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Health drive to cut sugar in foods


By Charlotte Birch

Health experts are taking 'Action on Sugar' as part of a campaign to tackle the obesity "epidemic" in the UK.

Following successful drives such as the Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash), Action on Sugar aims to advise consumers about the amount of sugar in foods and soft drinks.

As well as aiming to educate shoppers about sugar-heavy products, the campaign is urging manufacturers to cut the amount of the sweetener in their products over time.

It is hoped the obesity epidemic could be turned around by the measures as a successful campaign would also have a significant influence on extending life expectancy.

Marketing attracts children to sugar-laden products

Those most susceptible to the marketing of sugar-laden products are children, the campaign says.

It is hoped that with long-term targets to reduce sugar in products, consumers will notice little or no difference in taste.

The targets include cutting sugar by 20 per cent to 30 per cent, with such a reduction leading to a drop of around 100kcal per day in those at the highest risk of obesity.

Graham MacGregor, chairman of Action on Sugar said: "We must now tackle the obesity epidemic both in the UK and worldwide.

"The department of health’s Responsibility Deal has been shown to have had no effect on calorie intake.

Plan to reduce amount of calories people consume

"We must start a coherent and structured plan to slowly reduce the amount of calories people consume by slowly taking out added sugar from foods and soft drinks."

A list of common foods and drinks that contain large amounts of sugar includes: flavoured water, sports drinks, yoghurts, ketchup, ready meals and bread, the group said.

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