The rate of obesity in Britain has exceptionally increased compared to the situation in 1960s. This is attributed to increased intake of sugar and fats in food consumption. The industrial production of corn in 1970s, with an aim to curb the increasing food prices then, marked the beginning of Britain’s obesity crisis. Richard Nixon, then a presidential candidate hoping to be re-elected, endorsed Earl Butz to take up on food security issues. Butz, an agricultural expert from Indiana, empowered farmers to focus on a large scale production of corn, which led to the bulk supply of cheap food in the market. The corn surplus was then used to develop high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which had high levels of sweetness. HFCS was also cheap thus was preferred to sugar. Manufacturers endorsed its use in food production, especially in soft drinks, and it gradually dominated people's diets. This paper is based on Jacques Peretti's theory on why our food is making us fat as featured in the Guardian (Peretti, 2012).
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The food industry is responsible for the increased cases of obesity in the United Kingdom, through replacement of low fat ingredients with high sugar content in the diet.
Peretti notes the alarming rate of the increased weight cases among the population in Britain by comparing the statistics between 1966 and 1989. He points out that the Body Mass Index of the population with over 30 totaled to about 1.2% in men and 1.8% for women in 1966. The percentages, however, rose to 10.6% and 14.0% for men and women respectively in 1989. Another supporting evidence of increased weight is the enlargement of modern car seats and clothes sizes to fit individuals. The percentages increased despite the consumption behavior and excising culture of the masses remaining constant. This makes the types of food being consumed, such as pizzas, low-fat yoghurts, biscuits and meat, characterized by high sugar level additives as the cause of increased weights.
Scientific researchers have also been able to establish beyond doubt that high levels of sugar in the body can cause harm. Research findings published in the “Nature” journal, by three researchers from the University of California, ascertained that fructose can prompt processes resulting to liver toxicity and other persistent diseases. Further findings have established possibilities of sugar in covering semen and reduce fertility levels in obese men. Professor Anthony Sclafani from New York University further confirmed the correlation between sugar and weight gain through his appetite study. He noticed the radical increase in weight among his lab rats whenever he fed them on processed food from stores and supermarkets. The same effect of sugar applies to human bodies thus the sugar industry is responsible for the increased weights. It has used addictive ingredients in the diet, making it difficult to satisfy human appetite.
The stakeholders in the sugar industry were also very defensive, with a strong lobby against any mentioning of sugar as the possible cause of diabetes and heart diseases. Instead, they adopted a blame game strategy that made them redirect the accusations towards fat additives as the possible cause of the alarming health risk. The Sugar Association promptly responded by stating that sugar intake did not correlate with the lifestyle diseases. Professor John Yudkin's discovery of sugar content in the diet as the silent cause of heart diseases was thwarted by his colleagues. Instead, the association urged clients to take responsibility for their consumption habits. Such defenses reflect an industry that is not willing to take responsibility of the effects of its products to the people, and thus the sugar industry is once again to blame for the increased weight cases in the UK.
In conclusion, it is evident that the government is applying double standards in protecting its citizens against manufacturers in the food industry, whose main interests are to make profits at the expense of the consumers' health. This is the result of the government's agenda to protect job security, and the revenue generated from the industry. Curbing the obesity crisis is an individual responsibility through adopting a healthier lifestyle by regulating the amount of fat and sugar consumption in our diets.
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