Good morning everyone,
Last week I sent you a news report about the prospect of "sugar taxes", extra monetary tax levied against sweetened drinks as a way to reduce their consumption and to (hopefully) induce some improved health in the persons who might normally consume too much sugar in their diets.
The article that I sent you last week considered some of the potential benefits, and potential difficulties, of implementing such taxes. It also described the limited amount of data available thus far, suggesting that it is still too early to know whether these kinds of taxes lead to health improvements.
In this news this week is report of a newly-released study on this very topic. Here, researchers followed the health of a focal group of 200+ people at the University of California-San Fransisco medical school, where a full ban on the sale of sweetened drinks has been in effect. Researchers report improvements in several subject health measures, including reduced waist size, less belly fat, and improved response to insulin. They suggest that these changes were directly a function of reduced sugary drink consumption in these subjects.
Note that this study described subjects under a workplace ban on the sale of sweetened drinks, not those under a "sugar tax". Here, subjects could purchases sweetened drinks elsewhere, or bring them from home, but could not purchase them at their workplace. This is likely to have a larger effect on consumption than a sugar tax itself, but it does suggest that the benefits of lowering the consumption of sweetened drinks is a very worthwhile goal. The available data suggests that most of us consume too much refined sugar (in some form), which suggests that most of us would benefit by reducing our sugar intake. As we have seen many times during the term, our health depends heavily on the choices we make.
Hope that you are enjoying the weekend - see you tomorrow.