Food Daily Dish

Is sugar destroying the entire world?

Soda, fruit juice, candy and other sugar-laden foods are everywhere, but how dangerous are they? It's common knowledge that consumed in excess, these sugar-filled products can cause a slew of health problems. This is nothing new for countless doctors and concerned parents, but the Credit Suisse financial services company wants in on the discussion. 

The Zurich-based financial holdings firm has released a report and video detailing the global perils of sugar. The report, "Sugar Consumption at a Crossroads," and video, "Sugar: Sweet with a Bitter Aftertaste," raise the common concern about diabetes rates and obesity and its impact on the global economy.

In the video, facts about sugar consumption are read off while items such as jars of pickles, jam and loaves of bread are showered in sugar, meant to express how sugar is added to almost everything. 

"Sugar is sweet, but its aftertaste for the global healthcare system is bitter," says the narrator of the video. "Costs to the global healthcare system are estimated at $470 billion."

The video makes a point of mentioning how America is leading the world in excess sugar consumption. On average, Americans consume 40 teaspoons of sugar per day. The world average is 17 teaspoons per day. Following close behind America are Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Australia with 30 teaspoons on average per person per day. To put this in perspective, the American Heart Assn. recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and 9 teaspoons of sugar for men per day. 

The video suggests taxation, similar to the tax placed on tobacco, may be one solution that could help combat the healthcare costs and reduce daily sugar intake.

"...we cannot ignore the significance and the implications for society and our economy any longer," said Stefano Natella, head of global equity research at Credit Suisse and an author of the study. 

What do you think a possible solution is? Or do you think the world even needs one? Let us know in the comments below. 

Need a sweet news fix? Follow me on Twitter: @Jenn_Harris_

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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