In the last ten years governments around the globe launched huge campaigns against the tobacco industry and rightly so. Holding a cigarette in the United States became such a taboo; you might as well be holding a gun instead! Sugar has become the new tobacco killer and governments have done very little, if anything at all, to tackle this problem. Why?
We should ask ourselves what would be the most effective way of cutting down our sugar intake: taxing people who buy processed convenience food and drink gallons of Coca Cola or passing laws which would force food manufacturers to cut down on the hidden sugar they sell to us?
The figures in my clinic reflect a growing desire to get weight under control, and for us to inform ourselves at a better level on exactly what a balanced, healthy diet looks like. Then hidden sugars in food can make this a frustrating and difficult process...
Stop turning to sugary, fatty foods or alcohol to cheer yourself up. Try finding value in all that life throws at you. It boosts self esteem and makes you less inclined to want to fill your body with mood enhancing foods. Even your dieting hunger pangs can be seen as having an upside - they are an encouraging sign that you are losing weight, so do not rush to stifle them.
The only diets that have been proven effective for long term weight loss focus on higher amounts of protein and vegetables, and limit carbohydrates to those that are harder to digest. Current government nutritional recommendations for a healthy diet are for 15% of your calories to come from protein, 35% from fat and 50% from carbs.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) was the biggest cause of death in England, accounting for nearly 60,000 of the total 466,800 deaths in 2012 (about one in seven deaths in men and one in ten deaths in women). And it's the top cause of death for people under the age of 75. Most of the risk of heart attack is down to a few risk factors that are potentially modifiable...
Almost two thirds of UK adults are obese or overweight, so says a new survey by Public Health England (PHE). PHE, whose mission is to protect and improve the nation's health and to address inequalities, points out that there are 19 district local authorities with more than 70% of population obese or overweight.
Short term faddy diets are not the answer. They almost always lead to rebound weight gain because your appetite remains raised until you have maintained your new lower weight for at least six months. The key to becoming slimmer is to adopt a lifestyle diet that helps you permanently change your eating habits.
There is nothing new about our love of fat and sugar. We have a strong evolutionary drive to eat these foods because they are rich sources of calories which can be laid down as fat - which is simply stored energy. Our ancestors needed plenty of fat to fuel activity during periods of food scarcity and to pay for our large, expensive brains.
It's a new year, and for many of you, cutting down on alcohol, chocolate or cigarettes may well be on your January agenda. But how about cutting back on fruit juice? Yes, that's right. One of your trusted five-a-day may not be doing you as much good as you think.
Cancer. Stroke. Heart disease. Diabetes. These and other noncommunicable diseases are becoming leading causes of death and disease worldwide. And nutrition plays a significant role.
Legislation also has its part to play in ensuring that the food industry - often under pressure to produce affordable food - is pushed into considering the nutritional value of its products. It takes very little time to adjust to drinking tea without sugar. If competing food products are compelled to cut various unhealthy ingredients at the same time, the nation would quickly adjust.
Exercise more, eat (and drink) fewer calories. It's a simple message, but hard to do. In fact, the more we learn about obesity, the more we realise how complex the problem is and why hammering home this message on its own doesn't get you very far, if you're trying to help people lose weight or prevent them becoming overweight in the first place.
I have mixed feelings about National Obesity Week, which begins today. On one hand, it shines the spotlight on a serious issue that undoubtedly affects young people I work with - one in three youngsters leaving primary education is obese. On the other, it can also serve as a distraction.
The truth is we don't have the freedom to choose an added-sugar-free diet, the stuff is unavoidable. Forget fizzy drinks - yoghurts, salad dressings, dips, cereals, bread, sushi, sauces, baked beans and crisps all have unnecessary amounts of added-sugar to them.
The obesity problem is only going to be solved with concerted and sustained action, and a greater commitment at all levels than has previously been made. We have our part to play as individuals. Government must also meet its responsibilities.