news, latest-news, fruit juice, star rating, health, soft drink, david littleproud
In November last year, the governments of Australia and New Zealand decided to improve their health star rating system for food and drinks. This would have led to fruit juice being labelled with fewer than five stars. So the decision was neutered, with a new vote to be taken in early 2021 to make the final, final decision. That decision has now been made, and, lo and behold – fruit juice will still no longer be rated five stars. Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has been bleating about the decision since. He seems to have two complaints: The first complaint is best answered with an analogy – an extreme analogy, but I think nevertheless a useful one. Just stick with me on it. Think of full-strength soft drink as street heroin. There is nothing good about it. It’s addictive, and almost certainly laced with glass or old car tyres or used sex toys or some other rubbish that’s bad for your health. It’s the same with Coke et al: super-saturated with addictive sugar plus who knows what else, with no upside. All you’re going to get is fat and diabetic. Fruit juice is a bit better – think of it as pure heroin. Pure heroin does have some redeeming features, as it can be used for pain relief. Getting high is (arguably) a benefit too. But it’s still addictive. It’s still going to make you lie and cheat and steal until all your friends and family have abandoned you to die cold, alone and scabby in a gutter. So it is (again, I must stress, for the purposes of this analogy) with fruit juice. Sure, you get some vitamins, and even some fibre if there’s pulp. Mostly, though, by drinking lots of fruit juice throughout your life, you’re putting one fat diabetic stump in the grave. This is where diet soft drink comes in. Diet soft drink is like methadone. Methadone is better than heroin – principally because you don’t get as high, so you don’t engage in destructive behaviour, and it’s less hard to wean off methadone. But methadone is still not great. You don’t take it unless you have to. Same-same for diet soft drink. It doesn’t have sugar, so it doesn’t make you fat. The artificially sweet taste still maintains your sugar addiction, though, meaning that if you don’t eventually get off the diet soft drink you’ll probably relapse to the strong stuff. That’s why fruit juice can get fewer stars than diet soft drink: even though fruit juice has vitamins and possibly fibre, fruit juice is unashamedly addictive and fattening. Diet soft drink is at least a step in the right direction. The drug analogy can be continued for the minister’s second complaint. Was anyone particularly upset about the livelihoods of honest, hard-workin’ Aussie farm folk when cigarette consumption dived, along with the viability of communities near tobacco farms? READ MORE: The same applies to fruit juice….