat a huge amount of starch but I like the odd spud and the very occasional naan bread.

  35. Frederica Huxley

    I accept your arguments; the question remains, what is to be done to stave off the impending obesity/diabetes/Alzheimer crisis in the Western world? UK food manufacturers have been browbeaten into reducing salt content, but I cannot see them reducing either refined sugar or sugar substitutes, given the addictive nature of sweeteners. Follow the money.

      1. Andy S

        AH Notepad, the fake concern about obesity/diabetes/ Alzheimers epidemic is a red herring designed to distract from Agenda 21 being led by Monsanto’s scientists.. There is no need for healthy old people. The government and WHO is not your friend.
        “It is notable that the steep decline in testosterone levels began just after the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops in 1994 with concomitant increase in glyphosate herbicides use on glyphosate tolerant GM crops.  A comprehensive review article has blamed glyphosate for “most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet” including infertility [4], although the precise mode of action, at least in the case of infertility, remains unclear.”

      2. AH Notepad

        Given the annual population increase of around 85 million, Some infertility would be a good thing.

  36. johnplatinumgoss

    This comment is anecdotal, in no way medical. George Bernard Shaw apparently had a sweet tooth. Like me he was vegetarian. He lived to be 96. It does not mean if you are a vegetarian with a sweet tooth you will live to a ripe old age. I have a sweet tooth (biscuits) but I do not have sugar in drinks.

    I stopped smoking when I was 30 but at the time I was smoking up to 40 cigarettes a day. I think that might have been the cause of clogging of the arteries that led to my bypass some 37 years later. The doctor who monitored the clogging was herself an athlete and ascribed the fact that I had not had a heart attack to my exercise (I cycle). I have cycled from Birmingham to the Azerbaijan border and other long rides though now it is only short local rides rarely more than 30 miles at a time. I play golf at least twice a week and walk the dogs twice a day with a few exceptions. I drink more than the recommended amount.

    I have had my three score years and ten so any more for me are a bonus. We are all going to die one day. I like the articles on this blog because they are challenging and they question. I do not know the exact quote but GBS said something to the effect that the reasonable person accepts things the way they are while the unreasonable person does not, and therefore all progress depends upon the unreasonable person.

  37. Morgana

    Even though I am convinced that sugar is harmful to health- (I certainly noticed a huge difference when I cut sugar from my diet!- not to mention the fact that I was also addicted to it); I am still against the sugar tax. Basically, it’s a matter of principle for me. It feels a bit too “Nanny State”, so I agree with Dr. Kendrick on that one. I don’t like the idea of the government meddling in our lives, and I agree that we know appallingly little about nutrition, so probably better to stay away from making blanket assumptions for all people. Besides, I don’t think a tax will really help matters anyway. If people are truly addicted to a substance, they will consume it regardless. Which means they will have less money to spend on the healthy foods that would normally supplement their diet. Historically, there were times in England when the very poor would reduce their consumption of meat and bread so they could still afford sugar. If it happened once, it could happen again.

  38. Andy S

    No need to tax, I have placed an outright ban on consuming sugar in order to do my bit on saving the planet. Sugar beets will be 100% GMO. The residue will be used to feed cattle. GMO corn and soybeans are of my list of foods to avoid. Eating animals raised on GMO feeds will be next to be banned. Food labelling is required to avoid GMOs and reduce glyphosate usage.

  39. Errett

    “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master.”
    -George Washington

  40. sundancer55

    Here in the USA, too many people who have diabetes are convinced that drinking things like Coke Zero or any of the “diet” sodas are “ok for them to have”. Either they convince themselves or the advertising companies will do it, eventually, for them. And well, maybe in terms of the fact that they aren’t getting any sugar, that statement may be true.

    But – – if they aren’t willing to give up pop they might (in my opinion) still be better off drinking 1/2 a can of the real thing rather than consuming a whole can with a synthetic agent like aspartame (which is what is used in diet pops/sodas) even if it’s the newer stuff where the Coke company claims to use stevia. It’s really just a mixture of stevia and aspartame and it’s a shame they hawk the stuff as being “better for you” AND charge so much more for it.

    For years now people have been buying Splenda thinking that was a “sugar substitute” when i reality it’s nothing more than pure aspartame under a different name. Acesulfame K
    ( https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acesulfame-K ) is the name that was being used years ago when Splenda first came out, I don’t know what they’re listing now. I know this because I used to belong to a nutrition forum where we discussed all this kind of stuff. There are at least 100 different *names* for sugar or sugar substitutes. It’s both amazing and appalling. No wonder so many people are fooled. https://eatingrules.com/names-for-sugar/

    I like a coke occasionally but when I have one, I still drink the real thing – otherwise, really, what is the point? If it tastes like aspartame (which has a very distinct flavor) why would anyone even want it??? Yuk. It would be so much easier to just give it up entirely rather than consume the diet junk just because it has no sugar. But hey, that’s just me.

    1. AnnaM

      I agree with you about the taste of aspartame, but I am pretty sure that a lot of people drink it preferentially, and that it is quite addictive.

      1. sundancer55

        You have misinterpreted. NO ONE should be consuming aspartame. It’s pure poison.

    2. shirley3349

      Splenda is not aspartame or Acesulfame-K, at least not in the UK. It is sucralose (about 1%) bulked out by dextrose and maltodextrin., that is is by mainly digestible sugars or starches. It has about a third of the Calories of sugar and this, I have read, allows it to be labelled as zero Calories in the USA.

      The properties of the synthetic, sucrose derivative, sucralose, were discovered by Tate and Lyle’s, (a huge, British, cane sugar refiner), researchers at Queen Elizabeth College London in 1976. It is made from sucrose with 3 chlorine atoms attached. It is extremely sweet, at least 600x more than sucrose. When sold in sachets as Splenda, it is bulked out, partly for convenience of use and partly for commercial reasons. Pure sucralose is more expensive by weight, but has truely zero Calories, and one needs very little, a few milligrams, at any one time.

  41. Bill In Oz

    S’ugar’. It’s in a;; processed food ! And I try to avoid it. I like dark chocolate especially the 90 sugar free type. But even I get confused occasionally., A week ago I bought a Lindt Italian made Dark Chocolate labelled “No Sugar ADDED”.
    Well I tried it and it was so sweet. I wondered what was going on. Afterwards I read the tiny print list of ingredients with a magnifying glass. And read that it has maltitol added to it and that it is listed as the second ingredient which indicates that there makes up quite a large percentage of the total weight.
    Maltitol is hydrogenated corn syrup and corn syrup is a form of sugar. That means Maltitol is a form of sugar.
    So the Lindt statement on the label packaging that there is no sugar added, is a direct LIE and misinformation to consumers. And probably causes obesity even in those trying to avoid such crap. I have written to Lindt but I doubt I will even get a reply.
    The real problem is that this product is but an example of mass corporate lies & misinformation.

      1. Bill In Oz

        Fine Anglosvizzera, I will enjoy whatever minor amount of maltitol turns up when i have chicory leaves in my salad. But I will leave out the mislabeled “No ADDDED sugar” dark chocolate made by Lindt…
        Lies are still lies even when made by a Swiss Chocolate company.

      2. Mike Smith

        Its the way that Big Food will hoodwink you at any opportunity that grates my gears. I noted recently some new Paleo bars in Aldi only to see that the carb content was in excess of 60g / 100g – Are they kidding or what! Clearly this disgusting method of marketing works otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

        Even grass fed and organic is being exploited through the loopholes nowadays. If the food companies want us to buy their products they should be more honest about it – but then if they were, would anyone want to buy their products ?

    1. Vlad

      Have you tried Vivani (92% or 99% cocoa, sweetened with coconut blossom sugar). It’s the first chocolate I’m aware of that specifies on its website that it uses organic, non-alkalized cocoa – meaning it retains all flavanols and other beneficial components.

      1. Morgana

        Oh! Vivani 92% is what I eat. It’s awesome….I just love the taste and texture. Glad to know it’s healthy too, maybe that’s why I like it so much. I can’t eat anything else; this one is *my chocolate*.

    2. anglosvizzera

      Bill in Oz – I see that the Lindt chocolate sold here in the UK is now made in Germany! Yes, I know what you mean about ‘no added sugar’ – I was playing devil’s advocate in that they would probably turn round and say they hadn’t added ‘sugar’ per se, even if it’s a derivative. Semantics.

      1. Bill In Oz

        Maltitol = Hydrogenated frustose syrup – sugar. = AVOID, AVOID AVOID !

        But I suspect Lindt want to confuse us all

    3. Bill In Oz

      A quick up date on the NO ADDED Sugar, extra sweet cholclate from Lindt.

      I wrote to their Australian company headquarters over 2 weeks ago complaining of this misinformation.

      Not a tickle of a reply so far…Not even an email acknowledgement…

      Such is Lindt !

  42. Bill In Oz

    I am aware that I am Australian where there is no sugar tax. The sugar tax talked about here is the one which has just started in the UK….
    But there has been a big debate about the need to introduce a sugar tax here. So far our big business focused national government has declined to introduce it. Largely because of lobbying from the big companies like local Coke & Pepsi subsidiaries which would be hurt financially.

    But the sugar driven ‘obesity epidemic’ is having an major effect here. The extra burden on our Australian public health system is estimated by the Gratten Institute here in Oz at $5 Billion a year. Now our medicare system does not cover all health problems for all people..It only gives partial coverage of doctor’s consultations and prescriptions etc.

    But the NHS offers UK residents far greater cost coverage and is cost free for i individuals.- That’s my understanding, & I may be wrong.

    But if this is true the extra burden of sugar caused obesity epidemic per head, on the Britain’s NHS must be much, much bigger.

    Meanwhile here is an interesting article discussing all it from an Australian perspective.

    1. Janet

      A Chance for Australia to lead the world.
      Both sugar and artificial sweeteners are damaging to our health, though through differing pathways. Rather than argue the hope that increasing prices via taxation *will* cut consumption. Bonus if it does ! Instead, earmark the the revenue straight into our ‘Medicare’ – which will be treating the victims eventually.

      1. Bill In Oz

        Janet, I have not eaten sugary drink since the early 1970’s when I gave up on coke, pepsi & sugar in my tea & coffee completely after reading Yudkin’s book.

        The issue of artificial sweeteners is a separate issue. I do not consume them as frankly I am suspicious of them and their long term effects. But that issue needs to be argued separately after looking at the evidence.

        by the way I am growing stevia as an experiment to see if it is a natural sweetener.. And I note that coke has a stevia sweetened product for sale now..

  43. JanB

    Thank you once again for a thought provoking post. By and large I agree with you about state interference though I think it should be remembered that one man’s meat is another’s poison. The smoking ban in public places meant that I was able to go into restaurants, pubs, on trains etc., without having a nasty asthma attack (even now I have to hold my breath as I pass a smoker in the street) and without having my clothes and hair absolutely stinking of cigarette smoke. Surely I’m not the only one?
    Education in matters of diet is all, but first those who were/are responsible for the big high carb/low fat debacle should ‘fess up and admit they were/are wrong. Then and only then might we see positive changes willingly made.

    1. Martin Back

      Other people’s smoke is amazingly penetrating. The guy in the flat upstairs smokes, but he’s not allowed to smoke indoors so he lights up on the balcony. On a calm night I can smell it as strongly as if he’s in the room with me, even though my doors and windows are closed.


    I agree. I always thought it was pointless anyway. A bit like if they taxed cocaine. Would people think- it’s taxed so I’ll cut down?

    Sent from my iPhone

  45. greenhind

    This really does seem to be just a way for the government and food manufacturers to appear to be doing something about diet-related illness while continuing to get away with creating a landscape in which real, nutrient-rich food is hard to find. Intervention is tricky — as people have said, who knows what successive governments will decide to tax, ban, etc. But without any intervention at all, commercial interests will have free rein and all food education will come from manufacturers. At my local sports centre, a public-private affair, if you don’t have to pass the huge chain coffee shop pastry/muffin display as you leave members’ changing rooms, you still have to pass the two huge soft-drink and junk-snack machines sited at the centre’s only exit doors. In fact, you can see the pastries and muffins from the swimming pool.

  46. Mark Heneghan

    While I accept that the restriction of fat in guideline sanctioned diets revealed the disadvantages of carbohydrate dominant diets, with likely weight gain perhaps from the insulin swings and poorer satiation, it does not mean that carbohydrates are ‘bad’ per se. They are very handy for preventing starvation, and life saving if you are having a deep hypoglycaemic attack. A sugar tax is not much more than tokenism, as there are so many ways for carbs to slip through the net. It also suggests that there is a simple explanation for obesity. In my own experience both as a GP and a human being, avoiding obesity in part depends on finding a sustainable way of eating less, and if a high fat (or ‘balanced’ as we called it when I was a boy) diet helps that then I’m all for it. Equally important, gin and tonic with slimline tonic is foul.

  47. Old fogey

    The press is always finding something to terrify us about. Now that infectious disease has been curbed, the AIDS scare shown to be limited to certain populations, and “mad cow” does not seem to be following the dire predictions made about the horrors that would follow inexorably from 30-odd-years of ingesting prion-infected meat, that another epidemic is on the way.

    My mother, having seen her sister, her aunt and her mother die of TB before she was 15 years of age, never expected to live to be 40. She died at 87, after a healthy life of smoking more than a pack a day since the age of 16. Since “old age” is not considered a cause of death in the U.S., her death certificate reads “tobacco-related COPD.” I used to believe mortality statistics. Now I doubt the veracity of any death certificate for people dying after the age of 80. Getting suspicious in my old age. (I turned 80 myself in January,)

    Another anecdote – I never met any of my grandparents, neither did my husband meet any of his. And both of us were born when our mothers were barely 20 years old. We read about them in fairy tales and such, but that was about it, as so few were about. Nowadays it is rare to run across a child who does not have a grandparent living. My mother became a great-grandmother before her death, much to her surprise, and my grandchildren have even met great-great-grandparents. Things are truly getting better, not worse.

  48. David Bailey

    I can see both sides on the political question of whether it is right to tax sugar, however, particularly in the US, corn syrup seems to be used purely to add cheap bulk to food. For example some years back we each bought a tuna sandwich, and were surprised to discover that these tasted sweetish. At first I wondered if the food had gone off, but sure enough corn syrup was one of the ingredients!

    I assume nobody actually likes sweetened tuna sandwiches, but that they simply tolerate them. Making sugar more expensive for manufacturers might stop this practice.

    1. anglosvizzera

      Reminds me of a holiday in Spain a few years ago when I was actively avoiding any form of refined or added sugar. Most of the natural yoghurts available were sweetened with sugar other than imported Greek yoghurt, most of the cold meats available in the supermarket had added sugar and I noticed that they had ‘healthy’ wholegrain biscuits that were sweetened with some kind of artificial sweetener instead of sugar. I’m sure the locals just bought the stuff without bothering to read the ingredients but, compared to the UK, there was far more added sugar than we have here.

  49. Allen Huxley

    For once I actually find myself disagreeing with you dr Kendrick, which is a novelty for me. You disagree with a sugar tax on the basis that it is indicative of a ‘nanny state’ and people should be free to choose whether to consume sugar sweetened beverages or not. Following the same argument, you should also then be advocating the reduction of tax on cigarettes, people should be free to choose whether to smoke or not? Both are extremely damaging to long-term human health and put an incredible strain on NHS resources. The sugar tax is unlikely to be a total solution to the problem but at least it has raised awareness in the general public to the dangers of sugar which can only be a step in the right direction in my opinion
    In relation to the scientific data, I think in this article you’ve used the same masking techniques employed by the ‘enemy’ (ie those who try to confuse the relationship between cause and effect to promote their cholesterol hypothesis). It’s an interesting study and the links seem strong but do not prove causation

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Of course reasonable arguments can be put forward to promote the use of taxes for various forms of social engineering for the ‘greater good.’ My own philosophical point of view is to resist Government interference and the ‘nanny state’ whenever possible. That, however, is a political position and many people believe that the State should be used to control and direct people towards healthy behaviours e.g. prohibition.

      I think, however, that using smoking as an analogy is disingenuous. The evidence that smoking is damaging is, essentially, overwhelming. However, when it comes to diet. The current recommendations/guidelines are likely doing harm than good. On one hand we have nutritional guidelines promoting the ever greater consumption of ‘sugars’, then we tax sugar. Equally, I believe my central point to be valid. Be very certain that you are not going to cause harm.

      If the paper that I quote is correct, and we drive people from consuming sugary drinks to drinks full of artificial sweeteners, and this triples the risk of Alzheimer’s – what then?

      1. Bill In Oz

        Malcolm you wrote ” we have nutritional guidelines promoting the ever greater consumption of ‘sugars’, then we tax sugar. ”
        But the truth is the nutritional guidelines are idiotic and based on flawed Encel Keys type thinking..
        That’s why nobody I know who has checked out the issue accepts the nutritionist’s ‘ideology’ anymore…

      2. Bill In Oz

        Ban aspartine as a ‘Dangerous’ drug ? But the case would need to be established firmly. Meanwhile there is stevia which is a plant that produces sweet tasting leaves. And as far as I know has no adverse side effects..

      3. AH Notepad

        Aspartame was banned in the US in 1973. The manufacturers commissioned many studies to prove it was safe. All unbiased you understand.

      4. AH Notepad

        Though the sweeter drinks might be marketed as desirable, they are just bling. Apart from the obvious objections of the manufacturers and lobbyists, why not encourage the drinking of water, and discouraging the drinking of the unnecessary bling drinks? The argument that water is boring, tasteless, unexciting is not a good enough “reasoning”. There is nothing wrong with wholesome, but there is plenty against consumption of sugary or artificially sweetened drinks. People are of course entitled to drink what ever they like, but they then have to accept the consequences. There is nothing wrong with water as long there are no toxic substances in it.

      5. anglosvizzera

        @AH Notepad – it seems Aspartame is on the approved list of sweeteners in the US:

        Aspartame is approved for use in food as a nutritive sweetener. Aspartame brand names include Nutrasweet®, Equal®, and Sugar Twin®. It does contain calories, but because it is about 200 times sweeter than table sugar, consumers are likely to use much less of it.

        “FDA approved aspartame in 1981 (46 FR 38283) for uses, under certain conditions, as a tabletop sweetener, in chewing gum, cold breakfast cereals, and dry bases for certain foods (i.e., beverages, instant coffee and tea, gelatins, puddings, and fillings, and dairy products and toppings). In 1983 (48 FR 31376), FDA approved the use of aspartame in carbonated beverages and carbonated beverage syrup bases, and in 1996 , FDA approved it for use as a “general purpose sweetener.” It is not heat stable and loses its sweetness when heated, so it typically isn’t used in baked goods.

        “Aspartame is one of the most exhaustively studied substances in the human food supply, with more than 100 studies supporting its safety.

        “FDA scientists have reviewed scientific data regarding the safety of aspartame in food and concluded that it is safe for the general population under certain conditions. However, people with a rare hereditary disease known as phenylketonuria (PKU) have a difficult time metabolizing phenylalanine, a component of aspartame, and should control their intake of phenylalanine from all sources, including aspartame. Labels of aspartame-containing foods and beverages must include a statement that informs individuals with PKU that the product contains phenylalanine.”


      6. AH Notepad

        Anglovizzera, the FDA (Fraud and Deception Association) says anything its paymasters desire. In 1973 aspartame was banned, then the suspect science was brought in to “prove” it was safe. Suspect science has done the same with vaccines, antibiotics, fluoride, general or specialist pharmaceutical drugs, GMOs, and heaven knows what else. All that these things do is make your bank account safe if you happen to be in the right place. Meanwhile people suffer, but what matter if it means someone can make a buck?

      7. chris c

        “If the paper that I quote is correct, and we drive people from consuming sugary drinks to drinks full of artificial sweeteners, and this triples the risk of Alzheimer’s – what then?”

