Is it time to charge VAT on ultra-processed foods because of the massive harm that they do to society?

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The Guardian has an article with this headline this morning:

It also has an article with this headline:

The two between them reveal a truth that is almost wholly unspoken and little appreciated. This truth is that type 2 diabetes is a disease largely created by the consumption of too much sugar in the form of fructose and that the disease can be reversed by largely eliminating fructose from the diet of those suffering from that disease.

Fructose is like nicotine in cigarettes: it is an addictive drug hidden in a processed product (in this case, most of the ultra-processed food on sale in the UK) that has massive social consequences.

Many of those ultra-processed foods are sold to give us dopamine highs. They succeed in doing so. They also leave us wanting more. So, we go back and get it. The result is obesity. And from that follows, in too many cases, type 2 diabetes. The progression is known about, predictable, heavily researched and largely unknown because there is a massive conspiracy to hide the truth.

Those conspiring not to tell the truth are food manufacturers, food retailers and big pharma. The food industry and its retailers want to keep selling large quantities of fructose. Big pharma wants to keep us in the dark on the easy reversibility of a disease that can be straightforwardly cured without costly drug interventions that are overburdening the NHS.

How do they do that? By deliberately ensuring that misinformation is available. As the author of the second Guardian article notes:

I now realize my doctor was making an honest attempt to follow the [treatment] guidelines issued by the American Diabetes Association. I didn't ask him if he was aware that the top five funders of the ADA are the pharmaceutical companies Abbott, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly and Co, Novo Nordisk and Regeneron.

The guidelines on treating diabetes in the USA (and so elsewhere) are created by big pharma to suit the need of big pharma to sell a lot of drugs and not to cure people of type 2 diabetes in months, which could be done by prescribing proper diets that would cost considerably less than that diabetes drugs.

I am not a fan of conspiracy theories. Far too many are just crackpot. But an open mind is also required in a case like this. We know the tobacco industry lied for decades about the impact of smoking.

We know that the Bank of England speaks nonsense when imposing its charges on society.

And the sugar-based food industry and big pharma are doing the same when it comes to fructose-based ultra-processed foods that are profoundly harmful.

There is no VAT on most food in the UK. I seriously wonder whether that should be changed now. Should the exemption just be available on non or low-processed foods? Wouldn't that make as much sense as taxes on tobacco?

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