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Over the past three years, sugar has replaced fat as public health enemy No1. Nutritionists, quacks, policy makers and get-famous-quick filmmakers argue that consumption of soft drinks, sweets and sugar-laden processed foods has caused a global health crisis. They say sugar by its nature — like cigarettes and booze — begets an appetite for more. This week, the SA government’s levy on sugar-sweetened beverages came into effect. The levy will amount to 2.1c/g of sugar per 100ml, above 4g/100ml. It is being called a "health promotion levy" in support of the department of health’s attempts to decrease type 2 diabetes, obesity and related diseases. The World Health Organisation recommends adults consume no more than six teaspoons of sugar a day, but the average South African consumes more than double that. Our public health sector is severely overburdened and the rapid pace of urbanisation is often said to be one of the reasons we’re drinking more soft drinks and eating more processed fo...

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