In a commentary published online in the Feb. 1 issue of Nature headlined “The toxic truth about Sugar,” Robert Lustig, professor of paediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco argues for a major shift in public policy to combat the danger.
He and his team of UCSF scientists say that that increased global consumption of sugar was primarily responsible for a many chronic diseases that are reaching epidemic levels, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The UN in September pegged tobacco, alcohol, and diet as big contributors to chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes contributed to 35 million deaths worldwide each year, CBS News cited the commentary as saying.
The UCSF scientists wrote that sugar was now so heavily entrenched in US food culture that getting people to kick the habit would require much more than simple education and awareness campaigns.
The government needed to step in to curb its consumption, they wrote.
Several countries were already imposing taxes on unhealthy food according to the BBC. “Denmark and Hungary have a tax on saturated fat, while France has approved a tax on soft drinks.”
Lustig told the broadcaster that: “It [sugar] meets all the criteria for societal intervention that alcohol and tobacco meet.”
However, the US Food and Drink Federation reportedly said “demonising” food was not helpful and the key to health was a balanced diet.
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