Taxing Sugary Beverages could help Reduce Obesity: Study

Published Date : Jul 20, 2015

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition said in a recent report that only a maximum of 5 per cent of daily calories must be derived from added sugar, which amounts to seven level teaspoons. The British Medical Association reveals that poor diet of residents of the United Kingdom is the cause of an estimated 70,000 premature deaths every year. As a result, the association has decided to levy a 20 per cent tax on sugar.

The extra revenue would amount to 37p on every two liter bottle of aerated drink and 13p on every can sold. The British Medical Association suggests that this revenue should instead be used to make vegetables and fruits cheaper.

The average Briton, according to recent numbers, consumes an alarming 238 teaspoons of sugar in a week, which is over one kilo per person. However, on asking the majority of the population regarding the amount of sugar consumed, the answer would be much lower. The main reason for this difference in consumption numbers is that much of the processed diet contains high amounts of hidden sugars and calories.

Aerated drinks and confectioneries are not the only culprits. Sugar content is found in possibly all of the seemingly innocuous foodstuffs such as salad dressings, canned tomatoes, breakfast cereals, peanut butter, pasta, bread, and so on.

A study published in the British Medical Journal indicates that a tax on sugar will prove to be increasingly beneficial. The study estimates that a 20 per cent tax would amount to the reduction in the risk of obesity by 1.3 per cent of the UK population. The maximum effects will be seen in the younger consumers, without any major differences between income groups. The authors of the study say that levying a tax on sugar sweetened beverages is a beneficial measure to address obesity, specifically among the younger generation.