COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.
health

Time to tax sugar to combat health crisis: experts

48 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2012 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

48 Comments
Login to comment

taking away sugar will make life sour...please don't target food for financial deficit created by wrong war policies.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

At least in the US, taxing the poor in the hopes of forcing them into a healthy lifestyle seems like a dubious proposition, especially since full-service supermarkets have mostly been replaced by convenience stores in poor areas, and no healthy alternative exists.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sugar should be identified alongside alcohol and tobacco as a health danger, and governments should tax sweetened drinks and food as part of their efforts to combat it.

So says a commentary, published in the journal Nature as part of a widening debate among doctors and policymakers about food fiscality and health.

Note to obesity specialist Robert Lustig and health policy researchers Laura Schmidt and Claire Brindis:

Do your research, publish your opinions, drink your own coke zero, and be satisfied that you are indeed making proper and correct choices for yourselves, and whomever else chooses to abide by your findings...

But don't you dare assume you have the right to regulate, penalize, and/or restrict others' choices!

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Cutting nearly all products that have sugar/corn sweeteners added to them out of my diet has made a tremendous difference in my health and well-being. The stuff is poison.

1 ( +3 / -3 )

The government again stepping in to "solve" a problem they created.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The real problem is not so much cane sugar but fructose corn syrup which is found in nearly all processed foods and drinks. Soft drinks, soups, sauces, mayonnaise, juices, yoghurts, baked goods etc., In the 50's and 60's, we all used ordinary sugar and it caused no problems.

5 ( +5 / -1 )

Is it a bit ironic that HFCS was devised in Japan?

In any event, sugar, no matter what the source, is just bad --doesn't matter that it's organic, or it comes from beets or cane or maple or agave...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Makes sense to cut down on sugar for one's own health , a lot of the European governments have applied a consumption stealth tax on sugary foods .and now for the bad teeth jokes ........

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Will they tax the dangerous aspartame as well? I bet they don't!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A tax idea made by a diabetic. Here in Japan, the only tax I would like to see increased is that on tobacco.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Time to tax sugar"

No, it's not! I'm already paying 5% tax on my sugar!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I like it! Yes there shud be considerations for a SIN-TAX on junk foods, brilliant idea, too much of this crap is being consumed & costs to health & countries is getting huge, clearly something needs to be done.

When I look back to when I was a kid & the junk I ate compared to today, well no comparison, the crap is pervasive now, consumption is MASSIVE compared to when I was a wee gaffer!

0 ( +2 / -3 )

"Sugar should be identified alongside alcohol and tobacco as a health danger"

Oh, for cryin' out loud, it should not! It's a necessary ingredient in all sorts of delicious foods and drinks, including strawberry shortcake, angelfood cake and coffee!

I consume sugar every day and I'm not overweight and I don't have diabetes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

More government control is not what a free economy needs. Only the rich had sugar during WWII, otherwise rations. People are fat because of bad decisions, and a law will not stop people from going to the donut shops, pizza places and burger joints. The government needs to get out of this regulation business and cut the funding for bad decisions. The readers should go to a sit-down pizza place and watch people order the extra large pizza and A DIET DRINK! Freedom to make good or bad choices.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

it has long been a source of interest for me that the west, with all its low fat/low/salt/low sugar/fat free options should be so overweight compared to Japan that until recently at least was barely selling diet coke.

I think a tax on sugar is a good thing for raising money, but it wont work if the motive is to discourage people frm taking in too much sugar. If that is the motivation, then they need to go after the food companies that VicOsaka rightly lists as putting hidden sugar into all their products - THAT is the real cause of the problem. People make bad choices, yes, but sometimes they dont even know their choices are bad - yoghurt is "supposed" to be healthy!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In the United States, the government is currently considering a soda tax that would raise the price of a can of fizzy drink by around 10-12 cents, bringing in some $14 billion a year of revenue.

That's a lot for a can of soda. Where will the taxes collected be spent on?

