Problems with the Sugar Tax

A sugar tax has been announced in the UK, and Jamie Oliver is urging the Australian government to implement one as well.

The main argument given for a sugar tax is that sugar makes you fat. In my opinion, the problem with taxing sugar is that businesses can simply replace the sugar with something else that can cause weight gain. For example, rather than putting sugar in its soft drink, Coca Cola might mix in butter and coconut oil instead (similar to Bulletproof coffee) and overall calories may increase as a result. Wouldn’t it be better to tax calories directly if weight loss is the goal?

But sugar doesn’t fill you up?

There is an argument that refined sugar does not satisfy but other high-calorie food does. However, if we tax sugar because it doesn’t satisfy then we’d need to tax all food that is not satiating, and that beings up a whole issue of how to quantity satiation. It is also a major problem for people trying to gain weight such as bodybuilders who rely on high calorie food that don’t satiate in order to gain weight. There are also many diabetics who must carry sound sugary drinks to give them energy when they are low on sugar (hypoglycemic).


But doesn’t sugar cause inflammation in the body?

A lot of food other than sugar cause inflammation in the body. For example, food that is high in protein and fat naturally contain high levels of glycotoxins (AGEs and ALEs), which cause inflammation, so if we are to tax based on inflammation we’d need to tax numerous other food products and perhaps even implement a “glycotoxin tax.” The bottom line is that consumers need to take responsibility and be aware themselves of what is healthy.

Animal-derived foods that are high in fat and protein are generally AGE-rich and prone to new AGE formation during cooking. In contrast, carbohydrate-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk contain relatively few AGEs, even after cooking….Advanced glycation end products (AGEs), also known as glycotoxins, are a diverse group of highly oxidant compounds with pathogenic significance in diabetes and in several other chronic diseases. AGEs are created through a nonenzymatic reaction between reducing sugars and free amino groups of proteins, lipids, or nucleic acids. This reaction is also known as the Maillard or browning reaction. The formation of AGEs is a part of normal metabolism, but if excessively high levels of AGEs are reached in tissues and the circulation they can become pathogenic. The pathologic effects of AGEs are related to their ability to promote oxidative stress and inflammation by binding with cell surface receptors or cross-linking with body proteins, altering their structure and function.

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