Health and a sugar tax

When science, politics and money mix together you get weird things. Like a sugar tax which would save lives. It’s clear that the huge overconsumption of sugar leads to all kinds of health problems, but how on earth do they come to the conclusion that an extra tax would prevent this? Let’s have a look at the study that is supposed to support this.

Of course first of all the researchers assume that if you raise the price of soft drinks people won’t buy them anymore. I have no idea what they base that idea on, but reality doesn’t show this. Many people have absolutely no idea what the price of products is and they don’t even know how much they spend on groceries. So they won’t even notice the increase. Another really interesting thing is the focus on soft drinks. Of course fluid sugar consumption is bad, but have you ever checked nutrition labels on processed foods? There is sugar is almost everything. Many breakfast cereals aimed at children contain up to 40% sugar. Sweetened yoghurt (which is advertised as healthy) often has a similar sugar content. 7325116-3x2-340x227Savory snacks contain remarkably high amounts of sugar. Let’s face it: the food industry has got the people addicted to sugar, so they put it in everything to keep the people come back for more. And the people get sicker and sicker.

It’s interesting that the Cancer Council supports a sugar tax. Sugar feeds cancer and cancer keeps the Cancer Council going and the money flowing. So they have no interest in lowering sugar consumption. They never warn against suger consumption either, but have the Biggest Morning Tea fund raiser, one big sugar festival. But nevertheless they have made a model to show how much good a sugar tax would do. Excuse me if I don’t trust these kind of models. They are usually 99% wishful thinking and fantasy, kept together with 1% facts.

But then it becomes clear what it is about. The 400 million dollars in extra tax can be spent on obesity prevention. Wow. So they obviously assume that in spite of the tax people will keep buying soft drinks. That money will then be spent on telling people that they shouldn’t drink soft drinks. Let’s forget about all the other factors that cause obesity. Focusing on sugar is easier, for then you can make money.

“There would be a 12.6 per cent decrease in consumption” Ms. Martin, what do you base that on? But let’s assume people would indeed reduce their consumption of sugar sweetened soft drinks. What will they drink then? Probably artificially sweetened soft drinks. They contain aspartame, which is a known neurotoxin and causes a variety of health problems. But the researchers don’t mention that, because they haven’t looked into that. And because aspartame cannot get bad publicity, because the food industry doesn’t like that.

“She said the research had shown two-thirds of Australians were in favour of the tax.” Really? I would  like to see that research. It’s a known fact that you can let people say almost anything by asking questions the right way. I doubt 65% of the Australians welcome another tax.

“a small change in body mass index and weight” Let’s assume Ms. Martin has really said this. Then it shows that she has no idea what she is talking about. BMI is a combination of height and weight. BMI and weight is double. It seems that Mr. Martin has no idea what the BMI is. So she won’t know either that this already an outdated way of standardizing people, as it doesn’t allow for differences in body type.

“so particularly young people, and they’re more price sensitive.” Huh? Since when are young people more price sensitive? The younger generation is often spending money like it never stops and it’s not unusual that they already have substantial debts at age 20. Again, not a statement that’s based on facts, but on fantasies. It’s obviously hard to sell an idea that’s so absurd.

ice-bucket-with-drinks-340-x-191-data“The potential to change behaviour in adolescents … who are high consumers” Well, if you want to influence teenagers you are way too late. As long as there are toddlers walking around with bottles of sugared drinks we shouldn’t worry about adolescents. The latter won’t listen anyway, because teenagers have a habit of doing their own things, no matter what adults say. I would assume that’s also a known fact.

Of course a representative of the soft drink industry will say that sugar is not harmful and does not lead to overweight. What else would you expect them to say? And of course you can do a study that proves this. Scientists with a little bit experience can prove anything they want, and also the exact opposite. Everyone with a little big of knowledge knows that the huge sugar consumption is a very bad thing. And everyone who can think for themselves knows that a tax is not going to make any difference. The only way to reduce the sugar consumption is to ban all the products with truckloads of sugar. Or at least the government could mandate huge signs on packages with the sugar percentage of the product. And ban a system that gives a 4 star health rating to products with truckloads of sugar. But there is a problem here. The food industry would not like this. And they have the money and so they have the power to do whatever they want. And what they want is to sell junk food, and loads of it. And as long as the people don’t understand this and refuse to buy this rubbish the obesity and health crisis in Australia won’t change. A tax will only raise money for those who already have plenty.

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