Sugar’s destructive impact: A wake-up call

We have legislation that controls the sale of alcohol, because excessive use is a threat to physical and mental wellbeing.

We have legislation, augmented by aggressive taxation, to control the sale and use of tobacco, because of that substance’s impact on health and public health budgets.

We have legislation that controls the sale and distribution of opiates — even though America’s opioid epidemic suggests that we may have to review those laws. All of these laws were enacted to protect the common good, despite a decades-long, hugely-resourced rearguard action — ongoing — by drink and tobacco interests.

So far, sugar, a root cause of the West’s obesity epidemic, has escaped relatively unscathed. A new report, from the Queen Mary University of London, will add to the momentum demanding that the substance’s destructive powers be recognised and limited. The report found that lunchtime meal deals in supermarkets or high street shops are packed with as many as 30 teaspoons of sugar. Why do we allow this subversion of public health?


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