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Sunday, February 02, 2014

More on sugar

Today's Observer reports on a campaign to cut the amount of sugar we consume which academics calculate could save the NHS £50 billion a year:

Action on Sugar was launched last month. At a time when many people were defaulting on new year pledges to improve their diets, the organisation said the burden of cutting our sugar intake by up to 40% over the next four years should instead be placed on Britain's food and drink manufacturers. The group will meet Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, this week to try to persuade him to sign up to their cause.

The health and nutrition experts behind the campaign say that unless Hunt agrees, rising levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes could cost the country up to £50bn a year – more than half of NHS England's current budget.

"It is very difficult to argue with what we're saying," says Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine and the chairman of Action on Sugar. "Human beings don't need to eat added sugar. It was never a feature of a mammalian diet, because we couldn't get it."

Some academics have controversially likened sugar to addictive drugs such as tobacco or cocaine and accuse the food industry of cynically hooking children and parents on junk food to maximise profits.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that the average person consumes 150 pounds of sugar each year, that is the equivalent of approximately seventy five one kilogram bags or 33 tablespoons each day. In the Observer article, it becomes clear how that happens. They say that a tall Starbucks caramel Frappuccino contains 11 teaspoons of sugar,  barely two spoons under the recommended daily intake for women. Coca-Cola or Pepsi contains nine per can and a bowl of Kellogg's Frosties has four.

But that is the obvious stuff. It is a sobering thought when one considers that 300g of Heinz Cream of Tomato soup contains 14.9g or four teaspoons of sugar, a 114g King Pot Noodle Curry contains 7.6g or two teaspoons of sugar and  a 40g Hovis medium soft white bread, has 1.4g or 0.4 teaspoons of sugar. It is the processed food that is doing the damage and that is where the government must intervene.
It's "added sugar" and should be outlawed. cdw Either industry immediately takes action or government should use the heavy hand of regulation. 14.9 g of sugar in a 300g can of tomato soup ... outrageous.
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