Friday, 17 July 2015

Time to get tough on sugar

This week the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), which advises Public Health England and other government agencies on nutrition, have said that the recommended daily intake of sugar should be halved to reduce obesity risk and improve dental health.  This bring top level UK government advice to the same recommendations as provided by the World Health Organisation.

As well as other recommendations the SACN have recommended:
  • A ban on all forms of targeted marketing of ultra-processed, unhealthy foods and drinks to children.
  • We should disassociate physical activity with obesity by banning junk food sports sponsorships.
Why is this such great news? After all most health campaigners have been banging on about this for years!  The reason is that it is this committee that the government relies on for advice on policy making. The reason the government have not acted until now (aside from the fact that they are under pressure from the food industry) is that they have not had clear advice from their advisors on what to do.  Well now they have and it is time to act.

And how have the food and drink industry reacted to this life-threatening news?  The Food and Drink Federation described the goals set out in the report as "stretching".

FDF Director general Ian Wright said: "The most thorough scientific review of carbohydrates and health carried out in recent years should leave people in no doubt that sugars can be enjoyed safely as part of a varied and balanced diet." He added: "Demonising any one ingredient in the obesity debate isn't helpful."

Talk about bending the truth! The report may have said that sugar can be consumed but the clear message is that consumption should be halved. Not just reduced, HALVED!

When the growth in consumption of one ingredient has caused an worldwide epidemic costing billions of dollars and millions of lives then I say let’s demonize it. Although let’s be clear about it, sugar is not at fault; no it is the FDF and its members that have deliberately increased the percentage of sugar in our food over the last 30 years in their attempt to get us hooked on their products.  We have been silently poisoned.

Tobacco companies have been sued for knowingly damaging our health and it is time to take the same approach to our food.

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