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Sugar Poses Significant Health Risks, Should Be Regulated Like Alcohol, U.S. Researchers Say

“Sugar poses enough health risks that it should be considered a controlled substance just like alcohol and tobacco, contend a team of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF),” in an opinion piece called “The Toxic Truth About Sugar,” published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, TIME’s “Healthland” blog reports (Rochman, 2/2). “While acknowledging that food, unlike alcohol and tobacco, is required for survival, [authors Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt and Claire Brindis] say taxes, zoning ordinances and even age limits for purchasing certain sugar-laden products are all appropriate remedies for what they see as a not-so-sweet problem,” the Wall Street Journal’s “Health” blog writes (Hobson, 2/2).

According to LiveScience/Fox News, “the researchers cite numerous studies and statistics to make their case that added sugar … has been as detrimental to society as alcohol and tobacco” (Wanjek, 2/1). BBC News notes that several countries already impose taxes on unhealthy food, writing, “Denmark and Hungary have a tax on saturated fat, while France has approved a tax on soft drinks” (Briggs, 2/1).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.