Study shows sugar to be as harmful as tobacco and alcohol
Sugar should be identified alongside alcohol and tobacco as a health danger, and governments should tax sweetened drinks and food as part of their efforts to combat it.
So says a commentary, published on Thursday in the journal Nature as part of a widening debate among doctors and policy-makers about food fiscality and health.
Around 35 million people die each year of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes and a wave of obesity is unfurling from rich countries to developing economies, say three US academics who authored the piece.
A levy on added sugars would help meet the growing costs of meeting sugar-related health problems and discourage consumption, they suggest.
In the United States, the government is currently considering a soda tax that would raise the price of a can of fizzy drink by around 10-12 US cents, bringing in some 14 billion dollars a year of revenue.
But statistical modelling suggests that the price would have to double to significantly reduce soda consumption -- so a one-dollar can should cost two dollars, say the trio.
Consumption of sugar worldwide has tripled in the past 50 years, adding hugely to daily average colorie intake, especially in the United States.
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