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Demi Sat, Jul-27-19 00:06

The Sugar Tax: A Review
The Parliamentary Review
London, UK
26 July, 2019

The Sugar Tax: A Review

In April, the (British) government introduced the "sugar tax", a levy charged to the manufacturers of soft drinks with a high sugar content. Drinks containing more than 8 milligrams of sugar will be charged at a rate of 24 pence per litre with those containing 5-8 miligrams paying a slightly reduced rate of 18 pence.

According to the Treasury, the levy is projected to bring in 240 million and has already led to 50 per cent of manufacturers reducing the sugar content of their drinks. To assess the response to this new levy, we spoke to Shann Jones, founder of Chuckling Goat and gut health expert:

Simply put, sugar is the new smoking. Sugar creates obesity, which is set to overtake smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer in 2035, according to Cancer Research UK.

In terms of human biology, we were never designed to eat the amount of sugar we consume today. Normally the body makes its own glucose an ingredient in sugar and the "energy of life" that powers your every cell by breaking down healthy fats, proteins, and complex carbs.

In the brain, sugar stimulates the "feel-good" chemical dopamine. When cave folks came across something sweet, their brains rejoiced, since sweet meant a rare glucose boost from the outside world a survival hack.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors who hoovered up the rare bits of sugar upon which they stumbled on, such as honey or berries, probably had a better chance of survival.

Our earliest ancestors likely consumed about 20 teaspoons of sugar per year. But now sugar is everywhere and that evolutionary adaptation once meant to save us, is now killing us. The average UK adult eats 90 grams or 22.5 teaspoons of sugar per day.

We eat the same amount of sugar in one day, that our ancestors consumed in a year. And it's killing us.

Sugar destroys the good bugs in your gut microbiome, just like pouring bleach into a river kills the fish. At the same time, sugar also feeds the bad bugs inside your gut, destroying the delicate balance of your internal ecosystem.

This wholesale destruction of your gut microbiome - called dysbiosis - can contribute to inflammation, diabetes type 2, obesity, ulcerative colitis, atherosclerosis and Crohn's Disease, along with a raft of autoimmune disorders including eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, acne, IBS, arthritis, chronic fatigue, ME, allergies, anxiety and depression.

The most easily visible impact of too much sugar on the human body is obesity. The gut microbiome of an obese person is measurably different than the microbiome of a lean person.

Researchers have established that obese people have a different balance of microbes in their guts: more firmicutes, fewer bacteroidetes. Scientists have even transferred "obese" gut bugs into lean mice, and turned them into obese mice. And amazingly, it works the other way around as well.

Gut bacteria from thin people can invade the intestines of mice carrying microbes from obese people. And these "thin bacteria" can keep mice from getting fat but only if they eat a healthy diet that is high in good fats and low in sugar.

If current trends continue, overweight and obesity will overtake smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer in women in the next twenty years. While men are also more likely to be overweight or obese than women, obesity has a bigger effect on women in terms of cancer.

Some of the most common types of cancer caused by obesity are breast and womb cancer, which predominantly affect women.It really is all about your gut bugs - which you can affect by changing your diet. And the easiest way to do that is cutting down on sugar.

If current trends continue, overweight and obesity will overtake smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer in women in the next twenty years.
Keeping a harmful substance legal, but taxing it heavily, works to decrease its public usage. We know that prohibiting alcohol,as they tried to do in the US in the 1920s, doesn't work - it just drove the alcohol market underground into the hands of criminals.

By positive contrast, taxing cigarettes has actually resulted in a decline in smoking. The fall in smoking rates in the UK is a massive win for cancer prevention and tobacco control policy.

In the first half of the 20th century, it's estimated that up to 80 per cent of men smoked. Today, 17 per cent of UK males are smokers. Smoking rates for women peaked in the late 1960s and have been falling ever since.

We don't have to wonder - we have a great working example in front of us.

When you're trying to influence public behaviour, making something more expensive by taxing it is a sensible and effective thing to do.

So, I'm a big fan of the sugar tax. But it needs to be accompanied by a lot of education, and a crackdown on the appealing advertising of sugary products, similar to the process undertaken with tobacco products.

Education is key and much needed!

Last year, figures showed that only 1 in 7 people in the UK knew obesity was a cause of cancer. Moving forward, I can think of no better recommendations than the ones put forward by Cancer Research UK, and I would add my voice to theirs.