        Nobody will be around to notice?

        More seriously I suspect sugar and the ensuing high insulin has more than a little to do with Alzheimers. Obesity started to rise rapidly around the time “low fat” diets were invented. Type 2 diabetes took a little longer to become “epidemic”. Alzheimers may also spring from the same cause but with a longer lead time, I suspect we are only now seeing the foothills of the mountain to come. Also true for most other metabolic diseases, including but not limited to some cancers, and strangely Type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune conditions – I read a decade or more ago that the *rate of increase* in Type 1 was actually higher than the rate of increase of Type 2. Not sure how this has gone since.

  50. Janet

    I cannot imagine …. ‘sweet’ Tuna sandwiches… Salty yes, but “sweet” ? Yecchh !
    – Unless we’re talking about ‘American Bread’ where the question is not “if” there is added sweetener, – but rather ‘How much?’

    Would perhaps it may have been more useful to impose a ‘sweetness’ tax for both sugar(s) and artificial sweetening agents such as aspartame when used as a safer (?) dietary substitute.
    The evidence of such sweeteners doing harm is already in, and their use just feeds the Pavlovian response for wanting ‘sweetness’ in food & drinks.
    For those of us who don’t normally imbibe, try a glass of “Diet” soda, and note how “empty” you feel…. compared to the equivalent ‘sugared’ version.

  51. Soul

    My father has a terrible time after consuming artificial sweeteners. He develops a severe headache and brain fog. For a long time he couldn’t figure out what the cause of his headaches were. It wasn’t till a friend suggested he avoid aspartame and see if that helped. That did the trick. He was headache free quickly afterwards.

    From my father’s experience, it has made me wonder if others unknowingly are being negatively effected by artificial sweeteners.

    1. Marguerite Harris

      My sister, like Soul’s father, reacts badly to aspartame. I’ve heard that it can give some people MS-like symptoms, and if you have been diagnosed with MS and use aspartame, you should cut it out and see if your MS symptoms go away, meaning you don’t have MS but do have a bad reaction to aspartame. Not sure if that is true!
      I never use any artificial sweeteners and would not ever give them to my diabetic husband. I would use a tiny bit of sugar if needed, but it is rarely needed.
      As a teen, my friends and I drank copious quantities of an artificially sweetened soft drink called Fresca! But now, the only time I ever have a soft drink (with sugar) is a Coke, which is my medicine for a migraine… works every time… sugar+caffeine+fluid?? Probably mostly the caffeine, I guess.
      Anyway, this is a very interesting subject. Fascinating reading, thanks!

  52. Mike Smith

    I have always believed that processed food is rammed full of salt to extend the shelf life and then they add the sugar to cover the taste of the salt. The fact as its an addictive substance is a very welcome bonus to the food corps.

  53. Håkan

    If you want to tax suger you must define what suger is. Then the suger manufacturer may alter the suger chemically so it doesn’t fall under the tax definition. We may end up with many industrially designed substitutes.

  54. barovsky

    Sugar-sugar, da da de dad da

    Hmmm… I’m not sure there is a fix for sugar, anymore than than that there is a fix for carpeting the planet in antibiotics or filling the ocean with plastic.

    Unless that is, we collectively decide to wean ourselves off of consumer capitalism as it seems unlikely if not impossible that the political class or the class it works for, will do it voluntarily.

    As to the tax, well it’s moola for a broken economy isn’t it, pretending to be for the social good. What you called the ‘Nanny State’ is in fact, the corporate, security state. Each one of these ‘small’ encroachments on our personal liberties (they’ve already taken care of our political liberties by creating the two-party state and the political class that runs it) has to be seen as just one cog in the machinery of control, whether it be forcing vaccinations on people who don’t want them (for whatever reason, mercury being one of them), or the disease of the ‘anti-social behaviour order, there are now three distinct types being utilised to ‘micro-control’ us and our behaviour. And of course, lets not forget the 5 million video cameras that spy spy on us every day. Need I go on?

    War abroad, repression at home.

    And anyway, will it work? Does taxing booze stop people drinking? It took more than fifty years to start reversing the damage done by tobacco (and along comes ‘vaping’ and heavy metal poisoning). And that only after a massive campaign that lasted years (that finally forced the govt to take action).

    Sugar makes people consume, this is what the corporate owners want, it’s what the government wants. We must consume or capitalism will collapse. So sugar, is just one of the drugs of consumption. Go to any NHS hospital cafe (always corporate) and you’ll find the same garbage in it that you can get anywhere. The fetish of consumption is now firmly embedded in every facet of our existence.

    I mean to say, the reason this journal exists is because of the most profitable drug in history, the Statin, 3 trillion dollars and counting…. though perhaps cocaine might be larger.

    Britain got inordinately fat from producing and selling opium, It waged war on China to defend its right to turn the Chinese population into opium addicts! Sugar you say? Capitalism will defend its right to poison us by crying about ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom of choice’. But in fact we don’t choose any of this! Isn’t that why heroin dealers make the first fix for free?

    It’s the system, it’s broken and it’s now breaking the planet as well. So it’s sugar, it’s diesel, it’s plastic, it’s 50 thousand untested chemicals released into the environment, the list is endless and when you add it all up, you see that it’s the nature of the economy, nothing more, nothing less. It’s how capitalists make their money and it’s killing us.

    To suggest a more modest, a more collective life, one not wrapped up in buying stuff and chowing the planet and its peoples in order to preserve our way of life and you’re called utopian, a dreamer, or worst of all, a Communist!

    So I suppose that was why millions of people voted for Corbyn last year. He’s called a dreamer, a throwback. So maybe there is some hope, maybe enough people are getting sick because of this life, but sick enough to do something about it?

  55. Ali.P

    Years ago, in my misspent youth, we ate what we liked, drank alcohol, smoked and did all manner of outrageous things to ourselves and were as slim as whippets. To see a very overweight person was a rarity, and my parents generation lived healthily well into their 80’s after surviving the war years of rationing (and subsequent gorging on ‘unhealthy’ foods when they again became available), and the perils of first, second and third hand smoke. The onset of the obesity and diabetes crisis seems to be linked somehow with the onset of PCs and smartphones as more and more people seem to be confined indoors checking their social status rather than getting outside for some vitamin D3 and exercise.

    1. anglosvizzera

      I do think diet has a lot to do with it too.

      I was born in the late 50s in the UK and recall that we ate proper food, usually meat, fish or egg with real vegetables and a potato or two. People knew that if they wanted to lose weight they would cut out potatoes and bread. The only kind of pasta available to most people was in a tin with tomato sauce, rice was usually confined to rice pudding and, for our household, bread was perhaps something we had for breakfast once in a while but not daily. I remember being allowed about once a month to go to the local bakers to buy a fresh (white) loaf, which was a real treat. I ate cornflakes or porridge before school, we had a cooked school meal of ‘meat/fish and 2 veg’ at lunchtime (yes, with a carby dessert) and at my house, another cooked meal when my dad got home from work in the evening.

      As someone else mentioned, fizzy drinks were confined to the Corona man’s visit and considered a treat. Chocolate was not eaten much and on a Friday we were sometimes given a few pennies to buy sweets on the way home.

      Some time in my early teens the adverts for ‘go to work on an egg’ disappeared as eggs, having a significant cholesterol content, were not recommended any longer. We were encouraged to eat ‘low-fat’ and high fibre cereals, so the ghastly All Bran entered the house, along with Bran Flakes, which I could just about stomach when doused with full fat milk and a few raisins thrown in. Being a bit of a rebel, I used to cook my own bacon and eggs sometimes before school (mum was a nurse at a hospital and dad was in the bathroom getting ready for work!), but we still had relatively healthy school dinners and I had a cooked meal in the evening which tended to be real food rather than all the new-fangled packaged and ready-prepared meals that had become available. I was still slim, as were my friends – anyone who wasn’t was said to have a ‘glandular disorder’.

      Then along came Chinese take-aways, then Indian, then Pizzas and all hell broke loose. The only time I used to have a Chinese meal before then was as a birthday treat with my best friend at the one and only Chinese restaurant in our local large town. Later on pasta in the various forms we now know it appeared too and people started basing their diets on large (cheap) quantities of pasta or rice with some kind of sauce, omitting all the healthy veg that we’d been eating before. All sorts of fancy bread products have appeared and now form the basis of ‘fast food’ found in school canteens, ‘food to go’ etc. I swallowed the ‘low-fat/high-carb’ advice to my detriment and so started several years of struggle with my weight.

      In my 40s I developed gall bladder problems which I now put down to limiting my fat intake to the extent that the poor thing was never emptying itself and the contents irritated it to the point that I had to have it removed. There were some other unfortunate consequences of that gall bladder episode that I won’t elaborate on, mostly caused by the long waiting list at the time for an ultrasound scan.

      I’m so glad that all that dietary advice has been rubbished because I’ve now returned to eating real food, cutting the carbs drastically (by comparison) and know my weight is mostly affected by eating too many unhealthy carbs and drinking alcohol.

      I do agree that exercise levels have gone down but as we now know, ‘you can’t out-run a bad diet’. There was a TV programme on yesterday which showed two elderly women either working out at the gym or doing normal activities around the house and garden and it turned out that they used more calories doing the normal activities than sweating it out at the gym. Good. I always hated going to the gym.

      1. chris c

        I concur absolutely. When my mother was young “everyone knew” that to lose weight you cut out starch, and sugar.Dieting was still called “Banting”. During her time as a teacher from the thirties to the seventies there might be one or two “fat kids” per class and as you say it was blamed on “glands” ie. hormones, those things dieticians resolutely refuse to admit the existence of (with a few exceptions). Now it is the thin kid who is the minority, ever since low fat diets were invented. I suspect the fact that “processed food” used to be made from real food rather than the products of a chemistry lab might have something to do with it, there is a lack of nutrition, especially fat soluble nutrients.

        =1 on the gallstones too. I passed my first stone (misdiagnosed of course) in the early seventies when I had started to eat an Ornish style high carb low fat grain based vegan diet. (I had my first attack of gout too, also misdiagnosed). I dutifully continued eating “low fat” albeit with meat until I had developed over a hundred stones which it took five years to get diagnosed and then removed, and of course this was blamed on “eating too much fat”.

        Not just obesity but no end of metabolic diseases have exploded since Keys, and yet despite all the large and growing science to the contrary this is still being blamed on fat, and now also meat. The sugar tax is a sleight of hand intended to focus us away from grains and “heart healthy” vegetable oils – yes sugar is A factor but certainly not THE factor.

        Many doctors and most dieticians are too young to have known a time before obesity, diabetes etc. became so prevalent. Long ago Michael Eades suggested watching Woodstock and other movies with crowd scenes from the seventies and earlier to see what the population actually looked like.

        There are still fit healthy old folks around these parts, you find them in the butchers, the greengrocers and the farm shops, but they are now dying of old age, from the eighties to over 100. When they are gone will they be replaced? Well there are a LOT of people now eating their healthy “fad diets” but we are probably outnumbered by vegans especially in the younger generation. Things do not look good for the future.

      2. Andy S

        chris c, agree that sugar tax could be a distraction from GM corn flake breakfast, GM soybean oil, HFCS, aspartame, glyphosate, low fat food recommendations, junk foods, etc..

  56. Anne O'Neil

    THANK YOU!! This is precisely what I have been saying since the first time I heard Jamie Oliver speak about trying to get a sugar tax introduced in the UK. I would personally prefer to eat sugar and know what it can do to me than consume artificial sweeteners and have no real idea of the damage it could be doing to me. Always the voice of wisdom Dr Kendrick, well done!

  57. John Tye

    Addictive combinations of excessive sugar and fat in processed foods, snacks and confectionary, lead to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, tooth decay… and more. Manufacturers of these toxic ‘foods’ need severe penalties and disincentives. Not ‘nanny-state’ but protection… DO NO HARM

  58. trikebum

    “Maybe we should just tax protein as well and be done with it.”

    Yes! There is a movement about to tax good nutrient-dense red meat, which is already expensive.

    Soon only the rich will be able to eat healthy…

    1. Bill In Oz

      That is your fear Trikebum.. But it is a pretty unlikely one.. Only extremist veganists want to put a tax of red meat… And they are just a tiny noisy mainly young female sect.

      1. AnnaM

        I think you’re dreaming, Bill. They may be small, but they are growing and they have a loud voice. No doubt it is loud because there is some real money and power behind them. Look at the transgender thing. Supposed to be one in about 300 people but they are turning everything upside down, including the military.

      2. Bill In Oz

        AnnaM, I suggest you are being a little alarmist at least from an Australian perspective. Here vegetarians & vegans constitute just 5% of the population..by the census in 2016…

        These are however zealots and noisy people..And it seems from my interactions with a few of them, that overwhelmingly they are young early 20’s impressionable females…And occasionally pollies here make the mistake of listening to them.But then the balance swings back again..

        Also one of the interesting things I notice here is that these veganists tend to become more normal as they marry and have children..

        I suspect the same process occurs in the USA & the UK

      3. Andy S

        Hi AnnaM, diets can feminize males. Very few men have hairy chests anymore. Is this a desirable trend? Might have something to do with sugar consumption.

      4. chris c

        You don’t get out much do you Bill? (grin)

        Militant vegans troll pretty much every blog and especially Twitter accounts. They have influenced the updated “food pyramids” in Belgium, Holland France and Canada so far. As Anna M points out they are backed by large sums of money. Sugar, Coke, Cornflakes, Soy oil, etc. all vegan. By a strange coincidence all “foods” that are cheap to buy and can be hugely marked up, unlike say meat or dairy.

      5. Bill In Oz

        Chris C, are you trying to provoke me ?

        Ummmm ! I’ll stick to facts.. I do indeed get about and am pretty well traveled as well.. I guess I probably do -600ks a week what with work, dancing, shopping etc.. I rarely meet any vegans apart from a few that i know socially.

        In my home town of 20,000 + people there are numerous cafes, restaurants, pubs etc ( 30 all up ) But just ONE is vegan themed..But it offers meat dishes ( like chicken ) so it can make enough money to survive..

        As for TWITTING.. Time was when twitting was something done by small birds.And so wee had TWITS who we all regarded as brainless but harmless idiots..And so I do not twit or twitter at all…
        I suggest neither should you..It seems to annoy you…which is not good for your heart… 🙂

      6. chris c

        You missed my point. Yes vegans are few in number but very well organised and financed. They have the ear of the very highest level at the WHO and the UN, and most dietetic organisations and other “health charities” go out of their way to champion vegetarian and even vegan diets, including to babies and children, while warning about the “extreme dangers” of omitting “entire food groups” – when said food groups are grains. I suspect some of them no longer see meat as a food.

        They are still championing Ancel Keys as a genius, along with the diet heart hypothesis and the lipid hypothesis.and the “plant based” doctors claims that meat causes diabetes as well as cancer.

        Then there’s this


      7. Bill In Oz

        No I did not miss your point Chris..But you may have missed mine.
        The veganists are a small mainly young female sect. Yes that’s right ‘SECT’.
        Yet another sect trying to convert and save the world. And anything that can help as propaganda is used in the religious campaign.
        There is no way that reason can persuade them to see how others see them. And there is no point in even engaging with conversation with them

  59. smartersig

    I think you are rather naive to believe that Government is not involved in social engineering. This example is just a direct, in your face example which I happen to think would be for the good. If nothing else it raises awareness of sugar and any tax raised can be used to treat those who ignore it. It has also had positive effects in Mexico. Raise the tax on sugar and lower it on vegetables

  60. Göran Sjöberg

    Funny that no-one here brings up the fact that two food items, sugar and refined flour, were used by colonialists to corrupt indigenous peoples and get them addicted to our “modern food” and at the same time rapidly turned them as sick as we are. This is a fact well documented by Weston Price almost a hundred years ago. Gary Taubes also dwells on this fact.

    1. Göran Sjöberg

      I realize that if what I here refer to really happened “everywhere” is true, which I think it is, it should also constitute a “Popperian refutation” to any claim that sugar and refined flour are innocent items in relation to our health, especially when comparing with the few healthy indigenous individuals who succeeded in keeping to their traditional eating habits.

      A “caveat” here could be what Weston Price often stressed in his comprehensive research on this issue, the absence or presence of important micro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Fat soluble vitamins was his main concern so butter from free ranging grazing cattle was his proven remedy for sick children.

      From the principle of caution I today live with a broad brush sweeping out almost all carbs and bringing in a plethora of vitamins and minerals together with large amounts of healthy fats, i.e. fats from the animal kingdom (not industrial raised) and avoiding the vegetable oils except from olives and coconuts.

      1. Gary Ogden

        Göran Sjöberg: Excellent point. I suspect that the lack of essential nutrients in modern diets plays a much bigger role in the poor state of health in populations worldwide than the excess consumption of sugar and flour, and that there is an epigenetic effect of this which further afflicts the offspring and their offspring, and so on. Combined with all the dangerous chemicals freely used, all the pharmaceuticals and vaccination, the human species is doomed.

      2. chris c

        Yes agreed. If the sugar tax was used to subsidise healthy vegetables and especially meat and dairy it would be a less bad thing.

        Important to note that although subsidies are “paid” to farmers they are actually passed straight to the foodlike substance manufacturing industry in the form of reduced prices, often below the cost of production, ie. wheat.

  61. Linda Collier

    Over time we have added more and more sugar to food so that we’ve reached a point where more sugar tastes much the same as a bit less. When baking there are massive amounts of sugar in recipes. I always put half the sugar in the recipe or even less and nobody ever seems to notice in my family and friends. Over time if you reduce sugar intake you then notice if something is very sweet.

    1. Stephen T

      Linda, that’s true. Chocolate that’s 90% cocoa tastes sweet to me but bitter to my sugar junkie niece.

  62. Old fogey

    I am surprised that no one has brought up the issue as to whether we might find out some years down the road that sugar is actually not as bad for you as we currently assume. Remember all the other things that were considered “bad” by the “scientific consensus” – eggs, butter, animal fats – that we subsequently learned were much better for us than what the geniuses of the time recommended take their place.

    Dr. Kendrick is absolutely right. The might of the state should not be used in such a fashion. What we ingest as a food-stuff should be solely the decision of the individual based on his sense of his own well-being. Sometimes, it is true, our bodies lead us in the wrong direction, but I tend to believe my body more than I listen to the current crop of “experts,” and, blessedly, I seem to be doing all right.

    I wish all of you good health and peace of mind.

    1. AH Notepad

      Old Fogey, as one example, there is VAT on biscuits, but not cakes, what are we going to do about this wicked discrimination?

  63. epipeman

    Pure, white and deadly.
    My concern would be that if we allow regulation of sugar then next on the list will be regulation of fat.
    it’s a little bit like suggesting that eating eggs will push up your total cholesterol level.

  64. Martin Back

    In an effort to consume a healthier form of sugar, I bought a block of jaggery or palm sugar. It’s made of cane juice boiled down to evaporate the water with no further refinement. It resembled a block of compressed dates with the texture and taste of crystallized honey mixed with molasses.

    The taste is probably too strong and molasses-y for most people, but I loved it. I didn’t put it in tea or coffee, but I dug it out with a spoon and ate it straight from the pack. Eventually I realized it wasn’t doing my teeth or my insulin levels any good, and dumped the remaining jaggery and never bought another pack.

  65. Miguel

    “Science, persuasion and education are what I like. These are slow, frustrating and prone to interference by politics, money, stupidity and dogma. But in the end, scientific truth will win.”
    Introduction to your next book, perhaps? Please do not save it for a tombstone…

    1. Vlad

      Quote from the article ‘Australia is now one of the fattest nations on Earth. Sixty per cent of us are overweight or obese, and by 2025 that figure will rise to 80 per cent.’ But hey, at least it has a low smoking rate and was the first country in the world to introduce plain packaging for tobacco (victory, hurrah 🙂 ) Btw, I couldn’t find raw data lung cancer incidence for 2000, only 2012 and 2018 (11280 cases vs 12741 – 13% increase)
      All the references to Big Tobacco in the article should signal to anyone where the anti-sugar fanatics are going –> prohibition. If someone really thinks they’ll stop at sugar tax on SSBs, I have a smoking section in a restaurant to sell you. 🙂 And if you think your organic bananas are safe from any interference because they’re natural, unprocessed food, take a look at a box of Cuban cigars covered in ‘plain packaging’.

