Should Sugar Be Regulated?

Should Sugar Be Regulated? from Get A Life Physio Acupuncture and Nutrition

By: Get A Life Physio Acupuncture and Nutrition  03-May-2012
Keywords: Nutrition, Acupuncture, Lose Weight

To suggest that sugar should be regulated in the same way that alcohol and tobacco are regulated sounds like a radical proposal. However, many concerned scientists are suggesting exactly that. Is it just a case of "Big Brother" telling us what to do or is there genuine reason for concern?

Robert H. Lustig,Laura A. Schmidt and Claire D. Brindis of the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) recently published an article in the scientific journal Nature. Titled "The toxic truth about sugar," they presented the argument that sugar should be regulated because the public is largely unaware of just how damaging it can be to health. They see a public awareness campaign combined with regulations designed to curb its use as being as important as the anti-smoking campaign has been.

 Is Sugar Regulation Really Necessary?

 Lustig believes that, "as long as the public thinks that sugar is just 'empty calories', we have no chance in solving this." Far from simply lacking in nutritional value and being fattening, he argues that sugar is actively detrimental to health and cites a number of little-known facts, including:

 •Sugar damages the liver.

 •Sugar alters hormone signals

 •Sugar raises blood pressure.

 •Sugar changes the body's natural metabolism.

  Why Regulate Sugar Now?

 Sugar has been a part of our diet for a long time, so why the urgent necessity to restrict its use now? According to the authors of the Nature article, sugar is the primary "fuel" of the now global obesity pandemic and is directly and indirectly responsible for 35 million deaths per year from diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. This are more deaths than are attributed to infectious diseases.

 In the past 50 years, global sugar consumption has tripled and its consumption continues to grow. At the same time, obesity and non-communicable diseases have been on the increase. If the trend towards greater sugar consumption continues at the current rate, the consequences could be catastrophic for everyone. Lustig also points out that treatment of the diseases and their associated disabilities accounts for a massive 75% of total U.S. healthcare costs. These are costs everyone pays for, so everyone should be concerned.

 Dr. Lustig, a paediatric endocrinologist, is a passionate advocate of sugar regulation. According to a recent UCSF online news release, his message is getting out. Soon after being uploaded to YouTube, one of his lectures went viral, receiving over half a million viewers.

While outright sugar prohibition is not recommended, who could argue with the public's right to know the truth? Thanks to labelling cigarette packages, we now know that smoking can cause cancer, heart disease and a host of other diseases. Now that you know more about sugar, won't you think twice before buying a sugar-laden candy bar? The choice is yours, but isn't an informed choice better than a choice made simply out of convenience and habit?

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