- Paul van der Velpen, head of Amsterdam’s health service, says sugar is a drug and its use should be discouraged because it is addictive
- He says when people are eating fats and proteins they stop when they are full but if they are eating sugar they keep eating for longer
- He suggests sugar should be taxed and regulated like alcohol and tobacco
Sugary foods and drinks should come with a smoking-style health warning, according to a leading Dutch health expert.
Paul van der Velpen, head of Amsterdam’s health service, said that sugar is ‘the most dangerous drug of our time’.
The health chief – from a city that has a famously liberal attitude to cannabis – added that sugar is a drug like alcohol and tobacco and that its use should be discouraged.
Writing on a public health website, he said that users should be made aware of the dangers.
He wrote: ‘This may seem exaggerated and far-fetched, but sugar is the most dangerous drug of this time and is easy to obtain.’
He added: ‘Just as with smoking labels, soft drinks and sweet products should come with the warning that sugar is addictive and bad for the health.’
Mr Van der Velpen wrote that more and more people are becoming overweight and that this is increasing healthcare costs at a time when many governments are trying to save money.
He added that obesity could be tackled by encouraging people to take more exercise, but that changing people’s diets would be more effective.
He cites research which suggests that when people are eating fats and proteins they stop when they are full, but that when they are eating sugars they will keep eating until their stomachs hurt.
He believes this is because sugar is addictive and is ‘as hard to give up as smoking’.
As a result, he says sugar should be taxed in the same way alcohol and cigarettes are.
He also suggests that the amount of sugar that can be added to processed food should be regulated.