Sugar: the sweet ‘poison’ we can all do without

Joel Jelen is one of Liverpool’s best-known PR professionals and a passionate advocate for healthy living. He has penned an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to tackle the health threat posed by sugar

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Dear Mr Johnson,

I’m sure your Chief Medical Officer knows this, but here is a reminder… sugar is the number one poison in people’s diet. It’s the biggest single factor within any diet that reduces immunity.

Given how our immunity is a critical defence against viruses, will you be banning all TV ads featuring fizzy drinks, sponsorship of events by Coca Cola or the ads by Muller about sugar-laden yoghurts sadly endorsed by our Olympic athletes?

Will you ban catering firms from supplying hospitals with the same products? Will you ban these from vending machines and tuck shops in schools when they go back? I don’t visit supermarkets very often, but when I do, I never fail to be amazed at the food and drink often well-heeled folk that I know have in their trolleys. Processed, sugar-rich and very low in nutrition. 

During the coronavirus epidemic, the Government advice has been: wash your hands, socially distance, stay home and stay alert. How about ‘Stay Alert and Stay Safe and stop eating chronically bad, highly processed food, full of sugar that merely serves to deplete your immunity’?

What a time and massive opportunity to change the way our food is produced, to help educate a nation on how the right food can protect us in these harsh times. Ask liver surgeons about the alarming rise in younger people suffering from liver disease because of their diet and lifestyle.

Ask GPs about the record levels of diabetes and other metabolic syndrome-related conditions caused partly by excess sugar and bad diet. Ask the dental profession about the record number of tooth extractions in children under five because of their sugary diet.

Mr Johnson, help make good food part of the fight against viruses and illness and make good food more accessible to the masses. Never mind easing lockdown. Give us a different sweetener by looking at the economics of food production.

Remind the nation, especially our business leaders, schools and teachers how poor diet is creating a huge burden on the NHS, aside from the lack of critical funding. That’s how to care for the NHS.

And, how about instead, sweet-talking the nation into eating better for health, give those that need it the help to obtain it and keep the advice positive… it’s positivity that everybody is crying out for, right now.

Best regards,

Joel Jelen

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