A tax on sugar?

McTell

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No
Sugar tax will damage the Irish economy, group claims


Just saw this and wondered why all of us don't drink sugar-free drinks?

Obviously it would improve the overweight and stop diabetes in many cases. 10 cents on a can doesn't sound like a lot.

It's not as debatable as climate change (in the sense that our climate would be changing naturally to a certain, but unknowable, extent). Everyone knows that overweight is bad, and sugar rots your teeth, and overall you will have a more boring sex life. :shock2:

"Irish sugar", made from sugar beet grown here, was of course disbanded in the interests of doing deals with the Caribbean, and gave the lads at IS the chance to sell a few valuable properties during the boom. Yes, it costs much more in carbon to haul the stuff from 8,000 km away, compared to Carlow.
 


blokesbloke

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A lot of people don't trust sweeteners - there are health concerns about their safety and it's possible they have a similar effect on blood sugar than sugary drinks do.

I've certainly never found a sweetener than could replace table sugar, though I use very little of that as I don't have it in coffee or tea, I just put a bit on cereal sometimes.

Splenda came closest but it's still not the same - especially it hot drinks when it foams slightly which is quite off-putting.

I always buy British sugar - Silver Spoon, which is all from sugar beet in the UK.

If you're concerned about climate change, British sugar would be better than Caribbean in terms of food miles if it's available in Ireland.
 

Mercurial

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Our government loves to just tax these things instead of actually tackling the root cause of the problem - we see this most obviously and most dangerously with its treatment of alcohol.

If a sugar tax is the best this bunch of incompetents can come up with, then it's probably better than nothing, but it really is just an admission that they've tried nothing and they're all out of ideas.
 

blokesbloke

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Our government loves to just tax these things instead of actually tackling the root cause of the problem - we see this most obviously and most dangerously with its treatment of alcohol.

If a sugar tax is the best this bunch of incompetents can come up with, then it's probably better than nothing, but it really is just an admission that they've tried nothing and they're all out of ideas.
True, but I sometimes wonder what the alternative is.

There's been plenty of public health campaigns - people know sugar is bad for them, same as alcohol, tobacco, etc. and they eat it anyway.

What would you propose instead?
 

hammer

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How successful was the tax on plastic bags to change habits ?

Very feckin successful.

We have a major obesity / lack of fitness problem. Lets tackle it.
We have a problem with alcohol. Lets tackle it.
 

SamsonS

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Our government loves to just tax these things instead of actually tackling the root cause of the problem - we see this most obviously and most dangerously with its treatment of alcohol.

If a sugar tax is the best this bunch of incompetents can come up with, then it's probably better than nothing, but it really is just an admission that they've tried nothing and they're all out of ideas.
You make it sound so simple! We are only getting to the stage where "officially" we can accept that too much sugar is bad for us. But if Glanbia announce 50 new jobs in rural Ireland producing new youghurts we'll still get the politicians lauding the success. If Imperial Tobacco said it was increasing employment I think they'd be thin on the ground.
That business groups argument, trade across the border and lost revenue, that can happen with currency fluctuations, as we see with sterline at the moment. But if people do go north to shop, the sugary drinks is only one part of the shopping.

But allowing for all that, say it had a net loss to the exchequer of 100m, and while the "savings" in health spend would not necessarily be seen, as it would be gobbled up in other areas, it should be at worst cost neutral.

Our political parties are all weak on this, FG had 5 budgets where it could have been introduced, even as an austerity measure, FF had 12 or so and SF policy has gone from wanting to reopen Mallow sugar factory to wanting a sugar tax.
 

Mercurial

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True, but I sometimes wonder what the alternative is.

There's been plenty of public health campaigns - people know sugar is bad for them, same as alcohol, tobacco, etc. and they eat it anyway.

What would you propose instead?
I think one thing all these issues have in common is that it takes money to fix them, and this is something that the state rarely likes to acknowledge. The health campaigns that we do have don't seem to be especially effective - I would like to know how they compare to other countries that have healthier levels of consumption.

I would also like to know what sort of education kids are getting in school about these issues. When I was in school the standard of education was pretty awful with regard to nutrition. I would hope it's drastically improved in the meantime. (But of course it's no good just educating kids since it's their parents who decide what they eat)
 

Roll_On

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It'll be great if a can of coke is somewhat more expensive than a can of coke zero, it'll make people think more about their purchases.

Also while they're at it, non recyclable material and excessive packaging of any kind on the supermarket shelves should be taxed out of existence.
 

Half Nelson

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If you're over 30 and care about your health, don't touch the stuff.
It's not just obesity you have to worry about.
 

Mercurial

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You make it sound so simple!
On the contrary - it's very complicated. Which is precisely why a tax on sugar is such a blunt and ineffective way of responding to it (not to mention paternalistic).
 

johnnypockets

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Alcohol is taxed to the hilt in this country and has made no difference. Sugar tax is a stupid idea. Plus, why should I pay for some other glutton's lack of self control?
 

Mercurial

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It'll be great if a can of coke is somewhat more expensive than a can of coke zero, it'll make people think more about their purchases.
I switched from Coke/Fanta/Pepsi to the sugar free variants years ago as my partner is diabetic and it was less hassle that way. I'm so used to them now that I can barely stand a regular Coke, which just tastes overpoweringly sweet.
 

Equinox

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'Is there anyting to be said for another tax Father?'

I'm getting more then sick of governments who's every answer to a problem seems to swell their coffers and fail to fix the root cause of the issue.
 

benroe

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I've become a bit of an expert in sugar since my 10 year old was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you would think that our new no sugar low carb diet would have caused us to lose weight, but thats not how it works.
When my daughters blood sugar levels are high but she is craving something sweet i can give her 6-7 sliced strawberries floating in fresh cream drizzled in dark chocolate, only 8 carbs (carbs are what you count not sugar, sugar is pure carbohydrate) but nearly 80 calories.
I think if they are to tax sugar they should also make an effort to make low or no sugar alternatives cheaper, also beware of labeling, no added sugar does not mean low sugar.
 

Voluntary

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It'll be great if a can of coke is somewhat more expensive than a can of coke zero, it'll make people think more about their purchases.

Also while they're at it, non recyclable material and excessive packaging of any kind on the supermarket shelves should be taxed out of existence.
Use of sweeteners is at least controversial. There is research proving sweeteners actually increase appetite and therefore increase daily calories intake.
Cut the sugars - yes, but don't replace it with sweeteners! Just learn how to live without it.
100% Fruit juices may be a good option if you need extra sugar in the blood.
 

silverharp

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there is no real solution , food was expensive 50 years ago its cheap now, it doesn't cost anymore money to eat healthy than to eat unhealthy and by definition obese people spend more on food than an equivalent picky eater.
There is a knowledge gap because of bad medical advice for the last 30 or 40 years which can be corrected but at the end of the day a % of people are weak willed and advice will not help.
 

Half Nelson

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Easier said than done
Not really.
There's a can of Coke sitting in my fridge door for the last 6 months. Adults and teenagers come and go, the beer is chilled and the fridge is constantly raided. Yet there it sits. Somehow, the message has got through.

I could eat and drink sugar with the best, but now I rarely touch the stuff. I've dropped cakes, biscuits, drinks, deserts. It wasn't easy and there were failures, but constant effort paid off.
 


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