UCSF researchers say sugar should be regulated

February 2, 2012 12:03:17 PM PST
We know that too much sugar is not good for our health, but is it so dangerous that the government should get involved and tax it?

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco say yes. Their study, published in "Nature," claims people eat and drink too much sugar, and that sugar is a toxic and addictive substance like alcohol, and for your own good, the government should tax and regulate it like alcohol.

"In reality, there have been a lot of other public health campaigns which initially seemed to be very radical. Today, they seem extremely main stream," UCSF's Claire Brindis said in an interview posted on YouTube.

For example, having a designated driver or banning smoking indoors. The researchers say social change is needed, in part, because the healthier the population, the less money everyone has to spend on health care.

"The fact of the matter is we're talking about saving billions of dollars potentially, in terms of the amount of money spent on non-communicable, chronic, metabolic disease in this country," UCSF Dr. Robert Lustig said in the same interview.

The Sugar Association disputes the UCSF findings saying, "To label a single food as the one and only problem misinforms, misleads and confuses consumers, and simply adds to the problem."

ABC health expert Dr. Richard Besser weighed in Thursday morning on GMA, encouraging people to take their health into their own hands. "Tax will cut down on it some way, but here's what you can do today. Bottom line, get rid of the sodas, get rid of the sports drinks, and only one glass of juice a day. You do that, you're not going to have to worry about the sugar you're getting elsewhere because that's where the bulk of our sugar is coming from," he said.