A leading American child obesity expert has said taxes should be imposed to curb increasing consumption of sugar, which he claims is as addictive and damaging as alcohol or tobacco.

Sugar intake levels have tripled globally in the past 50 years and Prof Robert Lustig from the University of California believes a major policy shift is needed to reduce corresponding problems of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

"It [sugar] meets all the criteria for societal intervention that alcohol and tobacco meet and with enough clamour for change, tectonic shifts in policy become possible - for instance bans on smoking and the use of designated drivers.

"These simple measures are now taken for granted as essential tools for our public health and well-being. It's time to turn our attention to sugar," he said.

Possible policies proposed in the comment published in the journal Nature include taxes on sugar, limiting sales of sweet food and drink during school hours and even setting an age limit on sweet purchases.

However, Dr Peter Scarborough believes there may be some risks in implementing a "sugar tax" aruging that people may cut back on purchases of healthy food in order to cover the increased costs.

Leading nutritionist Dr Alex Richardson will be talking at JFHC Live on the dangers of sugar, in a talk called 'Sugar - The New Poison?'

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For more information on recomending sugar intake and other nutrition guidance visit www.thefoodcoachltd.com 

Updated 06/02/2012 by robert.mair@pavilion-interactive.co.uk