    2. Gary Ogden

      Bill in Oz: Thanks for the link. This is the way it is the world over. Industry has entirely captured government. By the way, the garlic harvest has begun. Early! Scapes mid April!

  66. Mathilde

    South Africa has recently introduced a sugar tax, claiming to only think of the health of the population. The main reason for the tax is more government revenue, blatantly. Also in other countries, the food taxes are more about money than actually about health.

    1. Jean Humphreys

      Not just fat people. I still chuckle at the Cardiac Support Nurse I was “helped” by in 1997 taking a swig from her can of diet Coke – she said it tasted nasty, but what could one do. I refrained from mentioning water! No she was not fat.

  67. athenesophia

    Okay, so things containing large amounts of sugar now cost more – you know what’ll happen? People will start over-consuming starch because, y’know, the NHS says that starchy carbs are healthy (the eat ‘well’ plate, as everyone here knows, is more than 2/3rds comprised of them).

    Simple sugars are NOT, in my opinion, the problem; the vast majority of the population knows that they’re not good – but you ask anyone for their idea of a ‘healthy’ breakfast – and almost everyone will reply something along the lines of “cereal, toast and a glass of juice”. I was trying to make a Twitter acquaintance understand this the other day (I failed miserably). Her breakfast usually consists of Oatibix, a sliced banana, skimmed milk and a coffee. (As a side note, please bear with me, I’m feeling very brain fogged today – that’s what happens when your body has decided it’s no longer going to allow you to eat the high fat diet you used to eat).

    I was trying to explain to her (since I’ve been stuck here, I’ve been attempting to teach myself basic biochemistry as it’s a subject that’s always fascinated me) that her Oatibix was sugar just like her banana and the milk; I tried to explain that ‘complex’ carbohydrates were simply comprised of hundreds – or even thousands – of simple carbohydrates. The problem is – and I’m sure it isn’t unique to her – is that when people hear the word ‘sugar’ they picture a bag of granulated or Demerara – that’s sugar. A bowl of cereal isn’t sugar, because it doesn’t LOOK like sugar, it’s grainy.

    The NHS says that starchy carbs are healthy (and, as I said before, the eat ‘well’ plate is 2/3rds starchy carbs), so people will start eating more starchy carbs – and the nation will be just as fat – if not fatter – than before.

    Nothing will change until the NHS realises – or admits (yes, I’m that cynical) that the eat ‘well’ plate is obesogenic. If it was REALLY concerned about the nation’s health it would stop demonising healthy foods. Look at the increase in veganism – that’s the NHS’s doing (I had a GP who was a raw, macrobiotic vegan. She wasn’t when I first started seeing her, but she wanted to lose weight. I can recall her lunches (she kept her lunchbox on top of her filing cabinet) they usually consisted of some kind of pasta salad, veggie crisps (I mean crisps that aren’t potato), an Innocent smoothie, and an apple). If you’re trying to lose weight, pasta is probably the worst thing to be eating – but you’d never know that from the NHS’s annual ‘drop a stone for summer’ plan!

    The ‘sugar tax’ is a smokescreen (not the correct word, but me have non-working brain!) to hide the elephant; the elephant is, of course, the eat ‘well’ plate. Hopefully sooner rather than later, there’s going to come a point when it’s impossible to ignore.

    I’m not advocating taxing anything because, as Malcolm has already said, the government can go do one but, if there HAD to be a tax, then a starch tax would prove FAR more efficacious.

    The epithet ‘The Nation That Loves To Ban Stuff For No Reason’ (as we appear to be known in parts of the US and Oz) isn’t one we should be proud of. I’m a socioanarchist – which means I’m a libertarian (in some ways. Farage calls himself a libertarian, and he wants to repeal our gun laws and bring back hanging). I am of the school that nothing should be illegal unless absolutely necessary. We have FAR too many laws in this country; more laws necessitates more plod. Rudd slashed plod funding before she resigned. I actually agree with that in one sense because there are far too many crimes. Repeal all our drugs legislation and you won’t need as many police. QED.
    And I’ve strayed off-topic again (this is why I don’t have my own blog – I find it impossible to stay on one subject for more than a couple of paragraphs).

    1. barovsky

      Not true. What will happen is that the manufacturers will reduce the size of the product but charge the same price for it. This happens all the time anyway. It’s all about profit.

    2. Martin Back

      You can’t tax starch. All the ethnic foods are starch — rice, couscous, noodles, maize, etc etc. There will be howls of protest.

      Which makes me wonder, how did mankind manage to survive on a starchy diet? Maybe it’s not so bad after all.

      1. shirley3349

        If you are a poor farmer, working from dusk to day in the fields without modern machinery, you will burn off all the energy from the starch in the various grains. Indeed you will probably burn off much of the protein as well, unless you can also afford high fat foods.
        The main problems arise eating such a diet, when you adopt a more sedentary way of life.

    3. Craig E

      @athenesophia well done for looking into the Biochemistry and you make some excellent points. Sugar means different things to different people and therein lies a major problem. Those that argue fructose is the problem might not have a problem with starch. For those that think all carbs are evil then starch is bad. No one really ever mentions galactose which is half of the milk sugar lactose (I know a lot of people who drink a lot of milk). With regards to the eat badly breakfast you describe it’s funny that most of the essential nutrients in the cereal and bread are there due to fortification. The only point of disagreement I have is that the eat badly breakfast is only obesogenic to the extent that people overeat. Carbs in and of themselves are not obesogenic. Taubes commissioned two Randomised Controlled Trials under the NuSi banner that clearly refute the carbohydrate/insulin hypothesis.

    4. AnnaM

      I think this is an extremist position and not even true. To be sure we humans probably shouldn’t be eating too many starchy foods, but to equate them with sugar is pretty ridiculous. Lots of healthy cultures eat mainly starchy foods. They are thin and fine. Look elsewhere.

      1. Bill In Oz

        Surely Malcolm, the rate at which this happens is important. Pure sugars such as Corn syrup, maple syrup, white sugar, icing sugar etc. all undergo this very rapidly and so cause blood glucose spikes & insulin spikes.

        On the other hand carbohydrate food which have not been process ( refined ? ) so completely and also had fibre removed. go through the process much slower..

        The speed at which the process happens is important. to health.

      2. Martin Back

        Starch = glucose = “sugar”

        It is a great pity that the word “sugar” could mean cane sugar aka sucrose, or it could mean glucose aka dextrose, depending on context. Sometimes one gets confused as to precisely which is meant.

        It is rather like “ascorbic acid” could mean L-ascorbic acid aka vitamin c, or D-ascorbic acid aka erythorbic acid, or a mix of the two, depending on context.

        One word, one meaning should be the rule in technical discussions.

      3. Craig E

        The word sugar is used in different contexts and that does confuse people. However during digestion all carbs are broken down into glucose, fructose or galactose. Glucose can be metabolised by all cells. Fructose and galactose are primarily metabolized by the liver. Glycemic index is a measure of the comparative effect on blood glucose of different carbohydrate containing foods where glucose is at 100. It is interesting that many starchy foods have a higher glycemic index than 100. Sucrose (table sugar) is only 63. Just out of interest what definition of sugar is used for the sugar tax in the UK?

  68. susydoo

    Hi Malcolm

    Enjoyed your blog on sugar tax and I agree wholeheartedly with your view – hate a nanny state but also sweeteners – these mutli-national companies are not going to be handing over a whole tonne of money to the government they will just be replacing their profits by feeding the nation with pretend healthy fizzy drinks like Coca Cola’s green label coke – although they have now scrapped this ha ha. Ingredients below:


    The list of ingredients is carbonated water, cane sugar, caramel color, caffeine, phosphoric acid, and stevia. Coca-Cola Life can be compared with Pepsi True, which also uses sugar and stevia as a sweetener.

    Anyway, not going to rant on too long suffice to say you always offer a measured argument and we love it here at Yes to Life. Do you mind if we signpost and use your blog on our platform – where it is health and potentially cancer related?

    Let me know and thank you


    Sue De Cesare
    Executive Director

    Did you know we run talks, seminars and conferences? Check out our latest events here.


    020 3222 0587

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  69. Colin Rosenthal (@colinrosenthal)

    While I’m not in fundamental disagreement with that you write here, I can’t help thinking that if “artificially sweetened” drinks are causing Alzheimer’s then it must be some _specific_ artificial sweetening agents that are responsible. It can hardly be the case that the mere “artificiality” of a sweetening agent is the main risk factor. That would be playing into paranoia about “chemicals”, which I don’t think is particularly helpful.

    In fact, I think most diet drinks are sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame K, so maybe that’s where the danger lies? But what about Stevia? Stevia is a refined plant product, and no more “artificial” than sugar.

    1. Gary Ogden

      Colin Rosenthal: As I understand it, stevia, while sweet, does not create a glucose spike in the blood as does sugar in its various forms.

  70. Bill In Oz

    Please pardon Dr K for this off topic comment !

    @Gary, thanks for the link to Judith Curry’s website…Very interesting !

    I did a search on it for Australia & the climate change debate.. And got this major article about the Great Barrier Reef..

    But in there is also a discussion of the problems with science, relicating results and peer reviewing.

    And interestingly I had never seen this before even though I keep an eye out for such articles.. And that speaks to attempts to censor the debate in the MSM here in Oz.


    1. Gary Ogden

      Bill in Oz: That’s right. Corals are amazingly resilient, and have survived eons of ice ages and interglacials. Alarmism about the Great Barrier Reef is akin to the National Geographic cover showing our Statue of Liberty up to her boobs in seawater. Propaganda. I was a member and subscriber for 38 years until I realized it had become a Murdoch-owned propaganda rag. I can understand vaccine-injury censorship, since there are vast sums being made from them, and they are fulfilling WHO’s goal of population reduction. But I don’t understand how vast sums can be made from global warming mitigation. Al Gore has become moderately wealthy from it, but nothing like Gates, who is the main WHO vaccine pusher in poor countries.

      1. AH Notepad

        Ha! Bill Gates, leagalised drugs dealer. Still India told him to sling his polio hook. They have enough trouble with vaccine induced diseases. They don’t want more.

      2. Bill In Oz

        Gary, I don’t accept ‘the Murdoch owned propaganda rag’ remark. Here the only major daily to question AGW is part of the Murdoch empire. And come to think of it, so is Fox news where that link was published…

        I suggest it depends on the character of the editorial team of the newspaper, website, magazine etc.

    2. Janet

      Malcolm, I agree that the “State” should keep it’s fingers out of our purses / treat us as intelligent beings and give up on being a ‘Nanny’
      However, Big Food has long ago beaten Big Brother in getting into our heads….and convincing us what is Good For Us. According to Big Busines. . .
      I just see a sugar Tax (actually, should tax artificial sweeteners at the same rate) as being a defense against Big Fizzy Drinks / Big Food and nothing to do with ‘Health’ ; and everything to do with our respective National Health Systems PAYING for treating their damage!

      Ever wondered why – especially in the US – ‘Lo-Fat’ milk is so heavily promoted as being ‘Good for You’? – Pushed by Big Milk Business as much as the ‘Govt. Health Industry !
      Invert your view, and the removed cream IS the “cream” $$$$ with the watery milk merely a by-product.
      Selling ANY of this waste product is Bonus Time!

      Skim is marketed as “Healthy” when in fact it’s not. One brand down here that I checked today, has MORE ‘sugar’ in the content label than Full Cream milk.
      Same with cottonseed oil, which is a waste product of cleaning the cotton boll. It’s a nuisance to dispose of… so why not sell it as a highly desirable (“Healthy”) FOOD. ? Bonus time !
      Do you see a pattern there ?
      – It’s all about the Money, stupid!

      1. Bill In Oz

        Och Aye Janet !
        And 90% of the cotton grown here is GMO’d.
        So who knows what that altered seed oil will do to us long term

  71. Bill In Oz

    Back on topic ! This link from the ABC here in Oz lists 27 countries which have introduced a sugar tax plus states & cities in the USA…

    I think the first was Mexico a few years ago.. Also 10 countries in the EU have a sugar tax with the UK as of this month. Among the EU countries are France, Spain Belgium, Ireland, Estonia, Hungary etc.

    So is there a body of evidence yet ?….. What has actually happened in these countries ? Has the sky fallen in ? Has sugar been banished from their diets ? Has obesity started to collapse ?

    Plenty of us have voiced opinions on this. But who has studied the evidence ?

    Does anyone have any answers ?

    1. Craig E

      @Bill yes I am intrigued at what is/will happen over time in countries that have adopted a sugar tax. The theory goes something like…consumption of sugar should drop over time and so should many of the problems attributed to sugar. However, no-one really knows what the safe level of sugar consumption is. Anyway, I gather it’ll be quite some time before we have enough data if the sugar taxes are quite new.

      1. Bill In Oz

        Surely, it’s time Dr K. that you wrote an informative accurate post about the dangers of artificial sweeteners !

      2. AH Notepad

        Bill in Oz, that will rattle a lot of cages of companies employing the scientsts who develop the sweeteners. Some might find that offensive, or at least financially inconvenient.

      3. Andy S

        Craig E, these questions should have been answered before implementing the sugar tax.
        Some results to monitor
        – Tax revenue vs reduction in sugar used for fizzy/sugary drinks $:kg
        – tax revenue vs sum of total waist circumference lost for entire population $: mm
        – differentiate and set it equal to zero to find if diabetes trajectory is affected
        – is there a switch to other sweeteners that might require taxing in future
        – increased stress and depression from withdrawal symptoms

      4. chris c

        Recently I read, via Ted Naiman that sucralose (splenda) does not degrade in the environment, rather disconcerting. I haven’t read any studies but find him generally credible.

    2. Bill In Oz

      I wrote the above commnet on April 30th …4 days ago.. But no one has replied with any factual information about what has happened in countries following the introduction of a sugar tax. That is disappointing and really means we all launching our opinions on this sunject with out. a factual basis..

      And yes I know there are long term effetcs which we still cannot possibly measure. But surely there are also other beneficial or deleterious effects which are already emerging and documneted.

      1. Andy S

        Bill in Oz, Mexico had to do something. Maybe they need to increase tax to get better results.

        “Mexico’s sugar tax appears to be having a significant impact for the second year running in changing the habits of a nation famous for its love of Coca-Cola, and will encourage countries troubled by obesity and contemplating a tax of their own.

        An analysis of sugary-drink purchases, carried out by academics in Mexico and the United States, has found that the 5.5% drop in the first year after the tax was introduced was followed by a 9.7% decline in the second year, averaging 7.6% over the two-year period.

        Mexico has high rates of obesity – more than 70% of the population is overweight or obese – and sugar consumption. More than 70% of the added sugar in the diet comes from sugar-sweetened drinks. Coca-Cola is particularly popular and holds a place in the national culture, while former president Vicente Fox was the regional head of the company.”

      2. Bill In Oz

        Malcolm, that implies that the UK should wait for the longer term results of Mexico’s sugar tax, before introducing a sugar tax in the UK. ….Ummmm

        I wonder what were the political ‘imperatives’ that lead to the sugar tax being introduced in the UK by a conservative party government ? ( By the way that is a very unlikely scenario here in Oz with our conservative coalition government. )

        This has not been discussed at all. And I confess I am completely ignorant of this aspect. I suspect here it would be done at a state level rather than a national level as that is where the constitutional authority to make such a law lies.

      3. Janet

        Bill, lets be honest and observe that while lowering ‘sugar’ ingestion and therefore improving Health of the Great Unwashed… it’s really a Medicare Levy by a different name.
        I’m supportive of taking money for that !
        Best of all, only the Sinners pay to stoke the fires of Hades. 🙂

      4. Bill In Oz

        Good grief Janet ! Are you trying ti be provocative also ?
        While I am amused by the way you have put this, I am perturbed by the puritan overtones…

        It’s not Hades in the possible afterlife which is the issue with sugar..It’s the known and well studied impacts in this life…
        CVD, Type 2 diabetes, Obesity not to mention rotten teeth, gum disease and bad breath..and the social isolation & mental stress that flows from all these things…

  72. Stephen T

    There isn’t a level playing field in the supermarket and we need much clearer labelling on food and drink. It takes a determined effort to avoid added sugar in food. Labels are designed to be difficult to read and some are plain misleading.

    I was in Sainsbury’s this morning and, after reading Dr Kendrick’s article, I took a close look at some of the food labels. I picked up a tin of tuna which had added sugar. A meat dish had added sugar. Why on earth is sugar added to meat and fish? It’s not for my benefit.

    The result of this sugary adulteration of our food is a growing generation who expect almost everything to taste sweet because almost everything does. My niece has PCOS and is trying to reduce her sugar intake but thinks yoghurts without sugar taste disgusting. The chocolate she’s used to is 55% sugar and always on offer. He taste buds have been completely warped by a ‘normal’ diet that is packed with added sugar.

    Food manufacturers actively resist clearer labelling. I heard a food industry spokeman saying, with a straight face, that giving sugar amounts in teaspoons was misleading! Cereal manufacturers give sugar amounts (ignoring the glucose) for a 30g portion when the average child’s portion is double that size.

    Those who think education will resolve this are going to need to live for a very long time to see any real progress. How many obese diabetics can a society bear before there’s not enough healthy people left to foot the bill.

    1. AH Notepad

      Yes, everything tasting sweet, such as those insipid Brussel sprouts for wimps. I want proper bitter sprouts.

      1. Bill In Oz

        Stephen Y, there is a way to avoid the problem: do not go anywhere near the central ailses of the supermarket. That is where all the sugared up stuff is in display..But you need a magnifying glass to read the tiny tiny print…

      2. Frederica Huxley

        I think that AH Notepad is referring to the fact that vegetables, and some fruits have been bred to be far sweeter, and therefore far more insipid in taste, not to mention the loss of antioxidants and other nutrients.

      3. AH Notepad

        Frederica you are correct, thank you for clarifying it. Interesting how people interpret relatively simple posts.

      4. Bill In Oz

        Gary unfortunately that is not an option for me. There are not enough alternative places to get my shopping and my lovely Filipina wife would leave me if deprived of shopping in the mall… 😦

      5. chris c

        You noticed that too? I bought some sprouts from the supermarket because both the veg shops had sold out and I couldn’t be bothered to drive to one of the farm shops. They were so sweet that I suspected they had been washed in sugar water.

    2. Craig E

      Stephen T you raise a really good point. I believe it marries up with Stephan Guyenet’s work. Although I haven’t read his ‘Hungry Brain’ book, his blog posts from memory are about food reward and overeating that results from the food industry creating foods that are irresistible in taste (if anyone has read the book would love some feedback).

      Perhaps we have gone from a species that ate to live to one that lives to eat. Food company profits benefit from us eating more than we need.

      Someone also recently commented about our obsession with cooking shows and the effect it has on our eating habits.

      If all of our food tasted bland perhaps we would solve the obesity problem. Unfortunately I am right this minute thinking about home made supreme pizza…d’oh

      1. chris c

        I lost all respect for Guyenet when he became a Professional researcher and promptly deleted a bunch of his old blog posts, along with all the replies, then started to attack Taubes to the extent he actually claimed insulin reduced weight.

        I concluded he was employed to research how to make more addictive foods on behalf of the foodlike substance manufacturing industry rather than improve health. So far I have not been disappointed. The concept of the brain overriding the endocrine system makes no evolutionary sense.

