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Monday Night Owls - 4 February 2019 - The sugar tax

NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,060 Teacher
We read an article talking about a sugar tax implemented in the UK which is trying to reduce obesity levels:


Vocabulary Top 10:

hoist - to raise (something) especially by using ropes or machinery

paid off - produced a result that you want

prankster - a person who plays pranks on other people

emulate - to try to be like (someone or something you admire)

multi-tiered - arranged in multiple layers or tiers

fizzy drinks - soft drink, soda, - a carbonated drink

opt - to choose one thing instead of another

cold turkey - the act of stopping a bad habit (such as smoking) in a sudden and complete way

max out - to reach an upper limit : to come to the highest level possible

intake - the amount of something (such as food or drink) that is taken into your body; the number of things or people that are taken into something (such as an organization)

Do you think this sugar tax will help people eat/drink less sugar?
What other measures do you think would help people stay healthy?


  • gam01hrgam01hr Posts: 105 ✭✭✭
    1/ I think imposing the 'sugar' tax on drinks which are supposed for direct consumption is right as far as the drinks are oversugared. Probably the evil beverage companies add deliberately lot of sugar to secure their income. The society tries to fight back. On the other hand the tax does not make sense if applied on all the food generally. There is nothing bad with buying a concentrated sirup and use it as you wish at later time.
    2/ As a countermeasure regarding the obesity the education is important. The families shall teach their children and the government shall teach their citizens. I can see many advertising where doctors warn about the diabetes, how many people are endangered and how it could be like silent killer.
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,060 Teacher
    @gam01hr I think you are right - educating people about why they maybe shouldn't drink so many of these sugary drinks is a better long term solution than just making them more expensive. By increasing the price, it will only affect people who don't have much money to spend - the richer people won't be affected at all, and so they will still have the same problems with their health as before.
  • taghriedtaghried Posts: 143 ✭✭✭
    My summary of this interesting article is:
    there was someone his name is (Allen). He has disappointed about his favourite beverage because the UK government imposed (Fat tax) on sugary soft drink companies to curb the dangers of obesity.
    Public Health in the UK had forced these companies to less sugar in a specific time it means they will reformulate their products or they're going to pay a tax so they opted to reformulate their products to avoid the Tax.
    those lovers of soft drinks consider less sugar as an assault to their culture because it means less flavour that they're used to drink.
    Children who have this obsession of soft drink they became overweight for a long time and it will take many years to return back to their natural weight.
    the government in the UK said that they spend much money every year on treatment of obesity than on police, fire services and judicial system.
    Some companies were swapping sugar for artificial sweeteners and others chosen to slash sugar content into half or more.
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,931 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It is interesting that the most popular soft beverage giants, the multinational brands Pepsi and Coca Cola, according to the article, resisted the UK's government push to slash their iconic drink's sugar content.

    The latter claimed it opted to keep on with their successful formula, due to the respect they felt obliged to show to their loyal consumers.

    I suspect the real reason was to try deny evidence one more time.

    How can you oppose the universally accepted idea that too much sugar is dangerous ?

    There's undisputed evidence that excessive sugar consumption can lead to higher risk of diabetes, overweight, hypertension and cardiovascular issues.

    Nevertheless, the Coca Cola's attempt to stubbornly stand its ' sugar ' ground, wasn't but a rearguard battle, therefore an already lost one, at least in most of the developed western countries, where public awareness has fully grown.

    Not the like, I'm afraid, when it comes to the underdeveloped countries, where public health bureaucracy and food and beverage health departments aren't well established, together with watchdog and consumers' organizations.

    There, the multinational giants' power can result overwhelming, eventually even shaping, as saying altering, the countries' policies aimed at improving healthy behaviors and habits among the masses.

    That's the case with China too, for instance, which, even though not exactly an underdeveloped country so far, nonetheless probably lack independent consumers' control over health policies.

    According to some researches, soft drinks' companies joined in an organization which worked, elbow-to-elbow, with government public health officials, in order to put stress on the fact it is rather lack of exercise, than diet habits, which cause obesity.

