Time To Lead The World In Sugar Reduction
In a commentary discussing the lessons learnt from the successful UK salt reduction programme, in the lancet today [Ref 1], Action on Sugar calls upon the UK Government to implement a similar voluntary, systematic and unobtrusive reformulation programme for manufacturers to gradually reduce the amount of sugar that is added to foods and drinks, by setting targets in each food and drink category that has sugar added.
Chairman of Action on Sugar and co-author of the commentary, Professor Graham MacGregor; “We have known about the health risks of sugar for years and yet nothing has been done. We are calling the UK Government to reduce sugar in foods by any means necessary. We strongly urge the Department of Health and the Government to initiate a sugar reduction programme now by forcing the industry to slowly reduce the huge amount of sugar added by the food industry across the board, similar to salt. Unless they act now, obesity and diabetes are going to completely overwhelm the NHS.”
Nutritionist of Action on Sugar and co-author of the commentary, Kawther Hashem says, “The huge amount of sugar added to food and drinks gives us calories with no nutritional value and doesn’t make us feel full, and this is particularly true for sugary soft drinks. Consumers are largely unaware of the amount of added sugar they are eating. Therefore food manufactures must help us to eat less sugar in our everyday foods.”
Campaign Director for CASH and Action on Sugar, Katharine Jenner says, “Most people will be surprised to know that their basket of shopping contains 20-30% less salt then it did 10 years ago [Ref 2], this has reduced salt intake in adults by 1.5g per day and is predicted to have saved almost 9000 lives a year from strokes and heart attacks [Ref 3]. This is a fantastic example of how a government led programme can improve public health; the same should now be done for sugar.”
Ref 1 Action on sugar—lessons from UK salt reduction programme http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)60200-2/abstract
Ref 2 He FJ, Brinsden HC, MacGregor GA. Salt reduction in the United Kingdom: a successful experiment in public health. J Hum Hypertens 2013; published online Oct 31. DOI:10.1038/jhh.2013.105.
Ref 3 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Guidance on the prevention of cardiovascular disease at the population level. http://guidance.nice.org.uk/PH25