(CBS) Should the government regulate sugar, just like it regulates alcohol and tobacco?
A new commentary published online in the Feb. 1 issue of Nature says sugar is just as "toxic" for people as the other two, so the government should step in to curb its consumption.
The United Nations announced in September that chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes contribute to 35 million deaths worldwide each year, according to the commentary. The U.N. pegged tobacco, alcohol, and diet as big risk factors that contributed to this death rate.
Two of those are regulated by governments, "leaving one of the primary culprits behind this worldwide health crisis unchecked," the authors, Robert H. Lustig, Laura A. Schmidt and Claire D. Brindis, argued.
They said that over the past 50 years, sugar consumption has tripled worldwide. That's also helped contribute to the obesity epidemic - so much so that there are 30 percent more obese people in this world than there are malnourished people.
But how does sugar compare to alcohol?
Sugar meets the same criteria for regulation as alcohol, the authors wrote, because it's unavoidable, there's potential for abuse, it's toxic, and it negatively impacts society. They write that sugar is added to so many processed foods that it's everywhere, and people eat up to 500 calories per day in added sugar alone. Sugar acts on the same areas of the brain as alcohol and tobacco to encourage subsequent intake, they wrote, and it's toxic because research shows that sugar increases disease risk from factors other than added calories, such as when it disrupts metabolism.
See, people in the media want to make fun of Ron Paul like he's some kind of nut for wanting to legalize drugs, but if they accept the opposite premise, that government should protect us from ourselves and regulate and control what we put into our own bodies for our own good, then they have accepted the premise behind the truly nutty and horrific proposal you have just read in the CBS News excerpt above. You tell me who's nuts.
There's a head of a crime syndicate in Haiti or some other gulf nation that grows a lot of sugar stroking his mustache right now, reading this CBS News article, and hollering to his friends playing poker in the next room: "Get ready, amigos! The gettin's about to get good!" Then he thinks to himself, "Oh man, I better text my friend in the Justice Department to get some assault rifles ready to sell us when the illegal sugar trade starts... I wonder if Holder and I are still friends on Facebook."
Oh yeah, and one parting shot: I just wanted to point out that cannabis is far less harmful to human beings (we've got scientific proof now) than those three substances listed above, and yet it's completely illegal under U.S. Federal law. Instead of regulating sugar like alcohol and tobacco, what do you say we regulate marijuana like alcohol and tobacco?
Editor in Chief, THL
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