argument top image

Should there be a tax on sugar?
Back to question

Sugar should be taxed because it's actually an addictive substance

While not a drug, sugar can be an addictive substance. That doesn’t change the fact the body can become dependent on it or even throw a person into withdrawal. Not only that but it can cause a plethora of health problems.

The Argument

Many people find themselves craving sweet things while on a diet, or going straight for the ice cream tub for some comfort after a bad day. Many people believe that eating something sweet will make you feel better, and they're right.[1] Eating sugar allows the body to release endorphins during the 'sugar rush'. However, despite the gratifying feeling, sugar itself isn’t a healthy substance. It's only recently that people are starting to discover its effects. Since it's gone from luxury good to a common household item, more studies have examined its effects. Too much of anything is never acceptable and unfortunately sugars the thing people can never get enough. Even with its presence in candy and baked goods, sugar is similar to a drug with its addictive qualities.[2] If people had self-control this wouldn't be a problem. However, the US's obesity rate is 36.5% for adults, and one of the leading causes of this problem is cheap sugary foods. Taxing sugar will help promote healthy lifestyle choices and force businesses to start using healthier alternatives than pure sugar. It will take time to adjust, but in the long run, it will be helpful and generate much-needed tax dollars.

Counter arguments

While sugar does have addictive qualities, likening it to drugs is exaggerative.[3] Sugar is a chemical formation and would affect the body like any form of ingestible chemicals. Similarly, salt can cause the body to crave water or even iron which helps the red blood cells in your body. With sugar, it's a case of self-control and restraint. Too much of anything is bad for you. Too much salt causes a rise in blood pressure and in serve cases to lead hypernatraemia. Too much iron can cause iron toxicity and cause damage to the gastrointestinal system. It's not just sugar that can have adverse side effects. While sugar can cause severe craving, there are healthier alternatives, such as fruit, that can be eaten instead. Also, much of today's current food culture is put towards dieting and healthy eating, which suggests a healthier trend in society.[4]



[P1] Sugar causes the body to release endorphins when consumed but does not maintain those chemical highs much like drugs [P2] Sugar is a leading cause in high obesity rates

Rejecting the premises

[RP1] People are aware of the health problems sugar can cause and have been looking for ways to cut down their sugar intake


This page was last edited on Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 10:54 UTC

Explore related arguments