Friday, 18 September 2015

The Fight Against Hidden Sugar

by Hermione Barrick

Over-the-counter medicine, yogurt, and spaghetti sauce: they don't sound like much of a gang but they are three of some of the worst offenders in the fight against hidden sugar in food.

Sugar has been cast as the villain of Britain's obesity crisis. A quarter of the UK adult population is now said to be obese, with the proportion set to rise to a third by 2030. Rates of overweight and obese children in the UK are among the highest in Europe  and diabetes levels have doubled in the past two decades, additionally nearly 26,000 children, aged five to nine, were admitted to hospital in England in 2013-14, up 14% from 2011, with tooth decay. 

The BMA claims that poor diet costs the NHS around £6bn a year – greater than the impact of alcohol, smoking and physical inactivity.

Now if you take a look at the photo below, would you like to take a guess at what percentage of your daily intake of sugar is in that half a cup of ice cream?

Well The NHS's recommended daily guidelines for added sugar are currently 70g for men and 50g for women depending on a person's size, age and activity levels. This means that this one scoop of ice cream which is 17.3g of sugar is roughly 37% of a females daily intake of sugar, and thats before you add in another scoop for luck necessary after the effort that it took to scoop out the ice cream from the tub in the first place that makes it 75% of your daily intake.

Now I don't know about you but when I eat I don't eat blindfolded for a reason. I don't want it to say low fat on it yet have so much sugar in it that I can't get comfortable; I don't want it to say all natural on it and have so much sugar in it that I could rival a bungee for the amount of times I have highs and lows. I want to eat in the comfort that I know exactly how much I am contributing to my future dentistry bill.

Well, that is where Jamie Oliver and his sugar tax come in.

Jamie Oliver’s  big aim is to introduce the sugary drinks tax, he wants to see the introduction of a 20p levy per litre on every soft drink containing added sugar; this bill could potentially reduce obesity levels by up to 200,000 people and reduce sugary drink consumption by 15%. Jamie’s bill also wants to make it mandatory that the traffic light system is used on the front of all packaging so that high levels of sugar and salt etc. can be easily identified because not everything is good for you even if it does say chocolate on the front

So I challenge you, the next time you take a spoon to that tub of ice cream, once you are halfway through and remember the contents of this speech, keep calm, take a look at the back, gasp at the amount of sugar it contains, and then carry on eating, because cutting sugar from your diet isn't the answer. It is just important that we start to fight hidden sugar by making ourselves aware of exactly how much we are consuming, as then we can control the amount of sugar we take in and begin to fight the effects of sugar in the hospital ward, and we can fight the hole that it makes in our teeth and then our wallets, and win the war against hidden sugar.

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