Published on Jun 5, 2016
Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush
Channel 4 Documentary aired, 3 Sep 2015
(Due to copyright issues this video can’t be watched in the UK.)
In the opening minutes, we see five-year-old Mario having rotten teeth extracted in the operating theatre under general anaesthetic, with Oliver standing awkwardly alongside, nearly in tears.
Later, we are in the podiatry clinic, looking at close-up shots of the stumps of people with type-2 diabetes who have had their feet amputated.
When Oliver flicks a stack of the 40 sugar cubes people in Britain consume every day in their food and fizzy pop across the room, we know where we are going. It’s 10 years on from School Dinners and the chef is on a new crusade, a war against the added sugar in our diet that he blames for the rising epidemic of bad teeth and type-2 diabetes that, he claims, could finally scupper our crumbling NHS – costing £30m and £8.8bn a year respectively.
Then there is Mexico, where even babies are given Coca Cola but the tide has begun to turn, thanks to a consumer movement that won the battle with government for a tax on sugary drinks.
He is prepared to put his money where his mouth is – “taxing” sugary drinks in his own restaurants. We see him in the Channel 4 film in a meeting with other restaurant chains, trying to persuade them to join in. Oliver believes that the great British public will get behind him, though, and persuade the government that we need the tax – which would be invested in health and schools. In the meantime, he says, in taking on the sugar industry, “I know I’m going to get a bashing.” But he appears to care passionately about this. “Not in a smug way – I feel totally righteous,” he said. “I’m doing it as a father and because every clever person that I have met realises we’re all aligned in the same catastrophe.”
This documentary was aired on Channel 4 on 3 September 2015
On 19 Oct 2015, Jamie Oliver appeared before the Health Select Committee to discuss how to tackle childhood obesity and the amount of sugar children consume.
On 16 March 2016 George Osborne introduced a new sugar levy on the soft drinks industry to combat obesity. Mr Osborne told MPs: “Doing the right thing for the next generation is what this government and this Budget is about. The tax will be levied on the drinks companies by 2018, giving them time to change the ingredients and recipes of their products.