What if I told you that researchers have discovered a new drug? This drug is highly addictive and even deadly, not only has it lead to death but to so many diseases. However, this white powder isn't off limits to people, and no one gets put in jail if they are caught with it. In fact, this stuff is everywhere and in everything. Our government encourages us to consume it and even gives it to kids.
What's this drug called? Sugar.
People's sugar consumption has been on the rise, despite the many proven health problems it can cause. A leading cause of the rise in sugar consumption are sugary sweetened beverages. A tax on sugary sweetened beverages would be a great benefit to our society, as it would help prevent a plethora of health problems and would take away the dominating influence of big corporations.
The consumption of sugar leads to a massive rise in health problems such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. There are two types of sugars in our daily diets. The first are naturally occurring sugars, that come from fruits and milk. If someone ever tells you that we need sugars in our diet, this is the sugar they are referring to. The other kind is added sugars, this is the sugar we are told to avoid, coming from our soda, candy, juices, and the list goes on. Added sugars are the sugars that lead to all kinds of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and even cancer.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to about 25 grams per day for women and 37.5 grams per day for men. If you're thinking to yourself that this seems doable, think again. One can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar in it alone, and a Minute Maid Lemonade has 45 grams of sugar. Think about it, these drinks are what we use to wash down our food, and then think about what you're eating there is most likely added sugar in that too. It's so easy to eat so much more sugar than our body needs if we aren't careful.
Big corporations like Coca-Cola and Pepsi flourish in our society today. They offer endorsements to Olympians and athletes and artists, and this is something that always makes me think twice. There is no way a top performing athlete like Olympian figure skater Michelle Kwan, includes the sugar-packed Coca-Cola in her diet. These companies will do anything to sell a few more cans of their soda, and frankly, it's not hard for them to do so with all the sugar in their drinks, and we already know how addictive sugar can be. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine report 96 national health organizations accepted money from Coca-Cola, PepsiCo or both companies"?
Some of these organizations include the American Diabetes Association, the National Institutes of Health, the American Red Cross, and many more. Now how does that make sense? These organizations are the ones we trust and go to in order to learn more information, and the latest updates when it comes to our health and nutrition. But now they are getting paid off to support the very drinks that they should be warning people against.
People think that this sugar tax would do nothing to face the monstrous problem that is obesity. They think the tax cannot possibly solve the problem, as sugar is in so much of the foods and pastries we eat, and that a sedentary lifestyle is also a major factor in causing obesity. While these facts are all true, people don't understand how a sugar tax would be the first step in the right direction. Sugary beverages are the first target in a very large problem, because of their empty nutritional value and their rapid increase in consumption.
The thing that most people don't realize is that this is not a matter of people making poor eating choices, it's a problem of having something so bad for us so readily available. In the 1960s, nearly 1 out of every 2 adults smoked, but after tobacco taxation the number has dramatically dropped to less than 1 in 5 today. A sugar tax would bring about the same type of awareness to a bad habit and has the potential to have the same effects the tobacco tax did.