The sugar tax debate: An update

The-sugar-tax-debate-an-update

Back in July this year we talked about Britain’s sugar crisis and the impact sugary foods and drinks were having on our dental health. Over recent months, the concern over the issue has continued to grow and now the Government is under serious pressure to drop its opposition to a tax on sugary drinks. This follows the publication of a hard-hitting report from MPs, which says a 20% levy is an essential part of any national strategy to tackle child obesity.

The cross-party group of MPs acknowledged that no single measure would provide a solution to the problem, but that a tax could “no longer be ignored”. Believing it could help reduce the problem significantly, it’s the one measure UK Government are now seriously considering.

What’s more, evidence from other countries, such as Mexico, show that a tax on sugar might just work. After introducing a tax of 10% on sugar-sweetened drinks, the country saw a 6% reduction in consumption.

The sugar tax debate an update sugar

As well as a tax on sugary drinks, the committee also called for:

  • A crackdown on price promotions of unhealthy foods
  • Tougher controls on marketing, including the use of cartoon characters to promote unhealthy food
  • A ban on advertising unhealthy foods on television before 9pm
  • Clearer labelling of products showing sugar content in teaspoons
  • A drive to force industry to reduce sugar in food and drink – as has previously been done with salt

Combined, these measures are thought to reduce interest and access to unhealthy and sugary food, improving overall health over time.

Where are children getting their sugar from? 

The Government already know that sugary drinks are one of the major culprits when it comes to sugar, but what are the stats when it comes to sugar intake?

Children aged 4-18 get around 15% of their daily energy intake from added sugar. A large portion of this comes from soft and fizzy drinks. Sugars added to food shouldn’t make up more than 5% of daily energy intake for those aged from two upwards. Other culprits include cereals, cakes and biscuits; sugars, sweets and jams; and milk products.

Adults, aged 19 over, get their added sugar from similar sources, but alcohol also plays a role. For a typical adult aged 19-24, 10% of their added sugar intake will come from alcohol.

The sugar tax debate an update sweets

The recommended maximum amount of sugar children should have each day is:

4-6 years old: 19g

7-10 years old: 24g

11 years and up: 30g

Recommended intakes for adults are as follows:

Women: 25g

Men: 35g

To find out more about the impact sugar has on dental health, read our blog article from back in the summer. If you have any questions, concerns, or queries, you can also arrange an appointment to visit your dentist at AP Smilecare.

What are your thoughts on the new sugar tax? Do you think it should be imposed? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation over on Twitter @APSmilecare

Posted on: 30th Nov, 2015