A Dutch health official says sugar is an addictive drug that's more dangerous than tobacco and alcohol and should be regulated due to its catastrophic impact on people's health.
According to Paul van der Velpen, the head of Amsterdam’s health service, there should be government-mandated limits on how much sugar can be added to processed foods.
"Just like alcohol and tobacco, sugar is actually a drug," van der Velpen wrote on a Dutch health website. "The use of sugar should be discouraged, and users should be made aware of the dangers.
This may seem exaggerated and far-fetched, but sugar is the most dangerous drug of our time and can still be easily acquired everywhere."
While van der Velpen's comments may sound extreme, they are increasingly being supported by diet and health experts around the world, who point out that heavy sugar consumption leads to diabetes, obesity, cancer, tooth decay and neurological conditions such as dementia, depression and ADHD.
In 2012, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced legislation aimed at banning the sale of super-sized sugary sodas in NYC. The proposed soda ban was endorsed by major diet companies such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, and by celebrities including vegan rap mogul Russell Simmons and former U.S. president Bill Clinton.
Throughout the process, Bloomberg was slammed as a fascist who was trying to turn New York City into a "nanny state," but experts like van der Velpen agree that too much sugar has a devastating effect on health and should be drastically limited.
"Health insurers should have to finance [sugar] addiction therapy for their obese clients," he said. "Schools should no longer be allowed to sell sweets and soft drinks. Producers of sports drinks that are bursting with sugar should be sued over misleading advertising."
Van der Velpen pointed to the insidious truth that eating sugar does not produce satiety, but instead fuels an obsessive desire to consume even more sugar.
Whoever uses sugar wants more and more, even when they are no longer hungry Give someone eggs and he'll stop eating at a given time. Give him cookies and he eats on even though his stomach is in pain."
Meanwhile, soda giant Coca-Cola has been rolling out more reduced-sugar soft drinks in response to the alarming obesity epidemic, but its CEO, Muhtar Kent, complained that it was unfair to blame soda manufacturers for the skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes.