Experts say sugar is the new tobacco

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

“Added sugar has no nutritional value and the body doesn’t need any added sugar,” says cardiologist Aseem Malhotra from the Croydon University Hospital in London.

The food industry spends lots of money advertising super sugary foods to kids and adults alike, and according to experts around the globe, it’s time to stop. In fact, a new campaign called Action on Sugar is focusing its efforts to reduce sugar consumption.

“Sugar is the new tobacco,” says Simon Capewell, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Liverpool. “Everywhere, sugary drinks and junk foods are now pressed on unsuspecting parents and children by a cynical industry focused on profit not health.” The individuals involved in this global campaign hope to make the public more aware of the relationship between high sugar intake, obesity, dental diseases, and diabetes, especially for young children.

Members of the campaign calculate that if the food industry reduced added sugar anywhere between 20-30% over the next 5 years, the average person would consume around 100 less calories per day. “Provided the sugar reductions are done slowly, people won’t notice,” said Professor Graham MacGregor, who headed a similar movement called Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH).

In the 1990s, CASH successfully reduced added salt by as much as 40% in supermarket products, and by an average of 15% for individuals. If Action on Sugar can do the same, the campaign will probably be considered a success. “The obesity epidemic is already generating a huge burden of disease and death,” said Capewell. “The public deserves effective action now.”

Featured image courtesy of Uwe Hermann on Wikipedia. Image of sugar-filled spoon courtesy of Carro Wallis on Flickr.