A lot of people are up in arms about the new sugar tax that’s being introduced here in the UK. When the chancellor announced it in his budget there were cries of “nanny state” and “rip off” but I’m personally in favour of it (I await your hate mail).
For one thing it currently only applies to drinks. You’d think the government was banning sugar altogether with the fuss being made. Don’t worry your Cadbury addiction can continue unaffected.
The levy is aimed at sugary drinks, with pure fruit juices and milk based drinks being exempt. There will be two bands, one for drinks with a sugar content of above 5g per 100ml and a second, higher band for those exceeding 8g per 100ml.
So why drinks and not sweets? Drinks aren’t generally considered a treat so people are drinking multiple cans a day. This is worrying when you realise that the average can of cola contains 7 spoonfuls of sugar. They have also been classified as “empty calories” as they contain no nutritional benefit.
I welcome this tax as I think it will have two key benefits. Firstly, it will make the consumer take notice of how much sugar they’re ingesting and the price increase may send them in a different direction. And secondly, it will likely force drinks companies to lower the hidden sugars in their products. A bit like the impact the documentary Supersize Me had on McDonalds.
Also, nobody is going to really suffer as a result of this price hike (other than the drinks manufacturers). You won’t die if you have to lower the amount of sugary drinks you consume. It’s not like they’re taxing water. Plus the money raised (an estimated £520 million) will be spent funding sport in primary schools. How can we argue with that?
We all know sugar is very very bad for us but sometimes we (by which I mean me) like to stick our heads in the sand and pretend it isn’t that bad really. But it is. It really, really is.
- Sugar contains no essential nutrients. Yes, you get a quick burst of energy but then you crash. If you don’t burn it off it stores as fat.
- Sugar causes tooth decay and provides easily digestible energy for the bad bacteria in your mouth.
- Large amounts of fructose from added sugars get turned into fat in the liver which can lead to liver disease.
- If you eat a high sugar diet you’re much more likely to get cancer.
- Having too much glucose in your blood stream can screw up your insulin levels. This can lead to all sorts of complications including blindness and type 2 diabetes.
- Sugar destroys collagen making your skin age and wrinkle.
I could go on and on but I won’t because it only gets more depressing. The more I read the more I realise that things like refined sugars and flours really are terrible for us. We took something natural and broke it down into something else, then we ingest masses of the stuff and wonder why we’re sick.
For me this sugar tax is a no brainer. Let’s try to make healthier choices. Frankly, if they added a sugar tax onto chocolate it would really help me out dietwise.