US experts suggest a sugar tax

A number of health experts in the US have said that the addictive properties of sugar are just as strong as those in alcohol and tobacco and have therefor called for its regulation.

Researchers from the University of California believe that sugar could be just as damaging to health as alcohol and tobacco, and have called for the introduction of new policies which would control the rising consumption of sugar and sweeteners.

Imposing tax on unhealthy foods is becoming an increasingly popular method for governments wishing to promote healthy eating on a nationwide basis. Denmark and Hungary for instance, have introduced a tax on saturated fat, whilst the French government have plastered a tax on soft drinks.

In response to the rising concerns about the amount of sugar in the average US diet, researchers are now proposing that similar policies be introduced across the board for sugar and sweeteners.

According to figures, sugar consumption has tripled globally during the past 50 years, which could be a contributing factor to the rising obesity, diabetes and heart disease rates.

Commenting on the idea of a sugar tax in the journal Nature, Professor Robert Lustig – a leading child obesity expert – said that only taxing one type of food could have unintended negative consequences. Lustig fears that introducing a tax on foods containing sugar could result in individuals cutting back on their fruit and vegetables in order to save money for other purchases.

Instead, Lustig has recommended subsidies for fruit and vegetables and tax on fat, salt and sugar.

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Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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