The “Sugar Tax” to Curtail the UAE’s Obsession with Junk Food

Sugar Tax to Curtail the UAE’s Obsession with Junk Food :

Sugar Tax In Dubai, it’s appears you only need to step into a local hypermarket to be bombarded with a seemingly endless array of energy drinks – each containing as much as 20 teaspoons of sugar.

As appealing as it may seem to pay a few Dirhams for that instant energy boost, the negative long-term implications of a caffeine and sugar-rich diet are serious and well-documented.

In a bid to improve the nation’s health, the Dubai government has introduced the so-called ‘sugar tax’. Energy drinks will feel the full brunt of the tax, with a 100% price increase. Carbonated drinks will also be 50% more expensive by the end of the year.

Addressing the Concerns

According to an August 2017 article, 75% of the UAE population are overweight. * Not only that, but of the 3.4 million Emiratis, it’s estimated that 425,000 between the ages of 20 and 79 have been diagnosed with diabetes. * These shocking figures have prompted the UAE government to act.

What is just as alarming is that the number of diabetes diagnoses in Dubai rose by 35% between 2014-2016. Largely the result of poor diet and sedentary lifestyles, the concerns have grown too serious not to address. By making drinks rich in sugar content much more expensive, Dubai hopes to reduce diabetes rates by 16% by the year 2021.


The Opinions of Experts in the United Arab Emirates on Obesity

Dr. Walid Shaker, a consultant cardiac surgeon at Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi, believes that from a medical perspective, it’s paramount that the UAE considers ways to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks and junk food. He believes that the ‘sugar tax’ is one way of doing just that.

The benefit to the ‘sugar tax’ is that it encourages people to think more carefully about their diet. Young people, especially those with a limited amount of money, may be forced to choose a healthier, cheaper alternative.

Medical experts believe that an inflated price for certain junk foods and sugary, caffeine-rich soft drinks will encourage consumers to opt for healthier alternatives. This will therefore help to reduce a number of people suffering from hypertension, diabetes and obesity.

However, leading health experts in Dubai argue that more effort in needed than merely imposing a ‘sugar tax’ to combat the growing threat to healthcare. They argue that many schools do not provide an adequate lunchtime period for children to get a nutritious meal. This drawback becomes startling apparent as many students complain of insufficient time to receive their lunch in school cafeterias, and instead choose to buy a snack and sugary drink from the tuck shop before heading back to class.


Opinions of Experts in the United Arab Emirates on Obesity


The Prevalence of Fast Food

Leading Dubai nutritionists argue that the prevalence of fast food restaurants in the UAE also has a detrimental effect on the health and well-being of the population.

Many families opt for a quick and simple choice when it comes to mealtimes. Many reasons have been proposed for this. They include the lack of motivation for cooking in the sweltering heat, convenience and affordability.

The problem is that fast food is highly-processed and has little if any nutritional value whilst being rich in added sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. Nutritionists agree that regularly eating fast food depletes energy levels and can have a profound effect on heart health.

What’s, perhaps, most ironic about junk food is that in the time it takes to place an order and for a delivery to arrive, a healthy alternative meal can be cooked for the whole family.

Sugar Tax in UAE :

What’s clear is that the UAE government is committed to tackling the growing concern around high sugar and low-nutritional diets. They made sugar tax to control obsession in UAE. By restricting access to food and drink that cause the most harm to health, whilst emphasizing the benefits to a balanced diet, it’s hoped that the general long-term health of UAE citizens will improve, allowing everyone to experience a fuller, happier and healthier life.



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