|(Lauri Andler/Wikimedia Commons/HO) |
Sugar is toxic and ought to be regulated the same as booze and tobacco, a new report suggests.
In a commentary published in the journal Nature, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, say the overconsumption of sweets is causing a global obesity pandemic, resulting in millions of deaths from things like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
"As long as the public thinks that sugar is just 'empty calories,' we have no chance in solving this," Robert Lustig, one of the report's authors, said in a university press release.
To curb this pandemic, the scientists call on governments to regulate sugar as if it were a drug.
The authors offer a number of suggestions, including limiting how many fast-food restaurants can exist in low-income neighbourhoods, putting an age restriction on the sale of sugary drinks and foods, increasing taxes on sweet stuff and tightening licensing requirements on vending machines and snack bars that sell sugary products in schools and workplaces.
"We're not talking prohibition," said co-author Laura Schmidt, professor of health policy.
"We're not advocating a major imposition of the government into people's lives. We're talking about gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient, thereby moving people away from the concentrated dose. What we want is to actually increase people's choices by making foods that aren't loaded with sugar comparatively easier and cheaper to get."
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