Should Sugar Be Banned?

February 15, 2012

That’s the argument of Dr. Lustig, a bit of a sugar eccentric who pops up on the internet every few years with attention grabbing flare.

His latest opinion piece, printed in Nature, suggests that sugar is so toxic it should be regulated outright. He’s not entirely wrong—Americans in particular consume far too much sugar, causing obesity, inflammation, diabetes, and untold other health problems (sugar often takes the place of nutrients). Dr. Lustig argues that sugar is addictive, and we need saving from ourselves and the damage that too much sugar causes.


Dr.Robert Lustig talks to CNN about toxicity of… by BeyondPixBroadcast

But will regulation solve the problems caused be “the American diet”? Probably not—regulating tobacco, alcohol, and other substances doesn’t stop their abuse. And then there’s the fact that once we start regulating food, it’s a slippery slope. Currently, if you buy low-fat or fat free foods, you’re typically eating more sugar—if sugar is banned, will fat be added to improve taste to many foods? Salt? Or, potentially worse, artificial sweetener, which the body can’t even process?

The key to everything in life is moderation, whether we’re talking about sugar, salt, or fat. While added sugar does pose a health risk, it’s a risk that primarily affects people eating processed foods and fare from low end restaurants—a group who also tends toward being under educated and economically disadvantaged, though not absolutely. There are always those who choose to have unhealthy lifestyles, people who advocates of regulation want to save from themselves.

A first, less extreme step, should probably be educating people about reading nutrition labels, specifically looking for hidden sugar and other additives. Another step would be to encourage and build upon the current movement toward natural, clean eating, and how it can be cheaper (especially per nutrient), as well as delicious, once your taste buds adjust.

Do you think added sugar should be banned or regulated? Share below!

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