NEW YORK — Nearly all doctors say that the sharp growth in Type 2 diabetes around the world and the obesity epidemic are linked to excess sugar consumption, according to a new report by the Credit Suisse Research Institute.
The institute, part of the global investment bank, released the report Wednesday titled "Sugar: Consumption at a Crossroads," which explores the medical, economic, consumer, corporate and public policy elements of global sugar consumption and what it means for investors.
The report includes a survey of doctors in the United States, Europe and Asia, which found that 90% think that people consuming too much sugar is strongly linked to the growth in diabetes and obesity. The United States, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and Mexico were found to lead global sugar consumption, and added sugars represent 17% of a normal U.S. diet, with more than 40% of added sugars coming from sweetened beverages. In addition, the report found that Type 2 diabetes was growing at 4% per year, and obesity was growing at 1-2%; in 2012, 4.8 million people around the world died of diabetes, compared with 5.6 million who died from illnesses related to smoking, and over 10% of global healthcare spending — totaling $500 billion — went to Type 2 diabetes.
"Although causality is difficult to prove in this area, with such a high percentage of doctors in our proprietary survey confident of this strong link, we cannot ignore the significance and the implications for society and our economy," Stefano Natella, a Credit Suisse research and study author said.
The report looked at the possibility of taxation, saying it was possibly the most effective way to curb consumption, but was less likely to succeed in most places. But the risk of public intervention and awareness would likely force companies to adapt as consumers move toward healthier options that use high-intensity natural sweeteners.
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