Sugar is an addictive drug, says Amsterdam health chief

Soft drinks should carry warnings that sugar is highly addictive and the government should consider introducing a tax on sugar, the head of Amsterdam’s health service says in a website column.

‘Whoever consumes sugar wants more and more, even when they are no longer hungry,’ Paul van der Velpen says in his column. ‘Like tobacco and alcohol, sugar is really a drug.’

Van der Velpen says the use of sugar should be regulated and users should be warned of the dangers.


The government should consider introducing an extra tax on sugar rather than on foods with a high level of fat. He also called for rules to limit the amount of sugar which can be added to processed foods.

People who cannot deal with their addiction, should be entitled to help because diets only offer a temporary solution, Van der Velpen says. ‘Sugar is the most dangerous drug of the time and can be acquired everywhere.’

In addition, schools should be banned from selling sweets and soft drinks and the producers of sugar-stuffed sports drinks should be prosecuted for misleading advertising, he says.

According to the national statistics office, some 40% of the Dutch are now overweight.

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