Dr Claire Brindis and a tax on sugar
by Robert Randle
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Dear Dr. Brindis(UCSF):
I was listening to TALK Radio station KOMO4NEWS, 1000AM in Tacoma, WA on Friday, February 3, 2012, and the moderator John Carlson was discussing with you and then later on with other listeners about the merit of taxing sugar. I did not call in to the show but I want to share with you my thoughts on the matter. First of all, the harmful effects [toxicity, addiction, etc.] from refined sugar and artificial sweeteners have been debated for the last twenty or thirty years; maybe longer. I do agree with the scientists and researchers who are alarmed about the over-consumption of sugar by Americans, roughly three times more annually per person than it was a generation ago. I am a sugar-holic who consumes more sugar than I should, and my maternal Aunt died from diabetes while undergoing dialysis treatments. I use sweets for self-medication due to boredom and depression since I am unemployed, and drawing an early pension before I qualify for SSI in a couple of years. I have one of those free blood glucose test kits and used it a few months ago and my results do not indicate I am a diabetic but high enough to be concerned about becoming hypoglycemic. Anyway, I must admit that I am addicted to sweets, especially cookies with lemon filling. I think the combination of the sour lemon flavor and sugar causes me to crave them such that I can devour a three roll package in 3 days or less; and don't get me started on anything containing honey because I can give the bees a run for their money (smile).
I could go on and on but I digress from the main point, namely, that taxing sugar products is not the answer. Such legislation would not benefit consumers [addicts, yes addicts] like me because we would still buy these items at the higher price. I wonder if you and your colleagues have considered the extent to what products contain refined sugar or artificial sweetener. It all starts in infancy when our mothers put us on a diet of sugar-containing [artificial sweetener] baby products from decades ago, like SIMILAC, ENFAMIL, Gerber, Heinz, etc. Just think of all the breakfast cereal, desserts, fruit drinks, liquid medicines, confectionaries, breads, crackers, vegetables, meats, condiments [ketchup, salad dressing, etc.] and other items found on grocery shelves that contain some kind of artificial sweetener, including high fructose corn syrup, which has been suspected as affecting the adrenal glands just like sugar. So, "what is the answer, you may ask?" Well, perhaps the best place to start is requiring those companies who have products which contain sugar or artificial sweetener to lower the concentration or amount they put in, or eliminate the use altogether. Not everything has to contain sugar to taste good. Also, as it is with some breakfast cereals, why does a manufactures include sugar, brown sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup and molasses at the same time? Those companies, who offer alternative, natural sweeteners like fruit juice or evaporated cane juice (??), prune juice or raisin paste should receive some form of tax credit from the federal government.
Anyway, I thought I would contact you and encourage you and your colleagues to be the voice for those of us who are struggling with this problem, and things have gotten to the point now where the slightest morsel which contains sugar gives me a pretty significant headache. I wish you success in persuading members of the various State Legislatures and Congress to ignore the lobbyists and funding from the powerful sugar refiners, manufacturers and their PAC's for favorable subsidies and price controls, and instead, pass into Law a Bill that would help us overcome being victims of a lifestyle obsessed with consuming empty calories, which invariably lead to obesity, cancer or diabetes.
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
February 3, 2012
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