They're calling on the government to ban junk food adverts on TV before the 9pm watershed to help protect children, with similar protections online, and to restrict unhealthy price promotions in supermarkets. They've also launched a UK-wide campaign to increase awareness of the link between obesity and cancer. Public policy needs to be informed by science - and the science is in: sugar usage is as harmful as tobacco.

Public policy needs to be informed by science - and the science is in: sugar usage is as harmful as tobacco.

We need to throw the full weight of the government behind reversing this harmful trend, before it creates another disastrous wave of preventable cancers to swamp the NHS.

Shann Nix Jones is a gut health expert, the author of three best-selling books on the subject and the Director of Chuckling Goat.

LaydJ Sat, Jul-27-19 03:46

I am opposed to this. I agree that sugar is not good for anyone, but what if the next tax is placed on foods that we think are good?

WereBear Sat, Jul-27-19 07:32

The comparison to a drug like tobacco is an apt one.

GRB5111 Sat, Jul-27-19 12:23

It's simple and easy to claim that taxing tobacco is the reason for decreased use. That is simply wrong. There is no way to prove this claim, when the scientific facts confirmed in the 1960s also showed clearly that people who used tobacco also developed emphysema, COPD, respiration problems, heart disease, cancer, and ultimately experienced an early death. There may be some who are cost sensitive to taxes, but unless the ultimate penalty of death is involved, it's impossible to claim that taxes curtail addictive behavior. One needs only to review the demand elasticity curve for addicts. It goes against common sense. Count me totally against taxes as a method to curtail behavior.

Bob-a-rama Sat, Jul-27-19 14:18

I don't agree. Sooner or later lobbyists could influence the government to put a tax on fat because everybody "knows" it will clog your arteries (NOT).

I think education is a better way.


GRB5111 Sat, Jul-27-19 14:33

Education is certainly a better way.

Ms Arielle Sat, Jul-27-19 15:10

But education is not happening. On this forum and the similar blogs we LCers lurk, knowledge is spreafing slower than if the doctors were made to learn nutrition, learn the benefits of LC diets AND how to help patients impliment the new diet.

We are the only family we know that tries to eat low sugar, low grains, etc. And its a loosing battle as my teens venture out into the world.

My kids pick crap food when its available, despite education.

Im ready to throw in the towel re my kids. I cant fight city hall.

Bob-a-rama Sat, Jul-27-19 18:58

Yes, education is not ideal, but IMHO taxing is worse.

Here in the US, big ag gives the heart association millions of dollars per year in donations plus the results of their own bogus tests that say eating carbs are good for you and fat is bad.

Here in the US big ag gets their money into the FDA and they tell us carbs are good and fat is bad.

The FDA is the government, and if they were to levy the tax, thanks to Big Ag here the tax would be on fat.

Besides LIBERTY is the ability to do things without government control. Remember "Liberty and justice for all".

You should have the liberty to poison yourself with sugar if you want to do that. It's one of the freedoms our founding fathers fought for.

Of course you try to teach your kids to obey you and not to cheat behind your back - but we elect cheating government candidates so we tell our children cheating is OK.

It's complicated. But the fewer government regulations we can have over our personal lives, the better. As long as our Liberty doesn't infringe on the next person's liberty, it shouldn't be regulated by the government. They are not our nannies.

Of course this is merely my opinion.


Ms Arielle Sat, Jul-27-19 19:58

We all pay when others get sick. That is the insurance model.

GRB5111 Sat, Jul-27-19 20:39

Originally Posted by Bob-a-rama
Besides LIBERTY is the ability to do things without government control. Remember "Liberty and justice for all".

You should have the liberty to poison yourself with sugar if you want to do that. It's one of the freedoms our founding fathers fought for.


Well stated. Free will and freedom of choice are our inalienable rights.

The government stepped in to take control of our eating in 1978 with the Food Pyramid created by George McGovern causing the food manufacturers to follow suit. That went really well . . . . .

Bob-a-rama Sun, Jul-28-19 07:56

Yes, we all pay for the sins of others in our insurance.

Perhaps if a company decided to sell insurance to people who were not overweight at a discount, that could be a business model.

There are some things a government should control, our personal Liberties are not among them. Look what happened with alcohol prohibition. The US had no organized crime in this country until they made drinking booze illegal.

Sure eating sugar is dangerous and can cause the public to pay for the sugar-eater's medical bills.

But what about sports? Football, soccer, wrestling, boxing and others cause brain damage that shows up as dementia in old age. A person who plays football or soccer in high school has a 25% greater odds of getting Alzheimer's or Parkinson's in old age than someone who doesn't according to the Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Should we tax balls? Ban sports?

