The Truth About Fat is the new title from the biochemist and chef whose previous book,The Angry Chef, stirred up controversy in the food world. This one promises to be equally controversial. He notes that the UK is the fattest country in Western Europe, with 63 per cent of adults overweight and 27 per cent of these are obese. He investigates the various possible cause of the 'obesity epidemic' and then proceeds to demolish them. While we may blame processed food, lack of exercise, sugary drinks, carb-heavy regimes, greed, lack of willpower, he claims that in most cases, 70 per cent, it is all down to genetics. Yet we are prejudiced about fat people when usually it is no fault of their own.
You are less likely to get a job if you're obese, and more likely to be convicted by a jury in court.
He condemned the fashion industry for the thin models they portray as the perfect shape, while "vandalising young lives", leading to an unnatural relationship with food. "I might not understand fashion, but I know that it is insidious and vile."
The magazine world was equally condemned. Because they are obsessed with being aspirational, they show unrealistic images of women and publish fad diets that will never work, because it is in the interests of the diet industry for them not to work. The media, he said, exploit the vulnerabilities of their readers.
The food industry also came under attack, accused of driving us to consume more with an ever expanding range of snacks and confectionery.
The good news is that it's good to be fat when you're older, rather than thin and frail.
If you enjoyed this, you might like Event 86 on Sunday 26 May. If you like watching Hay Festival events digitally please sign up to Hay Player for more from the world's greatest writers and thinkers. Pic of Anthony Warner by Paul Musso.