Bitter Sweet Taste of Sugar

Public Health England has challenged businesses to cut sugar in cakes, biscuits, chocolate bars and cereal by 20% by 2020 and by 5% this year.

Sugar limits for everyday foods such as biscuits, chocolate bars and cereals have been published by public health officials in a bid to make UK children more healthy and reduce obesity.  It says the food industry must lower sugar levels, reducing product size and pushing healthier products.

Children are consuming three times more sugar every day than they should, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. Currently, one in five children are overweight or obese when they start primary school and by the time they start secondary school that rises to one in three.

This increases their risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers in adulthood.

Tackling the amount of sugar we eat is essential and if businesses achieve the new guidelines then 200,000 tonnes of sugar could be removed from the UK market per year by 2020.

The guidelines apply to retailers and manufacturers as well as small cafes, coffee shops and fast food restaurants, which are thought to be responsible for an increasing level of calorie intake.  Food in nine different categories will have recommended sugar limits, including cakes, biscuits, chocolate and sweets, ice cream, puddings, yoghurts, breakfast goods and sweet spreads.  A sugar tax on the UK soft drinks industry has already been announced and will come into force next April.

Businesses are being encouraged to meet the sugar reduction guidelines by cutting sugar levels by 20% across their products, reducing the number of calories in a single serving or reducing the portion size and pushing consumers towards "no added" or lower sugar products

This means that some popular chocolate bars and tubes of sweets could shrink in size to meet the targets although earlier this week Nestle, which makes Kitkat and Aero, said it had a found a way of reducing the sugar content of its chocolate bars by 10% without changing the taste.

If we are to successfully tackle obesity we need to change attitudes and habits and put into place a sugar reduction programme.