The government should be honest... taxing sugar because a lot of people buy soda so it is a good source of revenue for the government. If the government care about people's health than banned soda.

The government will implement taxes where consumption is the highest such as cellphone, soda, tobacco, and alcohol use. Healthy living is use as a justification to pass taxes on products that is consumed by the majority.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I consume sugar every day and I'm not overweight and I don't have diabetes.

It is well-known that regular moderate-to-high sugar intake impacts brain function. I believe readers don't have to look too hard to see solid evidence of that.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I consume sugar every day and I'm not overweight and I don't have diabetes.

One anecdote is hardly a body of evidence§. On the other hand, a body of medical evidence points to sugar being a contributor/agent in some manifestations of those maladies.

§ I'm certain there are drunk drivers who avoid getting into crashes --that does not mean it's a good thing to do.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I guess such a tax is a good idea, but it would have to be applied much more widely to different kinds of substances. Why not a "additional sweetener and fat" tax? As long as there is enough transparency and it should be okay and quite fair. This tax would create a new level of responsibility and freedom for consumers, since it would require transparency about ingredients.

I'd love to pay it for my occasional excesses if that tax money is used to reduce the health care costs that I have to pay due to these reckless guys. After all, these people who are overweight by carelessness and thus incur higher costs for the health care system damage me by making my health insurance more expensive.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Silly government. How will they ever tax this? Anything that contains high fructose corn syrup? Manufacturers will just switch to something else even more harmful.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The end result is that people who can't afford it will be paying 2 dollars for a can of soda. In return, somewhere in their neighborhood with be a grocery store, supported by the extra income, carrying things that nobody will buy. It will get held up a lot anyway. Convenience stores will raise the prices of other things in order to pay for someone to fill out the additional paperwork and submit the money from the taxes to the government. The government will open a branch that enforces the tax programs and fines any violators, and the courthouse will hire an additional judge, paid for through taxes, to process the new cases. Meanwhile, people will be worried, and will seek out sugary drinks and ice cream to make them feel better.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Around 35 million people die each year of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes and a wave of obesity is unfurling from rich countries to developing economies, say three U.S. academics who authored the piece.

Ok so there are many many millions more who it does not kill or impact on, so why tax everyone because of an unfortunte few. If you get sick from too much sugar then you pay the extra taxes then , limit your own intake, why do we all have to subsidise a few.

This PC mentality is becoming to prevelant in the world now and needs to be stopped before we all become PC'd by the few who want to impose their will on us all.

Freedom of choice is being eroded and before long you wont even be able to choose the color of your shirt in the morning, in case your color choice offends someone.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Who cares about sugar! Tax fat people by their BMI number before they enter a food store.

And tax Politicians 10% more per year after they reach the age of 65.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

what is the point in drinking coke, fanta etc? Water filled with sugar and other nasties. What’s wrong with drinking plain water? I’m for the fizzy drink tax.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

A tax on sugar would encourage the use of more artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes. Many of them are more dangerous than sugar. A far greater danger to health in this country is salt, but a tax on either of these will prove to be useless unless it is in the range of hundreds of per cent.

More to the point may be taxing trans-fat as unlike many countries Japan does not seem to have abandoned it. It is not necessary to say that tobacco should be taxed more because we know the government will not do so to please a few farmers and the amukudari in Japan Tobacco.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

JapanGal nailed it. You have the right to be fat, but not to expect me to pay for you.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

What’s wrong with drinking plain water? I’m for the fizzy drink tax.

Ya just never know...

http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/whatsinyourwater/FL/Emerald-Coast-Water-Utility/1170525/

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Bad for our health? I'm hypoglycemic! Sugar is good for my health.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

just tax high fructose corn syrup. it is in everything to punch up flavor, because it is so dirt cheap. forcing companies to cane/beet sugar is better us all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gaijintraveller is completely right, artificial sweeteners are worse. I'd rather drink a normal Coke than a Zero Coke. Instead of using all these bad sweeteners and sugars, the should put palm sugar into everything. Palm sugar is a nutrient-rich, low-glycemic crystalline sweetener that looks, tastes, dissolves and melts almost exactly like sugar, but it's completely natural and unrefined. It's acquired from the flowers growing high on coconut trees, which are opened to collect their liquid flower nectar. This nectar is then air-dried to form a crystalline sugar that's naturally brown in color and naturally rich in a number of key vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including potassium, zinc, iron, and vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6.

