Food cons: The foxes want to guard the hens

  • This latest food corporation story is utterly absurd!
  • Why we shouldn’t trust the Milkybar makers to make us slimmer
  • The real causes of our national health crisis

Imagine this…

A multi-national corporation decides to create a new product.

It’s a biscuit that EXPLODES in your hand.

All over the world, people are losing their limbs in catastrophic mini-explosions.

“Never fear!” says the corporation. “We have the answer to this crisis.”

The world waits with baited breath.

What could that answer be?

Maybe they’ll stop making the biscuits so explosive?

But no…

The corporation unveils its solution…

Which is an innovative new range of PROSTHETIC HANDS!

Yes, at a highly affordable price, people can buy new plastic hands to replace the ones that the corporations’ biscuits have damaged.

That’s a silly story, isn’t it?

Totally ridiculous.

Like a plot from a satirical science fiction TV show or something Dr Evil would come up with in Austin Powers.

But it’s pretty much what’s happening in the real world.

Take this utterly bonkers Mail on Sunday headline from earlier this month:

Milkybar giant joins obesity fight with ‘expanding’ tablet

The story was about the Swiss multi-national, Nestle, who make Milkybars, Kit Kats, Aeros and other highly sugary confections.

In 2019 they, along with Cadbury, were criticised for boosting the sugar content of their chocolate bars by more than 10% since 1992.

And yet…

They have taken it upon themselves to help solve the obesity crisis.

But not by making their products healthier…

And not by stopping the production of sugary chocolate.

Instead, they have decided to create an ‘expanding’ weight loss pill that inflates a triangular bag inside your stomach.

As it expands, it becomes a jelly-like mass that makes you feel full.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the thought of swallowing a pill that turns into a jelly-like object in my stomach sounds horrific.

Maybe it will work, who knows?

But a giant food corporation who make sugary products offering to ‘fix’ obesity is like a fox offering to guard the henhouse. Just another of the blatant food cons.

Quite rightly, some have accused the company of trying to have its cake and eat it, too.

They can make money from sugary chocolate…

And then they can also make money from selling diet tablets.


It reminds me of Homer Simpson’s line about drinking…

“Alcohol… the cause of, and the solution to, all of life’s problems.”

But let’s put aside the absurdity of the concept for a moment and focus on the real issue at hand…

Always the solutions and never the causes

We are suffering from another of the food cons and I bemoan the fact that we’re even considering a solution like this in the first place.

Instead of addressing the root causes of obesity, like unhealthy diets, sedentary lifestyles and lack of access to fresh foods, we’re turning to quick fixes and band-aid solutions.

Why fix deep societal problems to make people healthier when you can just sell them jelly that expands in their stomachs?

And who’s leading the charge on this?

The same corporations that have been profiting off our addiction to junk food for decades. It’s like a cigarette company trying to sell you a cure for lung cancer.

What they should be doing is making their products less addictive, less sugary and less harmful.

On top of that, our government shouldn’t be leaving the solutions to our health crisis to corporations at all.

Instead, they could consider:

Better education about cooking and nutrition. This can start in schools, where children can learn about healthy eating habits, how to cook healthy meals, and the importance of consuming fresh ingredients. This can also extend to the wider community through cooking classes and nutrition workshops.

Improved access to fresh ingredients. This can be done by supporting local farmers and markets, promoting community gardens and incentivising businesses to stock more seasonal fresh produce.

Encouraging more physical activity. For example more playing fields, sports programmes, cycle lanes and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure so that it’s easier and safer for people to get around on foot or by bike. This can also help to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, which can both have negative impacts on public health.

Workplace Wellness Programmes. These can have a big impact on public health. They can include initiatives like healthy snack options, standing desks and fitness classes during lunch breaks.

And to go even deeper…

The real causes of our national health crisis

REALLY what should be happening is a much more significant change in the way we live…

For instance, in this country we are hugely sedentary compared with our European neighbours.

We are 20% less active than we were in the 1960s. And at current rates we will be 35% less active by 2030.

This physical inactivity is linked to 1 in 6 deaths in Britain and costs 7.4 billion annually.

The problem is caused by a number of factors – desk jobs… lack of free time because of working hours and long commutes… lack of green spaces… online shopping… dependency on cars…

Somehow, we have painted ourselves into a very unhealthy corner.

It’s hard for people to keep moving around all day if they’re chained to a desk… then stuck in a car… then compelled to stare at screens in the evening to relax, shop or communicate with friends.

But this kind of lifestyle could be more damaging to your health than smoking.

And yet we feel trapped in it, with no alternative.

The victims of the latest food cons.

How to ‘walk away’ from the problem

The UK Chief Medical Officers’ Guidelines recommend that adults should do the following every week:

  • 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity… 75 minutes’ vigorous activity… or a mixture of both
  • strengthening activities on two days
  • reduce extended periods of sitting

But I know that lots of people will look at that and say, “I just can’t do this, it’s too much.”

They either don’t have the time or they don’t have the energy to fit this into their hectic life.

However, the good news is that even an 11-minute brisk walk every day can help! That is, according to new research from Cambridge University.

The study showed that 75 minutes of moderate exercise over the week reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and an early death.

So please, never feel like there’s nothing you can do.

Just 10 minutes brisk walking will make a massive difference.

Even using the stairs as a home gym can be beneficial – more here.

If the whole nation did this every day and skipped some of the Milkybars, we might never need those expanding weight loss pills!