This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Many experts support the idea of a tax on sugar, but should healthier foods then be subsidised at the same time?


paul sacher mend • chief research and development officer


“I


think this is an interesting concept, but the practicalities are difficult.


From a nutritionist’s point of view, I don’t think it’s right to demonise just one type of nutrient. Fat, for example, has twice the calories of sugar. I think there could be some


unintended negative consequences of a sugar tax. For example, making


sweets and chocolate more expensive may just drive up the consumption of crisps. Taxing sugar-sweetened drinks might switch people to fruit juice, as they think this is a healthy choice, but actually fruit juices are very sugary too. We have overweight children coming to our programmes whose parents assume it’s fine to let them drink a litre of fruit juice a day. I do, however, think there’s an argument to make less healthy


products more expensive and use the money to cut the cost of healthy products, to make it cheaper to eat well. Our experience at MEND shows that more education


is desperately needed. This is where the health and fitness industry can help: our new Momenta programme is aimed at giving fitness professionals the tools to teach people about nutrition and also to change their behaviour.


” september 2012 © cybertrek 2012


prof terence wilkin derriford hospital • professor of endocrinology and metabolism


“T


ax sugar, and we might eat less. Evidence points to the food


industry so manipulating calorie density and portion size that a defenceless population has succumbed by consuming too many calories. Taxation may be the only way out, as calorie-dense foods are inappropriately cheap for many to afford a ‘healthy’ choice.


Ten years ago, when type 2 diabetes was first reported


in obese UK children, the knee-jerk reaction was to blame physical inactivity, not processed foods and portion size. In the absence of any real evidence, all that intuitively seemed necessary were more playing fields, more PE time and affordable leisure centres. Evidence, however, is crucial because intuition can be wrong. Research studies consistently show obesity in contemporary children starts before school age, so playing fields and computer games are unlikely to be the cause. Crucially, physical activity interventions have been shown


time and again not to result in weight loss, as children seem to compensate with less activity at other times. If over-nutrition, not under-activity, is the cause of childhood obesity, then a tax on sugar might be a good idea.


” Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 31


LIZA1979/ SHUTTERSTOCK.COM


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