A couple of years ago I went to the V&A’s Pink Floyd exhibition. It included films of the group ‘off duty’, and I was struck to see how lean they were. And their fans, too. But in the 1960s, that’s how we were. Few then had the fleshy layer which insulates people who count as slim in the 21st century. A diabetologist friend says that patients no longer apologise for their weight. What was once overweight is now the norm.
Expectations, changed social habits, a food industry more than willing to foster demand for instant meals: many factors have put the UK near the top of a world-wide health time-bomb.
Seven cubes is the recommended maximum daily sugar limit. That’s what’s in one can of traditional Coke. Maybe picturing sugar content in terms of the familiar cubes would bring home how much sugar people are feeding themselves. But sugar has always been irresistible – hunter-gatherers laboured to extract honey from almost inaccessible nests – and sweet treats are hard to give up, especially when life is hard, money is short and smoking is frowned on.