Large fizzy drinks banned in New York, will the UK follow suit?

Anyone in their right mind knows that it’s sugar that’s driving diabetes and other diseases, not a deficiency of new drugs. The major of New York, Michael Bloomberg, took the bold step of banning large size fizzy drinks. Who needs them? He ran ads saying these ‘double gulp’ portions are 26 teaspoons of sugar! He was one of the first to talk about a tax on sugared drinks. Will Boris, the Mayor of London follow suit?

The sugar industry are fighting back hard against the implementation of sugar taxes in the US and mutterings of doing the same in the UK. As Professor Nestle says, first they attack the science.

The UK’s Sugar Bureau has been renamed Sugar Nutrition UK. It’s website says: “The old idea that sugar causes diabetes was dismissed as long ago as 1989 by the UK Government’s COMA Committee…despite diabetes being a condition of blood glucose regulation, specific restriction of sugars is not necessary.” Then, she says, they attack the advocates. Then they set up grassroot campaigns talking about ‘nanny states’ and ‘freedom of choice’ to create the impression that people should be free to choose to kill themselves with too many calories. As more states in the US take up the challenge to tax sugary drinks Pepsi alone spent 29 million dollars in one year lobbying against a sugar tax. If any food with more than 10% of calories as sugar was taxed, just like alcohol and cigarettes, and a warning put on the label, that would be another source of revenue to fuel a health revolution.

As a starter you could give everyone free vitamin C instead of statins! Just think how many less sick days and increased productivity that would deliver, on top of lowering blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. A mere 500mg a day lowers high blood pressure by 5 points.[i] The medical profession should be politically active against high sugar, high fat diets, not just sitting back and dishing out drugs. The dietetic profession needs to stop being soft on sugar and accepting sponsorship from the food industry. Why is the UK and other governments so chicken on health policy? With a million employees in the National Health Service no politician wants to touch this sacred, and very expensive cow.

What would it take to turn the corner and turn this fastest growing failing national disease service, into a real beacon of light, a real national health service, with prevention at the core? We need to fight back against the industries that are making us fat and keeping us sick. [i] Juraschek SP et al.,’ Effects of vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
’ Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 May;95(5):1079-88.