Fresh evidence about the dangers of sugar - time for a sugar tax?

A new US study found that people who consumed 1/4 or more of their calorie intake from sugar were 2.75 times more likely to die from a CVD (e.g. heart attack, stroke, etc)

Is it time politicians stopped faffing around and introduced a sugar tax?

9 Replies

  • The Government should put a ban on products with more than a certain level of sugar in. Surely, coke would taste the same with half the amount of sugar in it?!

  • Would that ban include bags of sugar? What about sweets? :-)

  • Sweets too! When you look at what all the children eat these days......

  • But where do most children/adults get their sugar from? Can this be targeted? I suppose there may be some kids who get vast amounts of sugar from sweets and maybe there is something parents can do about that, but that might be education rather than banning sweets or taxing them. I still don't know, but whatever, it needs to be informed by good evidence.

  • A ban? No

    What has changed is not the products but the way people consume them. When I was young, sweets, for instance, were a treat - they were bought and consumed. We did not have draws full of sweets at home. These days we do.

    The same applies with fizzy drinks. However, when I was young there were NO diet versions of the drinks. If we had a fizzy drink it always had loads of sugar.

    Diet Coke is a huge seller, so it could be argued that Coke's sugar sales in total have dropped. Diet Coke is now the number 2 best seller in the US in that market, with Coke at number one. In the UK, I think the numbers are closer. (Diet drinks are more accepted in Europe)

    However, just to prove how fickle the market is, Diet Coke has seen a slight drop in sales in Europe and some believe it is because people have become mistrustful or artificial sweeteners.

    In the end the real trick is to:

    A - make sure that the manufactures put the amount of sugar (and other info) Big, Bold and Clearly on products and

    B - Make sure people realise that making a choice is important.

    To be honest, government has been pussyfooting its way round both issues - just nibbling at them enough to make it sound good.

    Other wise, are you going to ban sugar so people don't put 3 tsp in their cup of tea?

  • If that study can be applied to the UK and assuming the aim is to reduce consumption of sugar, then we need to look at the evidence for the different ways that could be achieved. So, what's the evidence that a sugar tax would achieve that aim and is it the best (most successful, most cost-effective, etc) way of doing that?

    Also, should the whole population be targeted, just some sections or just some foods/drinks?

  • I went on a low carb diet lost 1.5 stone in 6 months it has stayed off but I'm still on a Mediterranean diet I have taken up cycling . there is too much sugar in food today even if they say low fat! if it's has the fat taken or then they have to replace it with something .sugar!

  • I think it stands to reason that if a quarter, or more, of your calories come from sugar then you're not getting a balanced diet and therefore you will be at risk of CVS, diabetes etc. If you consume too much of anything its going to cause problems.

    I don't think taxing sugar is the answer, after all "sugar" is the bodies fuel. What we really need is a cultural change where a balanced, healthy diet is the norm and, as was said above high sugar, high fat foods are a treat rather than a staple.

    Education form an early age will help but we also need to get manufacturers onside and regulating bodies to limit the so called "hidden sugar". There has been a movement away from artificial sweeteners due to perceived health issues but form the research these appear to be unfounded. Again, education is the key.

  • Yes, the hidden sugar element is an interesting point. If you buy non-diet fizzy drinks, most people might not know exactly how much sugar is in there, but they know its going to be a lot. If they ignore that, well....

    But some foods that come under the Savoury list do contain surprising amounts of sugar.

    Some of this is also cultural. Anyone who goes to Thailand is often surprised how sweet proper Thai food is. South East Asians put an alarming amount of sugar (palm sugar normally) into curries and other sauce based dishes - not just sweet and sour ones.

    Its down to choices really and this is where education does come in.

    But I think we get education about diet very wrong in this country. We tend to do it complete with scandals, big warning signs and alarm bells; techniques which can be counter productive.

    Huge lessons need to be learnt from HIV. When the aids panic hit the UK many years ago, the government produced the now notorious Tomb Stone ads. But in hindsight, even the production agency say they got it wrong - the ads were so dour and dramatic that it just turned people off the subject.

    But the Terrance Higgins Trust with their comical cartoon condom ads got a much better reception and were proved to be far more effective.

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