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Sugar Should Be Regulated as Toxin, Say Researchers


Put down that cookie! There’s no question that while sugar tastes good, it does little good for our bodies—and in fact, can do much harm, which is why researchers recently suggested that sugar should be regulated sugar as a toxin, reports Yep, you read that right—a toxin—like alcohol or cigarettes!

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Researchers Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt and Claire Brindis, all researchers in health policy, argue in an opinion piece called “The Toxic Truth About Sugar” in the February 2nd issue of the journal Nature that sugar and other sweeteners are so toxic to the human body (causing everything from a rise in blood pressure and cholesterol to risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes and liver failure) that access to them should be strictly regulated, especially for children. Regulations could range from taxing all food and drinks containing added sugar (not natural sugar found in fruits) to prohibiting sales in or near schools and placing age restrictions on purchases.

Plus: The Shocking Anti-Obesity Campaign That Has Everyone Talking

Calling sugar just “empty calories,” is incorrect, write the researchers. “There is nothing empty about these calories. A growing body of scientific evidence is showing that fructose can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic diseases. A little is not a problem, but a lot kills—slowly.”

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The U.S. population is already more than two-thirds overweight and about 75 percent of U.S. health-are dollars are spent on diet-related diseases, Dr. Lustig explains. The risk of liver failure, obesity, heart disease and diabetes are rising rapidly, and it seems drastic measures needs to take place in order for change.

Plus: Guide to Childhood Obesity

“We’re not talking prohibition,” Dr. Schmidt says in a statement. “We’re not advocating a major imposition of the government into people’s lives. We’re talking about gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient, thereby moving people away from the concentrated dose. What we want is to actually increase people’s choices by making foods that aren’t loaded with sugar comparatively easier and cheaper to get.”

Plus: Sugar & Kids’ Hyperactivity

Do you regulate your child’s sugar intake regularly? During special occasions or holidays? Do you think age restrictions or taxes on candy and soda purchases go too far?