Lustig blamed the food companies and government farming subsidies for the epidemic of type 2 diabetes (they are, of course, guilty as charged), but never the people themselves. This is because it is nowadays regarded as proper to blame only the rich and powerful for anything and never “€œordinary”€ people, including the fat: Though where the sins of the rich and powerful come from then becomes a little mysterious unless it is assumed that they are a caste biologically apart from the rest of humanity. However, Lustig does relate the story of a young mother who gave her child a gallon of orange juice a day, with the natural result that the child soon came to resemble a prize pig at Blandings Castle. To explain her strange child-rearing practices the mother told Lustig that the government said that orange juice was good for children, from which she concluded that the more the better. Against stupidity the gods themselves, let alone mere government public health departments, struggle in vain, though in extenuation it must be entered that Linus Pauling, one of the few men ever to win two Nobel Prizes, believed more or less the same thing, and that heroic doses of vitamin C were the path if not quite to immortality, at least to much increased longevity. (I don”€™t want to sound like an American liberal, but honesty compels me to admit that it will now be very difficult for the fat boy raised on orange juice ever to lose weight, and I doubt that he will ever be slender.)

Of course, not everyone in Britain and America eats industrial doughnuts with blue icing, but a good proportion of those who don”€™t eat them abjure them more on health grounds than for aesthetic reasons. If it were proved by the very next article in a medical journal that they are the very thing for health, queues of joggers and people who swear by organic carrots would form outside to obtain them. In Anglo-Saxon countries, meals”€”if they be not actually detrimental to health”€”tend to be regarded as medical procedures.

If I had my way (which, fortunately for the world, is rather unlikely), I should make it a criminal offense to take a child to a MacDonald’s restaurant. If someone were to tell me that children love those restaurants, I should reply, “€œBut that is precisely why it should be a criminal offense.”€



Columnists

Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!

SIGN UP

Daily updates with TM’s latest