Jo Creed/Food Revolution Team
Whether sugar should be taxed or not is currently a topic of debate. Many people believe that sugar has much in common with heavily controlled substances, like alcohol and tobacco, due to its potential health impacts and should therefore be treated the same and taxed.
However, sugar remains on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) list of safe foods, any amount can be added to any food. This we know all too well, sugar is commonly added to foods in large amounts, often in order to make them more appealing. Take for instance flavoured milk; flavoured milks often contain between 2.5 and 4 teaspoons (that’s between 40 and 64 extra calories) of added sugar, on top of the 12grams (3 teaspoons) of lactose (its natural sugar) in order to make them sweeter sand more appealing to kids. This means that often milk, an otherwise healthy drink, can contain as much sugar, or more than, a 8oz serving of fizzy soda.
The Argument FOR Regulation
Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) are among those who argue that added sugars, defined as ‘any sweetener containing the molecule fructose that is added to food in processing’ ought to be regulated by the government.
This argument is based on beliefs that sugar can have a negative impact on society, much the same as tobacco and alcohol. UCSF Scientists have listed a number of reasons why sugar ought to be regulated, suggesting that sugar can increase:
• Blood pressure, leading to hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Insulin resistance, which can lead to an increased level of blood sugars and which can result in type 2 diabetes if not controlled
• Triglycerides levels (high blood levels of fat)
$150 billion is already spent by the US on health care and $65 billion in lost productivity each year due to health issues associated with metabolic syndrome, a group of diseases which include the above.
UCSF scientists also list that sugar has become unavoidable, with added sugar consumption tripling worldwide over the past 50 years, and in many areas of the world, people consume 500 calories a day from added sugars alone. Read more about this topic here.