Sugar reduction and obesity
Sugar is being reduced. Obesity isn’t.
The latest UK statistics from the Nuffield Department of Population Health show a 29% reduction in the sugar content of soft drinks between 2015 and 2018, despite a 7% increase in the volume consumed.
• 73% of the reduction came from industry reformulation and new products with less sugar.
• 27% came from consumers switching to lower sugar products.
This represents significant progress. But the changes have yet to make a significant impact on obesity.
As the British Soft Drinks Association comments:
“The soft drinks industry has long led the way in calorie and sugar reduction. Between spring 2012 and spring 2016, prior to the announcement of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, UK soft drinks manufacturers cut sugar from their products by 15.6% according to Kantar Worldpanel data.
“We recognise that the levy did lead to parts of the sector moving further and faster on sugar reduction. However, we are yet to see evidence that the sugar reduction in our category has had any impact on levels of obesity.”
Obesity policy needs to broaden, not just to fatten up Government coffers by thinly disguised taxation.