Recent talk of a sugar tax implementation has caused quite a stir. Instead of taking a side and telling you what to believe, this article aims to lay out the facts about sugar so that you can judge for yourself.
People have always been misinformed about sugar’s effect on health. While many have held the concept that too much sugar, or too much of anything, will lead to ill-health, people are just starting to realize why sugar is so harmful in the body.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, sugar raises insulin levels, inhibiting the release of growth hormornes from the body. When growth hormone levels are low, the immune system is suppressed and aging is accelerated. People become more susceptible to sickness and disease, as well as to muscle deterioration and cognitive decline.
A spike in insulin level signals the body to go into a storage mode. When high insulin levels become chronic, rapid weight gain and an introduction to the range of cardiovascular diseases that accompany it are the results. When the body’s insulin level is high, the processing of carbohydrates is slowed. Instead of carbohydrates being quickly processed and used to provide energy for the body, they are converted to fat and stored. When this is going on, the energy level of the body remains low.
According to the New York Academy of Science, excessive sugar consumption makes a person more susceptible to inflammation, a condition that keys off many degenerative diseases.
Eating sugar accelerates wrinkles and signs of aging. Collagens are the most plentiful proteins in the body. In their natural state they are supple and elastic, but when combined with sugar they become dry and brittle, leading to wrinkling and sagging skin. Sugar in the bloodstream naturally attaches itself to these collagen proteins that give us young, taut & healthy-looking skin. When sugar and collagen combine they form a new molecule called advanced glycation end-product (AGE – no acronym pun intended). The more sugar you consume, the more AGE`s you develop. Collagen lll is the most abundant, long lasting and stable protein in the skin. When sugar attaches itself to collagen lll, it is changed to collagen l, which breaks down easily, leaving the skin sagging and dull.
This information about the harmful effects of sugar has given rise to a proposed sugar tax. Such a tax would make it more expensive to buy and consume sugar and processed foods with high sugar content.
Rising obesity related healthcare costs are also a major concern. Every year, obesity related diseases take up a huge portion of US healthcare budgets with at least half of the costs paid for via Medicare and Medicaid programs. For instance, medical costs for excess weight and obesity alone add up to about $147 billion; that is approximately 9.1% of U.S. healthcare expenditure.
A newly released research paper, featured in the New England Journal of Medicine, discussed the merits of a proposed tax on sugary beverages. The study proposed a 1 percent per ounce tax on sugary drinks. Drinks that contain sugar, corn syrup or other caloric sweeteners will be affected by the tax. This would effectively increase the price of a 12-can case from $3.20 to $4.65, a 45 percent increase in price. According to independent analysts, the implementation of such a policy would drastically reduce the consumption of sugary drinks.
Government officials are hopeful that the revenue from a sugar tax will help shoulder some of the burden of healthcare cost. A 1 percent per ounce tax on sugary beverages would yield an estimated tax revenue of about $14.9 billion annually.