Will a sugar tax actually work?

The Guardian, online 17 Match 2016
Authors: Alberto Nardelli and George Arnett
“There is no question sugary soft drinks damage your health, but is the budget levy the best way to tackle the problem? The rabbit out of a hat in George Osborne’s budget is the introduction of a levy on sugary soft drinks. There will be two tiers to this sugar tax: one will apply to drinks with sugar content above 5g per 100ml and another to drinks with more than 8g per 100ml.”
Find article here. See SMH article ‘UK introduces sugar tax on soft drinks, Jamie Oliver urges Australia to follow‘.

Public Health England’s report on sugar reduction

BMJ 2015;351:h6095
Authors: Mike Rayner, Peter Scarborough, Adam Briggs
:Public Health England (PHE) has published its long awaited report on the evidence for sugar reduction.1 It sets out eight key levers that the government could use when formulating a programme to reduce the population’s intake of free sugars… There is much to applaud. PHE is often criticised for not being bold enough in its recommendations to government, taking a cautious approach to its interpretation of the evidence and what it should mean to policy makers. However, at least four of the eight levers may need some form of legislation, and the range of suggested interventions goes beyond simply nudging individuals through health education (box).”
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Three-year-old is youngest child ever to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

The Independent, 17 September 2015
Author: Alexandra Sims
“A three-year-old girl in the US is thought to have become the youngest person ever to be diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. Doctors say an “uncontrolled” calorie intake and “poor” family diet led to the girl weighting 5st 7lb, raising concerns about childhood obesity. Type 2 diabetes is often associated with obesity and tends to be diagnosed in older people. Only 2 per cent of children with diabetes in the UK have type-2. The youngest patients on record are aged between five and nine.”
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GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health

N Engl J Med 2015; 373:693-695August 20, 2015DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1505660
Authors: Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D.
“Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not high on most physicians’ worry lists. If we think at all about biotechnology, most of us probably focus on direct threats to human health, such as prospects for converting pathogens to biologic weapons or the implications of new technologies for editing the human germline. But while those debates simmer, the application of biotechnology to agriculture has been rapid and aggressive.”
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Retraction of the Golden Rice paper: an issue of ethics

Food Politics, 3 August 2015
Author: Marion Nestle
“Despite my long interest in and dubious opinion about the benefits of Golden Rice (genetically modified to contain the beta-carotene precursor of vitamin A), I somehow completely missed the huge and highly embarrassing uproar over a study demonstrating the effectiveness of this rice in raising vitamin A levels in young children. This particular uproar began with publication of the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2012. Last week the journal announced that it has retracted the study—on ethical, not scientific, grounds.”
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Sugary Drinks Linked To Many Thousands Of Deaths Globally

Forbes, 30 June 2015
Author: Alice G. Walton
“Researchers from rom Tufts University calculate that sugary drinks alone are responsible for many thousands of deaths per year. And this adds to an increasing shift in the nutritional tide. Dietary fat – which was once the biggest culprit – is now getting a reprieve, as the upper limit on fat intake has just been scrapped in the new dietary guidelines. And sugar, which we always knew wasn’t great for us, is increasingly being linked not only to obesity, but to various chronic illnesses, and even to death.”
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Buying human breast milk online poses serious health risk, say experts

The Guardian, 25 March 2015
Author: Matthew Weaver
“A growing market in online sales of often contaminated human breast milk – fuelled in part by bodybuilders and adults with a baby fetish – poses a serious risk to public health, according to experts. Researchers from the University of London’s school of medicine and dentistry were so alarmed by their initial findings that they wrote an editorial in the British Medical Journal to warn of the dangers of buying breast milk online before their study was completed. The editorial says breast milk sold online should be screened for diseases such as hepatitis, HIV and syphilis.”
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Documents Reveal Sugar Industry Influenced National Health Policy

Huffington Post, 15 March 2015
Author: Anna Almendrala
“According to a new analysis published in the journal PLOS Medicine, internal memos from the 1960s reveal that major sugar companies were able to successfully manipulate the federal research funding priorities of the U.S. National Institute of Dental Research, a branch of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDR was the most significant source of federal funding for dental research at a pivotal time in nutrition science history, according to the study.”
Find article here.