        Frankly I find my food so “rewarding” that after I am finished eating I don’t need to eat again for a long time. Oh wait, that is satiating, not rewarding (confused)

      2. Craig E

        Thanks Chris C for the response. I guess at the end of the day there are very few people who aren’t influenced by their pre-conceived beliefs and hone in on anything that supports their views. Taubes is no different. Whilst I like to think that I don’t have biases I am probably in the same camp, although I try to look at both sides of a nutritional argument before forming a view. However having studied Biochemistry in my younger days and having kept up a keen interest since I am at least in a position to call BS on some of the observational and epidemiological research that isn’t backed up at the biochemical level.

      3. chris c

        In a way I have an advantage over you in that I have a glucometer and ain’t afraid to use it. It very definitely agrees with Taubes and disagrees with Guyenet. as do the ensuing lipid panels showing a massive reduction in insulin resistance – trigs/HDL went from nearly seven to less than unity (UK numbers) and have remained that way for thirteen years now. N = thousands, probably by now hundreds of thousands. What do well controlled diabetics have in common? They are routinely excluded from studies so there is no “evidence based medicine” on the subject, except for Virta and a bunch of other studies which are ignored by The Annointed.

        An interesting contrast – David Unwin posted some disconcerting results from his use of a Freestyle Libre. Meanwhile Giles Yeo posted some equally disconcerting results but claimed that since he was “not diabetic” all this proved was that nondiabetics’ blood glucose also spiked after eating carbs. Er Giles, I have some bad news for you . . .

        Actually I found that wheat spiked my glucose worse than sugar. Probably because of the quantity, and the wheat germ agglutinin. Perhaps a wheat tax would be a good plan . . .

  73. Göran Sjöberg

    I would like to be optimistic about the future, i.e. to see an end to my own dystopia and an end to the corruption of the food and medicine industry.

    Today I received a newsletter from Uffe Ravnskov who presented an optimistic view based on this case with Aseem Malhotra address to the European Parliament as a turning point. I hope he is right.

    As he puts it in his newsletter:

    “Hopefully the well-known British cardiologist Aseem Malhotra may be able to stop the cholesterol madness. A few weeks ago he gave a long lecture in the European Parliament about the cholesterol and dietary madness assisted by Sir Richard Thompson, President of the Royal College of Physicians; the Dutch Professor Hanno Pijl and the progressive nutritionist Sarah Macklin.

    We, members of THINCS, have published a book named Fat and Cholesterol don’t cause heart attacks and Statins Are Not The Solution. Here you will find many chapters where some of us have documented the many frauds delivered by the food and the drug industry. You can buy the book directly from the publisher and on Amazon you can read comments about our book from 36 readers, 29 of whom haven given it 5 stars. “

  74. Roy Firus

    1.To Dr.Kendrick:Since you asked -my answer would be ” Yes. ”
    2.To Bill in Oz: a..My commentary was obviously a commentary on an already expressed
    opinion-it was not an offered first time opinion.
    b.You are correct . But I want to thank-you very much for your extremely important commentaries on the dangers of sugar ( defined for those needing one as sucrose in any form and /or glucose added to foods ) and especially for mentioning the absolutely brilliant Dr.John Yudkin whose books should be mandatory reading in every medical school if not simply in every school.

    1. Bill In Oz

      Yudlin coined the phrase “Pure white & deadly! ” and he wrote his book in 1969 I think.
      Even though completely true, it so threatened so many corporations and sugar farmers, that he was the subject of a vicious campaign of discreditation. Still the truth does not die. Lustig brought it back under our noses in the 2010’s

  75. AnnaM

    While it is true that all carbs do convert to sugar, I think it is a tad ridiculous to therefore claim that beans are the same as white table sugar. Obviously, that is not so. Nor is chewing coca leaves the same as smoking little white rocks of cocaine. It isn’t that “sugar” is bad, bad, bad. It is perfectly good within the context of a whole food that has nutrients in it. It’s a fuel. What’s bad is refining the stuff and then eating lots of it. White sugar gives the body nothing and steals nutrients just to digest it.

    Likewise, the fear of fructose is probably because the soft drink industry and others have begun to put vast quantities of it into our food. It is no doubt perfectly fine when eaten in fruit in quantities one might reasonably consume.

    I also think it a weird Eurocentric bias to claim our ancestors ate only rare and tart fruit. Try going south to India and Africa and see the many very sweet fruits that grow there. And, being warm year round, fruit was usually in season.

    I don’t think we need to worry about fruit. We do need to worry about eating vast quantities of cocaine powder-type foods like white flour and white sugar and fructose from GMO corn.

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      I think your comment is excellent. Sugar isn’t bad, too much sugar is bad. How much is too much. That depends on the person, their physiology, the amount of exercise they do etc. etc. For example, glucose does not get converted to fat in the liver, if you empty your glycogen stores every day.

    2. Gary Ogden

      AnnM: Wise words. I recall from the Czech study, linked to in an earlier comment, that oranges are associated with a lower rate of CVD. I have one each morning, though they’re almost gone. Then I switch to grapefruit, until the damn squirrels have stolen them all. I eat berries each day, too. Fruit good, Twinkies bad.

    3. Craig E

      AnnaM you are right….some carb containing foods are nutritionally rich…and some are literally just energy.

      I spend a lot of time trying to educate my children about avoiding sugary drink for the reason that other than energy they give you nothing. It’s trying to get the sardines down their throats that is the problem lol.

      1. Janet

        … My sardines are CHILLI infused Goes down a treat and I love them!
        -pity about them swimming in “vegetable oil”.
        – Win some – lose some. :/

      2. Andy S

        Janet, I buy sardines packed in water then add cayenne pepper, turmeric and EV olive oil. This avoids the GM soybean oil.

      3. Gary Ogden

        Andy S and Janet: The only tinned seafood I eat routinely are smoked oysters. It says “olive oil” on the package, but I don’t trust it. I completely drain them, then pat off all the oil I can. If I do buy sardines, I only buy the ones packed in water, which are easily available here.

  76. AnnaM

    Bill in Oz,

    I don’t think anyone has reacted to the tax as though their drug of choice was being taken away. Some people actually see good reason not to have the government telling people what to do. There are just as many people who would like government to tax the meat or maybe even the fat that you think are important to your health.

    So – do you think it ought to be illegal when my husband and I tap our maple trees and boil down the sap?

    1. Bill In Oz

      Ahhh ..Maple syrup ! Lovely stuff Anne..I remember it well on my pancakes during my time in the US..But I suggest all of us should take it only in limited quantities.. Whereas I got into it big time then.. Not good for me. 😦

      1. Göran Sjöberg

        Talking maple syrup and sweet addiction this reminds me of my cheating period following my MI when I decided that I could cheat once a week which coincided with the Thursday when the Swedish tradition prescibes pea soup and pancakes. The lure here were the pancakes served with jam and whipped cream at lunch at a good quality canteen restaurang nearby our aerospace company i Sweden.

        At our company we usually had a number of American guests in collaboration and who also joined up at this restaurant on Thursdays. What surprised me was though that these guys brought bottles with maple syrup into the restaurant and liberally soaked their large stacks of pancakes on their plates.

      2. Bill In Oz

        Goran my understanding was that pan cakes & maple syrup was a breakfast treat in the US & Canada…Not a lunch time thing…
        For reasons beyond my comprehension neither pan cakes or maple syrup have never really taken hold here in Oz.. Some one tried and started a chain of pancake parlour cafes. But they died after a little while…
        As as for me, the maple syrup sits in the pantry unused..Has done for about 8 years..It has a along shelf life !

  77. Den

    Sorry but I totally AGREE with the sugar tax. Sometimes, the ‘nanny state’ DOES need to kick in, otherwise we’d still be choking in smog, having our kids working down the mines, flying through the windscreen of cars, denying women the vote, smoking, and all sorts of other things. Left to themselves, unfortunately, people and corporations often do great harm, and other people (us, as a whole, i.e. society) have a right, even a duty, to try and stem the losses.

    Is the tax perfect? Of course not. Are artificial sweeteners 100% safe? Almost certainly not. Do we need better education on diet? Of course. etc. etc.

    But human behaviour is so complex that I don’t see how anybody, not even one of my heroes Dr Kendrick, can see the full effects of the new tax a couple of weeks in. Will the tax increase consumption of drinks laced with potentially harmful chemicals, and lead to an increase in diseases associated with them? It seems plausible, but then again, eating fat makes you fat, right? That sounds plausible too. The sugar tax could cause all manner of unexpected subtle changes in personal or corporate behaviour, e.g. a ‘safer’ alternative such as stevia might become universal.

    “First do no harm” is admirable, but unrealistic sometimes. A sugar tax does harm. Doing nothing does harm too.

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      I think many people would agree with your stance here. In fact it is clear that many people do. I think, though, that your examples are not exactly comparable. It is difficult to see how a sugar tax relates to women getting the vote? In most cases the State fought like mad to prevent women getting the vote. However, I do fully agree that the State does need to step in and pass laws on such things as children working down the mines, car safety, reducing smog and suchlike. Where we start to disagree would be on taxing/banning activities which can only harm the individual(s) concerned. Of course this is complex stuff about which philosophers have argued over thousands of years. I sit far more on the libertarian side of the argument.

      1. Errett

        When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind. C.S. Lewis

    2. Göran Sjöberg

      If you are a sugar addict which many, especially those trapped in the metabolic syndrome, are, I wonder how many of us who are able to make the profound personal decision to break with their “bad habits”. There are some similarities with alcohol addiction in my eyes.

      Is it just when you are at an intensive care unit you will get enough impetus to make a firm enough decision to be able to break away as in my own case?

      My step out of this swampland had certainly nothing to do with the price tag on the danish I consumed in abundance. Still I don’t think a tax on sugar is a bad idea since it sends a clear message into society, as with the tobacco, that it is about something “bad”. I believe that the social stigma that is already associated with all “sweet stuff” will be a strong driver towards better health on the population level. Btw. I stepped out of my bad smoking habits 40 years ago also for obvious health reasons and it had little to do with the horrendous price tag. Today smokers are almost persons non grata so there is evidently a tremendous social pressure – still people smoke.

      While Sweden (nanny state?) was first to develop and introduce the three point safety belts in cars and the mandatory obedience we are today slow on sugar tax and on banning the trans fats.

    3. Jennifer.

      Den. Looks like we are in a minority here. I am wholeheartedly in favour of a sugar tax. At least let us give it a try…..if shown to be futile, then it can be reversed. There is nothing to lose, and much to gain, potentially.
      I believe sugar does affect those who do not use it. The cost to the NHS of sugar damage to health, impacts on all members of society who foot the NHS bill, via general taxation.
      Ring-fencing income from sugar taxation is not suggested ( as we know, National Insurance Contributions never paid for the NHS from year dot, despite that being the aim).
      No….I am sticking to my guns on this one….if sweets had been made more expensive when I was a young mother, I would have had an argument to deny the children such rubbish. Instead, 40-50 years ago, we were told our physiology would deal with the excess sugar….how wrong that advice was.

      1. AH Notepad

        Jennifer, I think a sugar tax is ok, a problem will be the unintended consequences, either accidental, or as usual with governments, caused by incompetent decision making. I don’t mind people being told what to do, or not do, as long as it isn’t me being told. 😉

  78. Den

    My thinking about women getting the vote was more that people come up with all kinds of spurious arguments against change, and sometimes it does need a boot up the backside via the state. Look at the fuss about the plastic carrier bag tax a few years back. The sky didn’t fall in, and we all got on with it, massive benefits all round, and who is complaining about the tax now? Very, very few.

    With regards causing harm to the individual… well, the situation is usually far more complex. A heroin addict in theory harms only themselves, but in reality they steal to fund the habit, get really sick, etc. and society is affected by them harming ‘only themselves’. Sugar over-consumption affects us all. The sugar tax might increase dementia, but then again, given the complexity of human behaviour, it really might not. I say, try it.

    1. TS

      Mm….I think the foregoing of plastic carrier bags has made people feel they are doing something noble but it’s really just a drop in the ocean. I sometimes pluck up the courage to remove excess packaging at the checkout and leave it at the till – both in the UK and abroad. No one has ever reprimanded me for it (so far!)

  79. Martin Back

    I like yoghurt, but I only eat full fat plain yoghurt. Flavoured yoghurt tastes sickly sweet, and if they remove fat from the yoghurt I feel that I am not getting my money’s worth. The problem is, it has become virtually unobtainable here. The shelves are packed with various forms of low fat and fat free yoghurt, but no full fat yoghurt.

    This isn’t because full fat yoghurt is taxed. It is because most consumers will only buy low fat or fat free yoghurt.

    When I was a youngster there was no such product. Everything was full fat as a matter of course. I believe it is only since 1985 when the USDA advised people to switch to low-fat dairy in order to cut their fat intake that people started demanding it and producers started making it.

    And why did consumers start demanding low fat products? Because authority figures in white coats said it was good for them, and advertising backed up the message as producers realised a whole new market was opening up for them. Consumers were trained to think that they wanted these products.

    Which means consumers can be trained to want something else. Use a carrot and stick approach. Tax sugar as the stick.And use the tax money to pay for advertising to educate the consumer to stay away from sugary food. Eventually manufacturers will catch on that there’s a huge new market, and join in. Let the bandwagons roll!

    Incidentally, it seems the commercial dairies first remove all the fat from the incoming milk in cream separators. They then add it back to the milk in various proportions to make up full fat milk, 2% milk, etc, that conforms to government specifications. Any fat left over goes to make cream, butter, ice cream, or cheese.

    (I was wondering what happened to all the dairy fat removed from milk. I thought there might be a secret giant fat reservoir somewhere, or maybe they burned it in diesel engines, but it seems not.)

    1. AnnaM


      The tide is beginning to turn in the US. Now the stores may contain one brand of full fat yogurt and cottage cheese. But it is still difficult to find a full fat one that is not also crapified with sugar and vanilla and such. Low fat cottage cheese I find unpalatable.
      As for Stevia, unfortunately it is a dealbreaker for me. It tastes just like aspartame.

      1. shirley3349

        I like Greek 5% fat plain strained yoghurt with a few grams of Greek honey as a dessert.
        Try PURE sucralose powder as a sweetener, especially with fruit. I only need about 10 – 20 mg per serving, a mere trace. It has in effect no Calories, because about 90% is not absorbed at all and 10% is excreted unchanged in the urine. Any harm it may do seems to be minimal, mainly because one needs so little as it is so very sweet.

      2. AhNotepad

        I’ve seen the suggestion many times that regardless of the calories and sugar content, the sweetness will trigger the fat storing physiological response. I don’t understand the complexities, can anyone elaborate?

      3. JanB

        If you’re in the UK, Sainsbury’s does an own label “Authentic Greek Yogurt” with 15% fat content. It’s so wonderfully rich that it doesn’t need any sweetening agent at all. Just lob in some chopped up strawberries. To die for, as they say.

      4. shirley3349

        I tried to look up your point. There does seem to be some agreement that sweetness stimulates the appetite, so an unwary person may find themselves eating more carbohydrates to compensate, and so losing any benefit for weight or blood sugar control. But I have not found any evidence that sweetness causes weight gain if the dieter is monitoring their calorific intake and avoiding sugary and bulk carbohydrate foods.

    2. Stephen T

      Martin, the good news from the UK is that full fat quality yoghurts are easily available from a decent supermarket. I alternate between three different types of yoghurt – goats, coconut and Greek – and could buy at least another three or four varieties. The position on butter is as good or better, with a large range of quality butters. I counted 12 quality butters on one occasion.

      On the other hand, the shelves are still loaded full of yoghurts with added sugar. At least we have a choice, probably better than a few years ago.

  80. Andy S

    War on saturated fat and cholesterol to stop CVD was a failure, none of the generals have yet to admitt defeat. War on obesity/diabetes via sugar tax will also fail. Many scientists, politicians, dieticians, health professionals, educators will be gainfully employed in this battle. 50 years from now there will be another battle.

  81. David Bailey


    “In short, those who drank more artificially sweetened soft drinks were nearly three-fold more likely to have a stroke. In addition, they were very nearly three times as likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. This, most certainly, does not come under my definition of ‘first do no harm.’”

    This is an incredible result – but in view of all the ways these studies can be confounded (clearly it wasn’t randomly controlled), I am really interested in whether you felt that the result was likely to be sound, and also whether it was possible to determine which type of artificial sweetener was responsible.

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      I think a tripling of risk is something that has to be taken very seriously indeed. The Framingham study, which really underpins the entire cholesterol hypothesis was an observational trial and demonstrated a very weak association between cholesterol levels and CHD, but was used to drive a an entire world of cholesterol lowering. I would have to go back and check the figures, but we are talking 30 – 40% max.

      1. Gary Ogden

        Dr. Kendrick: I wonder if anyone has re-analyzed the Framingham data regarding cholesterol, as Port, et al. did for blood pressure. It strikes me that if there is an association, however weak, between cholesterol levels and CVD, might it be driven by those under 60? It is clear that past 60 high cholesterol is protective.

  82. Charles Gale

    Off topic hijack of sugar but it’s a CVD hijack…

    Regulars here will be familiar with Dr Matthias Rath’s research on CVD and its causes (it’s vit C deficiency for Dr Rath) but I’ve just spotted a new talk from Dr Rath – March 2018 in Cyprus. Here’s the link:

    Also, regulars here will be familiar with the contents of his talks.


    there is plenty of new stuff here (e.g. new slides, topics, evidence to back up his assertions) to watch.

    The talk is called “Breakthrough towards the natural control of CVD” and lasts 1hr and 22 mins.

    Here are a few my highlights:

    5 mins: Topics on the agenda are (1) heart attack/CAD and (2) strokes and time allowing – it doesn’t – (3) heart failure (4) arrythmia (5) high blood pressure and (6) diabetic circulatory problems

    16 mins: arterial plaque builds up over years and have to try to stop it.

    47 mins: reversibility of plaque. Animals were fed a high fat diet and then split into 4 groups:
    low vit C – plaques increase
    high vit C – beginnings of decrease of deposits
    vit C plus lysine – further decrease
    vit C plus lysine plus vit B3 (niacin) – most efficacious. Reversed by 85%

    No drugs will do this

    50 mins: But this was an animal study. What about clinical studies on humans? They did this using CT scans – the CAC score. Dr Rath does admit it’s a long and time consuming process to halt

    55 mins: Dr Rath caveats reversing advanced arterial lesions

    56 mins: is it possible to test production of collagen in the cells of the body? Proline is introduced on the slide here.

    58 mins: arrythmia introduced here

    1 hr: heart failure introduced here

    1 hr 4 mins: still on the topic of heart failure, CoQ10 mentioned to increase heart strength/pumping and energy production

    1 hr 7 mins: CAD and calcium channel blockers. Blockers can increase risk of heart attacks. In addition to blocking calcium, they also block vitamin C getting into cells.

    Plenty of other stuff to scroll through.

    I always find Dr Rath easy to understand, likewise the slides and also useful analogies (e.g. the motor car and ts engine) to aid understanding. There is science and testing to back up his assertions too.

    Whatever the cause of your CVD, I think there is plenty to take away from here to strengthen our defences if nothing else.

    On that note, in addition to vitamin C, you will also spot on the slides (his micronutrients?) lysine, vit B3, proline and CoQ10.

    Shame he didn’t mention any calcium scores to give an idea of what level plaque reversal started, and at what high level there is little reversal. A CAC score of over 400 is high. Were these people included in the trial?

    1. Göran Sjöberg

      Charles – a great link – thank you!

      Well worth the time spent watching and listening.

      Everything Dr. Rath explains seems to fit well with what Malcolm also advocates.

      With all my nutritional supplements as “precaution” (not least my 15 grams of ascorbic acid / day) I understand that I am on “the right track”!

