This week the British Medical Association announced plans to propose a 20% tax on sugary drinks with the funds levied to be used to subsidise the sale of fruit and vegetables. Of course, their proposal is based on a detailed research, the report of which found that poor diet costs UK’s National Health Services 6 billion pounds a year and results in 70,000 deaths.
We are drowning in a world of sugar. Image Copyright: Daily Mail
Should this tax be imposed it is estimated that the number of obese people in the UK will go down by 180,000. The success of such a tax has been seen in Mexico, which was the first country to introduce a similar levy in 2014. Other countries who have already applied a ‘sugar tax’ include France, Finland and Hungary.
However, the British Government and Food Industry Federation are against the tax, claiming it will hit the poorest people. Clearly, the problem of regulating sugar has no simple solution, yet many studies have shown undeniable links between it and health problems.
Photo credit: Uwe Hermann
So here are 7 reasons why governments (and you!) should put up a fight against sugar:
- Sugar is highly addictive as it activates the same parts of the brain as drugs.
- It is the root of many health problems, not just insulin resistance and diabetes.
- Sugar messes up your hormones and has a fat-promoting effect (=risk of obesity)
- In fact, sugar can (indirectly) cause cancer! A high-sugar diet may contribute to excess weight gain, and obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing several types of cancer (oh and by the way, cancer cells feed on sugar, just like bacteria and parasites).
- Sugar is much more harmful than saturated fat – studies show that large amounts of fructose can raise bad cholesterol (LDL) in as little as 10 weeks.
- It puts a lot of stress on the liver, as it is the only organ that processes this sweet poison. Excess sugar is turned into fat, some of which remains in the liver causing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Other sugar-induced issues include: fatigue, uncontrollable cravings, brain fog and aging skin.
The Take Home Message:
Don’t confuse sugar with actual fuel / energy sources. If you are tired have a coffee – you will not experience the post-sugar crash. If you need fuel for a tough workout opt for carbs as muscles don’t feed on sugar (which is processed in the liver). In reality, sugar (especially the one added to commercial foods) has no nutritional value so you are better off with fresh fruit, dark chocolate and spices like cinnamon. If you really can’t survive without adding some sugar, then opt for stevia and try to consume no more than 7 teaspoons of the white stuff a day.