Sugar is a poison – claim scientists. "The toxic truth about sugar" – this is the title of the article, published in journal "Nature" few days ago. Scientists from University of California claim that sugar is a poison and its sale should be as tightly regulated as cigarettes and alcohol. They warn that obesity is one of the biggest problem across the world, and that sugar not only makes people fat but also changes the body’s metabolism, raises blood pressure, throws hormones off balance and harms the liver.
They criticize the authorities position to consider sugar just like "empty calories". Scientists argue, that, there is nothing empty about this calories, because sugar consumption leads to diseases and even abuse. They suggest to control sugar use in food industry through taxation and legislation, in the same order with tobacco and alcohol.
The authors of the article, led by Robert Lustig, a childhood obesity expert at California University, say that, like alcohol, sugar is widely available, toxic, easily abused and harmful to society. Scientists claim that teaching children about diet and exercise is unlikely to be effective. Taxes and restricting availability can be the only effective measure to reduce sugar consumption.
The study recommends using taxation to double the price of fizzy drinks, restricting their sale to those over 17 or 18, and tightening regulations covering school vending machines and snack bars.
The authors admit that it won't be easy to start the regulating of sugar use in food industry, because of food companies lobbying. But they compare this process with ban of smoking in public places and fitting of airbags in cars, which also faced with a high public and political resistance, but now are taken for granted as tools for our public health and well-being.
The article concludes: "It’s time to turn our attention to sugar".
However, other scientists have described the essay as ‘puritanical’, saying sugar is only toxic when eaten in unrealistic amounts. They argue that the causes of mentioned diseases are multi-factorial and blaming separate food components does not help consumers to build a realistic approach to their diet. The key to good health is a balanced and varied diet in a lifestyle that includes plenty of physical activity.
After all, such studies can never be treated unambiguously. Slightly smells like desire to blame anything, just because that something needs to be to blame. Some suggested restrictions – such as banning vending machines in schools, it would be really good, but the introduction of age limits for buying sweets – this is too much. It soon were to be the fact that the children could not get to eat ice cream until adulthood. It is absurd. As about the children nutrition – adults personal example would be better than any prohibition. If mother or father will drink water instead of fizzy soft drinks, children will take over their habits. Here is the answer – if we want to change the world we should start from ourselves.