    2. Bill In Oz

      Charles, my thanks also for posting this link and for the detailed notes you provided of Dr Rath’s presentation..Indeed this is well worth watching and listening to…

      1. Bill In Oz

        It would seem that Vitamin C, CoQ10, Proline & Glycine are the key supplements to any CVD cure & avoidance ‘program’….

      2. Bill In Oz

        Bugger ! I missed one other item mentioned by DR Rath which seems important in healing CVD : B3 Niacin !

        In fact the chart presented by Dr Rath shows that the best results in reduction of arterial plaque came when B3 was part of the mix.

    3. Janet

      Charles, Another big Thanks for that video link.
      I’m buying my ascorbic/lysine/proline & CoQ10 in bulk, – filling my own capsules. 🙂

      1. Bill In Oz

        Janet, where do you source your bulk powers from here in Oz ? I need to reduce my vitamin costs and this is the easiest way I think.

  83. AH Notepad

    Have I misunderstood something? I am sure relative risk was something you cautioned against in “Doctoring Data”.

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Relative risks need to be understood for what they are – which is why I wrote the book. I am glad you were paying attention. Relative risks should not be used when the underlying risk is very small. 300% increase of 0.0000001 is not worth bothering about. 300% increase of 0.1, that is worth bothering about. CVA and Alzheimer’s are high absolute risk conditions.

  84. John Burton

    I’ve followed Malcom Kendrick’s exposure of medical nonsense and the dirty roles of Big Pharma/Food over the last few years and found myself agreeing with most of it.

    So I was sorry to see the ‘nanny state’ remarks here. On this logic fines for dangerous driving, laws against murder and rape, incitement to racial and religious hatred and the deliberate aldulteration of foods with dangerous substances should all be allowed because they interfere with ‘personal freedom’.

    The sugar tax outcome may well follow the path of increased use of artificial sweeteners but again, the logic is to allow food and drink companies to keep putting this muck in their products.

    If the case is so overwhelming on sweeteners then maybe something needs to be done to curb the powers of big business just like what has happened with tobacco.

    ‘Curbing the Epidemic: Governments and the Economics of Tobacco Control, The World Bank, 1999’

    With tobacco attacking the three As has worked well.

    Perhaps big business should be hit on ALL added sugars and sweeteners?

    They certainly seem to be killing more people than the uncontrolled gun-toters in the US.

    Anyway, keep up the good work.

    1. Martin Back

      I remember when seat belts became compulsory, one argument against them was that people would drive more recklessly because they believed they were safe, and so seat belts would actually make things worse.

      Fortunately, people turned out to be a bit more sensible than was assumed.

      1. Aileen

        Martin, I’m not so sure about that. John Adams has argued that the effect of the mandatory seat belt law was to redistribute the balance of risk to the detriment of those on foot or bicycle.

      2. Bill In Oz

        I am glad I live in a progressive country. In 1967 I was living in Melbourne, state of Victoria, population just over 2 million. The annual road death toll was if I remember correctly over 1400. Compulsory seat belts were introduced for Victoria in 1967 – the first jurisdiction in the world to make seat belts compulsory.

        In 2017 Victoria had a road toll of just over 300 despite there being a population now of over 5 million and vastly more vehicles that in 1967.

        Those figure speak for themselves. The words of an academic asserting that seat belts are no good, mean very very little by comparison.

      3. KidPsych

        That reminds me of a comment of an engineer, who, when asked how to make driving safer, suggested placing a sharp spike at the center of the steering wheel.

      4. Aileen

        It would be expected that road deaths would decrease over time, and seat belt use is only one of the many reasons for this. Clearly seat belts do help (a lot!) if you are in a crash but there is also the possibility that sometimes they might increase the chances of crashing in the first place. The concept of risk compensation suggests that some people wearing seat belts will drive just that little bit less carefully. It’s also the case that those who are most likely to suffer the consequences of this (mostly unconscious) shift in behaviour are pedestrians and cyclists because they are the most vulnerable.

        Professor Adams showed that following the introduction of the seat belt law in the UK, there was a shift so that road deaths involved proportionately more cyclists/pedestrians. This suggests that while there are many whose lives have undoubtedly been saved by the law, there have also been very many people who have died as a result of it. And many of those people have been outside cars. It’s those unintended consequences again.

        It’s a long time since I looked at the figures, but I do seem also to recall that each time a variant of the law has been introduced, the effects on the overall casualty statistics have been rather underwhelming.

      5. Bill In Oz

        Aileen I suggest that Adams has confused the effects of two different processes over the past 50 years..
        1: The number of vehicles on UK roads ( and roads here in Oz ) has increased vastly over the past 50 years. This is the cause of the increase in the number of accidents involving pedestrians.
        Meanwhile simultaneously
        2; The number of vehicles with seat belts has also increased so that they are now almost universal and used almost all the time.
        Association NOT causation !

      6. AH Notepad

        Aileen, whatever Adams showed, “proportionately more cyclists and pedestrians’ dying does not necessarily mean an increase. It can be caused by a reduction in deaths of vehicle occupants. Note: “proportionately”.

      7. JDPatten

        Over the almost hundred years since automobiles started to contend with each other as traffic here in the US, it’s been reported that traffic deaths per mile driven has been reduced by more than 90%. There’ve been innumerable changes to regulations concerning automobiles over those years. Innumerable advances and improvements in technology have been behind much of that regulation.
        I wonder what the actual increase of bicycle and pedestrian mishaps/deaths has been over those years.
        Perhaps this is the old moral paradox of the man and the railroad track switch…

      8. Martin Back

        I had a look at John Adams’s articles. I think it’s a case of ‘correlation is not causation’. If you can’t show that strapping on a seat belt turns a driver into a homicidal maniac, it’s hard to believe that drivers are causing more deaths to other road users.

        One might make the counter-argument that the feel of the seat belt is a constant reminder to drive more carefully.

        Of course, as driver deaths per crash diminish thanks to seat belts and air bags, the relative proportion of cyclist and pedestrian fatalities will rise, but that is a mathematical artifact, not a behavioral indicator.

        Incidentally, the legislators do consider cyclists and pedestrians. You might have noticed that cars have far more rounded fronts these days, where previously they had quite angular grills. There is an aerodynamic benefit, but it’s also a result of legislation. In an impact, the front of the car is required to scoop up a pedestrian or cyclist and throw them over the car, rather than plough into them and smash them.

        Incidentally also, my earliest memory is of a crash. I must have been about three years old. It was a rainy night and my father was lost, driving very slowly along an unfamiliar dirt road looking for our holiday lodging. My mother was in the passenger seat holding my little sister. I was standing up at the back. Suddenly a cyclist appeared from nowhere and veered into our path (he was probably drunk). The car hit the bike under the cyclist and he rolled up the bonnet and into the windscreen, which cracked. My dad slammed on the brakes and the cyclist rolled down the bonnet again and fell off the front. There was dead silence for a moment and I remember my father saying very softly, “Damn, damn, damn, damn,” then he got out of the car. I don’t remember what happened after that.

      9. Janet

        Alas Martin, not with multiple (…front/side/knee/feet/roof) airbags.
        Human nature them *LESS* safe for ‘some’ people….
        How so? you ask..
        Down here, one vehicle maker introduced optional air-bags part way through a certain model run. For the statistician, this is pure Gold… SAME car, with ONE difference – the air bag.

        Briefly, UN-bagged cars could seriously injure you at suburban-speed collisions.
        Bagged cars just gave you a fright in the same crash…
        But… they found Bagged cars killed more drivers in single-vehicle High Speed crashes, opposite to UNbagged cars… which, oddly enough, don’t seem to be driven so recklessly… (?)

        The kicker is… Air-bagged cars save the NHS /Medicare the cost$ of moderate to serious hospital treatments… and kill the stupid drivers…. the ones who argue with trees at 150mph / 240 km/h
        As the Great Man observes… “Who’d – a ‘thunk ?”

        Back to the drawing board… for more Unintended Consequences from a Good Idea.

      10. Martin Back

        As an obligate pedestrian (I don’t own a motor car), I won’t be pushing for the repeal of seat belt and air bag laws, even if they make life on the pavement safer.

        Firstly, because I don’t believe it would make a significant difference to pedestrian deaths.

        Second, because I don’t have to pay for airbags and seat belts. The individual motorist has to.

        Third, if the total number of deaths of pedestrians and motorists combined is reduced, there is a net benefit to society.

        Fourth, some of my best friends are motorists. I am happy to take a bit of extra risk if it makes them safer and spares me from attending funerals, which I hate.

      11. Aileen

        Oh dear. You’re all absolutely right and of course the proportion of cyclist/pedestrian deaths would go up as the number of car occupant deaths decreased. However cyclist and pedestrian deaths did increase in the UK in 1983 (by 13% and 8% respectively) as did rear seat passengers (+27%). There was a net decrease in deaths for pedestrians, cyclists and car occupants of -3.6% (-164)

        Despite the optimistic claims made for the protective effects of seat belt compulsion, both before and after the law was passed, no-one who has studied the matter seems to have been able to find much of an measurable overall effect. The Isles Report, commissioned by the UK Department prior to the parliamentary debate on compulsion and then promptly buried before anyone got wind of it, studied the evidence from eight European countries and concluded that compulsory seat belt legislation “has not led to a detectable change in road death rates”. A decade or so later a chap called Evans reviewed all the global evidence and found that the UK was the only country where a fatality reduction effect (in front seat car occupants: 20%) could be measured directly. Everywhere else, any effect was too small to be measured. And with regard to the effect on pedestrians and cyclists, in 2009 the director of PACTS (the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety – very pro-compulsion) conceded “the best estimates are that extra deaths to vulnerable road users did accompany the introduction of mandatory wearing of seat belts”. He felt it was justified, though.

        Bill in Oz: of course correlation doesn’t necessarily imply causation. The measureable effect on fatalities observed in the UK by Evans is likely to owe something to the confounding factor of the heavy anti-drink drive measures (including the introduction of evidential breath testing) which were also introduced in 1983. The seat belt law wasn’t the only change.

        Bill in Oz and JDPattern: perhaps counter-intuitively, pedestrian and cyclist deaths tend to decrease over time as countries become increasingly motorised. So in the UK in the early ’70s around 3,000 pedestrians a year died; in 2013, 398. The ratio of pedestrians/cyclists to car occupants killed decreases too: in 1935 the ratio was 5.95, in 2006 0.47. This is largely because as the road environment becomes more hostile people migrate away from it or seek protection in cars. Especially children and the elderly. How many children do you see cycling to school or playing out? It doesn’t mean roads are safer; rather, the opposite.

        Maybe I’m missing something? At the very least, it does seem to me that before you start compelling people to do something, you need to be very certain that you aren’t thereby going to cause collateral harm. Which brings us back to the possible long-term unintended consequences of the sugar tax.

      12. Aileen

        Martin, it seems likely that seat belt laws make little difference to overall fatality totals but do redistribute the risk to those outside cars. Which seems thoroughly unjust when it’s self-risk, rather than risk to others, that’s being criminalised.

        Another likely unintended consequence. Assuming that the imposition of mandatory seat belts does tend to lead to less careful driving overall, this must contribute to a more hostile road environment and this affects the lives of all of us, regardless of how many actual crashes there are. Especially children, who where I live rarely seem to walk or cycle anywhere unsupervised any more.

      13. Martin Back

        Those are interesting statistics and almost persuade me that seat belts do no good. However, as a motor racing fan I have seen people walk away from the most terrible crashes, thanks to being securely belted in. So it will take more than statistics to persuade me.

        Ironically, the one serious crash I was involved in was a type where the seat belt was harmful. I was a front seat passenger in a car that skidded and flipped upside down at high speed. The roof caved in and crushed my neck because I was held in place by the seat belt. If I could have fallen sideways I would have been okay, like the other two in the car. There was no pain and I didn’t realize my neck was broken so I didn’t get medical treatment. You can see on the X-ray how one vertebra has been mashed into the other and they have grown together with a kink. To this day my head is at a slight angle to my body.

        Seat belts would reduce the horrific type of accident where people fly through the windscreen. I worked with a young lady whose face was badly scarred. On her first date with a new boyfriend they got drunk and he crashed his truck on the way home, putting her through the windscreen. There’s a happy ending — he married her, and they continued to drink heavily.

      14. Martin Back

        You should see our minibus taxis racing each other through the traffic. It’s like motor racing without the safety regulations.

    2. Bill In Oz

      Aileen, yes there are confounding factors. Others not mentioned compulsory helmets for bike riders and separate bike paths and lanes for bikes on roads.. Footpaths alongside roads are another additional way of providing safety for pedestrians…And pedestrian crossing lights…These are now fairly standard in the UK, USA, Canada, NZ, Australia.. ( I do not know about South Africa. Perhaps Martin can enlighten us.? )

      But underlying this is a key point : behaviour modification by government regulation or local rules.

      It works.

      This is also apparent in the contrast between number of gun related deaths each year in the USA & it’s immediate neighbour Canada.. In one place, the USA, the numbers are very high due to the constitutional right to bear arms. In the other it is orders of magnitude lower because the lack of such a constitutional right allows for the control of who can own what guns. .

      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        There are more guns, per head of population, in Switzerland than the USA. Who knows if behaviour modification by government works, or not. The war on drugs has had zero effect – or an extremely negative effect. Yes, the Australian Govt made bike helmets compulsory. Last time I looked the only certain effect was that far fewer people now cycle – with the damaging effects on health. You have to change how people think, if you do not do this, you will get nowhere. But of course, banning is easy. Changing behaviour in other ways takes longer, and is more difficult.

      2. Bill In Oz

        1 Re Guns in Switzerland.. It’s true that there are more guns per head there than the USA. However all young men do compulsory military national service and are issued with military wepons as part of that process… Also as part of that process they receive training in the use, care & securing of their weapons at home. I suspect that this makes a difference in the gun death rate.
        Certainly this resonates with my own experience as a young man in the 1960’s when I was in the army cadets and had weapon ( A World War Two 303 ! ) at home to care for and secure for 2 years with rifle training and firing on Saturday mornings at rifle range under supervision.

        2: Re Helmets for bike riders : you wrote ” Last time I looked the only certain effect was that far fewer people now cycle ” I cannot write for the UK or USA from experience. But sorry Malcolm that does not accord with my experience here in Australia.
        There are far more bike riders now than ever before. And among drivers there is far more awareness of them than ever before.There are dedicated bike lanes on almost all main roads. There are dedicated bike paths. In Melbourne it is possible to ride over a 1000 ks. on dedicated bike paths mostly through parks. In Adelaide there is an annual 5 day “Tour Down Under” every January when international competitive riders come to compete in a cycling event which is now part of the world cycling tour program.
        And literally 10’s of thousands of local cyclists & visitors ride in the other associated community events during this period. Also in preparation for the Tour Down Under, from October to late January one can meet packs of riders from informal clubs on the roads, training. And all of them after a while, thin as whippets !

        In other states there are similar events.

        And they all wear helmets mate. And good for their hearts !

      3. AH Notepad

        Bicycles, most nations in the industrialised world (especially where the first languaage is English) are lazy, that includes me in the UK. In Holland they are amazing https://youtu.be/SfLJ876lXsQ and many more videos show helmets are not necessary where people are considerate. Only where they are selfish and lazy. If people didn’t turn into monsters when they get behind a steering wheel life might be more pleasant.

      4. Andy S

        AH Notepad, here bicycle helmets are mandatory for under 18 year olds. Why not for elderly cyclists who are more accident prone? Seat belt laws should be for all ages, same for sugar tax.

      5. AH Notepad

        Mmmmm………… why not make statins mandatory, of perhaps it’s that that causes old people to fall off their bikes? Why not make vaccinations compulsory? Or sun cream? Or protectors over those dangerous four pronged implements many people (including children) shove in their mouths, often with high carb food on the end? Perhaps make not doing contact sports compulsory, and definitely ban skiing particularly downhill.

        There is rubber surfaces required for childrens’ playgrounds, yet most head injuries are caused by children running into each other.

        Better ban everything, that way ………………… well I wonder what would happen

      6. Andy S

        AH Notepad, you appear to be against rules and regulations. Going back to having only the 10 commandments is not practical. People have to be governed and that requires revenues.
        Taxing and regulating everything would create full employment, no need to manufacture anything (import everything including bicycle helmets).
        Prohibition and regulation creates demand for lawyers, scribes, judges, police, jails, etc.. Taxation required to support the system, a tradition going back to dawn of civilization..

      7. Andy S

        Gary Ogden: good question, probably something to do with government. Is bid pharma and big agrobusiness creating a new civilization?

      8. Gary Ogden

        Andy S: As I understand it, the transition from hunter/gatherer to agriculturalist and the beginnings of cities more or less marked the beginning of civilization as we know it today. This led to new divisions of labor (slavery, feudalism, capitalism) and social stratification, along with a reduction in physical stature, brain and bone size, and the rise of degenerative diseases from the largely grain-based diet. The twentieth century gave us both the reduction of the worst of living conditions from the previous two centuries of industrialization, and starvation and warfare on a grand scale (not to mention the enormous rise in CVD). Whether or not that transition was a positive one for the human species and the Earth’s ecosystems is an open question. I, for one, think not. Nevertheless, I very much appreciate being able to drive a car, fly in an airplane, have electricity all the time, have good food and clean water available all the time, and especially the internet! Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to share thoughts and ideas with so many interesting people.

      9. Andy S

        Gary Ogden, Today civilization is under new management, technology has empowered the individual. Unfortunately other factors are taking us in the wrong direction, have to discover what they are.

      10. Gary Ogden

        Andy S: I would argue that technology has instead captured the individual into a new form of slavery and mind control.

      11. AH Notepad

        Andy S, drawing a general conclusion from one post on a blog is likely to leave you with an incorrect result.

      12. Gary Ogden

        AH Notepad: I despise helmets. Nearly fifty years ago, when I rode a motorcycle, I never used one. Today, when I ride my bicycle, I don’t wear one, nor do I have one. Fortunately, in the U.S. it is not mandatory, except for children in some states. They restrict both vision and hearing.

      13. Bill In Oz

        A H Notpad, of course we each comment here based on our own experiences in life, where ever we are.

        I have not been to the Netherlands. I have no idea how the people there live and ride their bikes without helmets. But here helmets are compulsory for both cyclists and motor bike riders It works here in Oz.
        As do our gun laws.

      14. Bill In Oz

        Malcolm, I looked at the link you provided. I think the research is faulty.
        Why ?
        1: The results it states do not accord with my own personal experience here in South Australia where I notice far more people, especially adults, riding bikes then ever before.
        The one exception to this being that I have noticed a big drop in children riding bikes to & from school. Simultaneous with that is a decrease in children walking to school and walking home from school. There has been a big corresponding increase in mostly mums with cars dropping off kids at, school around 8.30 am & picking them up from school around 3.30 pm. School zones can become very chaotic as a. result at these times.
        The survey may be measuring this decrease. But this decrease is a reflection of parental anxiety. Or it may be a reflection of a much more sedentary society as out door pursuits are replaced by computer/ mobile phone games indoors.

        2: The survey sample consisted of ‘4,434 households containing 9,984 persons’. who have mobile phones. Ummm I really wonder about this sample size for a nation of 25 million people. And it was conducted in the major ‘capital’ cities not across the Australian nation excluding the regional & country towns.

        3: I suspect that the survey also does not take into account the growth in population since 2011. Roughly 300,000 people have been granted migration visas each year for the past 10 years. And in any given year there are roughly 800-900,000 temporary residents mostly students. Among this rapidly growing & sizeable Indian, Chinese, Filipino migrant communities, bike riding is NOT a priority at all. Nor among students from these countries. Getting established with a home, a job, and car are far more important…

      15. Bill In Oz

        But when research contradicts what I actually ‘see’ in front of me ? That’s weird and leads me to think & say, “I do not accept it”. Somebody has cocked up whether inadvertently or because of a hidden agenda, I do not know.

