“Let me state the obvious: there is no nutritional need for foods with added sugar.”
New York Times anti-food columnist Mark Bittman writes:
… Added sugar is not the only dangerous food. But unlike animal products, for example, which we also overconsume, it has no benefits. Yet we down it at the rate of 150 pounds per person per year, and while scientists argue whether it is addictive in humans (it meets the criteria for addiction in animals), it is most certainly habit-forming. Lustig and his co-authors suggest that actions like imposingtaxes on added sugar or establishing a minimum age for purchase of sodas (they mention 17 in their paper) would reduce consumption.
The question “Is this necessary?” is unavoidable. But as obesityand its consequences ravage our health care system, we struggle not only with our own diets but also with preventing our children from falling into the same traps. Last year a brigade of parents stood watch outside a corner store in North Philadelphia in an attempt to prevent their kids from buying junk food.
They’ve been called foot soldiers, but you might call them vigilantes. Vigilantism occurs when people believe the government isn’t doing its job. We need the government on our side. It must acknowledge the dangers caused by the most unhealthy aspects of our diet and figure out how to help us cope with them, because this is the biggest public health challenge facing the developed world.