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What is your opinion on a sugar tax?

Weight-loss hypnotherapy in Leeds.

Picture of sugarPublic Health England’s recent report on sugar consumption has caused quite a stir.

There was righteous indignation on both sides of the argument – mostly focused on the call for the introduction of a sugar tax of up to 20 per cent on sugary products and  raw materials.

That sugar in modern day diets has become a huge problem is beyond doubt – there are thousands of deaths each year in the UK alone related to excess consumption – but the dilemma is: how best to tackle the problem?

Those in favour of a sugar tax point to the alleged success of such a scheme in Mexico, where it is claimed consumption has fallen six per cent. Meanwhile critics of such a tax say it would be yet another example of the nanny state interfering in personal choice.

So where does this leave us?

My own take is that trying to force people to do something they don’t want to all too often ends in tears. I’m always in favour of persuasion over compulsion. Weight-loss programmes at my clinic, for example, are built on the foundations of taking responsibility. My message is be aware – don’t be a victimdon’t make excuses.

I believe that if adults are truly mindful of the facts, they can be trusted to make the right decisions.

Where the state can help is not to allow manufacturers, retailers and other businesses to mislead people. People need to be aware of what is in their foods – particularly popular processed products – if they are to make informed choices.  Foodstuffs need to be labelled clearly, truthfully and correctly and not designed to create false impressions. And most certainly, the targeting of children through marketing needs to be outlawed. This includes the banning of product placement in supermarkets, certain types of advertising campaigns and various other techniques, such as endorsements by sports stars, so beloved by some business bosses.

While acknowledging the sincerity of those in favour of a sugar tax, I am yet to be convinced of the effectiveness of taxation being used to influence social behaviour. It is a blunt, indiscriminate instrument.

One thing that is certain, though, is that increased taxation provides those who act and trade outside the law with added opportunity to widen their profit margins. And what might they say? Sweet.

Please visit my weight-loss hypnotherapy page for more information on how I can help you.

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