      16. Bill In Oz

        @Gary, decades agi I remember my 8-9 year old daughter wore a helmet when riding that restricted vision & hearing. But nowadays the standard bike helmet here is designed to avoid both these problems…They look a bit odd and may not give enough protection to the face in my opinion. But they do protect the skull and thus the brain….

      17. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Protecting the skull has little to do with protecting the brain. Brain injury primarily occurs due to acceleration/deceleration of the brain within the skull and the contrecoup effect. Or, to put it another way, if you wear a helmet, this can often increase the physical damage to the brain. Which is why amateur boxers have now got rid of headguards

        SOMETHING IS MISSING from Olympics boxing this year. Did you notice? It’s lot easier to see the faces of male boxers—taunting, grimacing, or smiling in all their Olympian glory. This year, the Olympics ditched boxing headgear for the first time since 1984, making it look a lot more like professional boxing.

        The decision, according to statements from amateur boxing’s governing organization—the International Boxing Association, or AIBA—came down to safety. Counterintuitively, referees had to stop matches for head injuries (aka likely concussions) more often when boxers were wearing headgear, according to an AIBA study. https://www.wired.com/2016/08/olympic-boxers-arent-wearing-headgear-anymore/

      18. Aileen

        Bill, it is not yet a criminal offence in the UK to ride a bike helmetless, but it is generally expected that you will wear one (along with high viz clothing), even if it isn’t actually illegal not to do so. In this case, behaviour modification by changing attitudes. But quite apart from how effective such protection actually is, why should the less dangerous be legally compelled to protect themselves against the more dangerous and then penalised when they refuse to do so? If you are going to regulate at all, shouldn’t the regulation fall on those behaviours which pose a risk to others? So while I don’t think anyone should be fined for not wearing a seat belt, I do think penalties for breaking speed limits etc should be strictly enforced – although in my experience most people see speed limits as optional. Why do people pay attention to some laws and not others?

        Hasn’t one of the effects of the helmet law in Australia been to scupper public bike share schemes?

        I’m not sure that provision for pedestrians (let alone cyclists) is all that good, at least in the UK. Footpaths in rural areas are often non-existent and it can be next to impossible to get around except by car. There was a case a few years ago in a nearby village where an elderly lady used to regularly take a bus a few miles to the nearest town and then come straight back, solely in order to cross the road. She would make the journey in reverse to get back home again. (There is a crossing there now! happy ending of a sort),

        Gun laws: I seem to remember from Bowling for Columbine that levels of gun ownership in Canada are actually pretty high? I might be misremembering.

      19. Gary Ogden

        Aileen: In the U.S. the gun debate is little more than a political football which serves to distract from the actual causes of violence. Healthy people in healthy communities simply don’t typically create mass mayhem.

      20. AnnaM

        I do not think that the right to bear arms is the reason for the higher homicide rate in the US. I rather think it is due to various demographics in which we have a higher crime rate.

  85. Jennifer.

    Thankyou Charles. A very interesting video. As a RGN I used to think that nifedipine should be dished out with the old age pension( in the days when it was collected from the Post Office) rather than at the pharmacy, as it seemed everyone over 65 was taking it.

  86. Andy S

    Time to take a survey.
    “Dr Aikarakudy Alias, a psychiatrist, has found that hairy chests are more frequent among men who are highly educated, such as doctors.”

    The next generation might be affected from consumption of sugary drinks that come in cans and plastic bottles. Hormone disruptors might pose a bigger threat.

      1. Andy S

        KidPsych, a quick scan did not come up with a connection for your condition (leg fur and IQ), possibly a leftover neanderthal gene. I do suspect that neanderthals had a much higher IQ than the average “modern” person.

  87. JDPatten

    I still must go way out of my way to find natural full-fat yogurt in a super market. The low-fat products are all loaded with sugar or fake sugar.
    Now, Dr Gottlieb, the head of the USA FDA, wants to further remove fat from dairy products and require “healthy” labeling so that we (ignorant) Americans can understand.

    1. Aileen

      In the UK full-fat yoghourt is available in most shops. However in the hospital I work in, the shops and cafes are not allowed to sell full-fat yoghourt, though there is no shortage of cheap chocolate and crisps. This is, I am told, at the instigation of the dietitians. (Next week is Dietetics Week, the theme being “Dietitians do Prevention” !)

      1. Kay

        “Dietitians do Prevention.” We could ask, “Prevention of what?” Thank goodness I can still buy quarts of heavy whipping cream with nothing added at one of the grocery stores here.

      2. Gary Ogden

        Kay: I can think of three: Prevention of health. Prevention of knowledge. Prevention of job loss. Can’t blame them for wanting the last one; they have to feed their families the crap they promote.

      3. shirley3349

        If you want a high fat cheese, I recommend Délice de Bourgogne, which is available at our local supermarket, at least at present. It’s a kind of super Brie, made with triple cream (the cream of the cream of the cream). It is best when really ripe and acidic, but one has to be careful not to let it liquify completely. The manufacturers claim a 72% fat content.

  88. AnnaM

    Wait – I’m confused. Dr. K you say that all starch = sugar, and you also said it isn’t true that some of it is broken down sooner? Beans are not broken down more slowly than candy?

    Also, is it not too simple to say that the bean starch breaks down into sugar when those beans may also have fiber, vitamins, and minerals, fat or protein? The context of nutrients within which a sugar occurs could make all the difference in the world.


    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Starch is a constituent of beans. Starch consists of many glucose molecules attached to each-other. If you break down the bonds between the glucose molecules in starch you get pure glucose. There is nothing in starch apart from glucose molecules. There are other things in beans, but they will be entirely separated out within the human digestive system before absorption.

    1. Göran Sjöberg

      I just looked at your “horrific” link to the psychiatric “care” years ago but I can confirm, from close range experience, that high voltage electro-chock treatments are still being performed in Sweden if they haven’t stopped these “treatments” in the very recent years. To me this is as unscientific “medicine” can go. It is just absurd turning patients into docile zombies. As with the statins there is no “logic”.

      To keep away from “medicin” at all cost seems to be a good attitude if you don’t want to get profoundly hurt.

      1. Eric

        Out of the “heroic” therapies (presumably, the doctor is the hero here, not the patient), electroconvulsive therapy seems to be the only one that has survived in our age. It is difficult to say whether it has some merits. It certainly has very vocal advocates, even from the patient side.

      2. Andy S

        Eric/Goran, blood letting is an old time remedy making a comeback, maybe for a different reason.

        Kept thinking why some intelligent people cannot change their minds about something that they learned but is proven to be false. The answer could be “impaired memory extinction”, i.e. a “false” memory cannot be erased. A bit of searching revealed that the EC1 endocannabinoid receptor is involved. The body requires essential fatty acids to produce the endocannabioids involved.
        Capacity to think is probably better than a good memory.
        Someone commented that 50% of what is taught in medical school will turn out to be wrong.

  89. Bob Long

    Glad to hear you oppose a sugar tax. Even if sugar is a “bad thing”, a tax is not the answer. On 30th April the Australian public broadcaster the ABC broadcast a “Four Corners” episode, “Tipping the Scales”, (https://iview.abc.net.au/programs/four-corners/NC1803H012S00) which was anti-sugar but pro sugar tax. A Dr Ahmad Aly said,

    “The sugar tax alone is not the whole story. I liken it to a ladder, to which you want to reach the top rung. If we really want to effect significant environmental change that will impact on obesity, we need a suite of measures, and we need dramatic change in our environment. But the sugar tax may well be the first rung in getting to the top of that ladder.”

    Does that mean he is willing to impose more taxes later on something else they think is bad?

    Gary Fettke gets a mention, with how he was treated by the Dietitians Association of Australia.

    1. Andy S

      Hi Bob Long, hyperglycaemia from excess sugar in diet can cause physical and mental decline. Once a tipping point has been reached, say 50% of population obese or diabetic, the government has to step in and do something (tax). The afflicted people may not be capable of thinking their way out of their dilemma. Higher prices and a warning label might help some of them.

      A tax on sugar would not affect anyone reading this blog.

      1. Bill In Oz

        Andy S, you wrote “A tax on sugar would not affect anyone reading this blog.”

        That is interesting and I suspect true…Which makes our discussion a bit moot. But I wonder if there are any among us who are or would be affected by a sugar tax.

      2. Gary Ogden

        Andy S: We keep talking about a sugar tax, but it seems that all of the ones in use are actually soda pop taxes. Am I wrong? Should we be calling it a soda pop tax? Fortunately I’ve never developed a taste for them. They make me thirsty afterwards, and I always regret drinking them.

      3. Andy S

        Gary Ogden, Mexico started with a “soda tax”. I understand that UK will do one better and tax according to grams of “sugar” in the drink. Is this cane sugar, beet sugar or corn sugar (HFCS)?

      4. oblongau

        AndyS. “A tax on sugar would not affect anyone reading this blog.”

        That’s not the point. Once the state gets the idea that it is its business to tax or ban what it thinks is bad for us, then it will turn out that things we think are good will get taxed/banned.

      5. Andy S

        oblongay, re banning what what is good and civic disobedience. Against city regulations I keep several hens in the back yard. They receive organic feed, produce eggs for me and poo for the garden: a symbiotic relationship.

      6. Bill In Oz

        Oblongau you wrote : “Once the state gets the idea that it is its business to tax or ban what it thinks is bad for us, then it will turn out that things we think are good will get taxed/banned.”

        Where do you live Oblongau ?Not in any real world I suspect as various governments of various political persuasions have been doing exactly this for hundreds of years..

        As for me I am content to encourage or discourage government, depending on the issue. So guns : regulate as a major health hazard
        Prescription drugs..regulate as a health hazard
        Tobacco : ditto
        Excessive speeding : ditto

        etc etc..

        If & when they get it wrong then the pollies involved will get a big kick up the electoral bum..

      7. Andy S

        Bill in Oz, I agree with you that government regulation can be beneficial. Some people believe education is better. A hefty sugar tax will be beneficial and educational.

      8. Bill In Oz

        Andy, I am coming to have a huge awareness of the power & influence of corporate world to influence both us individually and our governments…

        The main driver of the corporate world is to ‘survive’ and make money is how that is guaranteed…
        If an education program threatens that goal they are very effective at subverting the program..

        Taxing a product such as sweetened drinks which can have major adverse health impacts is one way to encourage the corporations involved in selling this stuff to change their survival strategies

      9. Andy S

        Bill in Oz, if corporations don’t like the sugar tax the government must be on the right track. The consumer then can be informed about the health risks of excess sugar consumption. The increased cost will get the consumers attention. The tax must be visible to the consumer.

        Once a consumer learns that high sugar beverages are bad, then connection that other high sugar foods are also bad could be made. No need to tax them all. Artificial sweeteners are a separate problem.

      10. Aileen

        Bill, the difficulty is that the change in survival strategy may well turn out to be even worse than what we’ve got. As another recent example, goodness knows what dubious processes are being used now instead of partial hydrogenation and what the health effects will be in years to come.

        I don’t think taxing sugar can ever be an answer because (like the replacements for trans fats) it’s just tinkering around the edges and because our excess sugar consumption is really a symptom of the problem rather than the cause. Until/unless there is acknowledgement by governments and public health authorities that the last half century of food policy has been an unprecedented catastrophe, I don’t see how society can make any real progress.

      11. Bill In Oz

        Aileen, societies advance in fits & starts. Three steps forward & two steps back…
        But this may be optimistic on my part.. the law of entropy governs everything eventually..

      12. Gary Ogden

        Bill in Oz: What society has advanced? My reading of history shows that all of them ultimately fall apart, sometimes from natural events, sometimes from stupidity. In the U.S., while improved sanitation and nutrition have increased lifespan and height over the past century or so, the current generation of children are very ill: more than 50% have a chronic medical condition; 15% have a learning disability (both figures from the CDC, who sometimes tells the truth). It wasn’t like this in our childhood, Bill. I still have nearly all of my childhood class pictures. We had one fat kid in my cohort of about 60. One with asthma (it is now 11%, also according to the CDC). A few who were slow learners, but no special ed class, which all schools have today. Schools all over the U.S., and in the U.K. and Ireland, are facing a rapidly growing population of special needs children, and haven’t the resources to provide the necessary services. Anne Daschel at Age of Autism has given links to many hundreds of newspaper accounts from these three countries in particular, but also some from Asia, over the past 18 months. This is a crisis. It is also unprecedented. Denying it won’t make it go away. Our military has repeatedly lowered their standards, most recently the requirement to be able to throw a grenade, since they haven’t the strength, and yet still cannot meet their recruiting goals. We’ve had a frightening number of school shootings in recent decades. All the media talks about is guns. As Dr. Kendrick points out, Switzerland doesn’t have this problem. The elephant in the room here, which the media never mentions, is the medication of children. About 25 years ago a prominent psychiatrist opined that ADD and ADHD were under-diagnosed. This ultimately led to an avalanche of over-diagoses and prescriptions of powerful drugs for children as young as toddlers. While the drugs themselves are dangerous, withdrawal can be even more so. They undoubtedly have played a major role in this horror. Americans are no more or less inherently violent than any other society, but today pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing are firmly in the grip of the pharmaceutical industry, and governments worldwide are its handmaidens, as are medical journals. Just yesterday The Lancet opined that the increase in the autism rate in the U.S. is progress. Progress! This once-respected journal ran an editorial titled, “Progress in the USA for autism spectrum disorder.”

      13. Bill In Oz

        Gary, you wrote “My reading of history shows that all of them ultimately fall apart, sometimes from natural events, sometimes from stupidity.”

        Yes I agree but then after a period of chaos, progress is resumed..Or civilisation is regained. I suggest the history of China over the past 2500 years is an illustration…

      14. Gary Ogden

        Bill in Oz: Yes, the history of China is fascinating. But, have you looked at the smoking rates of Chinese men? Smoking is an essential adjunct to all business deals in China. And who would want the level of thought control from their government that the people of the PRC enjoy? I would not use the word “civilization” to describe the China of today. Who was it who said that “western civilization would be a good idea?” Not sure we have it either.

      15. Bill In Oz

        Ahh Gary, I agree with you completely about the PRC..I’ve just een reading a history of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.Bugger what a disaster ! And it only stopped because he gradually died from MND in 1976.
        But there are the other China’s : Taiwan, Hong Kong ( sort of ) Singapore and cities like Manila and KL which have Chinese precincts…
        But no more ! Let’s stay away from politics here !

      16. Andy S

        Aileen, suggest everyone ask this of their health care provider: “Is this true? I hear that sugar has more to do with CVD than saturated fat and cholesterol.” Then refuse any more cholesterol tests until you get the right answer – YES. The next question- “why have you been recommending a low fat/high carb diet?

  90. Uricon

    Interesting recent study looking at blood group O and its comparable lack of clotting leading to increase in deaths in serious injury. Given your lengthy blog on blood clots etc wondered if, in you held views, there was any relationship to blood group and cvd? A 1976 study looked at this in the Framingham study, Garrison et al, picked up on group O.
    As a side issue and sugar. Let’s not forget that a bye-product of processing fructose is uric acid, not good at certain levels.

    1. Bill In Oz

      Uricon, I am type O positive blood group. So I am interested in your remark. But I have never had a any blood clotting issue.
      Do you have. link to research supporting your statement ?

      1. Bill In Oz

        All the 900 odd patients examined in this study were Japanese as well as being blood group type O.. It could be something particular to the Japanese genetic back ground…
        ( Which is a comment made in the link by a Japanese researcher. )

      1. Bill In Oz

        Andy I am not sure about relying too much on just a ‘letter’ published 22 years ago on this. No followup research or peer reviewing..

      2. Andy S

        Bill in Oz, study of endocannabinoids, and their receptors is a recent development. How can plants have medicinal properties?

      3. Bill In Oz

        Andy I am a bit of a chocoholic myself but the low sugar kind.
        And I am also aware that many plants have medicinal properties. My library is full of books outling them. (Including one on Gingko I am reading off and on )
        However the methodology and language of the link you provided was beyond my ken or even need to know…

        Simply put, the ‘how’ of how caocao impacts on the brain is probably more relevant to a bio-chemist planning the next pharmacological big bang drug..I’ll stick to enjoying my 85-90% sugar free chocchoc !

    1. Janet

      Bill, we can rest assured that a ‘Certain Doctor’ in Tassie is taking a keen interest in proceedings…
      (SugarTax debate)

      1. Bill In Oz

        Ahhh ! Yes the brave, honest and clear headed Dr Fettke…
        A rare man here in Oz who ha put his head above the parapet !

      1. Randall

        Yea but the longer a senior lives the more the gov’t (1st world) pays the senior

      2. Bill In Oz

        Malcolm , Was I joking ? No, not at all.
        1 In Oz people on an old age pension do not get a larger pension if they are older when they retire. Someone retiring at 65 gets the same as soemone retiring at 70. Also if an aged pensioner goes out, after retiring, and earns some extra income & declares it, this is taxed and the actual fortnightly aged pension payment is also reduced. Ditto if a spouse earns extra income. I know this personally.
        2 I believe that something similar happens in the UK..Though I could well be wrong.
        3 : In the USA there is a contributory Social Security scheme and the aged retirement benefit depends on level of contributions. But if a person delays retiring to later on in life – say 70, instead of 62 the earliest age to retire – the amount paid each month increases substantially.

        As for living longer and staying fit & healthy for much longer, ie anti-aging, that is indeed my plan. I am impressed by the research and insights of Jeff T Bowles in this area.

      3. Bill In Oz

        1 : I cannot read your link. am not a Forbes subscriber. And I run Adblocker software. So the Forbes site does not like me. ( I’ve tried on occasion to allow the ads there but it makes no difference..Does not work. )

        2: As for the opinion that government spend a lot of money of people in their last 5 years of life, I suggest that depends on the health of the people involved. In advanced countries, those who do not care for themselves and their health, will definitely cost their home countries a lot of money with such diseases as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimers (= type 3 diabetes ), obesity, liver failure, heart failure etc…

  91. Kay

    Ya know. . . Instead of taxing sugar, why doesn’t the government do something really useful, like ditch the current Food Pyramid or whatever it’s called in the various countries, and make recommendations that don’t advise a boatload of carbs every day. My two cents.

    1. oblongau

      Kay: “Instead of taxing sugar, why doesn’t the government do something really useful” … like stopping telling us what is supposedly good or bad for us in the first place!

      1. Andy S

        oblongau, after telling us to eat more carbs it will be more difficult to change minds due to cognitive dysfunction suffered by people who followed their advice.

        “Hyperglycemia and insulin resistance cause actual structural changes to key brain regions involved in cognition, greatly increasing the risk of cognitive dysfunction, said David Perlmutter, MD, at the 2013 Integrative Healthcare Symposium.”

    2. Andy S

      Kay, a sudden change in dietary recommendations would confuse people and they might lose confidence in their health care system.

      1. AH Notepad

        If they lose confidence in the healthcare system, good. Then some of them at least might start thinking for themselves.

  92. Göran Sjöberg

    Since this blog is basically about CVD and possible ways to prevent or revers this disease i find the newsletter from Dr. Mercola this morning very relevant.

    Here the different parts fits well together – not least the importance of exercise and the importance of collaterals. Mercola does not, however, bring the issue of “lack of vitamin C” into the picture which Dr. Rath did in his lecture linked to above.


      1. Göran Sjöberg

        Janet – Yes, he brought Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) up as a way of exercising the heart by restriction of the blood flow through a Counter Pulsation (CP) technique. Sounds complicated although it seems very effective. Brisk walks a couple of times a week seems equally effective. As far as I understand it doesn’t matter much what kind of physical exercise you are engaged in as long as you strain your heart muscle, e.g. wood chopping is one way. Strenuous exercise is a good way of surviving if you have CVD, by building collaterals. Sixty years ago “evidence based medicine” killed 50 % of the MI victims by enforcing prolonged bed rests following the “event”.