    As a result of this brainwashing activity, government coined health campaigns' slogans such us ' happy 10 minutes', encouraging children in schools to take 10 minutes exercise a day:

    as if just it would, as a unique measure, be helpful to prevent gaining weight. No uttered word about sugary drinks' compulsive consumption though.

    Perhaps, in countries where junk food and fizzy drinks have only of late come available to citizen from the most disparate backgrounds and income, it will take more time before the urgency to preserve healthy habits become goverment's agenda's priority.
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,060 Teacher
    @filauzio I wonder if these big companies are hoping that people will believe they have dropped the sugar content of their drinks, even though they haven't? For example, many people would have heard about the tax, and a lot of them may assume this means that companies will drop the amount of sugar they include, making them healthier. That might make them more likely to buy those drinks...

    So, these big companies are getting away with not changing anything, keeping their customers happy by not changing the flavour of their product, while tricking people into thinking that it's healthier for them than it used to be!

    I agree that they have a lot of influence too in many countries. And often the unhealthiest food and drinks are the most available and cheapest, sadly.
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,931 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yes @NatashaT, I read an article where they said that these multinationals of fizzy drinks are using fake third part organizations, indeed operative branches of theirs, to drive ' proper ' consuming habits into citizens of countries where they make most profits.
    China is their third largest market.
    There have been cases, there, of scientific meetings on obesity which were financed by these supposedly independent third part entities, with the drinks' companies camouflaging on the background, as if it weren't their own business.
    In reality they are forcing the message that it doesn't matter the amount of sugar you get with your 330 milliliters can, as long as you keep exercising after your sugar intake.
    Here is a link to a version of the article I want to share with you, hopefully to further discuss the topic.

    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,060 Teacher
    edited February 14
    Wow @filauzio , it's scary the level of influence they have there! The article was really interesting - but perhaps in a frightening way...

    I remember that one of these big drink companies had advertising a few years ago that showed how long you had to run for to 'burn off' the sugar in their drink, and other similar ads which also showed different physical exercises and how long you had to do them to make up for drinking that beverage.

    I also remember people being very negative about those ads! I don't think they lasted long, at least where I live. But I definitely think they were part of the campaign focusing on exercise instead of sugar that you mentioned here, and that they explained in the article.

    The thought that always came to mind for me was that you wouldn't need to run for 15 minutes if you just didn't drink that sugary drink! It was almost like telling you what your punishment was for drinking it!
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,931 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Ahah, right @NatashaT, it really sounds like an alert: ' don't drink my sugary beverage lest... you have to take this hard exercise soon after, to sweat to burn the highly caloric intake... beware of my harmful drink !!

    I also read an article about snack-exercising, which suggests you can take very short periods of exercise during the day, intense spans lasting about 20 seconds per session, to be repeated twice or three times a day, and it will be enough for your health.

    They mentioned climbing a flight of stairs, for instance, but doing it in a burst of effort, in an all-out brisk exercise.

    They maintained that, this way of doing little bits of exercise could save you the longer time it would take you to go to the gym, change, exercise, take showers and so on.

    They suggested that, even though this aerobic exercise, as a whole, would take just 1 minute, it would benefit your circulatory system, strengthening heart bones and lungs too.

    No matter the facts all periods were interspersed with long hours of desk sitting.

    However, all the matter seems to me kind of a vicious circle.

    They inculcate into us the need to take exercise on daily basis and do little to sweep sugary foods and beverages off the supermarket's shelves, whose consume, in turn, will push us to exercise even more to keep control of the excess calories.

    Maybe it all has also to do with the universal sweet tooth we are accustomed to grow from a very early age, only to refine, the way of an addicted, further on.

    Take milk for instance: we usually heat and drink it only if sweetened with sugar; doesn't it naturally contain sugar though, the lactose ?

    Nevertheless, I'm afraid, mothers need something to sweeten the pill when dealing with recalcitrant, whining away and throwing tantrums pest-children.

    That's where our sugar-addiction's starting line, lies, I'm afraid, and now we can do little to prevent adults from fancying a sugary drink can, sometimes, as well !

    We continually have to sweeten the pill, haven't we ?

    I hope the rise of insects as food will definitely get us rid of sugar, once and for all.... fancy grass-hopper's syrup's sip ? :s
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
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