What British People Debate in Pubs


Recently, Childhood Obesity News considered some of the opinions about the United Kingdom’s sugar tax, as summarized by Colin Lloyd. For instance, there was mention of the “perceived benefits” of such a tax, including less dental decay and a reduction in type 2 diabetes. We left off by reflecting that a reduction in type 2 diabetes would surely be a real — rather than a “perceived” — benefit.

Lloyd says that, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, sugar consumption has dropped while obesity keeps going up in the United States, and the same thing would happen in Britain. Incidentally, he mentions that the increase in obesity is not due to other types of carbohydrates, because people are eating less of those too. He says the problem is oil.

The writer offers some suggestions that might be implemented, such as free nutrition clinics at National Health Service locations, and at doctors’ offices. These would be managed by volunteers, and the available help would consist of nutrition advice and recipes, exercise advice, and the opportunity to be weighed. Lloyd remarks, with absolute accuracy, that it is easier to lose weight when amongst a group of like-minded comrades.

There is always a “but”

Perhaps so; but as Dr. Pretlow has learned from listening to thousands of kids, nutrition advice abounds. It’s in schools already, and in children’s books, in libraries, and all over the Internet. We are just about drowning in information. What people need is a solid education in life skills.

Actually, what a lot of people need is a life rewind, back to before conception, and to have many things happen differently. That solution is beyond the reach of either legislation or reality.

Rather than merely dispense nutrition advice, this like-minded group had better stock their tool kits and teach each other how to cope with life challenges, or else it’s all just a big warm fuzzy waste of time. Volunteers feel good about helping others, and dangerously obese people kid themselves that they are making a sincere effort, and the results are abysmally disappointing.

One of Lloyd’s arguments against the tax is both the truest, and the most difficult to deal with. He says,

There are more effective ways of encouraging a change in the behavior of the overweight and obese.

Yes, there are other ways to encourage change in overweight people’s behavior, and quite possibly even more effective ones. Many of them are time-intensive, labor-intensive, and expensive. Some even involve surgery. (For one that is efficacious and very affordable, please see W8Loss2Go.)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Sugar, Honey, Honey — the Weighty Problem of Obesity and Substitution,” CobdenCentre.org, 03/17/17
Photo credit: Terry Whalebone via Visualhunt/CC BY

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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