If you have ever visited Europe, then you may recall that most of the foods produced and sold there are generally far less sweet than foods produced and sold in the U.S. And yet, despite this difference, Van der Velpen still sees a major public health epidemic brewing in his country as a result of sugar consumption — how much worse must the situation be here in the U.S., where public health officials generally avoid tagging sugar as a major factor in declining public health?
“Sugar is actually a form of addiction,” adds Van der Velpen. “It’s just as hard to get rid of the urge for sweet foods as of smoking. Thereby diets only work temporarily. Addiction therapy is better … Health insurers should have to finance addiction therapy for their obese clients.”
It is important to note that Amsterdam has long tolerated the presence and use of other typically restricted substances such as cannabis, a plant that government authorities the world over have long referred to as a “drug,” within its borders. Cannabis, of course, does not harm the body and is not a public health threat, thus Amsterdam’s relaxed approach to its availability within the city. Sugar, on the other hand, is an actual threat, and Van der Velpen hopes others will learn this truth and take action.