Government Alert: Is a Sugar Tax Coming?

Sugar Tax

Is it possible the Government might be stepping in to regulate the sugar industry to help control obesity in the U.S.?

It has been my belief for some time that SUGAR and not fat is the root of all the obesity issues in the country, especially in children. Too much sugar in your diet can cause a number of health issues outside of weight gain including diabetes, liver problems, serious mental issues and so many other things that could ruin your overall well being.

Because sugar is considered “empty calories”, meaning it provides no minerals or nutrients that your body needs, there are no advantages to being consumed. In actuality, refined sugar pulls the vital nutrients already in our bodies away to help metabolize it thus depriving our body of the things it needs to function properly. The bottom line is there is nothing good that comes from sugar being in our bodies. Nothing at all.

So what do we do?

Parents and children alike need to drastically reduce sugar intake, plain and simple, and it has to start immediately. I’ve read enough about how bad sugar can be to tell you that over time consuming sugary foods and drinks can become addicting and it makes you crave even more of it over time. It’s like a drug and has many of the same effects on your psyche as does being addicted to drugs and that is a scary prospect. As our kids become “addicted to sugar” without really knowing it, they start to consume more and more each day and as time goes by their health begins to deteriorate. That’s why I think the sooner parents and children make a conscious decision to reduce or eliminate the intake of refined sugar in their diets, the better off we will be health wise.

I always like to provide some additional references when it comes to backing up some of my beliefs on health issues and I wanted to bring you some information from Melinda Carstensen at Self Magazine who recently wrote about why some think the Government should institute a “Sugar Tax” to help the nation reduce it’s sugar instake. Now, I’m all about less government regulation in this country but when it comes to something that affects not just adults but our children, I’m wide open to considering it as a possible remedy. Read on and see what this “Sugar Tax” would entail.

You know consuming too much sugar can be detrimental to your health, but now, some researchers are suggesting it’s so harmful that the government should regulate it as heavily as alcohol and tobacco — and even put a tax on it.

Like alcohol, sugar affects your blood pressure, metabolism and liver, argues Dr. Robert Lustig, endocrinology director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health Program at the University of California at San Francisco.

“It can also suppress the hormones in our bodies that tell us we have eaten enough, thereby leading to overeating and craving for more sugar. It also, like alcohol, affects the ‘pleasure center’ of the brain and makes you consume more,” Dr. Lustig tells HealthySELF.

So why should the government tax sugar? In an opinion piece published in the Feb. 1 edition of the journal Nature, Lustig and colleagues argue that value-added taxes and sales taxes on alcohol and tobacco have discouraged people from consuming these substances, and the same could be done for products high in added sugar.

They don’t specify where revenue from such a tax would go. The first step, they argue, is finding a way to raise awareness of the health harms of consuming excess sugar. “Successful interventions all share a common end-point: curbing availability,” they write.

Andrea N. Giancoli, spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a registered dietician, says taxing sugar could be a great way to educate the public. “I think that added sugar is an issue in our diet,” she says. “A lot of people don’t recognize where it is.”

The average American today consumes 43,800 more calories from added sugar per year than in 1977, SELF reported in July 2011. If a woman’s added-sugar consumption increases by more than 20 percent, her body-mass index rises two to three points — enough to cause her to move from the normal to overweight or obese category, according to a 27-year study from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

Obesity, partially caused by consuming too much sugar, contributes to the 35 million deaths that occur worldwide each year from diabetes, heart disease and cancer, Lustig and his colleagues argue.

Sugar

I really think this idea of taxing sugar is a viable solution to reducing the amount of refined sugars we have in our diets, although I don’t think it will completely take sugar off our tables and away from our children. The government has been in the regulation business for some time now and as we all know, the added taxes on tobacco and alcohol do not stop people from consuming them at all.

I think the ownership of reducing sugar in our kids’ diets has to come from the parents and the doctors. Parents need to step up and start saying “NO” to allowing these junk sugary foods, drinks and sodas in their homes and start pushing alternatives like fruit, sugar-free foods and water. In my eyes it’s the only way we get our health back on track. It has to start with baby steps inside the home to help teach our kids the benefits of not eating sugar and as time goes on they will teach their children the same habits.

Melinda Carstensen went on to discuss some ways to reduce sugar intake and I think this is a great start to teaching parents what to do next.

Here are a few tips for reducing your sugar intake:

–“Learn to be a food label expert,” Dr. Lustig advises. Although beverages pack the most added sugar, companies add sugar to some of the foods we consider healthiest, like flavored yogurt and bread.

–In ingredient descriptions, look for the words sugar, agave syrup, honey and those ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, sucrose), SELF contributing experts Stephanie Clarke, R.D., and Willow Jarosh, R.D., advised in SELF’s July 2011 issue.

–Better yet, eat fresh, not processed food. “If a food has a Nutrition Facts label, by definition, the food has been processed in some fashion,” Dr. Lustig says.

–The experts SELF polled say to aim for less than 10 percent of calories from added sugar. If you’re eating 1,800 calories, that’s 180 calories, or a can of soda and four Life Savers.

But this doesn’t mean you have to give up the sweet stuff altogether! “Truthfully, sugar does make things taste better,” Giancoli admits. “I would never say, ‘Don’t enjoy your dessert or your treat.’ I am personally a dessert person, and I’m not going to eliminate that. But the word ‘moderation’ is key.”

Parents need to take control of this problem in their own household. I know I will. Will you?

 

Source: HealthSELF

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