Hi @amacbean16 We've not met, but I feel like I know you via @Chris comments and pictures of his family members.
I read your very thoughtful post above carefully. Clearly stated and argued. Your genuine concern for folk's health is quite apparent.
I do have a few concerns about the legislation you mentioned being promoted in the UK.
How can we argue that a sucrose, fructose, or HFC sweetened beverage is more dangerous to the public than whiskey or tobacco products? I submit they are not even close to the harm caused by alcohol and tobacco, and other assorted legal ( in some states or provinces ) intoxicants. Alcoholism, motor vehicle deaths, lung cancer, liver cancer - early death rates in general - to just name some of the results of the use of alcohol or tobacco or both,
We, as societies, do not allow children to purchase alcohol or tobacco, because of the risks entailed, so perhaps the sweetened beverages, and food products might be curtailed by age of purchaser, while not affecting adult's behaviour. But of course, that is the purpose of the legislation in the UK, to diminish the purchase of some specific goods, that are otherwise legal goods, by adults, not just children.
However, both the US and UK governments, or their Provinces, do allow law abiding adults to consume alcohol almost ad lib, and to smoke tobacco freely, as long as they, the users, don't impose their risks on other folks - too closely. I am not saying I approve of this behaviour, by the imbibers, just that is current law. Theoretically, folks don't drive when intoxicated, nor smoke in enclosed public buildings. Even though we know both of those legal fictions are not entirely accurate statements.
We ( American citizens ) found that Prohibition carried a number of negative side effects beyond the removal of alcohol from the public's consumption when we tried Prohibition, and ultimately retracted it. Poorly fabricated laws frequently entail unexpected consequences, as did Prohibition, a law passed with the best of intentions, one might be led to believe..
I am specifically interested in your thoughts about how society can manage sweetened food or beverage consumption, when it does not seem to be able to limit very much, alcohol and tobacco consumption. By the logic of your statement above, clearly, tobacco and alcohol usage should also be illegal, or severely controlled. But I think we both know that is highly unlikely in a democracy at this time. Just suggesting closing all pubs in the UK, and you would have riots in the streets, and the Scots would seceede for certain..
If governments, properly, can limit consumption of sugar, or fat, perfectly legal substances consumed by almost all humans, then where does government's ability to limit the activity of free citizens stop? I am told there is no bill of rights in the UK.....
People ski down mountains, ride motorcycles, climb mountains, jump out of perfectly operating air planes, drive racing cars, swim 150 feet beneath the ocean's surface and a great many other potentially dangerous activities, simply, because they want to, and are legally free free to, in certain limited venues and times. Even if they require rescue or medical care as a result of their activities. A distant aquaintance of mine used to run the helicopter mountain rescue service in the Grand Tetons, and he occasionally ruminated over losing rescuers because novices made foolish choices in climbing mountains during storms, thereby putting airborne rescuer's lives dangerously at risk. Some of his rescuers did die as a result of those kinds of issues.
I will state that I always wear my seat belt, always drive what I believe is a safe, and prudent, speed for the current traffic conditions I am operating in, gave up tobacco over 40 years ago, have not been intoxicated in 50 years, and try to eat a modest Mediterranean diet. ( I may sound boring here.. ) But I do eat some chocolate from time to time and I like it, in moderation. And a solitary glass of wine with dinner once a month does not seem likely to kill me.
So I am no saint. I spent many long days in the saddles of motorcycles, flying airplanes, skiing down a few mountains, and under water diving in the Grear Lakes and Caribbean Sea, So I have enjoyed exploring modest risky behaviour along the way too. Fortunately, through a bit of luck and applied caution, I required no medical care or services as result of these youthful explorations of risk. Including a high side off a motorcycle at about 50 mph after a dog had the audacity to slam directly into my front wheel at full out speed, one afternoon many years ago. The dog did not survive, but I did.
I would also point out that when folks discuss sugary beverages many folks think of Coca-Cola or Pepsi, or something similar - but the beverages with the highest sugar contents are frequently "fruit" juices, many "artisan" teas or coffees, and other beverages hiding on the shelf, even at Starbucks. I actually read the lables, before consuming a new beveridge.
I am certain you know this too. But I have doubts that the general public is as aware of this.
With regard to seatbelt laws, is it illegal to forego wearing a seatbelt if you are driving your own private vehicle on your own property on your own roadway surface and there are no other public vehicles allowed on your private roadway? Or is it not the use of the public roadway, not the driving, that is the basis for requiring a seatbelt?
Now I know that most of us don't own our own roads, but some ranchers in Wyoming or Texas, or farmers in Iowa or Kansas might allow that they do that, often, might they?
The restriction of citizens freedom by governments, no matter how well intentioned, does very frequently seem to bear unintended consequences. We, as a society, should endeavor to elucidate those unintended consequences very carefully before we pass any laws restricting free, law abiding citizens activities, shouldn't we?
Do we pass laws merely to make ourselves feel better, more virtuous, or to actually effect real measureable changes in outcomes in society?
I share your feeling that people who refuse to wear masks in a pandemic, are expressing their disdain about the safety of their fellow citizens. But who are we going to ask to be the mask police? There have been several employees severely injured, or even killed, by people who were asked to wear their masks in a store. So where are our mask police as a society? Are we going to need lolly pop police too? Federal sugar police, or is this a state matter?
Could we, perhaps, achieve similar measureable improvements in adult nutrition, without legal sanctions and their unintended consequences, with education and public service messaging?
I do not know the actual correct answer to this question, but I am pretty certain the factual answer can be ascertained, not merely speculated about. I suspect the answer may be a bit of "it all depends". How much education, how much public messaging, etc. Are these sorts of nutrition laws really a Federal issue or a local one?
A limitation of sweetened beveridge size was tried briefly in New York City, but I am not certain whether they are still in effect. No, they were struck down by a New York State Supreme Court ruling
Again, I ask these questions carefully, calmly, and with sincere desire for thoughtful answers.
Thank you, and I look forward to reading your responses.