Why The Sugar Tax Is Missing The Point - StrongLife

Why The Sugar Tax Is Missing The Point

sugar tax

So yesterday the “sugar tax” officially came into effect.

If you’re unaware, it means that any drink with 8g of sugar or more per 100ml gets a 30c per litre price hike.

20c gets added to any drinks between 5g and 8g per 100ml.

So your standard can of Coke or the likes will generally go up by 10c.

But I genuinely feel that by imposing a sugar tax we have missed the point.

Why A Sugar Tax Won’t Fix Behaviours

I look at a sugar tax and can’t see how it will help us make better choices.

Instead, it hits us more in the pocket.

If you are in a rut of junk food and drinking sugary drinks, then your decisions are rarely driven by price.

It’s the feeling of reward and pleasure you get from eating/drinking those products.

And the underlying issue when it comes to soft drinks is behaviour.

By simply imposing a tax on us, we fail to see the main problem.

We fail to identify that it is education on nutrition, lifestyle and behavioural change that we should focus on.

These are the key drivers behind our food choices.

I know lots of people that continue to smoke regardless of the price hikes in so many recent budgets.

And they do so because it has become a habit.

It’s their vice that they need a hit of to keep going.

The same goes for sugar/junk food etc.

(Now I know this sugar tax is only on drinks so far, however; there is possibility it will also come into play against food down the line).

Why We Should Educate

The main reason for the tax is to tackle obesity.

However; the ultimate driver in obesity is the over-consumption of calories.

While drinking calories is an easy way of going over your calorie intake, it’s not the bottom line.

Instead of spending time educating people on nutrition and empowering them to make better decisions to improve their lifestyle, behaviours and health, we choose to hit them in the pocket with a tax.

So for me, I think it does miss the point.

Because without education, we cannot expect people to make better decisions.

And that’s why good coaching/gyms will become more and more important in years to come.

The Fear Of Artificial Sweeteners/Diet Drinks

A common fear recently is that the tax will push people towards diet drinks.

And for some reason it has come out saying that artificial sweeteners are highly toxic.

However; the studies done showing levels of toxicity were done in rodents.

And these effects are not shown to transfer to humans.

The main culprit is Aspartame.

In order for Aspartame to become toxic in a human, you need to consume very high amounts.

The FDA has an acceptable daily intake of approximately 18-19 cans of diet soft drinks.

So if you have the odd can of diet drink once or twice a week, then we really shouldn’t be so fearful.

Diet drinks can be used to give people the sensation of having something sweet without all the calories.


If you are struggling with your weight or need guidance, then seek someone who can educate you and enable you to make better choices in your diet.

Avoid going down the rabbit hole on small issues and instead look at things in a global sense.

Manage your daily calorie intake better, focus on whole foods and keep processed foods for the odd treat.

Get moving – exercise will make you feel good and help you transform your body and mind.

Don’t beat yourself up if you make the odd slip up, it happens us all.

While I’m sceptical of the sugar tax, I’ll allow it to play out and see has it any meaningful effect long term.

That’s my insights for today.


Ps. If you want to read more about the science behind diet drinks and artificial sweeteners, go here:


Colm Duignan

Colm Duignan

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