MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many of us like to indulge our sweet tooth. But, a group of experts now say sugar is just as bad for you as alcohol or tobacco. And they now want it regulated the same way.
We all know too many sweets pack on the pounds but they’re often too hard to resist.
A commentary in the latest issue of “Nature” says sugar is responsible for the high rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. And should be regulated.
“Sugar is not empty calories. Sugar is way worse than empty calories,” said Dr. Robert Lustig, of the University of California. “Because of the way sugar is metabolized in the liver, the liver will turn sugar into fat-causing insulin resistance, all of the diseases of metabolic syndrome.”
The authors say it’s time to put restrictions on sugar, similar to the ones on tobacco and alcohol.
“What if we had an age limit to purchase soda for instance? Carding kids for Coke. I think it’s a great idea,” Lustig said.
Experts say the average American consumes 300-500 calories from added sugars a day. And some of it is in foods you may not realize, like breads, soups and salad dressings.
Nutritionists say limiting sugar is a good idea.
“I think regulation will be tough but I think that there are small steps we can take,” said Keri Glassman, of Nutritiouslife.
But people like Pat Dixon disagrees.
“You don’t have a car accident because you’ve had too many popsicles. You don’t wake up with the wrong people because you had chocolate cake for dessert. I mean, the government should stay out of the sugar business,” she said.
The researchers know it will take time to change people’s attitudes but with obesity levels where they are now, they say tackling sugar is the only way to solve the problem.
The amount of sugar people consume worldwide has tripled over the past 50 years.
Researchers say it’s due to the addition of high fructose corn syrup.
It’s tasty and cheap to add to many foods and drinks.