I am baking a cake. No occasion,
besides the fact that I am in dire need of a pick-me-up after an intense 90
minute Pilates class. I am stiff, unbalanced, un-zenned, awkward – but alas, it
was a ticker for the cumbersome list New Year’s resolutions. Yes, I am one of
those fastidious people; I have a vision
board, a passion planner and keep a gratitude journal. It is no surprise summer-body
goals are making their umpteenth appearance on my vision board. Today, I’m need
of a win and brushing up on my already kick-ass culinary skills will do just
that. The perfect treat, a minimalist-one-bowl vegan chocolate cake. A quick
and easy recipe it is literally one bowl, in under an hour. By just exchanging
some of the regular chocolate cake ingredients with unbleached flour, cane
sugar, coconut oil, almond breeze and fruit puree you get this luxurious,
velvety, rich, chocolaty, guilt-free indulgence. It is sweet
tooth heaven and has made me the envy of every bake sale.
There are two types of people, those
that eat large pizzas, with slap chips, coke and dessert to boot, and never
gain any weight. Then there are those that literally breathe around chocolate
and expand circumferentially in leaps and bounds. I fall in the same category
as the latter. On a few occasions since the New Year, I have begrudgingly dragged
myself to a scale to assess the malevolent consequences of my sweet tooth with
the outcome rendering me practically paralysed. At times, I even have flashbacks
of all the things I managed to shove down the back of my throat. Yes, I pigged
out but who could possibly resist the temptation of good ol’ homemade Christmas
trifle during the festive season. Besides my apparent fondness for desserts, my
other weakness is, coke. I have singlehandedly-assisted
in South Africa’s ranking as one of the top 10 consumers of fizzy drinks in the
Further Research by The Healthy
Living Alliance (HEALA) has shown that drinking just one sugary fizzy drink a
day increases the chances of being overweight by 27% for adults and 55% for
children. Now that we’ve narrowed down the real season behind my struggles with
weight, let’s get to some sticky facts. See what I did there, I digress.WM1
The consumption of sweetened beverages (SSBs) has had detrimental health ramifications,
especially for our young. South African children are consuming 40 to 60 grams
of sugar a day. This means their intake is between 100 and 200% more than it
should be. Liquid sugar is easily absorbed, and most of the sugar from
sweetened beverages has no nutritional value beyond the sugar content. Shocking!
No tax is popular, but maybe it will take
a fiscal intervention, like the recently announced health promotion levy, to
promote healthier behaviour in the country and curb a wide-range of obesity
related non-communicable diseases. Sugar tax is no novel idea in these parts. After
a short nine-year stint, the government abolished the levy because back in the
heyday the tax was implemented purely to generate revenue. These days, the
reasoning behind the reintroduction of the tax is to address health concerns
related to excessive consumption of SSBs, these include diabetes, cancer,
stroke and heart disease. WM2
The Sugar Beverages levy (SBL) is
one that was received with much contempt, with opponents viewing sugar tax as
the least fair. Surveys suggest that the implementation thereof is
discriminatory, especially against lower socio-economic groups. The hostility
spans income brackets. A studyWM3
done by one Matthew
of the University of California-Irvine and Michael Lovenheim of Cornell
University concluded that higher-income households buy more fruits, vegetables,
snacks, candy and packaged meals while lower-income households buy more soda,
meat and milk.
Sugar tax has also been on the receiving end
of much criticism with the submission made by the South
African Sugar Association that the SBLsWM5 will result in a 200
000-ton reduction in demand for sugar. Resulting in negative
consequences for sugar milling industry and sugarcane agricultural sectors of
the local sugar industry
with an estimated 3129 jobs being lost.
Armed with such arguments,
opponents suggest that the tax targets one factor amongst a myriad of factors
that lead to obesity. Like, why not impose an overall tax on sugar? In
addition, the 11% tax target is below the 20% deemed effective to cause any
significant change to consumption (based on a 330ml can). Then again, an
ineffective tax on SBLsWM6
might signal to food companies that the government is serious about this issue
and rather than wait for new regulations or taxes, the large and quite powerful
food-processing industry may start to implement those changes voluntarily.
Undeniably, the right approach is
to strike a balance between policy intervention and comprehensive regulation.
This strategy should centre on education, awareness and an active lifestyle that
goes without saying, but perhaps a fiscal intervention is just what the country
needs. If we view this intervention by government, as a single event, then we
will be disheartened by the estimated number of jobs that could potentially be
lost. However, the beverage industry and many other industries see South Africa
and sub-Saharan Africa as their growth market. This means that they will
continue to find a way to increase profits. Government anticipates that the
industry will change their products in an effort to ensure their bottom line is
not affected and that it will encourage the industry to lower the sugar content
in its drinks and create healthier alternatives. The hope is that price
elasticity of these beverages will ultimately reduce demand and consumption.
The tax aims to impose a rate of 2.1c/gram for sugar content in excess of
4g/100ml for every sugar-sweetened beverage.
To date, diabetes costs South
Africa’s healthcare system on average between R11bn and R20bn annually. With
the potential injection of revenue and the reduction of the cost with which non-communicable
diseases are currently burdening the system, we can finally look forward to
that National Health Insurance. We can also expect an increase in economic
growth because the negative impact Non Communicable
have on the workforce, due to increased absenteeism and decreased productivity,
will no longer be a barrierWM8 .
interesting and clear.
study to investigate…
Matthew have a title (Dr, A/Prof, Prof). The same goes for Michael. Researchers
titles carry a lot of value to findings.
sugar beverage levy plural here?
is this meant to be plural?
sure if this acronym was introduced before?
sentence is not clear, may try to break it down some more.