Some researchers have gotten together and have written a report in the journal Nature stating that sugar, like alcohol and tobacco, should be taxed. They argue that sugar has more harmful effects when compared to the beneficial caloric effects. They also argue that, by taxing sugar, it will reduce the national caloric consumption of sugar and should prevent diseases like childhood obesity and type II diabetes.
As it turns out, every serious chronic illness we have is made worse or is caused by excessive sugar consumption. You just need four factors to make it eligible for government regulation and sugar meets all of these criteria: it is toxic, it is unavoidable, it is addictive and it has negative effects on society.
Sugar is everywhere and we basically have no real choice but to consume them. The risk is made worse by sugar’s ability to cause users to get fatty liver, which in turn leads to heart disease and hypertension. Fatty liver can also lead to liver cancer.
Sugar is addictive. It creates what’s known as a “positive feedback cycle” inside the brain that keeps you coming back for more sugar. It impacts people around the person who consume sugar along with the sugar addict (think of bringing a box of donuts to the office). Sugar also leads to high healthcare costs for everyone because of those who are driving the costs up.
Education alone is probably not going to work to decrease sugar intake, similar to the lack of education’s ability to get to tobacco and alcohol user. Researchers have called for the federal government in US to become involved in taxing sugar or otherwise regulating it in some way.
Sugar, it is believed, has been one of the major instigators behind the excess of patients with obesity. Sugar-sweetened beverages have been found to correlate directly with the nationwide problem with obesity. These researchers believe that there should be some sort of social intervention, such as taxation, which would be used to create social programs that would address obesity and diabetes.
One of the worst problems is that sugary beverages are being marketed to the youth, similar to the way that children’s cereals and fast foods are marketed to the youth. Schools are paid to put soda machines in schools which primarily dispense sugary sodas. Ordinances against soda machines in schools have come into place in some areas of the world.
If sugar were taxed at a penny an ounce on beverages with sugar, it might reduce obesity and it might provide much needed money to the government to encourage programs to fight the obesity epidemic. It should reduce consumption by up to 23 percent and may decrease healthcare costs by $50 billion over ten years. It might provide revenue to fight obesity of up to $150 billion.
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