Why UK got me (and its people) fat

As many know, I’m originally from Sweden. A few months ago I moved to United Kingdom and a short time later, my mother in law started poking my tummy and say “you’ve gotten fat”.

I was surprised, because I have not changed anything since I got here, so what went wrong?

A few days ago I read in Metro that activists were shut out of some government building after lobbying for a sugar restriction in food. The government don’t want to hear any about that! They want to focus on the matter at hand: why are the citizens getting fatter?

So I flipped on the news on the telly and the reporter said another cyclist had been killed in a hit-and-run. There had been protests outside some government building about the state of the walkways and cyclist routes and the fact that they are too close to the roads, but the Government doesn’t want to hear about that. They want to focus on the matter at hand: Why are kids in younger and younger ages getting fatter?

I went outside and looked into the distance. I saw hills, but no roads went over the hills and there were no signs of buildings there. The roads go through in tunnels or around the hills. The roads were completely flat, whatever elevation was there before were flattened to a level surface. No need for stairs, if there’s no elevations. About 80% of the medium-sized town’s population live in bungalows, one-story buildings with 3-6 rooms. This means the town has grown really wide, it used to be 5 different towns but they all grew so wide they grew into each other. There was something on the news about building plans for multi-family buildings and possible high-rises, but the Government doesn’t want to hear about that. They want to focus on the matter at hand: Why doesn’t kids get as much exercise any more?

I picked up a box of cereals for kids, it was called “Chocolate chip cookies” and I thought it was a cute gimmick. I opened the pack and there I saw miniature chocolate chip cookies. Not cereal made to look like it, but actual cookies with real chocolate chips in them. I read the nutritional facts and spotted the carbs, over 70%, where sugar was over 25%. That means in every 4 spoons the kids take, one of them might as well be completely filled with pure sugar. I checked the nutritionals on other cereals, several of them branded as “healthy”, such as Special K, All-Bran and Weetabix. All of them had close to or over 70% carbs and close to or over 20% sugar.

I talked to some of my new friends, a couple from another part of the town. I made them tea, as a test if I had gotten enough of the culture right to make proper tea. When I picked up the sweeteners we’ve bought to replace the added sugar in our diet, one of them immediately spoke up: “Don’t you know that sweeteners are bad for you? They make you fat and give you cancer!”.

I found this statement ridiculous, it’s the sugar that increases chances of stomach cancer and fatness, but I did some digging. Sure enough, a big majority of the British people believe that pure sugar is better for the body than artificial sweeteners and although the sweeteners doesn’t have any calories in them, people are willing to believe they are a higher cause of fatness than pure sugar. This applies to many things in the diet, where doctors and dieticians have made public recommendations against certain things and for others, with the right mindset, but it got twisted over time. A good example is fizzy drinks (also known as Soda in a big part of the world). Most parents refuse to give their child a fizzy drink, but have no problem giving them juice. This has been twisted over time by lack of proper food laws and the freedom of the food manufacturers and the dieticians and doctors have not kept up with their recomendations. Now you have parents that rather give their child a sugar-filled packet of juice than a 0-calorie fizzy drink, believing that the juice is good for the child and that the fizzy drink will make them a fat, cancer-filled blob.

Another good example is the “5 a day” rule that is so hard-coded into most British people today. It was made in a time when very few people ate fruits and vegetables and is a good thought, but the manufacturers have twisted it and the Government have permitted it. Now we have juices sugared fruits and vegetables soaked in sugar-water labelled as “healthy” and “one of your 5-a-day”, all with the Government seal of approval. Of course that will make people think it is healthy, even though it’s almost as bad for your body as crack, and at least as addictive.

There’s 15 different kids channels available between the Freeview (free channels, if you have a digital box) and the £5 expansion we have on our digital TV deal. Between them they broadcast 240 hours worth of content aimed to kids every 24 hours. The kids have learned to swap channels when ads are on and the box has recording functions, so they rewind, fast forward and swap back and forth for a constant stream, from 6am to midnight. They even have the telly in the bedroom, so they can watch it before they fall asleep. Between the constant sugar rush and the constant stream of televised content streamed right into their cortex, it takes a lot longer before they fall asleep. Even the active kids that run all over the house have trouble sleeping and often wake up in the middle of the night.

When the TV is off, they pick up their phones and go on CBBC On Demand or Youtube to watch even more. Sometimes they even combine the phone and the TV to watch TV while they watch TV. I even saw one kid that brought up Fram-In-Frame on the TV to have three shows on at once.

Overstimulation of the “lazy centre” of their brains, with little to no educational content, some of it even claiming to telling science when they really tell a load of bull. Understimulation of their “activation centre” of their brains, spending more time laying on the floor with a remote in one hand and a phone in the other.

And the Government shuts all protests out and then ask themselves: “Why are we getting so fat?”

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