veryone knows that eating too much sugar is bad for you. But researchers are now going much farther, arguing in the latest issue of the journal Nature that the sweet stuff is downright toxic, just like alcohol and tobacco. People who devour a lot of junk food do face an elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. The solution? Researchers suggest going after sugar the way we do alcohol and tobacco — with laws to reduce sales in schools and low-income neighborhoods, and even an "age limit (such as 17) for the purchase of drinks with added sugar." Do we really need a drinking age for soda?
What a preposterous idea: Here we go again, says Thomas Lifson at The American Thinker. The champions of the nanny state have now decided that we're all "too stupid" to make our own choices about what to eat, so they're going to make our decisions for us. In a democratic society, where people are "sovereign over their own lives," that sort of freedom-trampling government interference is just not acceptable. Maybe we should "start to think about regulating hubris, instead of sugar."
"Here it comes: sugar as a regulated substance"
Well, we have to try something: If there's one main culprit behind the current obesity epidemic, it's sugar, says Barbara Kay at Canada's National Post. "It's time to acknowledge that fact and act on it." We can't treat it exactly like tobacco — setting a soda-drinking age is excessive. But we should mount aggressive "educational campaigns to wean households" off sugar. And imposing taxes is fair "because we all pay for the health care of people" who eat too much sugary poison.
"Evil is among us. And it’s called sugar"
It's a worthy idea, but unworkable: Other countries have tried to shoo people away from sugary sodas with taxes, and 20 U.S. cities and states are considering it, says Bonnie Rochman at TIME. But a 2010 study suggested such policies don't bring "significant weight loss" because people find ways to get their fix. Why? "Sugar, for so many people, is love." And as long as a warm chocolate chip cookie provides comfort and happiness a stalk of celery can't provide, "regulating sugar will prove particularly tricky."
"Should sugar be regulated like alcohol and tobacco?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- How Ukraine can fend off the Russians, in 7 simple steps
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
- These stunning travel photos remind us that we're all just amateurs with iPhones
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How to be more satisfied with your life, according to science
- Israel and Russia are getting along. Have the neocons noticed?
Subscribe to the Week