Monday, 18 January 2016

A Sugar Tax for the UK?

An article in the Guardian today reveals plans for a new sugar tax to be introduced in NHS facilities. At long last recognition of the serious role sugar plays in health has been recognised!

Although the human body requires a certain amount of sugar primarily for the creation of energy, problems can arise if there is too much sugar entering the system at any one time. Tiredness, memory and cognition problems, dizziness and mid afternoon slumps are symptoms often associated with the wrong level of sugar - and in time dental caries, obesity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and diabetes. Imbalanced blood sugar may play a significant role in most chronic diseases, including humanity's 2 biggest killers: heart disease and cancer (Johnson, 2016).

The human body gets sugars from complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides) which, through the action of salivary amylase and pancreatic secretions, are broken down into simple sugars called monosaccharides. If there is too much sugar entering the body at any time the pancreas struggles to produce enough insulin to absorb the monosaccharides. Eating wholegrains and whole fruit and vegetables provides sufficient sugar for our needs - so refined carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta, white rice, et al) as well as table sugar and the myriad products it is added to create a major health risk and a timebomb for a health service already on its knees.

Not before time a sugar tax is a great idea but it just doesn't go far enough - we need to ask questions about fried foods and other processed foods and what they are doing to our health as well as the combined and mounting costs it is creating for the NHS!

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