Once king of the supermarkets and home to an seventh of all the money spent in Britain’s shops, Tesco’s might is waning. Earlier this year it was announced that it was operating on a £65Billion loss. Increased competition from new discount stores like Aldi and Lidl and the ever more fraught price war between the other supermarket giants means Tesco is struggling to rebrand itself in an appealing way.
Their most recent attempt to position themselves in a positive light is by announcing plans to get rid of drinks with added sugar from their shelves. In an interview with Supermarket trade magazine The Grocer, Tesco’s soft drinks buyer said the move is part of a “10-point plan against obesity”.
On the face of it, it’s an admirable move. After news only a few weeks ago telling us that we are – by and large – consuming too much sugar by almost double, Tesco’s announcement should probably be welcomed. Right?
Although, the move is undoubtedly a “start” on the right tracks, it is about as pointless as saying you’ll be swapping your regular Fish ‘n’ Chips Friday night meal with a takeaway Kebab. Why? Because of artificial sweeteners.
The supermarket is essentially going down the same route a lot of huge food and drink manufacturers have negotiated in the last decade or two. As growing awareness of the dangers of foods with high-sugar contents became more and more obvious, so too did an increased focus on reducing sugar in our diets. To any truly rational human being, this should mean giving up eating that extra packet of sweets or swapping a can of Coke for a class of water every so often. But big businesses “can’t afford” to do that what with all their shareholders and desperate drive for more and more profits. Their answer is to replace sugar with something extremely similar to make you think that their product is more healthy but without sacrificing that sweet sweet taste.
Woo hoo! Low-Sugar Sweeties and Diet Coke, I can consume as much of this without getting fat or getting Diabetes. Isn’t the world wonderful!?
Or at least that’s what the companies what you to think because actually, sweeteners aren’t much better for you than sugar. They’re all just as addictive, and some research suggests that they’re actually worse because they make you feel hungrier than their sugary counter parts. All part of a deadly cycle which means you crave food, eat the diet stuff to remain healthy and end up eating more and more because you’re hooked. The key factor is that many sweeteners – and all the variations of sugars – all act in exactly the same way in our bodies. They increase insulin in your blood stream (which is there to regulate blood sugar levels) and an increase in insulin leads to your body storing more energy as fat, hence if consumed in large quantities they all can lead to Obesity and Diabetes.
It’s sad that we’ve been so manipulated by huge companies to eat their food and drink their drinks assuming that it shouldn’t be too unhealthy. It’s disastrous that something called Diet Coke is allowed to exist, despite actually being worse for people trying to lose weight than a standard Coca Cola.
It’s ridiculous that Tesco think that simply by saying their shelves are a sugar free zone that more parents will be conned into thinking they’re providing the healthy option for their kids.
But what’s even worse is, we’re all still falling for this marketing ploy over and over again and it’s sending us to an early grave.