Sugar is great. It’s addictive. Cheap. And makes you feel good. The long term consequences for your health are harsh.But the short term nature of our individual biological make up doesn’t care about that. As...
Nature optimizes for the whole - not for you. So does the system. So does the NHS. In the future perhaps things will change. Things will be new. But not right now. However, the fact - you know that sugar isn’t good for you – is age old wisdom.
Your parents knew this, your grandparents knew this. Why is it that we seem to have forgotten this?
Some of the blame, I believe can be placed on the people that make the most money out of sugar. And making sugar consumption easy and something we all do. It makes sense. The people making the money from it – are not likely to want to stop doing that. It’s their job. It’s their future. However, the future for us all is not handled by them.
It’s our responsibility.
In recent years campaigners have been putting forward the case for why a sugar levy is important. The most high-profile supporter has been TV chef Jamie Oliver. Who has introduced a sugar levy in his restaurants. He set up an e-petition that saw more than 150,000 people backing a tax. But why have a sugar levy or tax?
As eating large quantities of sugar can lead to weight gain and obesity. Which in turn increases the risk of health conditions including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
"In particular, drinking lots of sugary drinks has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes." (NHS website quote)
And as children and teenagers are consuming three times the recommended level of sugar. With adults faring almost as badly - we all should care.
As at the start of primary school one in 10 children in England is obese (very overweight) and by the end it is one in five. The issue has been described as one of the most serious public health challenges for the 21st Century by the World Health Organization.
Whilst NHS England's Simon Stevens has dubbed it "the new smoking". Which would be apt as this especially affects teenagers. Whom get a quarter of their sugar intake from soft drinks. "consuming nearly a bathtub of sugary drinks each year on average”.
This is madness and must be stopped – somehow. But how?
One answer might be a sugar tax...
So in July 2015 the British Medical Association (BMA) urged the government to introduce a 20 per cent tax on sugar. As it might would combat escalating rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. As University of Cambridge researchers discovered that 8,000 cases of type 2 diabetes a year are linked to sugary drinks consumption.
Whilst Queen Mary University scientists in London had even more shocking news. Concluding that reducing sugar in soft drinks by 40 per cent over five years could prevent 300,000 cases of type 2 diabetes in the UK alone!.
Other countries have introduced similar measures and have seen some success in reducing the drinking of fizzy drinks. Mexico introduced a 10 per cent tax on sugary drinks in 2014 and saw a 12 per cent reduction over the first year. Hungary brought in a tax on the drinks companies and saw a 40 per cent decrease in the amount of sugar in the products. So let’s see. But for now. What I do know is that if you suffer from Type2Diabetes sugar is not great. In fact, if you want to be Type2DiabetesFree - then sugar might well be something you need to cut out completely.
As this is something about the whole of society. So should we just use tax to curb the excessive consumption that is costing the NHS billions?
Like we have done with smoking? Maybe we can go even further – in the name of the nation's health. As in it's sugar report, the PHE (Public Health England) also recommended:
- · A national programme to reduce sugar content in everyday food and drinks
- · Reducing price promotions of sugary food and drink
- · Banning high-sugar foods from supermarket till areas and the end of aisles
- · Clamping down on advertising sugary products on TV and online
- · New rules to reduce portion sizes
My particular favorite is banning high sugar food from the end of tills. And I know I am a marketing person so I should love the psychology behind it and it's effectiveness. BUT I'm also a dad too. So I see the affect it has on my 7 year old daughter...
It's her generation that we have to consider. Not just our own.
And certainly not the profits of companies like #WHSmith aka #WHSugar.
Unless you own shares in them... And even then...
So maybe the future will be changed more by people power and hashtags and lobbying and TV programmes more than by government policy?
And... Do you have Type2Diabetes and want to reverse the condition in 100 days. This the non for profit I am launching in July.