Should We Be Regulating Sugar Use?

Categories: Talking Points
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There is a growing momentum to begin treating refined sugars -- white table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, the "evaporated cane juice" natural-foods products advertise on their labels -- in the same way we do alcohol and tobacco: as a dangerous substance that we should only ingest in limited qualities. Americans now eat an average of 22 tablespoons of added sugars a day, and some are arguing that sugar, rather than saturated fats, are responsible for obesity and most of our lifestyle-related diseases.

This weekend, New York Times columnist Mark Bittman wrote about two new proposals to regulate sugar. Florida state senator Rhonda Storms has introduced a bill that would prevent people from using food stamps/EBT cards to purchase candy and sugary foods (it would also outlaw people from redeeming their food stamps at strip clubs -- she is, after all, a conservative Republican). And anti-sugar researcher Robert Lustig has co-authored a paper that calls for, in Bittman's words, "imposing taxes on added sugar or establishing a minimum age for purchase of sodas (they mention 17 in their paper)."

Nanny-state thinking or smart health policy? SFoodie is torn. But with more and more research describing our sugar cravings as addictive behaviors, we're going to see more talk of taxes and "just say no" campaigns in the years to come. 

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My Voice Nation Help

I think the consumer needs to be responsible for what they put in their bodies. It's common knowledge that sugar can lead to obesity and diabetes. Taxing sugars puts an unnecessary burden on people who use it in moderation. It's also kind of convenient that the former Monsanto VP is now a senior adviser of the FDA. Monsanto is the creator of artificial sweetener. Hmm.. Can we say special interests?


Too much of anything is never a good thing.  We can die, and some have, if we drink too much water.  Should we outlaw that too?  We need to respect our food and learn that everything is okay in moderation.


Sugar has gotten a bum rap, especially from the fear-of-food people. 

Of course, sugar alone does not cause obesity. We're still looking for quick fixes for complex problems. 

I wonder when the folks who want to regulate sugar will realize it would mean no more caramel macchiatos for them!

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