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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Not so sweet

According to the Times the war on sugar continues with a pledge by the Labour's Shadow Health Secretary to deal with the obesity crisis by imposing limits on breakfast cereals. It is a start but nowhere near enough.

The paper says that Andy Burnham was horrified at the levels of sugar in popular cereals and suggested that Labour would impose limits to help to tackle Britain’s growing obesity problem:

“I’m not comfortable with the idea that any child in my constituency sits down at breakfast time to a bowl of food that is 38 per cent sugar,” he said in an interview with The House magazine. “And if people are comfortable with that, well I’m going to disagree with them. I don’t think any child should be regularly taking in sugar of that level.”

Many of the most popular cereal brands contain about 37 per cent sugar. Frosties, Coco Pops and Crunchy Nut cornflakes, made by Kellog’s, all contain 36.6g of sugar per 100g. Many own-brand equivalents have similar levels.

Mr Burnham said that a health paper would seek to “reframe the debate on public health, to set out a new approach on public health from Labour”. Sugary cereals would not be outlawed, he said, but there would be limits on the amount of sugar they could contain.

It is a start but nowhere near enough. The amount of sugar in processed food is also a problem and needs to be tackled. Regulation is not always a good thing but in this case the food manufacturers need to be brought to book.

Educating people about healthy eating is one approach but looking beyond cereals and reducing the amount of sugar in all foods is a must in my view.

I repeat a fact that never ceases to alarm me: the average person consumes 150 pounds of sugar each year, which is the equivalent of approximately seventy five one kilogram bags or 33 tablespoons each day.

Can we really keep that up especially when we see stories like this in the daily papers?
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