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Sunday, 2 July 2017

Health Warnings on Sugary Snacks

Dr. Vincent Wan


There has been discussion about placing health warnings on sugary snacks in an effort to limit their consumption.  Much the same as the graphic pictures detailing the health risks associated with tobacco on cigarette packs, it has been proposed that a similar warning might deter people from buying and consuming sugary snacks.  It has been claimed that eating sugary snacks may be just as lethal to our health as smoking, so similar tactics should apply to both in reducing their existence.

Sugar consumption especially from sugary snacks such as chocolate, lollies and biscuits is at an all-time high.  There has been well documented concerns particularly for young children.  Tooth decay, weight gain and obesity, and developing type 2 diabetes are very real problems from a high level of sugar consumption.  The mentality is that seeing a graphic image of a rotten tooth with a dental abscess or a foot with gangrene due to diabetes together with health warnings on sugary snacks will turn people off the items.

Just how effective would health warnings on sugary snacks be?  It is the same question as how effective would a tax on sugary items be that we discussed in a previous blog article.  We can put graphic health warnings on sugary snacks and tax sugary items all we like, but they will still be bought and consumed nonetheless just like there will always be people who smoke no matter what.  We all already know that eating too much sugar is a bad thing for our health, just like we all already know that smoking is bad for our health.  The reality is that just because it is bad for us, doesn’t mean we won’t do it.

I personally think it is personal choice.  If you know that something is bad for you, it is up to you not consume it.  If you consume it and develop a health problem because of it, you cannot blame anyone but yourself.