How we end up with absurdities like the sugar tax

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Quite how we end up with absurdities like the sugar tax is an odd one. From Osborne's point of view it is of course just pandering to whatever he thinks the chatterati are wibbling about this week. Rather than considering the economics of his action it's a bone thrown to the political dogs. Not really how we do want our economic policy to be determined. On the other side, from those pushing the policy in the first place, it seems to be simple and pure ignorance of the subject under discussion. Here is the leader of the campaign itself, Dr. Aseem Malhotra on the subject of sugar:

Sugar is NOT a “nutrient” so let’s not pretend it is

That's rather news to any- and every- one who has ever studied the subject of diet and what it is necessary for human beings to ingest.

For years spokespeople for the food and soft drinks companies have defended arguments calling for the regulation of sugar by saying we shouldn’t be singling out one “nutrient” when it comes to tackling Obesity. This was again repeated by the corporate affairs director of the Food and Drinks Federation in a debate I had with him on Channel 4 News last week. I pointed out that sugar has no nutritional value, has no biological requirement and therefore cannot be a “nutrient.”

No nutritional value? What?

Just to be clear the definition of nutrient is “a substance that provides nourishment essential for the maintenance of life and for growth”

Sugar contains calories. That's rather the point of the campaign that Dr. Malhotra is leading: the consumption of sugar leads to many calories being ingested. And we are really rather sure that it is necessary for human beings to ingest calories, they are indeed nourishment essential for the maintenance of life and for growth.

A crowd pleasing Chancellor listening to the gibberings of the grossly ill-informed. Now you know how we end up with absurdities like the sugar tax.