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Summer Uncovered - The Sugary Secret

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Diabetes and obesity are escalating world health problems. According to the World Health Organisation, this could be largely prevented by reducing sugar intake.A third of UK children leave primary school overweight or obese, increasing their risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers in adulthood. The cost of obesity to the NHS has been estimated by PHE to be £6.1 billion annually and could increase by a further £2 billion by 2030.A Survey commissioned by Sensus has revealed that reducing sugar intake is emerging as a key concern amongst European consumers. The survey found that more than 60% of those surveyed monitor their dietary sugarintake and 25% actively search for low sugar options.As well as showing a clear concern about sugar intake, more than half of those surveyed claimed that the TYPE of sweetener used in reduced sugar products influenced their buying choices with natural alternatives being preferred to many artificial sweeteners. 60% of consumers also stated that the health benefits of products with less sugar are NOT clearly labelled affecting their buying choices.

A not-so-sweet problem

Sugar consumption has rocketed by 11% since 2016 and Public Health England (PHE) has resolved to crack down on it.

Public Health England (PHE) has published new guidelines for the food industry to try and reduce the amount of sugar in UK diets.As a result of these measures, PHE believes that approximately 200,000 tons of sugar could be removed from UK diets by 2020. That's the equivalent of 20 times the weight of the Eiffel Tower! In the guidelines, there are recommended sugar limits for nine food groups, which include, breakfast cereals, yoghurts, biscuits, cakes, morning goods, puddings, ice creams, confectionery and sweet spreads. With an overall aim to reduce the sugar content of products within these food groups by 20% per 100g. Additionally, the report lays out three approaches that the food industry should be taking to reduce the sugar in their products. The approaches are; reformulating products, reducing portion sizes and changing consumer attitudes towards lower or no added sugar products.

How Public Health England Will Reduce Sugar

The Chief Executive of PHE, Duncan Selbie says “The scale of our ambition to reduce sugar is unrivalled anywhere in the world. This means the UK food industry has a unique opportunity to innovate and show the rest of the world how it can be done. I believe reducing sugar in the nation's diet will be good for health and ultimately good for UK food business.”As a result of implementing these changes, PHE hopes to see a drop of 20% in the number of overweight or obese children in the UK. A more in-depth report is scheduled to be released in March 2018, outlining what the industry is doing to move towards these targets and highlighting who is doing more or less than required.

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