It is never refined or bleached like white sugar. So the nutrients it was made with are still there. That's rare for sweeteners, most of which are highly refined

0 ( +0 / -0 )

what i think this(tax) is baka! i haven't drank those soft drinks for ages and i watch what i eat. if i can do it then ppl can too. they're just lazy -_-# pay more taxes for those who become irresponsibly fat.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Americans pay 600% 0f world price for sugar which does not lower their consumption.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tax chubbies and bonbon eaters.

0 ( +3 / -2 )

How about instead of taxing sugar, make healthier foods more available as well as getting everyone educated.

0 ( +2 / -1 )

Problem: Gov need money

Solution: Gov taxes sugar.

The end LOL

UNLESS.....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Time to tax sugar to combat health crisis: experts

Are these guys really experts? Yeah, tax the common man and let the rich enjoy tax excemptions producing these sugar rich junks. This makes me wanna be a bloody filthy rich even more.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Next, they should consider taxing harsh language and bad manners.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Next, they should consider taxing harsh language and bad manners.

I remember we had that back in high school, where we were made to cough up a certain amount everytime we would spew out certain unacceptable words or phrases, and this would go to the class fund (which will be used for class parties ... so it's not that bad really).

Back to the topic: I wish they won't put a tax hike on all products with sugar, but rather, set up a certain limit. Products such as candies and softdrinks to be taxed, but not on products with just some sugar like bottled tea or juices.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I remember we had that back in high school

I think it is a wonderful idea for high school, as is this. I'm not so sure that adults should not be made to make decisions about what they eat for themselves.

How about a tax break for those that eat healthier?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tax fat people by their BMI number

It doesn't work for really muscular people or athletes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

definitely pro-tax on sugar. It is much deadlier than tobacco and any other carcinogens out there. And I dont want to pay health care for those who OD on sugar and get your predictable diseases.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And how about a tax rebate for those that do exercise regularly and are members of a gym?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I think such a tax is worth considering. But, I would say leave sucrose (table sugar) out of it, and just tax high-fructose corn syrup and the other such sugars that contribute significantly to the obesity/heart disease/diabetes epidemic.

Incidences of these health issues were not nearly as prevalent back in the days when soft drinks and other junk foods were made of "real" sugar cane sugar. It would certainly be nice to see more foods that use plain old 'sugar' and fewer that use exponentially more harmful, highly-processed fructose and/or glucose.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Taxing food is a very bad idea. Teaching to eat and live healthy would be a good idea. Bad food habits started once the multi generation family unit was broken up and the nucleus family came to life which was what the system wanted in order to help the big corporations. Reforme the system and people will start to be healthier again. Suicide rates may even drop and as well as the number of depressions and abuses. Food is the cause for the social troubles. The system generates those troubles and the system is need of reforms.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tax junk food. Also the fuel surcharge on airlines should be based on Body Mass Index to be fair.

I am small and I do not think it is right that I have to pay for air drag due to all the huge fat people on a plane. Planes would do much better on mileage if people were much thinner.

Tax junk food with fake sugar and salt.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is it me or do governments always say the only way to fix anything, from global warming to unsafe driving to obesity, is to give the government more money? I mean another huge tax code for sugar? This is almost USSR crap here. ooh yeah loud noises are bad, tax people!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I say no tax on sugar, it is just an excuse to raise taxes on the poor, people who are fat, are going to be fat anyway. Taxing sugar will not stop them from getting fat, it will only oppress the poor who are already overburden with taxes. They should find another way to solve the fat problem, taxing sugar is not the right solution

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I say yes.... tax sugar! Maybe I'll lose a few pounds.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites