Do we need a sugar tax too?

Many were excited to hear of the sugar tax passing in the UK last month, as announced by chief campaigner Jamie Oliver and the UK parliament. You can read about it here  and you can – thanks to Sarah Wilson – you can sign an Aussie version of the petition being called for here: SIGN HERE

Many were not so sure it was the answer in the discussion thread we shared on facebook (search ‘sugar tax UK’ on the page). I don’t think anything is “THE” answer but I certainly believe it’s a great part of the answer to driving greater awareness and lowering sugar. Sugar harms some more than others and there’s always the personal responsibility argument but when you look at the insidious and complex marketing that big soft drink companies employ to have us believe it’s the answer to a problem, or the brightness in our day, you can easily see how we get reeled into such products over the decades.

I’m reassured thanks to social media and a two way brand conversation these days, that we can drive much greater awareness than ever before to ensure these don’t become every day consumed items – if at all.

The reason I know it’s necessary deep in my heart, is that when you visit a remote community in Australia or a developing country / poor areas in the likes of Mexico, India or Mauritius where I am now and seeing it first hand, you can see that these big companies prey on low nutrition awareness in low socio economic areas, and go crazy with the marketing and being the answer to their otherwise ‘sad’ lives (Not MY use of words, theirs in the between the lines messaging)

Mauritius where I’m from on Mum’s side is considered a developing country. I’m here right now as you guys know These big soft drink companies prey on low education and income communities with their marketing – “Refresh your life here” is the slogan on every branded corner store (and they’re ALL branded coke or Kraft processed cheese, but mainly coke and stores are remunerated handsomely for their allowing the brand to pain their shop / add their posters and signs). Coke is sold as an affordable-for-all taste of luxury / big brand and it’s status to be able to serve it to your friends / it shows you care / it’s sold as a moment of happiness that even the lowest of socio economic groups can afford. That’s wrong on every level because these are the exact countries that cannot afford health care costs soaring along with the diabetes rates. It’s time to tax companies who push something knowingly bad.

EDJX8X Mauritius, Vacoas, men outside La Marie National Store, red painted rural shop

Mauritius, Vacoas, men outside La Marie National Store, red painted rural shop

If you didn’t see this documentary in 2012 on ABC “Globesity” it is an absolute must! Tell me after watching it that it should be left up to people to ‘choose’. Devastating…

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If you saw That Sugar film you’ll know about the Mai Wiru community featured. 360 people, 40,000L soft drink a year. An inspiring read about what they’re trying to achieve.

Sarah Wilson shred a few statistics with me recently that also beg the need for us all to unite over this issue. Sugar isn’t the enemy full stop – There is no black or white. Whole fruit, the odd cake or bikkie, adding a little honey or maple syrup to a spicy casserole or curry… These aren’t what are causing obesity and alarming rates of diabetes. It’s the hidden sugars in everything and the crazy levels in every day consumed soft drinks and iced teas that really drive our levels sky high.

Here’s a few key points that explain why Sarah decided to ignite the cause for a sugar tax in Australia.
  • “Among Aussie kids 2-16 years, almost 30 per cent of their daily sugar intake is coming from soft drinks. It’s the perfect place to start this fight.”
  • “Liquid sugar is the most dangerous form of sugar – it’s a large and fast dumping to the liver causing the liver to freak out, thus creating the metabolic havoc that leads to obesity.”
  • “A can of coke is 9tsp of sugar. The WHO recommend kids have no more than 3tsp of added sugar a day.”
  • “Australia has the fastest growing rates of obesity in the world;  we’re drinking 270 cans of soft drink a year.”
  • “The average Australian kid drinks 1.2 cans of soft drink per day.”

SO while YOU who reads this blog might not necessarily be drinking the stated soft drink amounts daily if these are the averages, then it’s pretty darn clear than MANY people are. Many people simply don’t realise. Many aren’t given the tools to learn otherwise or the action steps to help transition their families away. Many feel unable to instil boundaries. Our signatures can help start the conversation with our leaders and get sugary drinks taxed to increase revenues that – hopefully as with the UK – will go towards health care and education.

Sarah has also shared some reasons and rebuttals to common comments that are similar to the discussions we had on the Low Tox Life FB page the day the tax came through. You can read those here.

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I’ve signed. I’d love you to too. Here it is again. It may not be the silver bullet but it’s certainly a part of the awareness needed and the accountability we should demand, not just of consumers, but of companies who make and market knowingly harmful products.

What are your thoughts?


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