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Government urged to introduce sugar tax

Author
Newstalk ZB ,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Sunday, 5 May 2019, 4:05p.m.
The body metabolises sugar more quickly when it is consumed in liquid form. (Photo / 123RF)

A Kiwi study says sugary drinks are more dangerous than high-sugar foods, and are each year causing an estimated 184,000 early deaths across the globe.

The study found that sugary drinks carried a greater risk of causing harmful "metabolic changes" that lead to illnesses, such as obesity and diabetes.

Typical sports or energy drinks contained 27g of sugar - or about 7 teaspoons per cup of liquid - while "fizzy drinks" had 26g and sweetened teas and flavoured milks had 24g.

It's led health experts to call for a tax on sugary drinks as an urgent measure in tackling obesity, type 2 diabetes and rotten teeth.

Researcher Dr Simon Thornley told the Weekend Collective sugary drinks are uniquely harmful.

"We're calling on the Government to show some leadership by taxing these and increasing the price to send a signal to the consumer that sugary soft drinks are less healthy than the diet versions."

He says that New Zealand is now the third fattest nation in the OECD, and children are on lengthy waiting lists to get their teeth sorted. 

Health Minister David Clark has said that he is not "even considering" a sugar tax, which Dr Thornley is disappointed by/.

"He seems to be taking a softly-softly approach. He seems to not want to upset the food industry."

He says that evidence supports the introduction of a sugar tax. 

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