Tag Archives: sugar

How Ottawa minds our own business


What are these posts for? Shut up, government says, sit on 'em

What are these posts for? Shut up, government says, sit on ’em

What do 33 dejected foreign workers, denied positions in New Brunswick, and low blood sugar have in common?

If you said it’s the bevy of busybodies beavering away to make a general nuisance of itself in Ottawa – otherwise known as the Government of Canada – give yourself a pat on the back. But stay away from the sweets.

Apparently inspired by a Globe and Mail investigation earlier this year, Harpertown is all set to poke its proboscis into the pantries of the nation.

“In recent months, the Globe and Mail documented the links between sugar and harmful health concerns, and called on the federal government to set a recommended daily sugar limit,” the newspaper reported, in one of the most pompous displays of self-serving grandiosity it has been this ex-staffer’s pleasure to witness, earlier this week. 

“Our reporting revealed the extent to which the food industry adds sugar to many products in various forms, the extent to which labelling requirements don’t sufficiently inform consumers about this practice and the broad range of health problems that stem from the amount of sugar in the daily diet.”

Now, galvanized by this magnificent example of public service journalism, we are asked to believe that Ottawa is about to require food producers to finally play it straight with Canadians and tell the truth about the degree to which they are poisoning the general populace. 

Accurate labelling, it seems, is the answer. So is a federally-sanctioned “recommendation” for the amount of sugar Canadians should consume in any given 24-hour period.

Bully for the federalistas, but methinks the chances that this famously recalcitrant crew of onetime reformers and oftentimes media mashers takes its marching orders from Canada’s self-appointed, self-important, “national newspaper” are perishingly small. 

The more likely explanation (which may be weirder still) is that despite its right-wing, small-government, anti-Liberal, nanny-state-hating political pedigree this particular crew of Tory MPs and their fellow-travelling bureaucrats just can’t resist telling people – any people – what to do.

And that extends far beyond the sugar bowl.

As the Moncton Times & Transcript reported recently, Canadian consular officers in Vietnam rejected 33 applicants from that country for jobs at Captain Dan’s Seafood and Pecheries GEM Ltee despite the fact that the two employers had “valid labour market opinions at the time of the application and had paid all due fees while the Vietnamese applicants took additional measures to improve their candidacy.”

Those measures included “weeks of intensive English-language courses and specific seafood processing training.”

The Moncton lawyer representing the two local firms is flabbergasted. “The employers have been let down without an adequate workforce,” Martin Aubin told T&T reporter Kayla Byrne. “They have paid good money, done everything by the rules and received permits to hire people. We had openings for 33 people, we found 33 people, but all of them have been denied. . .To fail completely is a new experience for me.”

Get used to it. 

No one – but, no one – gets around these dogs once they’ve got several bones clenched between their incisors. Consider, if you will, one more choice example of latent control freakishness: Bill C-24, which passed quietly in June.

Also called the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, this legislation moves its patron, Minister of of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander, practically to tears. 

It will, he said recently, “protect and strengthen the great value of Canadian citizenship, and remind individuals that citizenship is not a right, it’s a privilege. . .It is in honour of those who protected this city, in honour of those who have served and serve today, in honour of all who have made the sacrifice of war, and those who have contributed in their own way to building this great country, that we are further strengthening the value of Canadian citizenship.”

It will also do a couple of other things, according to one news report – notably provide the federal government with sweeping new license to share information about Canadian immigrants with foreign powers almost indiscriminately.

Of course, that’s all in a day’s work for a government whose main business is fast becoming minding other people’s.


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Will an apple a day keep the doctor away?



Just so there’s no confusion: In our processed, fast-food, anxiety-riddled society, life without sugar is not an option.

Yes, the World Health Organization (WHO) says otherwise, but. . .well, come on. . .its new recommended limit of 12 level teaspoons a day? That would get the average person through lunch.

We might as well face it, one month after Valentines Day, we’re all addicted to the kind of love that comes in a box. Hello chocolate; come to daddy.

Of course, in my case, it’s not just any chocolate. It’s this absurdly tasty, milky variety by Lindt. No other branding is necessary. I buy it by the gross. I smell it through its paper and foil packaging. I fondle its brown, yielding edges just before I pop it into my mouth. I completely surrender to the orgasmic adventure of. . .

Hey, did I mention that I quit smoking once and for all (again), just the other day? Maybe, just maybe, there’s a connection. The WHO certainly thinks there is, if only a terminal one.

“The guideline amount has been slashed dramatically amid fears that sugar poses the same threat to health as tobacco. . .Experts blame it for millions of premature deaths across the world every year. . . Graham MacGregor, a London cardiologist and health campaigner, said: ‘Added sugar is a completely unnecessary part of our diets, contributing to obesity, type II diabetes and tooth decay. . .We have known about the health risks of sugar for years and yet nothing substantial has been done. . .The new recommendations will be a wakeup call to the Department of Health and the Government to take action by forcing the food industry to slowly reduce the huge amount of sugar added across the board.’”

Meanwhile, Britain’s chief medical officer Sally Davies “has already said a tax may be put on calorie-laden food and drink to curb soaring levels of obesity. Labour suggested last night it would impose a maximum limit on sugar, fat and salt in products marketed at children.”

All that was from London’s Daily Mail last week. Here’s something else from the desks of science reporters: Contrary to everything we’ve been told since June Cleaver made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Beaver and the boys back in the 1950s, low-fat diets do not prevent heart attacks.

“There is no conclusive proof that a low-fat diet has any positive effects on health,” The Mail quoted James DiNicolantonio, a New York-based cardiovascular research scientist. “Indeed, the literature indicates a general lack of any effect (good or bad) from a reduction in fat intake. The public fear that saturated fat raises cholesterol is completely unfounded. . .We need a public health campaign as strong as the one we had in the 70s and 80s demonizing saturated fats, to say that we got it wrong.”

So what is the culprit (apart from sugar, obviously)? Take it away, Dr. DiNicolantoni:

“From these data, it is easy to comprehend that the global epidemic of atherosclerosis, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and the metabolic syndrome is being driven by a diet high in carbohydrate/sugar as opposed to fat, a revelation that we are just starting to accept.”

Naturally, these revelations might be easier to accept if we could actually keep track of them.

If it’s not sugar that’s killing us, it’s salt. And what’s up with eggs? One week, they’re nature’s perfect protein. The next, experts are insisting we’d be better off sipping hemlock.

“Researchers found that eating one or more eggs a day did not increase the risk of heart disease or stroke among healthy people,” the Globe and Mail reported last year. “It did, however, increase the odds of developing type 2 diabetes, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.”

And don’t imagine, for a minute, that downing a handful of vitamin D supplements will save you. It turns out we were wrong about that, too.

“Previous research has shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with poor health and early death,” according to a HealthDay report earlier this year. “But recent evidence suggests that low levels of vitamin D are a result, not a cause, of poor health.”

We can be reasonably certain that cutting back on sugar is the sensible thing to do. But, amid the epidemic of shifting medical consensus about virtually everything these days, we’ll just have to trust our guts on that one.

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