March 8, 2016

Sugar Tax

Economy

The UK is one of the countries in the world with the highest obesity rate and the British Government is now considering the introduction of a tax on fizzy drinks and other sugary products, aimed at increasing their price to decrease their abuse. MPs are currently discussing a new strategy – similar to one that was abandoned only one year ago – following the success story of Mexico, the country with the most severe obesity rate in the world, which introduced a tax on sugary drinks in 2014 hoping to tackle the problem.

A confirmation of the potential effectiveness of such tax comes from a research carried out by the University of North Carolina and published on the British Medical Journal, which has monitored the effects of this implementation. What has emerged is that the tax has led to a 12% drop in consumption, with a 4% sale increase of untaxed drinks, mainly bottled water – with each Mexican consuming 4 l less sugary drinks and 13 l more water.

These economic measures, which directly affect consumers, can indeed lead to positive results. I reckon, however, that people need first of all more correct education about nutrition, which should start from our very own kitchens, where our kids eat every day.

Moreover, I have to admit that some experiments that have been carried out recently have left me confused and perplexed. I’m thinking about Australian director Damon Gameau, who after eating nothing but healthy sugar-free food for two months, managed to gain 8 kg in weight and 10 cm on his waistline, The main reason? Misleading food labels: Gameau in fact by eating what was marketed as ‘healthy food’ was actually consuming more than 40 g of sugar a day.

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