Health experts have cautioned that consuming large amounts of sugar has detrimental effects on a person’s health. They have requested companies to stop advertising fizzy drinks and sugary snacks, claiming sugar as dangerous as tobacco and booze. Research has proven that sugar triggers the same reward trail in the brain as conventional harmful narcotics, like heroin or morphine. According to the American Heart Association, the average adult in the U.S. consumes 22 spoons of sugar every day, and teens 34 teaspoons.
A study shows that 17% of children and teens in the U.S. are obese. This increase has helped create a global obesity plague that contributes to 35 million annual fatalities globally from non-infectious syndromes, including heart disease and cancer. Excess sugar consumption can lead to tooth decay, obesity, compromised immune system, hyperactivity, anxiety, premature aging, behavioral problems in children, food allergies and other chronic health risks, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Worldwide use of sugar has tripled in the last 50 years, stimulating a global obesity epidemic. The main offender is thought to be fructose, a sugar molecule that is commonly added to processed food in sweetening agents, such as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). There is sufficient evidence that excess fructose has dangerous effects on the body. Another research suggests fructose tricks our brain into thinking that we are not full and thus we end up overeating. The extra fructose cannot be converted into energy. Instead, it is converted to liver fats which lead to chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.
A group of researchers from the University of California are pressing for a tax on sugary treats and some serious action by the government to help Americans cut back on sugar. Sugar should be taxed because it has become an addiction since it’s as hard to quit as alcohol or drugs. They argue that sugar should be removed from the generally “Regarded as Safe” list by the Food and Drug Administration, so companies will stop adding excess amounts of sugar in processed foods. Other attempts aim to make sugary foods and sweetened drinks hard to get, like enforcing age limits for buying soda and calculating when and where sugary foods are sold. They also foresee sugar-free areas around schools.
Although sugary drinks are known to be the main problem, researchers say many people are ignorant that flavored waters, ketchups, soups and ready meals also contain large quantities of hidden sugars. Sugar is now named the alcohol of childhood, terming sugar as dangerous as tobacco and alcohol.
However, the American Medical Association has declined to give support to a national sugar-sweetened beverage tax, claiming that it needs more information on the topic. Some researchers don’t deem sugar as dangerous as tobacco, saying there is no proof that these diseases are caused by a particular food or nutrient when other factors like lack of exercise and depression can contribute to the chronic health problems as well.
This ongoing debate is not about a major imposition by the government but making sugar consumption slightly less convenient so that people consume it in limited quantities. There should be a coherent and structured plan to reduce the number of calories by taking out the excess sugar from foods and drinks.