Given the rise in VAT of the Spanish Executive for sugary and sweetened beverages, we inquired about the healthiness of these products and if the strategy is adequate, from the point of view of food
Since this Thursday, everyone is talking about the Government's measure of raising VAT from 10% to 21% on sugary and sweetened beverages, among other measures, with the aim of obtaining 2,059 million and "promoting healthier habits" and combat childhood obesity.
As is often the case with these things, there has been an intense debate about whether these drinks are as "unhealthy" as the Executive points out or if they have simply done it to raise money without taking anything else into account.
Today we are going to shed light on this issue in order to give an opinion with truthful information ahead.
Are sugary drinks as bad as the government claims?
First of all, we must know that sugary and sweetened beverages are ultra-processed products, that is, zero natural and manufactured purposely to make us consume more.
The ultra-processed and processed ones are bad for your health, since if consumption of these is increased by 10%, we have a 12% more chance of suffering from cancer in general and 11% of the breast, according to this recent study, published in the British Medical Journal and conducted among 105,000 participants.
And "within the group of ultra-processed, Coca-Cola is the most dangerous.", Said a few weeks ago the nutritionist Carlos Ríos, ' Cook real food ' (Ed. Paidós), to Vozpópuli.
"There is scientific evidence that relates its consumption to diseases (obesity, type 2 diabetes ...). This soft drink causes surges in blood sugar that our body is not able to manage because it is simply not trained to do so. Now it is true that there are other options, such as sugar-free, but because it is less bad it is not recommended either, "he added.
If we suddenly drank all the amount of sugar contained in a single can of Coca-Cola, we would end up vomiting, but the phosphoric acid found in this drink masks the taste, which prevents vomiting
Ríos, in fact, was already asking the Government to do something about it: "When the disastrous effects that ultra-processed products generate in society are seen, in a few years, the Government will be forced to control it. In some countries, such as Chile, it is already beginning to be done, and we are going down that path ".
This is an opinion shared by Dr. Martínez-González, author of ' What do you eat? '(Ed. Planeta), with whom we also chatted in this medium: "Health should stop the processed industry already. Tax sugary drinks, for example, but that this money is not used to collect for In reality, it seems that there is a priority interest in public health. I think that we must intervene in a clearer way. No barriers have been placed on food companies, and that is how we are, "the doctor told us.
Is sugar that bad?
Sugar is necessary for our brain and to carry out different vital functions, but an excess is harmful. Most of us eat more sugar than we should. In this regard, the World Health Organization recommends a maximum of 25 grams (or six teaspoons) per day to adults, when we are ingesting an average of 19 teaspoons per day, that is, three times more than what would be healthy.
In this regard, a single can of Coca-Cola (330 ml) contains 35 grams of sugar, ten grams more than the daily consumption recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
A single can of Coca-Cola contains 35 grams of sugar, ten grams more than the daily consumption recommended by the WHO
If we suddenly took all the amount of sugar contained in a single can of Coca-Cola we would end up vomiting, but the phosphoric acid found in this drink "disguises the taste, which prevents vomiting," detail pharmacists from the specialized blog ' Renegade Pharmacist '.
Soda drinks are loaded with sugar, and consuming too much of this white powder is not only bad for your figure, but also for your health, as it can cause liver and heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as revealed in a scientific review of more than 8,000 studies on the subject.
More sugar, more extra cost in Health
This poor diet as a result of products such as sugary drinks, has been increasing the country's health surcharge.
In Spain, a study published in the Revista de Cardiología predicts an increase of 16%, between 2016 and 2030, in the cases of overweight adults in our country. This would mean a direct health surcharge of almost 60%, according to experts.
But if the majority of the population were able to lead a healthy lifestyle, these chronic health problems would be reduced by at least 70% or 80% compared to what is happening now. This is possible if we return to the traditional Mediterranean-type eating pattern, which consists of a diet similar to that of our grandparents.
The big chains of sugary soft drinks have been very powerful, and they have wanted to expand their market to the whole world.
And why have we been abandoning the Mediterranean diet? "It has been due to globalization and the large multinationals. It has been the result of the perverse influence of copying what the Americans do without subjecting it to thought or judgment. The large chains of sugary soft drinks have been very powerful, and have wanted to extend their market to the whole world. If we look at it, over the years they have not only been expanding the offer, but they have also increased the size of the portions. The soda bottles of today have nothing to do in size with those of the 60s. They have made the market grow and have spread to countries that did not have this culture, such as Spain. All this has caused the Mediterranean diet to be lost ", points out Dr. Martínez-González in this regard.
And what about sweetened sodas? Are they bidding too?
The most commonly consumed sweeteners are saccharin, aspartame, stevia, and sucralose. And although they have hardly any calories, they do sweeten the drinks we drink or the food we eat, which makes us want to eat more.
Numerous investigations have shown that sweet foods trigger the release of chemicals and hormones, which interferes with the food reward process, that is, when the brain warns us that we have eaten enough. Come on, in the end we eat too much.
Several studies have linked frequent consumption of aspartame, stevia, and sucralose to weight gain, heart problems, and diabetes
In addition, several studies, such as the one published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal, have linked frequent consumption of aspartame, stevia and sucralose with weight gain, heart problems and diabetes. Research has shown that choosing these long-term sugar substitutes can lead to weight gain, obesity, metabolic and cardiovascular problems, and diabetes, among other diseases.
So, and to conclude, reader, it seems that the Treasury is not too wrong, at least from the point of view of health, in raising taxes on these drinks: if they are more expensive, consumption is supposed to drop. However, despite this, Health should be clearer and share all this information with citizens, don't you think? Brushing your teeth, flossing, and routine visits to the dentist are all important and key contributors to your oral health. And there’s a growing consensus among dental and medical experts that your oral health affects your body as a whole.