Added sugars are as much a threat to public health as alcohol and tobacco, and should be regulated in a similar fashion, some researchers suggest.
That includes levying taxes on sugary foods and even enforcing age limits for buying sodas, Robert Lustig, MD, of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues wrote in a comment in Nature.
“For both alcohol and tobacco, there is robust evidence that gentle ‘supply side’ control strategies which stop short of all-out prohibition — taxation, distribution controls, age limits — lower both the consumption of the product and the accompanying health harms,” they wrote.
Lustig and colleagues called sugar “toxic,” particularly in excessive amounts, noting that it poses dangers similar to those of alcohol. Fructose, specifically, can harm the liver, they wrote, and overconsumption has been linked with all the diseases involved with metabolic syndrome: hypertension, high triglycerides, insulin resistance, and diabetes.