Sugar tax?

Sugar tax?

In order to raise public awareness about just how sugary some food and drink is, Chief Medical Office Dame Sally Davies recently said that "We may need to move towards some form of sugar tax”.

A sugar tax? Would this really be necessary?

As Dame Sally Davies said, “We have a generation of children who, because they're overweight and their lack of activity, may well not live as long as my generation”.

Obesity does seem to be a worrying trend, but is sugar the cause of the problem here?

According to Sustain, a charity that advises the government on the food industry, the UK consumes more than 5,727 million litres of sugary soft drinks a year. That’s a lot of sugar.

Dame Sally believes that we just don’t realise how much sugar is in the fruit juices and soft drinks we consume. She is also worried that sugar is addictive.

As a result, we all need to be educated on the subject. Failing that, a sugar tax might be the only way to stop us all consuming the vast quantities we seem to consume now.

The argument against a sugar tax is, as Terry Jones of the Food and Drink Federation said, that it would "hit the poorest families hardest at a time when they can least afford it." Possibly. Or would it encourage us to look at fresh produce as a cheaper alternative?

Is sugar really addictive?

Well, the jury is still out on that one. As we explain here, there is an argument that says our brains are hardwired to enjoy sweet food, and sugar also fools our brain into thinking we are not full. Perhaps Dame Sally is on to something.

However, Professor Barry Everitt from the University of Cambridge has pointed out that there is no proof that sugar is addictive: "The message that 'we'd better watch out for this sugar stuff’ is misleading…because it suggests if you eat it you risk becoming addicted and the evidence does not support that."

The other problem is that sugary foods are seen as indulgent and a ‘treat’. Perhaps we need to change our perception so that we see them as harmful and toxic instead.  Changing public perception. Now there’s an easy task…

Should we blame sugar for our weight issues?

If obesity is the main problem here, then the answer is surely far simpler and less controversial.

Exercise more. Get on your bike. Get to the gym!

 

 

Comments

elena m.
14 April 2014

elena m.

I think that is everybody responsibility to eat proper food, if you have kids you have to show them and feed them with vegs, fruits and healthy food from an early age. The sugar tax is just an excuse. What they should do is giving a tax to companies that give the wrong information on the label and allow people that want an healthy diet to be able to choose,eg. At the moment I found only 1 company that sells yogurt without sugar in it. Give me the right to chose.

Callum M.
12 March 2014

Callum M.

Being responsible doesn't mean having to pay tax on it. If you don't want your kids to eat sugar, then show them by example. Let's stop trying to pass the buck and claim responsibility for our own health

craig t.
12 March 2014

craig t.

Quite right. Families need to take responsibility over how much sugar their children eat, right from the beginning. Taste buds are being trained from birth, as far as I know, so feed wholesome natural foods and avoid processed food as much as possible. But the problem lies in the fact that modern families are busy and so choose convenience, packaged foods. If both partners are working full-time then where is the time to cook healthily and avoid sugar? The government needs to educate people on sugar, but stop encouraging both parents to work.

Mary C.
12 March 2014

Mary C.

I think you're right, Lorna - sugar comsumption is an issue that needs to be dealt with in a family context, not at government level.

Tanith A.
12 March 2014

Tanith A.

This is a tricky one. While I think it's pretty unequivocal that sugar is just not something we should be eating, I baulk at the idea of yet more government intervention into individual choices.

Phillip H.
11 March 2014

Phillip H.

cheers and applause, Lorna - the day 'cookery' was replaced with 'food tech' was a sad day for healthy eating. I don't think that the children are being taught useful lessons.

Lorna m.
10 March 2014

Lorna m.

As for sugar tax... thats just another way for the government to get as much money as they can .... how many times does one item have to be taxed from farm equipment, employees, to transport contractors, to prosessing. To retailors to the public an probably more that i havnt thought of ..... so please no more tax look more at education ... the child should be told how to cook propper meals instead of convenience food being the norm ... it will get worse as this trend goes from generation to generation

Lorna m.
10 March 2014

Lorna m.

Yes we eat a lot of sugar, but I feel it is the parents that is to blame for the kids eating to much .. how many times do you hear them say yes hav the sweat but not anothe word out of you ... then... by the time they on th home run th kid has another in their mouth to keep them quite ... so instead of being punished for misbehavouir they are being rewarded because the parent has no other control over the child .. or ... they are to strest to do anything other than give in

Emma C.
10 March 2014

Emma C.

Education on the implications of eating sugar is definitely needed, but not saying that it is completely bad in any amount. It's not like cigarettes. Also, it's only people who have addictive personalities who get addicted to sugar. I find I crave it badly sometimes and can eat loads, but my husband doesn't have the same need for sugar.

Trevor D.
10 March 2014

Trevor D.

I'm not sure if it is the government that makes us change - we change each other. Drink driving has been illegal for years but it is only recently that it has started to reduce as it became socially unacceptable. Smoking is going the same way. Perhaps the same will happen to other unhealthy habits?

Melissa F.
10 March 2014

Melissa F.

IF we could think for ourselves we wouldn't all consume the vast quantities we do. It took a massive push from the government and health agencies to get people to quit smoking, it'll take a massive push to get people to eat better too.

Tanya M.
8 March 2014

Tanya M.

Can we really not think for ourselves at all? Things get more expensive, people still buy them! Health warnings like Roger says sound a better idea to me.

Roger B.
7 March 2014

Roger B.

I think most people with even the teeniest brains know that drinks in a can are stuffed with sugar, as are fruit juices. What they may not realise is that 'health' drinks are also very sugary. Rather than a sugar tax, how about health warnings on items with no nutritional value at all?

Elliot M.
7 March 2014

Elliot M.

We pay tax on everything, at least let us enjoy a sugary treat without being hit in the pocket - again.

Would you like to post a comment? Please register or log in.

Log In Register

Share this

Subscribe

Popular Posts

By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies. You can change this and find out more by following this link.