        And yes – Mercola is today a medical outcast but making a good business on supplements. I believe strongly myself in the benefits of supplements so I see his business as something “good” especially in contrast to the “evil” Big Pharma represents. Mercola also seems to know what he is talking about when he brings up the alternatives in medicine and with few exceptions I agree with what he advocates not least about “food as medicine”.

  93. Stephen T

    After more than 400 posts on the sugar tax, perhaps a digression on breast cancer screening is permissible.

    In the UK we currently have a huge amount of publicity on breast cancer screening for women aged over 70. Some women approaching this age haven’t been invited for a scan because of a computer error, which is widely being portrayed as killing up to 270 women. The reduction in harm to the women who haven’t been screened, a far larger group, has received a tiny fraction of the coverage. The zero benefit to overall mortality of breast cancer screening might surprise a few people.

    Today BBC Radio 4’s programme ‘More or Less’ managed to bring some science and sense to the debate, with a speaker from the Cochrane Collaboration and Sir David Spiegelhalter, president of the Royal Statistical Society. The piece is about 8 minutes long and comes at the programme’s beginning. I’ve attached a link.


    1. AH Notepad

      Better NOT to go off-topic. It happens but not by deliberate intent. There are discussions available on the internet about breast cancer. This is not one of them.

  94. Richard Amerling

    Malcolm, I completely agree with you. More state intervention is not the answer. There’s already a movement to tax meat! We need to continue to educate people.

    Keep up the excellent work!


    Richard Amerling, MD Professor, St. George’s University School of Medicine

    On Sat, Apr 28, 2018 at 10:31 AM Dr. Malcolm Kendrick wrote:

    > Dr. Malcolm Kendrick posted: “28th April 2018 England recently introduced > a sugar tax, making it more expensive to buy food and drink that contains > sugar. We are mainly talking about soft drinks here, such as Coke and Irn > Bru and concentrated orange juice and suchlike. Many people ” >

  95. Martin Back

    Scientific American has an interesting article on the environmental aspect of sugar versus sweeteners.

    A literature review of children exposed to artificial sweeteners concludes: “we can cautiously conclude that there are no benefits of artificial sweetener use in young children, though it is possible that consumption of artificial sweeteners may be beneficial in limiting weight gain in overweight adolescents.” As usual, more studies are needed.

  96. TS

    Why the French are relatively healthy:

    My husband and I are travelling through France in our camper. We sigh with relief when we arrive from Dover.

    No more traffic queues. (The French have the same population as the UK for twice the room.)
    No more potholes. (Chaussee deformee seems to be a thing of the past. How can we afford expensive harmful drugs when we can’t afford to mend our roads?)
    No more parking fees. We can park easily for free and without someone looking to see if we are overhanging a white line.
    Free or cheap places to park motorhomes overnight – even free electric, water and other services quite often. Communities take a pride in being hospitable. We can park up pretty well anywhere without some mean person delighting in waking us up in the night with a noisy beep – as in the UK.
    At lunchtime the average sized supermarkets are closed for perhaps 2 hours. If the French stop at a picnic table, out come their tablecloths and bon appetit.
    The sun is shining? – it seems like half the population is fishing.
    There is plenty of homegrown industry and proper work. People are busy but have time to chat to one another. They retain their pride.
    Gypsy camps are visible and tolerated. Laissez faire does exist.
    There is less litter – and they are even reducing the famous dog muck. The attitude is good.

    When Macdonalds arrived in France the locals tried to physically dismantle them – slates off roof jobs above while the women dished out free cheeses below. Now they love Macdonalds and their supermarkets are not short of low fat this and that (though choice remains). Seems as much a matter of how they eat as what they eat.

    Vive la France!

    1. TS

      It’s Saturday so lots of French people of all ages are playing boules in good sized mixed aged gatherings and I am watching large groups of cyclists going past. There is plenty of group activity.

    2. chris c

      Some parts of the UK are still a bit like that.

      You just reminded me of an event long ago. I think it was on the M5 where the police had little platforms beside the road with a ramp up and down where they would sit monitoring the traffic and its speed.

      As I drove past they were evicting a French family who had parked their 2CV on the hard shoulder and put out a picnic table on the platform with folding chairs, hampers, the works.

  97. Jean Humphreys

    Am I right, that the tax is on sweet fizzy drinks? I do want a fizzy drink from time to time to cut the dryness at the back of my throat – just a quick swallow does it for me. Most of them are too sweetened to be of use, but I have been drinking a “posh” tonic which has no sweeteners; only sugar and does not taste too sweet.. The also do one that is “naturally light” ,ie no sugar, but it contains more fructose per ml that the regular. This one is untaxed..Strikes me as misuse of a description.
    I have no strong objection to drinking sugary drinks, only that most are far too sweet for my taste.
    Where am I supposed to stand in this sitution?

  98. Bill In Oz

    I have been exploring a little in past programs of the Health Report with Swan. And discovered something both interesting and controversial.
    Back in May 2016 there was an interview a professor John Attia from the University of Newcastle in NSW, Australia about how the polysaccharide pneumococal vaccine seems to have this protective effect lowering the rate of heart attacks and strokes, in those so vaccinated.

    The interview reports that they were in 2016 starting a 5 year trial with 6000 men & women between the ages of 55 & 60 years across Australia. This human trial is a result of 20 years observational studies with mice hat threw up this hypothesis out of the blue. ( that is unlooked for )
    There is also discussion of why this may be so.
    I assume the trial is happening here in Oz as I write though I have heard nothing about it in the 2 years since the interview. For those interested here is the link :


    I wonder if anyone else has heard of this research.

      1. Bill In Oz

        ( Apologies for not being on topic with this blog about Sugar tax Dr Kendrick. But this research is directly about preventing heart attacks & strokes.. Which is the raison d’etre of the blog. )
        However when I searched for AUSPICE up popped an AUSPICE website !
        There are two videos from 2016 with Dr John Attia explaining what the trial is and how it operates. What is interesting is that he explains his hypothesis that antibodies generated by the vaccine in the body, seem to ‘dissolve’ arterial blockages. ….and thus reducing heart attack & stroke risk.
        There is also statement explaining to participants in the trial what is involved for them…

        Further thoughts :
        1 : The 6000 trial participants across Australia have been randomly assigned to vaccine or placebo 50% in each group. And the participants are all aged between 50 & 65 years. But here in Oz older folk are routinely recommended to get flu shots every Autumn; and if one is over 65 it is free. Also a lot of other people such as nurses, aged care workers etc are obliged to have flu shot every year in Autumn, as a condition of employment. So I wonder if the results of AUSPICE will be a bit confounded by participants having already had the vaccine at some point before hand.
        2; There are people who have adverse effects to this vaccine. So this will probably not help such people….

      2. AH Notepad

        Bill in Oz, I had to read only the first line of the link to have the alarm bells ringing. It’s the same old story. “One shot will protect you from (insert what ever is the subject under discussion)”. It’s been the same story since vaccines came on the market. “One shot will offer life long protection”. This was the mantra when the measles vaccine appeared. Oh, oops, then it was two shots as some may not be protected by the first, then it was three, then it was three and boosters every five years, then it was China with their measles outbreak where 99% of the population is vaccinated. Damn! That’s not supposed to be there as it doesn’t support the PC line.

        The truth is vaccines are not the way to deal with disease, looking after your immune system is. Page 2 of http://www.jayne-donegan.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/2009-The-Doctors-Dilemma-website.pdf is a good information, as is the rest of Jayne’s site. Look after yourself, and keep off the anti-inflammatories. Jayne wrote the foreword for “Dissolving Illusions” and before that suffered at the hands of the GMC, until they had to admit she behaved correctly. That case showed again how dishonest and devious the medical establishment could be. Who mentioned Fettke and Noakes?

      3. David Bailey


        My gut reaction, would be to fear that raising antibodies to things that are part of the body, might be dangerous.

        Also, but perhaps inevitably, in your link fat and cholesterol were discussed as if they were synonyms.

      4. Bill In Oz

        It’s three days since I posted my 3 comments about CVD & the AUSPICE trial…
        Not a whisper of a comment so far,
        That’s disappointing in a blog that is dedicated to CVD. What’s up ? Is this too hard or too scary ?

      5. Andy S

        Bill in Oz, vaccinations for
        “People with at least two risk factors for heart disease – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or overweight/obesity”

        I pray for the volunteers.

      6. Bill In Oz

        Yes Andy, there is that consideration. And it may be important.
        They are specifically using the polysaccharide flu vaccine in this trial. The other flu vaccines did not have this effect in earlier research on animals or humans in the non blind, non randomised human experiments.

        But I know nothing about the nature of that vaccine or it’s ingredients or side effects. Do you know anything about them or anyone else here ?

        By the way, I am not a volunteer in this trial. I am ‘too old’ at 70 and was screened out by Medicare and not even invited to participate back in 2016. So I have no skin in this trial. But I think it is interesting. And maybe despite the risks from the vaccine, it offers a sort of ‘immunity’ to CVD for people. Or perhaps offers insights into other ways of boosting such immunity ?

      7. Andy S

        Bill in Oz: I am not expecting anything useful from pharmaceutical companies. My interest now is searching for the medicinal properties of plants. Fats for energy, protein for building blocks, greens for health. In a few days the nettles will be ready to be sampled.

      8. Andy S

        Bill in Oz, re CVD and AUSPICE.
        “The antibodies that are generated in response to the vaccine appear to bind to and reduce the build-up of cholesterol, thereby reducing vascular disease.”

        So it is cholesterol after all not stress, lead, blood glucose, insulin resistance etc..
        Desperate need for something else besides statins to prevent clogged arteries. Actually statins do not prevent arteries from clogging.

      9. Bill In Oz

        Andy I saw that as well
        ““The antibodies that are generated in response to the vaccine appear to bind to and reduce the build-up of cholesterol, thereby reducing vascular disease.”

        I wonder if Dr Attia got his funding for this trial by working within the cholesterol story. But as I said in reply to Gary just now, it does not matter; it is not important. We know that blockages occur in the coronory arteries in CVD. The important questions are :
        ” Does this vaccine reduce those blockages and thus reduce the risk of heart attack & strokes ? ”
        And “What are the risks of taking the vaccine ?”

      10. Gary Ogden

        Bill in Oz: I have now read the article about AUSPICE. Dr. Attia thinks cholesterol causes CVD! In any case, the existing pneumococcal has little value in disease prevention in the elderly. Pfizer’s own trial makes that clear (although they spin it the opposite way). I’ll hunt for the link to the Pfizer paper and post it here.

      11. Bill In Oz

        Gary, you wrote : :Dr. Attia thinks cholesterol causes CVD”
        Yes I noted that also…But so what ? It is not his belief about what causes CVD which is important here. That is not what the trial is about.
        What’s important is whether this particular flu vacine generates an immune response in the body which hleps get rid of the arterial blockages..

      12. Bill In Oz

        Gary thanks for that link on polysaccharide flu vaccine,

        I am. not qualified to comment on the outcomes of the study as regards developing flu immunity for the participants all of whom were over 65 years old….

        But I do notice that the study went for 4 years and had a very large number of participants, 95,000..

        So I wonder if they could have, post facto, examined the rate of heart attacks & strokes in the two arms of the study : placebo & vaccinated…

      13. Gary Ogden

        Bill in Oz: Proper RCT’s with a true placebo are simply not done with vaccines. Typically either another vaccine is used (as placebo), or the vaccine without the antigen. I didn’t read the article because they usually don’t provide any such details. The sample size seems quite small to show an effect, and I would guess it would take years of follow-up. My take: Look at the funding source. Second take: This is madness.

      14. Bill In Oz

        Gary, I read your remark that random trials usually do not take place comparing a vaccine with a placebo. Presumably you say this because of the ‘ethical’ considerations as the placebo does not offer any benefit to the participants. Or maybe not.

        Whatever the trial is doing exactly with a placebo, that and has been running since 2016.
        You asked about funding. All I can find is that the trial is being supported & sponsored by the following Australian universities : Newcastle, Monash, Flinders, ANU & the University of Western Australia.

        There is a National Health & Medical Research Council here in Oz which determines what research gets government public funding. I would be surprised if it was not also supporting this trial.

        By the way I forgot to put a link here to the AUSPICE web site. Here it is


      15. Bill In Oz

        A late comment about this AUSPICE trial.
        1: I sent an email to Dr John Attia asking about the status of the trial.. The required number 6000, were not enrolled till December 2017… So it has actually only been in operation a few months. So 6 year to wait for any results yes or no !
        2: I saw my GP yesterday about another issue.But he mentioned that as I am now 70, Iam eligible for a free injection of this pheumococcal vaccine if I am want it. However there was none in stock in his surgery at present..So I have some time to think it over and be fully informed. So if folks here have any info on this vaccine please let me know. I expect that Gary will have it as this is a special area of interest for him.
        3: He had never heard of the AUSPICE trial. Nor had he heard that this vaccine may protect against CVD.

      16. AH Notepad

        Bill in Oz, best to do your own research on vaccines, then there won’t be accusations of unjustified bias. There have been many posts on these blogs about vaccines, if anyone still needs further views, the search should be elswhere.

  99. Errett

    “This study provided evidence that fasting induces a metabolic switch in the intestinal stem cells, from utilizing carbohydrates to burning fat,” Sabatini says. “Interestingly, switching these cells to fatty acid oxidation enhanced their function significantly. Pharmacological targeting of this pathway may provide a therapeutic opportunity to improve tissue homeostasis in age-associated pathologies.”

    The researchers found that stem cells from the fasting mice doubled their regenerative capacity.

    As people age, their intestinal stem cells begin to lose their ability to regenerate. These stem cells are the source for all new intestinal cells, so this decline can make it more difficult to recover from gastrointestinal infections or other conditions that affect the intestine.

    This age-related loss of stem cell function can be reversed by a 24-hour fast, according to a new study from MIT biologists. The researchers found that fasting dramatically improves stem cells’ ability to regenerate, in both aged and young mice.

    In fasting mice, cells begin breaking down fatty acids instead of glucose, a change that stimulates the stem cells to become more regenerative. The researchers found that they could also boost regeneration with a molecule that activates the same metabolic switch. Such an intervention could potentially help older people recovering from GI infections or cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, the researchers say.

    “Fasting has many effects in the intestine, which include boosting regeneration as well as potential uses in any type of ailment that impinges on the intestine, such as infections or cancers,” says Omer Yilmaz, an MIT assistant professor of biology, a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and one of the senior authors of the study. “Understanding how fasting improves overall health, including the role of adult stem cells in intestinal regeneration, in repair, and in aging, is a fundamental interest of my laboratory.”

    David Sabatini, an MIT professor of biology and member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, is also a senior author of the paper, which appears in the May 3 issue of Cell Stem Cell.

    “This study provided evidence that fasting induces a metabolic switch in the intestinal stem cells, from utilizing carbohydrates to burning fat,” Sabatini says. “Interestingly, switching these cells to fatty acid oxidation enhanced their function significantly. Pharmacological targeting of this pathway may provide a therapeutic opportunity to improve tissue homeostasis in age-associated pathologies.”

    The paper’s lead authors are Whitehead Institute postdoc Maria Mihaylova and Koch Institute postdoc Chia-Wei Cheng.

    Boosting regeneration

    For many decades, scientists have known that low caloric intake is linked with enhanced longevity in humans and other organisms. Yilmaz and his colleagues were interested in exploring how fasting exerts its effects at the molecular level, specifically in the intestine.

    Intestinal stem cells are responsible for maintaining the lining of the intestine, which typically renews itself every five days. When an injury or infection occurs, stem cells are key to repairing any damage. As people age, the regenerative abilities of these intestinal stem cells decline, so it takes longer for the intestine to recover.

    “Intestinal stem cells are the workhorses of the intestine that give rise to more stem cells and to all of the various differentiated cell types of the intestine. Notably, during aging, intestinal stem function declines, which impairs the ability of the intestine to repair itself after damage,” Yilmaz says. “In this line of investigation, we focused on understanding how a 24-hour fast enhances the function of young and old intestinal stem cells.”

    After mice fasted for 24 hours, the researchers removed intestinal stem cells and grew them in a culture dish, allowing them to determine whether the cells can give rise to “mini-intestines” known as organoids.

    The researchers found that stem cells from the fasting mice doubled their regenerative capacity.

    “It was very obvious that fasting had this really immense effect on the ability of intestinal crypts to form more organoids, which is stem-cell-driven,” Mihaylova says. “This was something that we saw in both the young mice and the aged mice, and we really wanted to understand the molecular mechanisms driving this.”

    Metabolic switch

    Further studies, including sequencing the messenger RNA of stem cells from the mice that fasted, revealed that fasting induces cells to switch from their usual metabolism, which burns carbohydrates such as sugars, to metabolizing fatty acids. This switch occurs through the activation of transcription factors called PPARs, which turn on many genes that are involved in metabolizing fatty acids.

    The researchers found that if they turned off this pathway, fasting could no longer boost regeneration. They now plan to study how this metabolic switch provokes stem cells to enhance their regenerative abilities.

    They also found that they could reproduce the beneficial effects of fasting by treating mice with a molecule that mimics the effects of PPARs. “That was also very surprising,” Cheng says. “Just activating one metabolic pathway is sufficient to reverse certain age phenotypes.”

    The findings suggest that drug treatment could stimulate regeneration without requiring patients to fast, which is difficult for most people. One group that could benefit from such treatment is cancer patients who are receiving chemotherapy, which often harms intestinal cells. It could also benefit older people who experience intestinal infections or other gastrointestinal disorders that can damage the lining of the intestine.

    The researchers plan to explore the potential effectiveness of such treatments, and they also hope to study whether fasting affects regenerative abilities in stem cells in other types of tissue.

    Story Source:

    Materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

    Journal Reference:

    Maria M. Mihaylova, Chia-Wei Cheng, Amanda Q. Cao, Surya Tripathi, Miyeko D. Mana, Khristian E. Bauer-Rowe, Monther Abu-Remaileh, Laura Clavain, Aysegul Erdemir, Caroline A. Lewis, Elizaveta Freinkman, Audrey S. Dickey, Albert R. La Spada, Yanmei Huang, George W. Bell, Vikram Deshpande, Peter Carmeliet, Pekka Katajisto, David M. Sabatini, Ömer H. Yilmaz. Fasting Activates Fatty Acid Oxidation to Enhance Intestinal Stem Cell Function during Homeostasis and Aging. Cell Stem Cell, 2018; 22 (5): 769 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2018.04.001

    1. Bill In Oz

      Errett, Fasting regularly is definitely good for the health… It’s been long known about. And there is lots of research backing it up. Even fasting from the evening meal for 16 hours late the following day is beneficial.

    2. Andy S

      Errett, fasting study is good.
      “The findings suggest that drug treatment could stimulate regeneration without requiring patients to fast, which is difficult for most people.”
      Seems that most studies are geared towards finding a pill that treats without curing.

  100. SW

    OFF TOPIC but maybe important and cheap anti inflammatory ‘drug’? https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180425093745.htm

    Dr. Paul O’Connor, renal physiologist in the lab at the Medical College of Georgia Department of Physiology at Augusta University.

    “A daily dose of baking soda may help reduce the destructive inflammation of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, scientists say.”
    Oral NaHCO3 Activates a Splenic Anti-Inflammatory Pathway: Evidence That Cholinergic Signals Are Transmitted via Mesothelial Cells. The Journal of Immunology, 2018; ji1701605 DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1701605

    1. Bill In Oz

      SW I saw this as well.. I wondered after reading it whether baking soda would be effective as a preventative of auto immune diseases..

      1. Andy S

        David Bailey, most mornings I combine juice of one lemon, water and 1/2t baking soda to start the day. Going low salt is not a good idea.

      2. David Bailey


        I am not suggesting the baking soda will do any harm (I don’t go low salt either) but I don’t see what special good it can do, other than supplement sodium levels!

