Let’s Talk: Should there be a tax on sugar to fight obesity?

Back when you were growing up there was a great deal of value placed on home-cooked meals and preservative free

Back when you were growing up there was a great deal of value placed on home-cooked meals and preservative free products. Oh how times have changed!

The World Health Organisation has urged governments from around the globe to take immediate action in order to reduce consumption, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.

It says that governments should use tax policy to increase the price of sugary drinks, like soft drinks, sports drinks and even 100 per cent fruit juices.

Its report, Fiscal policies for Diet and Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases, highlights that an increase of 20 per cent on the retail price of such products would see a reduction in consumption.

What this means is that, as consumers, if you walk away from such products you are lowering your intake of ‘free sugars’ and calories as a whole. It could lead to improved nutrition, fewer people falling into categories of ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’, and less tooth decay and Type 2 diabetes.

“Consumption of free sugars, including products like sugary drinks, is a major factor in the global increase of people suffering from obesity and diabetes,” Dr Douglas Bettcher, director of WHO’s Prevention of NCDs department, says.

“If the governments tax products like sugary drinks, they can reduce suffering and save lives.”

Dr Bettcher says further positive outcomes would be felt in the health care sector with costs cut and revenues increased to “invest in health services”.

The report cites “strong evidence” that subsidies to reduce prices for fresh fruits and vegetables can help improve diets.

Across the world obesity has more than doubled between 1980 and 2014, with around 11 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women classified as ‘obese’. The equates to more than 500 million people.

“Nutritionally, people don’t need any sugar in their diet,” Dr Francesco Branca, WHO’s Nutrition for Health and Development director, says.

The WHO recommendation is for people to consume fewer than 10 per cent of ‘free sugars’ as part of their overall energy needs. “Reduce it to less than 5 per cent for additional health benefits,” Dr Branca says.

What does that look like exactly? Less than a 250mL can of soft drink each day.

Do we need a tax on sugars to address the obesity issues faced today? How many soft drinks, fruit drinks, mixes, cordials, energy drinks, sports drinks, flavoured milks or breakfast drinks do you have?

  1. Jennifer  

    Definitely not!
    That’s just another sneaky tax to raise revenue for the Govt.

    It’d be better to start educating people from the get-go, at School, in Grade 1, if sugar’s such a bad thing.
    Don’t forget to also talk about fast food, fatty food, & better ways of cooking food, by grilling, & steaming etc.

    I think the various food purchaseable today is more the problem than sugar, which has been around for a long time.
    Up until the ’70’s, when ff outlets arrived, kids weren’t obese. They also played ‘outside’, instead of being glued to tv or computer screens.

  2. marry  

    In July of 2015. it was discovered that I got type 2 diabetes, By the end of the July month. I was given a prescription for the Metformin, I stated with the ADA diet and followed it completely for several weeks but was unable to get my blood sugar below 140, Without results to how for my hard work. I really panicked and called my doctor. His response?? Deal with it yourself, I started to feel that something wasn’t right and do my own research, Then I found Lisa’s great blog (google ” HOW I FREED MYSELF FROM THE DIABETES ” ) .. I read it from cover to cover and I started with the diet and by the next morning. my blood sugar was 100, Since then. I get a fasting reading between the mid 70s and 80s, My doctor was very surprised at the results that. the next week. he took me off the Metformin drug, I lost 30 pounds in my first month and lost more than 6 inches off my waist and I’m able to work out twice a day while still having lots of energy. The truth is that we can get off the drugs and help myself by trying natural methods..

    • Janis  

      The highest BSL I’ve recorded was 23.
      I’m now off medication, with a reading of 5.2.
      I’ve lost 45kgs in three years’.
      I walk constantly, & am now swimming, as weather hotter.
      I eat food that’s grilled, or steamed. I now eat much salad.
      In Winter, I ‘live’ off my home-made Soups, of various types’, which I love.

  3. Brian Lee  

    Of course not! We live in too much of a granny state as it is, without adding another nail to the coffin of independent thinking. If people want to eat sugar and be fat – let them, it’s their business and no one else’s. The next thing we’ll know if this sort of thinking is allowed to carry on, will be the government telling us how many times a day/week/month we should change our underpants, which is no more silly that the proposed sugar tax!

  4. Pamela  

    If fat/obese people find they can’t afford to eat sugary foods/drinks because of a tax they will soon find a substitute to satisfy their cravings that they are already indulging!

    So then another tax on the substitute, ad infinitum!

    Why should all suffer because of some people’s poor choices!

  5. mary sullivan  

    Why not Tax the companies that adding so much sugar to their goods. All that sugar is not necessary.

  6. Lenore  

    Not all obese people eat unhealthy sugar loaded food. Think about those with medical related issues such as hypothyroidism, or with limited mobility that make exercising harder to maintain. Support Australian farmers and allow the public to buy the food that the supermarkets don’t want….fresh, healthy & no extra added sugar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *