Simply changing how we produce sugar can improve our overall health, save us money on healthcare, and save thousands of American lives a year. Sugar has long been known to have adverse health effects. Overconsumption of sugar and sugary food and drink leads directly towards diseases like diabetes and heart attacks. One of the leading causes of death in the United States is cardiovascular disease, which can worsen from high sodium and high sugar intake. To combat the rising health risks of our overly sugar diets, a policy drafted and purposed by the U.S National Salt and Sugar Reduction Initiative (NSSRI) seeks to significantly cut the amount of sugar used in the production of packaged foods and drink. As reported by Anita Slomski of Massachusetts General Hospital Public Relations, the NSSRI’s goal of eliminating 20% of sugar in packaged foods and 40% of sugar in drinks, can approximately reduce 2.5 million cardiovascular issues over the next 30 years.
The NSSRI’s policy seeks to allow members of the food production and packaging industries join voluntarily, demonstrating their promise to steadily cut back the amount of sugar in their products. This policy is only purposed, however, and not actually implemented. The NSSRI’s main goal is establish a national policy, based off its findings.
Siyi Shangguan, a medical practitioner at Massachusetts General, is quoted by Slomski in saying that the reduction of sugar in commercial foods and beverage has the potential to be more successful than any other initiative today.
The Long Term Benefits
The NSSRI estimates that by cutting the amount of sugar in commercial foods, the policy will save the US money on healthcare costs after approximately nine years. The potential savings amount to an estimated $160 billion over the next few decades. Seniors today face considerable healthcare expenses and rely heavily on Social Security to help cover those bills. Health living is important, but if the commercial foods we consumed were naturally healthier, it would be easier to reach and maintain a healthier lifestyle. This would allow Seniors lower their risk of cardiovascular diseases, help them live longer, and have lower healthcare needs and expenses. Lower healthcare costs allow them to utilize their Social Security in diverse ways, not having to worry about needing it to pay for a bill. Changing how we produce sugar is key to our health, and to have government and industry support means that it is an achievable goal.