We've been watching the antics of the public health crowd over sugar with something of a wary eye. Amused at times as they make ever more ridiculous claims about this and that. Our favourite truly ridiculous one is that high fructose corn syrup is to blame for British obesity. For HFCS is hardly used in the UK while it is prevalent in the US - both have similar obesity problems. We've also had chuckles over the claims that we would all be thinner if we ate something like WWII rations. What was then considered to be a weight losing diet in terms of calories would today be some 30% higher in calories than the current average diet.
It's not just that they're not playing with a full set of facts they seem not to be have the full deck of cards available to inform their mental processes.
But past that amusement there is also concern - this is clearly a crusade, a jihad, rather than a rational attempt to improve the public health. Which brings us to the latest:
Fruit snacks, yoghurts and smoothies are to be targeted by health officials under new guidelines being drawn up in the war on sugar.
Scientists working with Public Health England (PHE) have ruled that certain snacks and drinks contain harmful “free sugars” which are being blamed for the national obesity crisis.
The human digestion system breaks everything down into a chemical soup anyway meaning that there's really not that much difference here. But what is happening is what is common to most fundamentalisms:
The scientific panel decided that sugar naturally present in fruit and vegetable purees, juices, smoothies and other similar products should be treated as free sugars “where the cellular structure of the fruit or vegetable had broken down”.
But it also concluded sugar naturally present in stewed, canned and dried fruit and vegetables should be excluded from the definition of free sugars. That may add to confusion because fruit bars made from dried fruit will not be considered to contain free sugars, while fruit bars which are made from fresh fruit will.
This is known behaviour among fanatics: today's Wolfie Smiths debate whether the dictatorship of the proletariat will come before or after Otherkin and Questioning are accepted as non-cis sexual identities without bothering to ponder the basic question of whether we have a proletariat left to dictate. The Deep Purple enthusiasts of our youth would debate exactly which bootleg of Smoke on the Water contained the definitive guitar riff in acrimonious detail rather than just agree that it's a nice bit of amplified blues but little more.
So it is with our sugar fanatics. The essential truth that we are all fatty lardbuckets because we consume more calories than we expend has escaped them. Thus these discussions of whether an apple chewed and dissolved into chemical soup in our stomachs is different from one blended before chewing and drunk so as to be that chemical soup in our stomachs. It is even remotely possible that there is difference to be measured but it's simply not important nor germane to the problem at hand, the dreadful aesthetics of walking down a summertime street where 50% of the people are fifty pounds too heavy for their shorts and tank tops.
Our reaction should be to put these disputants away where we put the Wolfies and the Purpleites. Teenage obsessions to be put aside when one discovers an accommodating and complimentary sex, cis or non-cis. The only real worry about them is the damage that might be done if we take them seriously.
For they are well off out beyond that angels on pins debate - at least that was about something interesting, are angels corporeal or non-corporeal beings? The current discussants are squabbling over whether there is a non-corporeal calorie or not.