Jamie Oliver’s Proposed Sugar Tax: Here’s Why I Think This Needs to Happen
The saying goes “you are what you eat” and if you looked closely at all the foods you ingested you might not like what you see. The invention of fast-foods and more convenient grocery store items have done a number on our overall health. Depending on your age, if you think back to your childhood and the foods that you ate, you might find that there were far healthier options back then.
Depending on your family’s financial standing, you may not have easy access to foods and beverages that are better for you. Go into any supermarket and compare the price of fizzy sugar-filled soft-drinks to natural juices. Chances are the soft-drinks are cheaper and if you’re shopping on a budget, the less healthy but more affordable options are most likely what you will grab.
The harsh reality is that fizzy drinks can contain up to eight teaspoons of sugar – which means that you could be exceeding the recommended daily intake of six teaspoons of sugar in one sitting! Non-fizzy drink consumers aren’t let off scot free either sadly – sugar can be found in less obvious foods such as bread, where half a teaspoon of sugar can sometimes be found in a single slice. Not to mention the five teaspoons of sugar that can be found in a 200ml glass of orange juice – so a breakfast of orange juice and toast that many may believe to be healthy is actually only half a teaspoon of sugar away from reaching the recommended daily limit.
World renowned restauranteur and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has decided to do something about our national sweet tooth. You may remember that there was a response from the Prime Minister’s official spokesman indicating that: ‘[Mr. Cameron did not] believe that the right approach here is to put sugar taxes on hard-working people to increase the weight and cost of their shopping baskets’. In response to the lack of support from the government, Oliver has declared that his restaurants will charge an extra 10p for every drink that has added sugar and the money raised will go to fund education for healthy eating.
An extra 10p per sugar-filled drink isn’t all that much in the grand scheme of things – and if the result of this is a future of individuals who are better informed about healthy eating then I for one stand behind his decision. Who knows – perhaps with any luck, other restaurants will start following suit. If this is what it takes to make people consider healthy eating over not, it needs to be done.
After all, we are born into this world with only one body; one set of organs and after we leave our childhood years, one set of teeth. While sugar is definitely delicious and natural in many cases, excessive sugar is not good for the body – it can lead to obesity and can also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, liver disease and coronary heart disease – an illness which affects 2.3 million people in the UK alone today.
Kicking the sugar habit isn’t easy but there are small lifestyle changes that we can make to cut excess sugar from our diets – for example, cooking food from scratch, eating whole fruit instead of drinking fruit juice and swapping sugary snacks such as chocolate for rice cakes as an example.
Small lifestyle changes really can make a big impact! So, start cutting down on sugar today and you’ll begin reaping the benefits tomorrow!