      3. Andy S

        Daavid Bailey, No chlorine in lemons to form NaCl, that would come from stomach acid (HCl ). Desired effect is to raise blood Ph.

      4. David Bailey


        The chlorine would come from the hydrochloric acid in the stomach!

        Can one raise the pH of the blood in that way? I’d have expected there to be all sorts of feedback mechanisms controlling blood pH?

      5. Andy S

        David Bailey, Citric acid in lemon plus sodium bicarbonate produces sodium citrate.
        “Sodium Citrate is the sodium salt of citrate with alkalinizing activity. Upon absorption, sodium citrate dissociates into sodium cations and citrate anions; organic citrate ions are metabolized to bicarbonate ions, resulting in an increase in the plasma bicarbonate concentration, the buffering of excess hydrogen ion, the raising of blood pH, and potentially the reversal of acidosis.”
        One lemon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking soda might not have much effect. Benefit is one serving of fruit.

  101. JDPatten

    Blood types make a big difference in the Emergency Room.

    Those with type O are much more likely to die from exsanguination (Cool word. Means bleed-to-death!) due to trauma.
    Started me thinking: Are we type Os at an advantage when it comes to the clotting associated with CVD? Is there some esoteric info out there?
    (On topic for The Roman Numerals, though a bit off for this page. Apologies.)


  102. Errett

    Dr Fuller said the findings of the study were important due to the potential health benefits of eggs for people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as the general population.

    “Eggs are a source of protein and micronutrients that could support a range of health and dietary factors including helping to regulate the intake of fat and carbohydrate, eye and heart health, healthy blood vessels and healthy pregnancies.”

    University of Sydney researchers aim to help clear up conflicting dietary advice around egg consumption, as a new study finds eating up to 12 eggs per week for a year did not increase cardiovascular risk factors in people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

    Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition today, the research extends on a previous study that found similar results over a period of three months.

    Led by Dr Nick Fuller from the University’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders at the Charles Perkins Centre, the research was conducted with the University of Sydney’s Sydney Medical School and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

    In the initial trial, participants aimed to maintain their weight while embarking on a high-egg (12 eggs per week) or low-egg (less than two eggs per week) diet, with no difference in cardiovascular risk markers identified at the end of three months.

    The same participants then embarked on a weight loss diet for an additional three months, while continuing their high or low egg consumption. For a further six months — up to 12 months in total — participants were followed up by researchers and continued their high or low egg intake.

    At all stages, both groups showed no adverse changes in cardiovascular risk markers and achieved equivalent weight loss — regardless of their level of egg consumption, Dr Fuller explained.

    “Despite differing advice around safe levels of egg consumption for people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, our research indicates people do not need to hold back from eating eggs if this is part of a healthy diet,” Dr Fuller said.

    “A healthy diet as prescribed in this study emphasised replacing saturated fats (such as butter) with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (such as avocado and olive oil),” he added.

    The extended study tracked a broad range of cardiovascular risk factors including cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure, with no significant difference in results between the high egg and low egg groups.

    “While eggs themselves are high in dietary cholesterol — and people with type 2 diabetes tend to have higher levels of the ‘bad’ low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — this study supports existing research that shows consumption of eggs has little effect on the levels of cholesterol in the blood of the people eating them,” Dr Fuller explained.

    Dr Fuller said the findings of the study were important due to the potential health benefits of eggs for people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as the general population.

    “Eggs are a source of protein and micronutrients that could support a range of health and dietary factors including helping to regulate the intake of fat and carbohydrate, eye and heart health, healthy blood vessels and healthy pregnancies.”

    The different egg diets also appeared to have no impact on weight, Dr Fuller said.

    “Interestingly, people on both the high egg and low egg diets lost an equivalent amount of weight — and continued to lose weight after the three month intended weight loss phase had ended,” he said.

    Story Source:

    Materials provided by University of Sydney. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

    Journal Reference:

    Nicholas R Fuller, Amanda Sainsbury, Ian D Caterson, Gareth Denyer, Mackenzie Fong, James Gerofi, Chloris Leung, Namson S Lau, Kathryn H Williams, Andrzej S Januszewski, Alicia J Jenkins, Tania P Markovic. Effect of a high-egg diet on cardiometabolic risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) Study—randomized weight-loss and follow-up phase. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2018; DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy048

    1. Andy S

      Errett, interesting egg study. The problem is this comment:
      “A healthy diet as prescribed in this study emphasised replacing saturated fats (such as butter) with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (such as avocado and olive oil),” he added.”
      Is a butter tax is needed to induce people to eat a healthier diet?

  103. Andy S

    Sugar tax and education.
    “Britain’s obesity epidemic is fuelling devastating numbers of amputations – almost all of which could have been prevented, experts have warned.
    Official figures show the number of cases have reached an all-time-high, with more than 8,500 procedures carried out last year as a result of diabetes.”

    Warning labels on high sugar items and media coverage required to educate the public of low fat/high carb danger. Will be interesting to see if leg amputations drop after sugar tax.

  104. Göran Sjöberg

    The todays newsletter from Dr. Mercola really stresses the point Malcolm makes in this post about the dangers with artificial sweeteners. The explanation that my ten kilos weight increase during my one year stay in the US was due to the excessive Diet Coke consumption gets more and more plausible in my eyes.


    What is constantly striking me is that we now are exposed to innumerable “chemical” experiments through the additions in our processed food and not least through the hormonal actions of the pesticides that comes along with modern agricultural practices. When the pollinators go extinct that should be an alarm bell for any concerned citizen. A good sign is that people in general are now getting more and more aware of this fact and this explains why the market for organic food today is literally “exploding”. The risk for the corruption of this very profitable market is though obvious.

  105. Bill In Oz

    Malcom, re Research article on bike riding in Oz.
    An aspect of bike riding I meant to mention but forgot to, is the simple fact that bike riding here is very seasonal… In the Southern states it’s more popular in the warmer months because when it gets cold, wet & windy here, it’s not too comfortable riding a bike. On the other hand in semi tropical Brisbane bike riding is popular during their dry season “Winter” but less common is the very wet Summer season…

    So ‘when’ a survey is conducted makes a big difference in the responses…

    Another thought about safety while riding bikes : In Canberra ( our tax payer created national capital ) all bikes have to be fitted with a special type of triangular red flag on a flexible 4 foot pole,which is fitted to the real axle. The flapping movement of the flag in the wind makes the bike rider more obvious to drivers. But whether this works and lowers accidents & collisions, I have no idea.

    1. Aileen

      Blimey, Bill, really? I would suspect that having to announce yourself with a four-foot red flag would just add to the perception of cycling as a dangerous thing to do and lead to even fewer people doing it.

      Though we used to do something similar when my daughter was little and used to be carried around on the backs of our bikes. But that was our choice, not enforced.

  106. Bill In Oz

    There has been a significant number of comments about smoking here in this post. Some do not want it taxed or controlled. Others ( including myself ) believe that it is best if we do and applaud the efforts made so far.
    Here is a news report on the impact of smoking in Victoria in 2011. Smoking related deaths amounted to 8% of all disease deaths in 2011 – despite all the health measures taken.


    PS : In 2011 the population of Victoria was ~ 3.7 million.

    1. Andy S

      Bill in Oz, I don’t smoke but this is intriguing:
      “Fulla Nayak made international news when her grandson Narayan Nayak claimed that she could be the oldest woman living in the world. She claimed her secret was smoking weed every day.”
      More investigation required. Bill, where do pot laws stand in Australia?

      1. Bill In Oz

        Andy, the legal situation has changed recently.. It used to be completely banned.. Then farmers could apply for licenses to grow low THC cannabis for use in clothing, creams etc.
        And recently some cannabis based compounds have been approved for use by patients with certain medical conditions via medical prescription…

        Meanwhile high THC strength dope is still being grown as an illegal drug & causing health problems.

    2. Vlad

      While in 2011 smoking killed 24 Victorians in their 30s (which is a totally fictitious, computer generated, GIGO – garbage in, garbage out – number), in May 2018 Richard Overton, the oldest living WWII veteran and the oldest man in US, just turned 112, enjoying several cigars everyday.

      1. Gary Ogden

        Vlad: As I understand it, population studies show a strong correlation with cigarettes and lung cancer, a weak correlation with cigars, and no correlation with pipe smoking.

  107. Göran Sjöberg

    Commenters here are supplying many links to interesting web-sites and by reading many of them I get very convinced that we are just fooled by Big Pharma and Big Agro.

    This is the great thing in my eyes with blogs like Malcolm’s and the information accessible on the internet.

  108. shaunsfitnessideas

    A great article… I completely agree with the use of sugar tax… something has to be done about the growing obesity crisis especially here in New Zealand but I feel the sugar tax is extremely short sited and draconian. However the second part of the article is where we part company. The artificial sweetener debate… there are so many untruths out there about sweeteners “it spikes insulin response” “it causes all sorts of horrible cancers and diseases” aspartame alone is the most tested ingredient today. There are no reliable links to aspartame and cancers etc etc ..


    1. Martin Back

      I phoned the Coca-Cola helpline yesterday to get some details of how sugar tax is paid. I suspect that VAT is added on top of it, i.e. we are paying tax on tax. The consultant said he didn’t know the details and would escalate my inquiry and they would reply via email.

      As an afterthought, I asked him to comment on the belief that artificial sweeteners are harmful and the sugar tax will make us consume more of them. His reply was recited as if he’d learned it off by heart. “The ingredients of Coca-Cola have undergone many tests and are perfectly safe for human consumption.” Or words to that effect.

      There is so much money tied up in the manufacture and sale of artificial sweeteners, and the potential monetary compensation so huge if they are proven harmful, that any suggestion that they may have adverse effects will be squashed or countered, promptly and firmly, at least if it comes from a mainstream organization.

      1. shaunsfitnessideas

        Yes but there are many independents out there who are saying that artificial sweetener is not harmful that have no vested interest in the market..of course if you go to a company like Coke they will want to protect their product

      1. shaunsfitnessideas

        Until there is a comprehensive human study there will always be debate… my question is aspartame has been around for quite a while now with a huge usage so where are all the cases of increased cancers and diabetes from aspartame?? People would be dying and autopsies would show it to be the cause… but where are they??? The use of sugars excessively is of far greater problems than artificial sweetener use… quick note aspartame is supposed to increase appetite … do you think it’s more people feel less guilty when using sweetners so they slack off on other areas of their diets

      2. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        I am not sure how an autopsy would demonstrate aspartame to be the cause of any specific cancer? I cannot think of anyway this could be done. In answer to your other point. The rate of cancer and diabetes have both increased hugely. I am not saying this is cause and effect, but aspartame could have played a role. As to you last point about slacking off. Although it may be wrong, I am inclined to agree with it. To quote the great scientific mind of Paris Hilton (used earlier, by someone else on this blog), only fat people drink diet Coke.

      3. shaunsfitnessideas

        In regards to my last point I can tell you it’s a real thing.. in my work as a personal trainer i constantly see and hear of people who say well I had a Diet Coke so I saved calories there so I can have a bit more of something else. Some studies have talked about aspartame toxicity so surely if it was a major cause of some cancers toxicology reports would show the build up of this substance. Yes diabetes and cancer have increased but to simply connect it to aspartame usage is just poor science when so many other factors could be the cause.

      4. Andy S

        Hi shounfitnessideas, if in doubt check what effect aspartame has on mitochondria and gut microbiome.

      5. Jennifer

        Look folks… Just avoid as many chemicals as possible, and re-educate your sweet tooth back to what nature intended…. I. e. life before pure white and deadly sugar.

    1. TS

      It is very clear that lack of sunlight causes masses of problems. What is not clear to me is whether “vitamin” d supplementation will solve these problems. As we know, sunlight gives us nitric oxide and goodness knows what else. Can the vitamin d work in isolation? I have similar concerns about other vitamin supplementation when our bodies are adapted to receiving them with other nutrients found in food.

      1. barovsky

        Re Vit D and cholesterol: given that sunlight converts cholesterol into Vitamin D, could high cholesterol levels be caused by lack of sunlight?

      2. Gary Ogden

        TS: I think you’re on the right track here, that sunlight provides many more benefits than a pill. On the other hand, I have no doubt that, in general, vitamins and supplements in pill and powder can have great benefits, too. Some are of poor quality, and some, such as folic acid in place of folate are a bad idea, but there are clear benefits from good quality supplements, especially for those who are deficient. Personally, I prefer to get nearly every nutrient I need from food, mineral water, and sun exposure. The only ones I routinely take are powdered vitamin C, potassium bicarbonate, and spray-on MgCl. Plenty of salt, too, especially in hot weather, as I am very physically active. Salt restriction is bad for the kidneys, and I wish mine to be happy, busily filtering away.

  109. AnnaM


    It is unclear from your posts which vaccine you are speaking about. You mention the flu vaccine, but in your first post it was the pneumonia vaccine.

    You ask why people don’t comment. I am not terribly interested in taking vaccines even if it proves to be true. Rather, I would want to figure out what it is about the vaccine that is causing the benefit and find another way to get that benefit.

    It may provoke a response that gets rid of some sort of microbe, which might contribute to heart attacks, for example.

    1. Bill In Oz

      AnnaM, thanks for pointing out that I have made that mistake. Yes it is the polysaccaride pneumocol vaccine which is being used in the AUSPICE trial here in Oz.

      Please pardon me confusing this.

      It is close to Winter here and there is a lot of talk around about the need for flu vaccination..In fact a recent regulatory change here in Oz, has made it compulsory here for all people working in aged care & I think hospitals, to get a flu jab.. As my wife is an aged care worker she is one of those affected. Hence my confusion.

      The other issues you raise are not ones I can respond to as I have not the expertise. I guess what with the trial having started and the folks having already received their pneumocol vaccine, it will be interesting to see the long term results…And I for one hope that they are benefical..

  110. Bill In Oz

    Another Australian doctor has put his head above the parapet on diet..And staying away from a high carb or sugar diet.
    His name is Dr Peter Bruckner and his book is called ” A Fat lot of Good : How the Experts got Food & Diet Wrong And What to do to Take Back Control of your Health”
    Published by Penguin 2018.
    And I suspect that Bruckner may be ‘immune’ to the slings & arrows of the control freak regulatory authority experts..
    He is famous here because of his work advising sportsmen. Sportsmen such as Shane Warne, the world acciaimmed Australian spin bowler recently retired. In fact Warnie writes the forward of this book stating what was happening to him with official’ super-carbing’ diet and what happened when he started on his low carb high fat diet under Bruckner’s advice.

    If the dopey control freaks try to silence him Dr. Bruckner, he will take it to the court of public opinion and sell more copies.

    And as SPORT is our true religion here in Oz, I suspect that this book may become a bible like source.

  111. Martin Back

    It looks like I might have to concede a point to Aileen. I’m currently reading a book called “Resilience: Why things bounce back” by Andrew Zolli, and John Adams’s statistics on accident fatalities are featured. The author goes into some detail on just why seat belts for motorists lead to deaths of cyclists and pedestrians.

    He features a couple of quotes. I love this one by Colonel Willoughby Verner. In an angry letter to the Times in 1908 (!) he complains that he cut his high hedges near an intersection, which gave motorists a better view. As a result they drove faster and covered his property in dust. He writes “Since then I have let my hedges and shrubs grow… and the speed of many passing cars [is] sensibly diminished. For it is perfectly plain that there are a large number of motorists who can only be induced to go at a reasonable speed at cross-roads by consideration of their own personal safety.” He concludes that the public benefits from making driving more dangerous.

    Then there’s skydiver Bill Booth’s Rule Number Two: “The safer skydiving gear becomes, the more chances skydivers will take, in order to keep the fatality rate constant.”

    The speculation is that there is something called “risk homeostasis”, namely that people have a certain degree of risk they are comfortable with, and making things safer in one direction leads to riskier behavior in another direction to compensate.

    For instance, childproof pill caps have not led to a reduction in child poisonings. What seems to happen is that parents are more careless about replacing caps on pill bottles.

    Getting back to cyclists, risk homeostasis suggests that they are to blame for their own fatalities because the helmets and Lycra clothing make them take more risks on the road. Certainly my observation is that cyclists are more aggressive than previously, riding faster and taking up more of the road than before.

    1. Andy S

      Matin Back, Auto insurance could induce riskier behaviour as well as other types of insurance. ie Health Insurance. Personal responsibility is still required.

      1. Martin Back

        Excellent medical care means people are willing to attempt crazy stunts and put the results on YouTube, giving the rest of us a good laugh as we shake our heads in disbelief — positive emotions and exercise that lead to better health for YouTube viewers,therefore a net gain.

    2. Aileen

      Thanks Martin! Resilience has gone onto my wish-list. I’m looking forward to reading it, probably after next Christmas!

      I think you might have a point about helmets etc causing riskier cyclist behaviour. The expectation that people wear helmets and high viz and so on leads to the perception of cycling for transport as a dangerous sport, causing some people to avoid cycling altogether and others to cycle as if they were participating in the Tour de France.

      On the other hand, there is also evidence that the more competent (helmet, lycra etc) and male (!) a cyclist looks, the closer cars are likely to pass. Linked to this, cyclists taking up more of the road is likely to be due to “taking the lane” which counterintuitively is correct defensive cycling behaviour in some circumstances, where it would be dangerous for a car to overtake. Unfortunately it often enrages drivers, which is exactly the response you don’t want!

      Cycling for transport shouldn’t need to involve special clothing or helmets. In the Netherlands and Denmark people generally use old-fashioned sit-up cycles for everyday cycling. The bikes are slower, more stable and easier for others to see. They allow the rider a better view of what is happening around them. People wear their everyday clothes and rarely wear helmets. There is a clear distinction between cycling for sport (when of course you would wear a helmet and all the gear) and cycling to get to work or school or the shops. The road infrastructure supports this kind of cycling, especially in the Netherlands.

    3. Aileen

      My poor old laptop can’t cope with the sheer volume of responses on this post. It keeps crashing when I try to read people’s comments, which is annoying but I suppose a kind of compliment!

  112. SW

    Gentlmen, fancy a dose of Melanoma with that Aspirin, check this out if you are on a daily Aspro, you may need to be checked for Melanoma https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180503142628.htm
    Daily aspirin linked to double melanoma risk in men
    Women taking daily aspirin do not have higher risk in the same population
    May 3, 2018
    Northwestern University
    Men who take once-daily aspirin have nearly double the risk of melanoma compared to men who are not exposed to daily aspirin, reports a large new study.Women, however, do not have an increased risk. This does not mean men should stop aspirin therapy to lower the risk of heart attack, the authors stressed. They should avoid tanning beds and get regular skin checks by a dermatologist.

    1. Bill In Oz

      SW this study as reported is too vague and has a whiff of the suspicious about it..
      It states that the people studied “took between once-daily aspirin exposure at a dose of 81 or 325 mg”
      Now that is a huge difference in dose. The most commonly recommended daily dose is ‘baby aspirin’ or 75 mg. This is recommended for preventing colon cancer among other things.
      The 325 mg dose is what is recommended for people with heart attacks as it helps the arteries pump blood better. But that dose is not a daily dose as I understand it..Just a temporary measure while waiting for medical attention. And of course people take the 325 mg dose as a pain reliever but again that is not a long term daily dose either..

      Soooooo…. I wonder about the ‘who’ being measured here. And the motivations of the researchers and their funders.
      By the way PD Mangan’s Rogue Health Blog, in my opinion, has the best information on aspirin

      1. Göran Sjöberg

        20 years ago I was given the “standard” CVD medication of five different kinds as I now remember it . Doing my “homework” I dropped four of them within half a year but the “baby aspirin”. Doing more homework I dropped also this last one although I can now not remember the rational behind my decision but that I replaced it by the liberal use of garlic as a “blood thinner” which my cardiologist at that time approved of. He was a “reasonable” man.