Paul van der Velpen who heads Amsterdam’s health service in the country where the sale of cannabis was legalised a few years ago, insists that sugar must be also be strictly regulated.
“Just like alcohol and tobacco, sugar is actually a drug. There is an important role for government. The use of sugar should be discouraged. And users should be made aware of the dangers,” the specialist claims on an official public health website.
“This may seem exaggerated and far-fetched, but sugar is the most dangerous drug of the times and can still be easily acquired everywhere.”
The resercher cites the results of the study that showed sugar, unlike caloric food or other products, may have negative impact on the body’s appetite creating an insatiable desire to keep on eating, an effect he accuses the food industry of using to increase consumption of their products.
“Sugar upsets that mechanism. Whoever uses sugar wants more and more, even when they are no longer hungry. Give someone eggs and he’ll stop eating at any given time. Give him cookies and he eats on even though his stomach is painful,” he argued.
“Sugar is actually a form of addiction. It’s just as hard to get rid of the urge for sweet foods as of smoking. Thereby diets only work temporarily. Addiction therapy is better,” the expert added.
Now the head of Amsterdam’s health service insists on imposing sugar taxes and legal limits set on the amount that can be added to processed food, reports The Telegraph.
He also wants cigarette-style warnings put on sweets and soft drinks informating consumers that “sugar is addictive and bad for the health”.
“Health insurers should have to finance addiction therapy for their obese clients. Schools would no longer be allowed to sell sweets and soft drinks. Producers of sports drinks that are bursting with sugar should be sued over misleading advertising and so on,” he said.
According to the statistics, the number of people suffering obesity in the Netherlands has doubled over the last twenty years meaning that more than half of the country’s adults and one in seven children are overweight in a country famed for its deep fried croquettes.
Previous studies showed that sugar, even at moderate levels, could be toxic to human’s health. To conduct the research scientists observed how sugar affected mice and found that the mouse equivalent of just three sugary sodas a day had significant negative effects on life span.
“That’s three sodas if the rest of your diet is pristine and sugar-free,” said lead author and biologist James S. Ruff. “And those are 12-ounce sodas, not double Big Gulps.”
“[Our findings] set a new standard for caution even at low doses of added sugar,” senior author and biologist Wayne K. Potts said at the time.
About 80 percent of substances that are toxic in mice are toxic for human’s body as well, said the expert, so it is likely that the effects of extra sugar could be similar in humans.