The sound levels at stadiums, aerobics classes, movie theaters, rock concerts, motorcycles, lawn mowers, and even many people's home TV sets are loud enough to cause slow hearing damage, much like sugar/insulin causes slow bodily damage. Should we go around with sound level meters and arrest anyone making noise over 85db? That's worse because unlike sugar, you aren't just harming yourself, but like second-hand smoke, second-hand noise harms others.

Hang gliding? Parachute jumping? Rock climbing? Using power tools? Driving on most highways? Motorcycle riding? Swimming in the ocean? I can think of thousands more unsafe things that cause the insurance costs to go up.

Who has the right to say one dangerous thing should be illegal or taxed while others should not? I personally don't want to give that control to the government. Think Orwell's "1984"


khrussva Mon, Jul-29-19 09:28

I don't like the entire concept of a 'sin tax'. The 'sinful' goods tend to be addictive. It is, IMO, quite unfair to make addicts pay more in taxes. Government becomes dependent on the revenue from these 'sinners', which sort of put law makers in a bind. Is government truly promoting better health by such taxes or are they just capitalizing on addiction? As far as sugar goes, I know that I was an addict. But sugar in all its forms (aka cheap, processed food) also fed my addiction - not just the white stuff. The government would need to officially declare more than half the goods sold in a grocery store as 'unhealthy" and therefore a taxable sin. That isn't going to happen. Singling out only HFCS, table sugar, etc. for extra taxation will generate revenue, but it won't solve the problems. The addicts will just end up paying more than their fair share it taxes.

I am a Liberty loving kind of guy. I have every right to drink, smoke, and eat my way to an early grave if I want to. These days I am better informed as to what is good for me and what is not. I choose not to drink, smoke, or eat crap-for-food. If government should have any roll in this it would be education - providing unbiased, truthful information about our food supply. That's not going to happen either. So I think that it should be left up to us to decide how we eat and how 'healthy' we live out lives.

When I was in my late teens the message was that food is food, a calorie is a calorie. If you get fat, then eat less -- especially less fat and cholesterol. Everything in moderation, but avoid butter and lard. Eat margarine, vegetable oil, and Crisco instead. Nothing wrong with processed foods either. The government was sure to require the junk to be enriched with all the vitamins and minerals that we need. How'd that work out? It didn't work out so well for me. Trust government to make the right call when it comes to healthy nutrition? I don't think so.

I get the sense that the younger generation is starting to get the message about sugar and carbs in general (my kids included). Information on the internet is still in the Wild, Wild, West stage right now, but there is good information out there. We'll figure it out eventually - even faster if the government stays out of it.

GRB5111 Mon, Jul-29-19 10:29

Originally Posted by khrussva
I get the sense that the younger generation (my kids included) is starting to get the message about sugar and carbs in general. Information on the internet is still in the Wild, Wild, West stage right now, but there is good information out there. We'll figure it out eventually - even faster if the government stays out of it.

I get the same feedback from my kids (young adults) and their friends as well. Yes, we will figure it out and are in the process of doing so.

Mycie14 Mon, Jul-29-19 14:32

As others have stated, today it's sugar, tomorrow it might be butter or red meat or even just meat of any kind, either in the name of health or to save the planet. I really don't trust governments to try and nudge "proper" behaviors, especially as it was government policies that got us here in the first place. Still to this day, governments are advocating for a high carb diet, just not one with as much "added sugar".

Bob-a-rama Tue, Jul-30-19 08:16

Plus governments are telling us to eat less meat to save the planet.

And nothing could be more wrong, but it seems the more they repeat it, the more the sheep-people believe it.
  • The planet has zillions of acres of grassland that cows, sheep and other grazers can turn into food with nothing other than what mother-nature provides
  • To farm that grassland that the cows can eat free on, requires mega-tons of fertilizer, mega-tons of toxic herbicides, mega-tons of insecticides and mega-lakefulls of our most precious resource, fresh water
  • The fertilizer industry emits 100 times more methane than all the cow farts and burps combined according to Cornell University and the EPA

So tell me how eating less meat is going to save the planet?

It's a lie. Once you have the sugar tax, what's next, the beef tax?

Wake up people, and help restore liberty and fight this fraudulent propaganda designed to make us more vegetarian.

Be careful what you wish for, sugar tax today, beef tax tomorrow.


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