Excerpt from the ‘Daily Mail’.
LONDON: Sugar is a poison and its sale should be as tightly regulated as cigarettes and alcohol, a group of scientists says.
They warn that sugary foods and drinks cause obesity, heart disease, cancer and liver problems.
They claim it contributes to 35 million deaths a year and should be controlled through taxation and legislation.
The article The Toxic Truth About Sugar, published in the journal Nature, adds: “A little is not a problem but a lot kills…slowly”.
The US authors warn that obesity is now a bigger problem than malnourishment across the worl, and that sugar also changes the body’s metabolisn, raises blood pressure, throws hormones off balance and harms toe liver. The damage done mirrors the effects of drinking too much alcohol.
The authors—led by Robert Lustig, a childhood obesity expert at California University—say that, like alcohol, sugar is widely available, toxic, easily abused and harmful.
They say teaching children about diet and exercise is unlikely to be effective and instead the answer lies in taxes and restricting availability.
The study recommends using taxation to double the price of fizzy drinks, restricting their sale to those over 17 or 18, and tightening regulations covering school vending machines and snack bars.
Other scientists have described the essay as “puritanical”, saying sugar is only toxic when eaten in unrealistic amounts.
Barbara Gallani, of the UK’s Food and Drink Federation, said that while urgent action was needed to beat heart and other diseases, it was wrong to focus on sugar alone.
“The causes of these diseases are multi-factorial,” she said.