Health Experts Advocate Extending UK Sugar Tax to Treats

Health Experts Advocate Extending UK Sugar Tax to Treats
credit: medicalxpress

London (Parliament News) – The successful sugar tax should extend to cakes, biscuits, and chocolate, say health experts. The WHO supports this expansion to combat obesity, diabetes, and tooth erosion by incentivizing healthier food reformulation.

The sugar tax has been so prosperous in improving people’s diets that it should be expanded to cakes, biscuits and chocolate, health experts express. The World Health Organization wants the UK government to expand the scope of the levy to help tackle tooth erosion, obesity, diabetes and other illnesses.

How has the sugar tax impacted public health?

The plea is publicised in the WHO’s bulletin, which encourages governments worldwide to use the reformulation of food to manage the growing crisis of excess weight. Experts from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have examined the outcomes of two flagship government policies planned to make food healthier – the sugar tax and sugar reduction programme, which were introduced in 2018 and 2015 respectively.

The levy on the soft drinks enterprise led to a 34.3% fall in total sugar deals from such products between 2015 and 2020 and many fizzy drinks contained much less. But the sugar-lowering programme only yielded a 3.5% drop over the same course in the amount of sugar used in the manufacture of the everyday foodstuffs it wrapped, the experts write in their analysis for the WHO.

What foods might be included in the new sugar tax?

Dr Kawther Hashem, a co-author and lecturer in public health nutrition at QMUL, expressed that ministers should trial a sugar tax-style levy on dined foods that still have almost as much sugar as they did in 2015 despite companies being asked to cut sugar by 20% before 2020.

That could be applied to three products that, according to stats from the government’s Office for Health Improvements and Disparities, have registered only small falls in their sugar content – chocolate 0.9% less, biscuits 3.1% and cakes 3.2%, Hashem said. It could also be utilised to cut the amount of sugar in enhanced milk-based drinks such as Frappucinos, milkshakes and bubble tea, she added.

Why do experts support expanding the sugar tax?

The analysis states: “Given the proven success of the soft drinks industry levy at incentivising reformulation, we, therefore, recommend that policymakers believe in applying a similar levy to other discretionary products that are key contributors to sugar intake.”

The sugar tax has allowed to reduce obesity in teenage girls and brought about a decline in the number of children permitted to hospital for tooth decay, research has discovered. The authors, who include Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular health at QMUL, also operate the health research and campaign groups Action on Sugar and Action on Salt.

“Unhealthy food which includes too much salt, sugar and fat and lacks in fruit, vegetables and fibre is now the major reason for death in the world. The new government ought to control the food industriousness rather than being subservient to its products,” MacGregor said.

Legally-enforceable limits on salt, sugar and fat would force manufacturers to make products healthier and would reduce strokes, heart attacks and cases of cancer, many of which are linked to bad diet, he said.

The director of the Obesity Health Alliance, Katharine Jenner, expressed switching from ministers requesting firms to voluntarily make their products more healthy to compelling them to do so through a sugar tax-type levy was required after “over a decade of neglect from both government and industry” to improve dietary habits.

Massimiliano  Verde

Massimiliano Verde is a journalist at Parliament News, He is covering Society and Culture News. Boasting a Master's Degree in Political Science, stands as a prominent figure in the Italian cultural landscape. His presidency of the Neapolitan Academy, a scientifically and sociolinguistically renowned group, attests to his relentless dedication to safeguarding and promoting Neapolitan language and culture. His activism and profound expertise have propelled him into the role of interlocutor for UNESCO as part of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032), a prestigious acknowledgment highlighting the significance of his efforts in preserving the linguistic and cultural diversity of our planet.

Verde's fervent passion for the history and culture of Southern Italy has driven him to immerse himself in research, resulting in numerous essays and articles that delve into the peculiarities and beauties of the region. His commitment extends beyond academia, manifesting in ongoing dissemination activities aimed at acquainting the general public with the rich cultural heritage of the South. His endeavors transcend national boundaries, as evidenced by his participation in international conferences and collaboration with various foreign institutions, rendering him an ambassador of Southern culture on the global stage and fostering intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.