Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is catching heat for his controversial—and some say hypocritical—views on what people struggling with poverty eat. Oliver has been lobbying for a sugar tax, according to the Mail, which would increase the cost of fatty, sugary junk food.
What a day yesterday was...! I took #AdEnough to the Houses of Parliament with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to discuss childhood obesity. It was a great start to the conversation but I really need you to keep sharing your selfies so we can keep this going and get the government to make change happen to the way junk food is advertised to our kids!!
He's also taking on TV commercials that target these foods at kids, saying, "am asking is it appropriate to advertise food that is high in salt, fat and sugar to children at prime time when obesity is crippling the NHS?"
The NHS is the U.K.'s health service, and Oliver believes that obesity is costing taxpayers, because of related medical issues.
But you know what? Oliver makes a lot of money off sugar, too. According to the Sun, his Cookies and Cream drink, which is served in a chocolate cup, contains 46 teaspoons of sugar, which is six times the daily recommended amount of sugar for a child. That's one of several similar recipes he has his name on.
Basically, people think Oliver is targeting poor people and deciding what they should eat, while sugar can continue to be an indulgence for the rich, no matter what it does to their health.
Jamie Oliver: I'm apolitical— Frances McHa (@praxxxxxis) May 16, 2018
Also Jamie Oliver: poor people shouldn't have pizza
Twitter user @sibylpain has gone viral with a thread about the consequences of demanding food costs go up for the sake of people's health. They grew up without any money in a single-parent household, and often relied on the sort of food that can only be found at the corner store:
everyone knows my opinion on jamie oliver by now (insufferable bellend) but im still going to weigh in on this whole "make unhealthy food more expensive" thing from the perspective of a girl who was genuinely poor growing up and ate awfully:— ketty hopkins (@sibylpain) May 16, 2018
from the age of about 6, my dad had to mostly raise me and my brother on his own as my mother cheated, left him and then became too violent and dangerous to even be allowed on our street. now when i say we were poor, i mean very poor. money given to me on birthdays often had to— ketty hopkins (@sibylpain) May 16, 2018
be spent on food for us to survive. my dad met my mother in a psych ward after he was sectioned when they found him too depressed to function, with no possessions and the intent to die on a park bench near the hospital. so we had no rich relatives to live off growing up either.— ketty hopkins (@sibylpain) May 16, 2018
he worked full time, and with two young kids this meant a lot of money was spent on our childcare. so that's more money gone, when we barely had enough to live on cheap food as it was. this meant quinoa and couscous was out of the question. in fact, we usually lived on whatever— ketty hopkins (@sibylpain) May 16, 2018
was in the reduced section. even fruit and veg was too expensive, so my brother and i had to take multivitamins in order to get a lot of the things we needed. im seeing a lot of people go "well tinned veg is cheap, you're just lazy!"— ketty hopkins (@sibylpain) May 16, 2018
Basically, @sibylpain explains that people often point to cheap staples, liked canned vegetables or grains, but those things require significant preparation, which can be extremely hard for parents who have to work constantly to keep their children housed and fed at all.
which is all very easy to say when you're a 20 year old student who has never had a full time job or a lot of bills to pay. when you're a young father with severe depression working countless hours in a tiring job coming home to two young kids while having to fear for your life— ketty hopkins (@sibylpain) May 16, 2018
because your ex wife leaves you 150 threatening voicemails a day and keeps violating her restraining order, going as far as to attempt to run you over, have your kids abducted and smash the glass in your door, all while struggling intensely financially, would YOU have the— ketty hopkins (@sibylpain) May 16, 2018
energy to cook a nutritious meal from scratch? when you're getting 4 hours sleep a night on an old couch because you're worried if you sleep in your bed that you won't hear if anyone tries to break in? ill answer that for you: absolutely fucking not.— ketty hopkins (@sibylpain) May 16, 2018
at the end of the day, me and my brother had no significant health problems caused by our diet. my dad always tried his absolute hardest. most working class parents are incredibly conscious about the wellbeing of their children.— ketty hopkins (@sibylpain) May 16, 2018
Without stuff like pizza, or crackers, or cookies, @sibylpain might not have had anything to eat at all:
the reason these parents buy junk food is this: because it's all they can afford, and they are TIRED trying to make ends meet which impedes their ability to cook from scratch. many are also depressed/disabled which makes it even harder to cook.— ketty hopkins (@sibylpain) May 16, 2018
if they had raised prices on sugary and fatty foods when i was a kid, we wouldn't have eaten. plain and simple. in my humble opinion, it's much better for a kid to eat a pizza than not eat a damn thing.— ketty hopkins (@sibylpain) May 16, 2018
And there are a lot of ways to help poor people eat healthier that doesn't mean charging them more on basic necessities:
if you GENUINELY want to make a difference in the lives of these families, here are some things you should actually ask the government to do:— ketty hopkins (@sibylpain) May 16, 2018
-raise the minimum wage so people can live on it
-stop cutting disabled people's benefits so they won't stress so much about survival
-more affordable housing so they have more money to spend on food instead of rent— ketty hopkins (@sibylpain) May 16, 2018
-fund more free adult education so that parents who are able can study a skill which will help them earn more money
-stop fucking cutting nhs physical and mental health services, if ill parents get
access to decent care, they might become more able to cook from scratch— ketty hopkins (@sibylpain) May 16, 2018
in conclusion: stop blaming poor families for eating unhealthy food you middle class knobs and STOP VOTING TORY peace out
Others chimed in to say they had similar experiences:
I am so glad you wrote this thread!! I grew up with 2 working class parents. My mum was struggling with severe anxiety and depression and my dad worked fulltime but also has depression. My sister and I grew up on quite a lot of cheap and not necessarily nutritious foods...— Sarah Jane Picton 🌻 (@NarahSarah) May 16, 2018
Neither of us were overweight or physically unwell. I think it is so easy to shame parents. My mum was struggling and the last thing she wanted to think about was cooking a meal from scratch. We never went hungry, though, and that would have happened if food prices were higher.— Sarah Jane Picton 🌻 (@NarahSarah) May 16, 2018
It's incredibly easy to judge families but my parents always tried their hardest to keep us fed. If that meant spaghetti hoops and instant mash and cheap chocolate biscuits, so be it.— Sarah Jane Picton 🌻 (@NarahSarah) May 16, 2018
I am not poor because I work like a dog but I am a single parent. I also resort to easy food cos my child is exhausted by the time I collect from nursery and waiting for me to cook is too much. And sometimes I am exhausted too. This affects all working families.— Luchóg an phoirt seinnte (@YerMouse) May 17, 2018
Oliver's campaign may have success amongst other wealthy people, but for everyone else, it seems like a scam.
This is always the answer wealthy people suggest. Make things more expensive so poor people can't have them.— Press Not Sorry (@press_not_sorry) May 17, 2018