The UK Is Moving Forward With Its Sugar Tax
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the actual fat that we consume which gets us fat, but the sugar. What’s more, sugar is the leading cause of bad breath. This is why the UK government has announced that it’s drafting the legislature to introduce a sugar tax as of April 2018, in order to address the country’s growing obesity problem. In fact, the Unite Kingdom is the second country in Europe after Andorra in terms of obesity, with 29.8% of the population being obese. It is quickly followed by Turkey and the Czech Republic with 29.4 and 29.1 percent respectively.
This sugar tax is meant to work in two way. There will first be a small tax on soft drinks which use between 5 and 8 grammes of sugar per 100 ml, and then there will be a bigger one for drinks which exceed 8 grammes per 100 ml. Pure fruit juice, milkshakes and yoghurt drinks will be excluded from this tax, however, even though the authorities strongly advise the citizens to keep their consumption of these products under 150 ml per day.
This step is supported by doctors and researchers alike, who argue that this is a much-needed step to limit the increasingly growing obesity epidemic. This sugar tax will also help in combating heart disease and diabetes. Dr Max Davie, of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, said:
“We are very pleased to see government moving forward with this draft legislation. The sugary drinks that will be affected by this tax have no nutritional benefit and often contain levels of sugar that are above a child’s daily recommended limit. These drinks are a major contributor to the high sugar intakes of children, particularly teenagers, and we are in no doubt that they are, in part, contributing to this country’s obesity crisis.”
Though many developed countries have passed some of the hurdles other less developed countries are now facing – problems like water pollution or high levels of corruption – they have fallen into another trap which is closely linked with abundance and a low of control over various consumer products. This is why diabetes is a growing health concern in many of these countries which are directly linked to over 1.5 million deaths in 2012 alone. And soft drinks are the direct cause of 180,000 deaths worldwide per year.
All added sugars are dangerous to one’s health, but sugary drinks are especially so. Unlike sugar in food, the one found in drinks enters the blood stream more quickly and can overload the liver and pancreas. France was the first country to implement this sugar tax in 2012, with Mexico following one year later.
Those who support the tax also cite the similar tobacco taxes in many places and which were largely successful. Another similar example was a 5 pence plastic bag tax which in itself is not much, but over the course of a year, it led to a drastic reduction of plastic bags discarded in nature.
Anyway, the Cancer Research UK estimates that a 20% tax on sugary drinks will lead to a whooping 3.7 million cases of obesity being prevented over the next decade. The World Health organisation also says that the money gathered from this sugar tax can be used to fund subsides for all sorts of healthy foods like veggies, fruits and cereals.
It comes as no surprise that the soft drink industry is against this tax. Gavin Partington, of the British Soft Drinks Association, said:
“There is no evidence worldwide that taxes of this sort reduce obesity, and it is ironic that soft drinks are being singled out for tax when we’ve led the way in reducing sugar intake, down over 17% since 2012.”