This week, campaign group Action on Sugar has called for bans on high-sugar milkshakes, such as the Instagrammable ‘freakshakes’, but this approach won’t prevent obesity, says Maria Chaplia, Consumer Choice Center Media Associate.
“In case the milkshake ban proposed by the Action on Sugar receives support from the governmnent, consumers will be subjected to a yet another futile lifestyle regulation,” she says. “The evidence shows that Government-led navigation of consumer’s preferences doesn’t improve public health.
“It is undoubted that obesity is a pressing issue across the world. Most anti-obesity government programmes seek to reduce energy intake, but this approach hasn’t proved successful so far. Numerous evidence indicates that weight excess can be cured through the increase in energy expenditure, achieved through physical activity.”
She added: “According to Public Health England, physical activity in the UK declined by 24 per cent since the 1960s. The average energy consumption followed and has recently dropped too.
“If a 300-calorie ‘grotesquely sugary’ milkshake is unavailable on the market, consumers will opt for a couple of Cadbury’s chocolate bars, 230 calories each. Government is incapable of stopping consumers from making harmful choices through coercion, it can focus on encouraging healthy attitudes though.
“The UK nanny state primarily targets food, tobacco and alcohol and has been recognised as one of the most meddlesome in Europe. Step by step, it has been taking over the freedom to choose and imposing its lifestyle preferences on consumers.
“NHS Christmas dinner guidelines, a sugar levy and now a suggested ban on milkshakes are not only ineffective nutrition regulations, they are warning signs of further interventions.”