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UK Sugar Tax Triumph: Kids’ Sugar Intake Halved

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In a study regarded as a landmark, researchers have claimed that the sugar tax levied on soft drinks sold in the UK reduced the intake of sugar in both children and adults. Within only the first year of the April 2018 levy introduction, the daily sugar intake of children from soft drinks was almost halved, and that of adults by almost 11 grams a day.

In a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, using data from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey, capturing responses from 7,999 adults and 7,656 children between 2008 and 2019, the daily sugar intake for children was found to have decreased by about 4.8 grams and that for adults by 10.9 grams in this one year since the implementation of the tax.

This research presented some very promising results, but it emerged that sugar consumption is still much above the recommended guidelines and continues to fuel high levels of tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, and other ailments. The World Health Organization and the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition recommend that free sugar intake should not be above 5% of total energy intake, which works out to 30 grams per day for adults, and 24 grams for children aged 7-10 years, and 19 grams for children aged 4-6 years.

Eddie Crouch, chair of the British Dental Association, emphasized the effectiveness of the sugar tax, stating that it was delivering “tangible results.” He advocated for extending the tax to other high-sugar products like cereals, suggesting that such measures are essential for any government serious about prevention.

According to Dr. Nina Rogers, a research fellow at the University of Cambridge and the lead author of the study, the findings support prior research that showed an overall decline in household sugar purchases through soft drinks following the implementation of the levy. She suggested that extending the tax by the government to other high-sugar drinks and foods very well may consider its restructuring to per gram of sugar per 100 milliliters rather than the threshold-based levy applied psychically.

Dr Kawther Hashem of Queen Mary University of London said Policies aimed at improving the nutritional quality of food and drink are very important. Policymakers should consider similar levies on other discretionary products like chocolate confectionery to promote healthier diets.

We are determined to deal with the obesity crisis and avoid illness. The government will shortly bring in tough restrictions on Junk food advertising and a ban on the sale of sugary, high-caffeine energy drinks to children, said a spokesperson of the Department of Health and Social Care.

The results of this study certainly underline the role of a sugar tax in cutting sugar consumption and bringing about changes in public health. With more than 50 countries now adopting similar levies, the UK experience could prove useful in understanding the potential benefits.

The idea of the government is to curb sugar consumption with extra taxes and regulations so it sustains a healthy society for a healthy economy.

More for you:

  • Daily sugar consumption of children halves a year after tax.
  • A voucher scheme offering subsidized fruit and vegetables to pregnant women also showed some promise, said researchers in a new study. Daily sugar intake has fallen, as a result of the UK’s sugar tax by 5 g in kids and 11 g in adults. Sugar tax on soft drinks slashed people’s sugar consumption.

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