A Sugar-Coated British Christmas.

According to a recent ‘British Medical Journal’ survey, the UK diet contains too much sugar. There have (it says) been dramatic increases over the past 30 years. Kellogs Special K now has 17g of sugar per 100g (similar to ice-cream), Hovis wholemeal bread 3.7 g per 100g and Waitrose tomato soup 6.4g. Even the sugar-content of carrots has gone up from 5.4g to 7.4g. The British have a very ‘sweet tooth’, which is one reason why they like Christmas. The supermarkets have been piled high with mince-pies (up to 13 gr, depending on the brand), Christmas puddings ( 41.6g from Waitrose,36.4 at Asda), Christmas cakes and Turkish delight . It is estimated that a normal person will have to run for nine hours to get rid of the 7,000 calories they will accumulate during their traditional Christmas Day lunch of turkey, roast potatoes, chipolata sausages, bacon, gravy, brussel sprouts and cranberry sauce – followed by chocolates and generous amounts of alcohol .Tesco expects to sell 750,000 packets of its mince pies in the last week before Christmas – 27% up on 2007.

It seems the nation’s consumers are now spending less on clothes, and electrical goods – but more on their desserts. They are also ordering more takeaways. The online company ‘Just-Eat.co.uk’ has reported a 69.5% increase in business over the past six months. They attribute this to the public now preferring to save money by eating at home -which is also why Tesco are offering ‘A Complete Family Christmas Dinner’ reduced to £7.93. There are, though, negative aspects to this trend. Research by ‘Which? Magazine’ has discovered that an average Indian takeaway contains 23.2g of saturated fat and naan bread to have more calories than a chicken tikka masala. A Chinese meal tested by the investigators included over 19 teaspoons of sugar and Domino’s cheese & tomato pizzas were found to have at least 50% more fat per 100g than specified on the company’s website. Supermarkets are legally required to provide their customers with the details of the salt, sugar, fat and calorie content of the food they are purchasing. The takeaway outlets (for the moment) have no such obligation

This of course is not just a problem for Christmas. There have been other more immediate seasonal controversies. Earlier this month, a ‘Lapland Theme Park’ in the New Forest had to be closed down after 2,000 complaints that it bore no resemblance at all to the description on the internet. Santa Claus and some of his elves were attacked by parents upset at disappointing their children. In Kent, a 72-year-old pensioner helping Santa deliver presents on his sleigh was punched for ‘singing too loudly’.Some department stores are this year paying their Santas a ‘parsimonious’
£6.83p per hour. A school choir of 60 children aged 7-11 had to withdraw from a Christmas concert in Essex because their carols (which they had rehearsed for 6 weeks) were ‘too religious’. A Protestant vicar in Dorset has banned his congregation from singing ‘O Little Town Of Bethlehem’ due to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank Another one has insisted on changing ‘O Come Let us Adore Him’ in a popular carol to ‘O Come In Adoration’ because he considers the original words ‘too gender- specific’.A ‘Daily Mail’ article has revealed that a mere 1% of Christmas cards sold in the UK conveys a religious message and that a ‘particularly offensive’ one implies that the shepherds ‘only saw the angel on the hillside because they were hallucinating after taking drugs’.The Royal Mail has been criticised because its stamps feature a snowman, a reindeer Father Christmas and a Christmas tree – but not the Bible story. Happy Christmas (or ‘Seasons Greetings) and all the best for 2009.






Filed under: Society | Posted on December 22nd, 2008 by Colin D Gordon

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