A new report says sugar is so toxic that it should be controlled like alcohol, suggesting there should be an age limit of 17 years to buy soda pop.
The report ran in research journal Nature and points to sugar as a greater health burden than infectious disease as it is behind heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
It used to be that sugar was available as fruit only a few months a year at harvest time, or honey guarded by bees, but now it's added to nearly all processed foods, says the report by Dr. Robert Lustig, a noted childhood obesity expert at the University of California, and two specialists in health policy.
Often sugary drinks in developing countries are cheaper than potable water or milk.
Over the past 50 years, consumption of sugar has tripled worldwide.
The sweetener, made from sucrose, is found in sugarcane and sugar beets or from high-fructose corn syrup.
A growing body of scientific evidence shows that the fructose can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic diseases, says the report's authors.
With that in mind, those concerned about public health must concern limiting fructose and the added sugars HFCS and sucrose.
While many schools have removed sugary pop and candy from vending machines, juice and sports drinks that have replace them also contain added sugar, according to the report.
Canada has also imposed small taxes on some sweetened food.
The Canadian Beverage Association, representing makers of pop and most non-alcoholic drinks sold across Canada, was quick to dismiss the report in Nature as an over simplification of a complex issue, in an article on Canada.com.
It added that there is no scientific evidence to support the allegations that sugar, in any of its various forms, is a unique cause of health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease or metabolic syndrome.