Poisoned Chalice or Sweet Fruit

David Gillespies bestselling book Sweet Poison on the danger of a high sugar diet in todays modern world demonstrates one of the negative outcomes from economic advantage and is a salient warning that with increased wealth there are also risks that we need to be conscious of.  It’s not all bad news though, today we have the ability to control one of the worst consequences of a high sugar diet, that of diabetes.  On the 27th July 1921, Canadian biochemist Frederick Banting and associates announced the discovery of the hormone insulin.  Today modern medicine allows us to manage the lifestyle of diabetics and avoid the necessity of low calorie, low carbohydrate diets which was the only treatment available before this discovery.

Fat man watching TV

As mankind particularly Western economies have developed, we have increased our consumption of both high quality protein in the form of cattle and other commercially produced livestock or mass harvests of seafood.  We have also greatly increased our intake of processed sugars and corn syrups to satisfy the craving or pleasure sensation felt when our brain receives a ‘sugar’ hit.  The quality protein improves our attentive capabilities  and muscular development but sugar has only been detrimental to our health.  Along with diabetes comes heart disease, obesity, joint stress and fatigue from too much load bearing  to name a few of the problems from developed diets.

China is now starting to also experience these problems as it develops, there are now more obese people in China than in the West, and while we may be capable of developing drugs such as insulin and statins to manage the consequences of this problem, we really need to look at the much bigger picture of prevention rather than cure.  Obesity is not a potential problem, it is an epidemic now.

I’m no different, it’s much easier to enjoy the fruits of our labour and wait for the problems later in life.  The challenge is not how do we inform society, it is more about how do we activate a desire to do something about this epidemic.  One solution would be to get back to an agrarian lifestyle, have a much simpler economic model upon which society is based where sedentary workplaces are replaced with a production model where we all contribute.

In a socialist utopia we would all be healthier; or would we!

No, the reality if we transformed our economies that way is that we would slow down the advancement in modern medical breakthroughs.  As enterprise slows, the availability of cash would be a limiting factor in the ability of society to invest in our health and wellbeing, we would actually be regressing to the lifestyle and health outcomes of ages past if we switched our economies to that model.  Our future wellbeing is dependent on continued economic prosperity and the incentive being on the individual to take responsibility for preventing obesity.

Changing the idleness of individuals is not a responsibility of government, government does however currently have a responsibly to manage the health outcomes of the people and they are struggling to fund it.  I don’t have an answer to put on the table today, but the question is how does government create the conditions for enterprise to flourish and at the same time establish the framework where society finds it desirous to train harder or eat less to avoid being a burden on the medical system…


Trevor Dixon

Chairman Small Business Foundation

For more on “Enterprise” – The Art of Freedom, visit:




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