Name: Maryam Jubara Yehya
Sugar is enjoyable and delicious but at the same time do we know the size of this problem that is facing our health, economy and environment? according to a recent study that published in the journal Nature recommended that sugar should be considered as toxic including sucrose and high fructose corn syrup.
In fact, the study also indicated that sugar must be treated similarly to other toxic substances, for example, tobacco and alcohol and that is due to the harmful impact that sugar case to health, economic and society (U.S news, 2012).
The annual consumption of sugar has increased significantly. The world produced more than 110 million tons of sugar, and the amount of consumed sugar is still increasing. In fact, since 2009 the yearly sugar intake has increased approximately twenty tons. Thus, the effects of excessive sugar intake lead to a negative impact on the healthcare system all over the world (Luxton, 2016). Indeed, sugar consumption associated with heart disease and diabetes especially in children (McKay & Mike, 2015). Furthermore, depending to 2013 study which found out that sugar consumption linked to cancer as sugar can trigger the formation of (GIP) gastric inhibitory polypeptide which is a kind of hormone that increases insulin levels, and according to the study insulin elevation has a high connection with cancer formation (Luxton, 2016). However, the sugar connected to several harmful effects (Luxton, 2016). Therefore, consumers should limit their sugar intake because of the negative impacts on health, economic and environment. This essay will begin by demonstrating the effects of sugar on health and following with the negative impacts on economic and the environment.
The first reason that sugar intake should be limited because it’s negative impact on consumer’s health. To begin with, high sugar intake affects heart health. For example, high sugar intake overloads the liver, and the liver turns sugar into fat, and over time this can result in a high accumulation of fat which can cause fatty liver disease and ultimately lead to diabetes which risks consumers for heart disease (Harvard Medical School, 2016). Also, relaying to Dr. Hu study, high sugar intake is associated with a high risk of dying from heart disease. The study conducted over 15 years and the outcomes revealed that individuals who consumed 17 percent to 21 percent of their calories from sugar had a 38% greater risk of dying from heart diseases compared to individuals who consumed 8 percent of their calories from sugar (Harvard Medical School, 2016). Sugar consumption also considered as one of the leading factors to the increasing level of childhood and adult obesity in several countries all over the world. A recent study confirmed the link between high sugar intake specifically sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain. In addition, the study also found that decreasing sugar consumption has led to weight reduction, particularly in overweight children (Lobstein, 2014).
Secondly, consumers should limit their sugar intake because of the negative impacts that sugar has on the economy. Obesity is a critical problem that invaded the world, and it requires intensive strategy to prevent it (McKay & Mike, 2015). According to (Mckinsey, 2012) report, the United Kingdom total economic loss due to obesity is equivalent to £49 billion. The report also indicated that imposing tax on sugary drinks is an effective solution and could be beneficial for the UK economy, and will lead to a cost saving of around £10 billion annually. Also, it showed that the medical costs of treating obesity and its consequences cost about ten percent of the entire healthcare expenditure in the United States. Obesity is also responsible for global economic impact amounts to approximately $2 trillion yearly, almost similar to the global effects of war, smoking, terrorism and armed violence (Mckinsey, 2012) .
In addition to the health and economic impacts, another reason to limit sugar is the negative environmental it does. The world produces more than 145 million tones of sugar in different 120 countries yearly and the sugar production processes produce many environmental effects. For example, high water consumption, natural habits loss, high use of agrochemicals and pesticides that lead to pollution and water, air, and soil destroy (World Wildlife Fund, 2005). Also, researchers in Brazil emphasized in a recent study that for every ton of sugar produced 241 kilograms of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Based on the study, 44% of carbon dioxide emissions are due to residues burning. Accordingly, these facts demonstrate that consuming too much sugar to food product does not only impact consumer’s health but also impact the environment.
In conclusion, sugar linked to several problems, one of these problems is obesity, which continues to increase and prevail globally. So, based on the US News (2012), by 2030, half of the world’s population could be obese or overweight resulting in more health, social, environmental problem, and economic costs. To address this problem, some researchers suggested implying taxes on sugar and restrictions placed on advertisements and promotion of sugar beverages on television and other media platforms this step will a generate significant impacts on sugar reduction and will lead to many advantages for example disease reduction, economic prosper and environmental development (Qi, 2012). Furthermore, current evidence recommends that reducing sugar consumption mainly sugar-sweetened beverages help consumers to keep healthy body weight (U.S news, 2012). If consumers didn’t control their sugar intake, it’s highly possible that consumers will develop serious health problems and the rate of mortality will increase significantly. Thus, other researchers suggest that the government should regulate sugar consumption through imposing taxes. Indeed, implying a tax on sugar products such as soft drinks consumers will decrease their demand for sugar products consequently lead to obesity and other health problems reduction (US news, 2012). On the other hand, some researchers support soda ban and demanding the authorities to create policy across society to use sugar wisely similar to smoking policy. For example, labeling soda bottles to inform people that drinking soda beverages is harmful and cause several problems (Qi, 2012). Another suggestion is to provide sugar alternatives such as trivia and sweet leaf, which are made of stevia herb that contains zero calories and tastes delightful (Lobstein, 2014).
Vijayaraghavan, A. (2011). The Environmental Impact of “Too Much Sugar”. Retrieved from https://www.triplepundit.com/2011/12/environmental-impact-sugar/
Qi, L. (2011). Ask the expert: Sugary drinks and genetic risk for obesity. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2012/11/19/ask-the-expert-sugary-drinks-and-genetic-risk-for-obesity/
McKay, B & Esterl, M. (2015). Study Links Sugar to Conditions That Lead to Diabetes, Heart Disease in Children. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/study-links-sugar-to-conditions-that-lead-to-diabetes-heart-disease-in-children-1445938753
Luxton, E. (2016). What does sugar do to our health?. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/02/is-sugar-really-that-bad-for-you/
Lobstein, T. (2014). Reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to reduce the risk of childhood overweight and obesity. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/elena/bbc/ssbs_childhood_obesity/en/
World Wildlife Fund. (2005). Retrieved from http://wwf.panda.org/?22255/Sugar-and-the-Environment-Encouraging-Better-Management-Practices-in-Sugar-Production-and-Processing
Harvard Medical School, (2017). Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/the-sweet-danger-of-sugar
U.S news, (2012). Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-sugar-be-regulated
Mckinsey Global Institute, (2014). Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/how-the-world-could-better-fight-obesity