Archive for February 9th, 2012

Politically Demonizing Sugar?

February 9th, 2012 by Rosa

Via Jezebel, but all over the news lately (CNN, CBS), is a new Nature commentary piece that’s been making waves by calling for government regulation of sugar.

The authors of the piece cite evidence that excessive sugar consumption leads to adverse health consequences and can be addictive. They point out that alcohol has similar effects on the body and brain and is regulated by the government, so sugar should be similarly regulated through taxes and age limits.

Interesting that this paper and its associated hubub has come out on the heels of another well-publicized study that found no link between childhood obesity and availability of junk food (including soda and candy) in schools.

I agree that excessive sugar in the diet poses a public health problem that needs addressing, but I don’t think taxes and age limits are the solution. Would kids start getting carded when buying candy bars and cookies?

I don’t blame candy or cookies or other sweets – people know that such things have loads of sugar and can regulate (or choose not to regulate) their consumption of such goods accordingly.

I think the bigger problem is the addition of sugar (and salt and other chemically things) to processed foods where people don’t expect it to be. You’d be surprised at how much extra sugar is hidden away in things like ketchup, canned soup, or peanut butter.

It’ll be interesting to see how this line of controversy shakes out. Awareness of added salt and salt consumption is just starting to hit its stride, with some cities trying to legislate against it and many food makers pledging to cut sodium levels in their products. Do y’all think we’ll see a similar thing happen with sugar?

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