“Sugar is addictive and the most dangerous drug of the times”


Soft drinks should carry tobacco-style warnings that sugar is addictive and bad for health, according to the head of Amsterdam’s health service. He calls sugar “the most dangerous drug of the times”:

The Telegraph: Sugar is ‘addictive and the most dangerous drug of the times’

It may sound like an exaggeration today, but in the future this message will likely be totally accepted.


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  1. Damocles
    Always good to see the dangers off sugar beeing brought to the newslines

    A warning label is good (information).
    But I'm generally against taxation. (restriction).

    This mentality of taxing things can also end up in things like the
    butter-tax or enforced vegetarian days in cantinas.

  2. jway
    Since our marijuana prohibition has worked so well why don't we declare a war on sugar and arrest hundreds of thousands of non-violent sugar users each year and lock them up for 10 years or more under inhumane mandatory minimum sentencing laws?

    After all, drug dealers are going to need some way to make a living after marijuana's been legalized as a (far safer) alternative to alcohol.

    Reply: #3
  3. FrankG
    sure... that's EXACTLY what is being suggested here :-P
  4. Nan
    I'm a believer that sugar is dangerous. However, taxing it will only result in a "war on drugs" failure. I feel so frustrated at times, but then I remember when it seemed like everyone smoked, and those times have changed dramatically. So, I live in hope.


  5. Jan
    Yes, I also believe the amount of sugar added to food/drink is not healthy. Will it carry a government health warning - we will have to wait and see what transpires.

    Taxation is of course a different matter - would it work, I have my doubts.

    It is always good to highlight the damage added sugar can do to our health including our teeth of course.

    All the best Jan

  6. murray
    Actually, tobacco consumption has reduced in Canada largely due to a steady incremental increase in the tax on cigarettes. Part of the policy justification, where the cost of medicine is funded mostly from public funds, is that a significant portion of the cost of cigarettes is external cost and not reflected in the price of cigarettes. So an economically rational market where price exceeds cost, the price should be increased to include health costs (roughly, cost of tobacco to society divided by number of packages of cigarettes = tax per package).

    The same could be said for acellular sugar. Acellular sugar creates external costs to society and it would be economically rational to impose a tax on acellular sugar. This could be a value added tax that is not a tax on the consumer but on the producer or importer, which would, in effect, increase the price of sugar. Although narrow libertarians might object to the tax, the tax would at least require sugar consumers to foot the bill for the social health costs imposed on those of us who only consume sugar in real foods, like celery, and not acellular sugar.

    There will always be boundary issues, such as maple syrup, honey and such. I would exclude them; others might not. But difficult boundary issues are the case with any social policy implemented in the language of law. As Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. observed of law and social policy in general, "When he has discovered that a difference is a difference of degree, that distinguished extremes have between them a penumbra in which one gradually shades into the other, a tyro thinks to puzzle you by asking where you are going to draw the line, and an advocate of more experience will show the arbitrariness of the line proposed by putting cases very close to it on one side or the other. But the theory of the law is that such lines exist."

  7. Mark Bousquet
    I agree 100%
  8. Kindke
    Dont know about "most dangerous drug of our times" but sugar is certainly very addictive. I never get tired of eating sweets.
  9. Galina L.
    I guess, adults should be mostly left alone, with the exception that it is better to be made absolutely clear that adding sugar or any sweet substances to fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat makes that food unhealthy. I watch with an unbelief the "Health Challenge" which is taking place at my husband's work place in order to lower the health cost of a medical insurance for the employer. Their philosophy - if there are fruits or vegetable ingredients in a food and it is low in fat, the food is healthy. The result - bans with added sweet potatoes are recommended to diabetics; fruit tarts, very sweet cereal bars, yogurt-dipped raisins, sweet apple chips and a fruit juice are considered to be healthy foods.
    I would support the prohibition of added sweet substances to any child food, even though it sounds extreme. Let deserts contain sugar and be called deserts, but I hope it will be a campaign in a nearest future against sugar(or any sweetener) presence in the food given to children, but then it would be necessary to drop the idea of low-fat-low-salt food being healthy. Food should taste good, if you remove sugar, you will have to keep salt and add fat.
  10. Paul
    sugar is poisoning our kind for the last 10,000.00 years


  11. Alex
    In my view, it would help more if the food companies would have to pay taxes if they want to sell sugar, in stead of the consumers, who will probably be under-informed for the most part anyway.

