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Stanford University School of Medicine

UCSF researchers call for sugar to be regulated like alcohol and tobacco

In a new paper in Nature, UC San Francisco researchers argue that sugar, with its "potential for abuse, coupled with its toxicity and pervasiveness in the Western diet," is helping contribute to 35 million deaths annually worldwide from non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The authors, as you'll hear in the video above, believe that sugar consumption in America should be considered a public health issue, and that sugar should be controlled like alcohol and tobacco products.

Schmidt further explains the researchers' position in a release:

We're not talking prohibition. We're not advocating a major imposition of the government into people's lives. We're talking about gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient, thereby moving people away from the concentrated dose. What we want is to actually increase people's choices by making foods that aren't loaded with sugar comparatively easier and cheaper to get.

This work follows a study recently published in Health Affairs showing that adding a penny-per-ounce tax onto sweetened beverages purchases would prevent nearly 100,000 cases of heart disease, 8,000 strokes and 26,000 deaths over the next decade.

Previously: Denmark's "fat tax" aims at life expectancy - not just waistlines, Poll finds majority of Californians' support policies to promote healthy eating, fitness among children and Food stamps and sodas: Stanford pediatrician weighs in

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