I presume the recent announcement of a sugary soft drink tax of 30% in Ireland’s 2018 Budget is an attempt to tackle the obesity and diabetes crisis facing our country, and that our government took the lead on this from other nations.
My thoughts on this are that it is absolutely ridiculous to single out sugary soft drinks for a number of reasons.
Firstly, every time a person runs the gauntlet of a sales checkout they have to pass about a thousand sugary treats, which all contain ridiculous amounts of sugar, just inspect the ingredients of a packet of jellies for example.
Secondly, diabetics often rely on sugary soft drinks to treat a hypo, it is their first port of call. They now have to inspect labels to make sure there is enough sugar and pay the extra tax.
Thirdly, soft drinks companies will simply reduce the content of sugar and replace with sweeteners. Recent studies show sweeteners are associated with obesity also and are also artificial and possibly as harmful as sugar is, if over-consumed.
Fourthly, it isn’t just sugar that is the problem. Refined starch is almost immediately converted to glucose by the human digestive system, and therefore the over-consumption of sugar needs to be looked at holistically through education over singling out one product.
Finally, I often use sugary sports drinks to fuel my kettlebell and weight training exercise. This, along with the previous whey protein tax, means I am now being further taxed for keeping fit.
In order to address the issue of over-consumption of sugar, why not implement a policy, like with tobacco, where junk is not allowed to tempt people as they walk through checkouts? Have it in a section away from counters. It’s a free world, free choice and all that but it seems that people’s health is less important than profit and tax in this country. I had hoped our government would be more innovative in their approach to tackle the obesity crisis.
Why not earnestly tackle this problem through education about carbohydrates and policies for shops, so that a) consumers know the issue and b) their instincts are not tempted every single time they enter a shop, instead of a tax that can be circumvented by big industry and has other knock on effects for consumers.