    Then it would be to the companies' benefit to use alternatives (lke stevia, or add the fat back into low-fat products), especially if they would become cheaper then sugar because of the tax.

    Not a plan that is likely to happen over 2 months, first the governements and health agencies would have to shift away from the low-fat paradigm.

    Reply: #12
  12. FrankG
    I agree Alex and find it frustrating that any suggestion of regulation or taxation immediately elicits a flurry of images of jack-booted thugs breaking down the doors and imprisoning poor innocent sugar eaters!

    To my thinking the first course of action is to take the subsidies away from corn -- these don't benefit the farmers nor the consumers but do, very effectively funnel your taxes directly into the deep pockets of big businesses; who rely on cheap HFCS to pad their "food".

    Level the playing field to make food prices based on what it really costs to produce that food and then we might start to see some sustainable practices brought back into play.

    What happens next -- like where to spend those billions of dollars in subsidies instead -- I am open to discussion but I favour using some of it to encourage small local farmers, producers and markets. Also social programs to help the lot of those who can't afford real whole food. That does not necessarily mean blind welfare but rather approaches that help folks to manage for themselves: such as setting up local market gardens... as one example.

  13. Nan
    I agree with FrankG! We wouldn't have so much of this junk, especially hfcs, hidden in nearly all our food were the subsidies to dry up.


  14. sten
    Any proposed restrictions in advertising, taxing, or prohibition will meet extreme difficulties to get anywhere, at least in our Western world. After all, the worlds largest food companies like Kellogs, Nestle, Kraft, Unilever, Coca-Cola, etc. etc. operates an institute called ILSI which on its websites makes claims to be an independent research institute. ILSI stands for International Life Science Institute, lovely name !
    In my and many others opinions it was set up to promote the low fat and 55% carb craze world wide which it also has done extremely successfully. Every western country's national food board seems to have taken up their advice. I think a few pharmaceutical companies also are on the sponsor list.

    The last big "contract" ILSI got I know of was to "shape the diet recommendations for the future" in Europe, yes by EU! At a COST to EU of many many millions, ILSI is right now drawing up and sending out new diet recommendations for all EU countries, recommendations that are structured just as the old high carb low fat and only vegetable (omega -6) low fat recommendations. Proposals to leave 55% carbs out as there is no scientific support for it were not taken up in the new Swedish version of last recommendations. . (No studies has ever been made to show if such high carb intake is safe long term, in ANY age groups.)

    After all, these multibillion businesses often per week are the sponsors of ILSI and thrive on these recommendations, alone!
    The guidlines enable them to use the lowest cost ingredients (corn and wheat mainly and other carbs) and to it add merely HFSC, structure stabilizers , artificial flavours (and still transfats!), while removing anything that may impede on storage time . The result is a production cost often just 10% of sales price resulting in huge margins and affordability of near unlimited ad-exposures with the most expensive and clever ads one can buy still leaving ample room for overheads and profits.

    Some of those profits will go right into sophisticated campaigns to safeguard these huge sugar-addicted business empires. Yes addicted to sugar. Without it they would soon be gone.

    Compare the carb based foods with traditional foods like grass fed meat and butter. Rarely is the production cost of such genuine products below 50% of what end consumers pay.
    With taxes on sugar and fast carbs these giant business empires could succumb quickly, once the reason, that it s probably as bad for us as cigarettes, becomes widely known.

    But "advertisers influence" is of course the first hurdle.
    The media that usually carries the most common food ads will naturally give lots of room and support to their main advertisers as both parties businesses else could come in quick serious trouble.

    Obesity and ill health have so far been mere " not yet proven unfortunate side effects", that often doubled a lot of business opportunities over time. Today the cat is out of the box and BB will fight back for its life.

  15. Lord Metroid
    A complete zero tolerance ban is obviously not going to help as seen by the war on drugs. However I believe with an approach similar to that which has been used towards tobaco by not making the substance illegal but restricting where, how much and when it can be used as well as taxes and public information campaigns has really made a great impact on the public health and the attitude towards the substance. Decreasing its use significantly.
  16. Dani

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