A just-released report in the research journal Nature has come out with a full-metal-jacket assault on sugar as the arch enemy of health. The researchers consider sugar in the kinds of quantities consumed by the average westerner nowadays to be so toxic – the villain in obesity, of course, but also the common denominator in heart disease, diabetes and cancer – that the only solution is government restriction on sales, elevating sugar to the status of substances like alcohol and tobacco.
It points to sugar as a culprit behind many of the world’s major killers — heart disease, cancer and diabetes — that are now a greater health burden than infectious disease.
A little sugar “is not a problem, but a lot kills — slowly,” says the report to be published Thursday in Nature, a top research journal.
Over the eons sugar was available to our ancestors as fruit for only a few months a year at harvest time, or as honey “which was guarded by bees,” says the report by Dr. Robert Lustig, a noted childhood obesity expert at the University of California, and two U.S. colleagues specializing in health policy.
Now it is added to “nearly all processed foods.” In developing countries, sugary soft drinks are often cheaper than potable water or milk, they say, noting that over the past 50 years, consumption of sugar has tripled worldwide. (Photo: Jenelle Schneider: Postmedia files)
Junk-food tax needed to fight obesity: journal A junk-food tax and consistent monitoring programs are some of the government actions needed to combat what has become an obesity epidemic in Canada, says a new editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Published Tuesday, the editorial also calls for banning certain foods and ingredients, regulating salt in foods and improving serving-size and nutrition labelling.
“Certain countries have actually implemented taxes up to 25% on sodas, chips, anything that has a content that would be anywhere from 10% to 25% above the daily required limit. If you look at the trends in cigarette consumption around the time that the first sales tax was implemented, you see there’s actually a dip in consumption of cigarettes. So one would assume that the trend would be similar to that.”