2/2/2012 7:02 PM
Should the government regulate sugar the way they do alcohol and tobacco? A team of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) say yes.
According to researchers Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt, and Claire Brindis, sugar is more than just “empty calories.” America’s favorite substance can cause a host of health problems when not consumed in moderation, including obesity, liver toxicity, and an altered metabolism. The solution, researchers argue, is regulation. They propose the government tax sugary food and restrict the sale of sweets to kids under the age of 17.
“We’re not talking prohibition,” Laura Schmidt said in a statement. “We’re talking about gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient, thereby moving people away from the concentrated dose. What we want is to actually increase people’s choices by making foods that aren’t loaded with sugar comparatively easier and cheaper to get.”
The researchers’ proposal is sure to be unpopular in a nation where the average citizen swallows 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, according to the American Heart Association. But is it an unfortunate necessity? According to Time magazine, approximately 17% of American children and teens are obese and this number continues to rise. Sugar intake has tripled in the last 50 years and millions die from obesity-related conditions like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
The researchers’ report, “The Toxicity of Sugar,” was published yesterday in the journal Nature. Read the scientists’ full statement here.
While I agree that sugar has played a major role in America’s rising obesity rates and other health dilemmas, I’ll be damned if I want the government taxing my soda and Sour Skittles. What do you think?