Calls for Govt to set sugar reduction targets on fizzy drinks

Some soft drinks contain so much sugar the Government should set reduction targets in order to tackle obesity, health campaigners said. The call comes after 79% of supermarket fizzy drinks were found to exceed the recommended daily amount of sugar.

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Experts call for action against sugar loaded soft drinks

Experts have rounded on the soft drink industry claiming the majority are overloaded with sugar and urging the government to step in to take "legislative action".

Katharine Jenner from Action for Sugar said that legislative action would now have to be taken to curb the prevalence of sugar in the drinks if the industry failed to self-regulate.

"We are talking about taxation, warning labels, limits to the amount of sugar in food and that's something that's going to have to happen pretty soon if they don't take action," Jenner said.

Although a typical can of cola had around nine spoons of sugar other branded soft drinks had a similar amount with some ginger beer drinks containing as much as 13 spoons of sugar,

However, Gavin Partington from the British Soft Drinks Association, said it was wrong to demonise the entire industry over a single ingredient.

ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports:

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Old Jamaica ginger beer 'designed to be a treat'

Old Jamaica ginger beer was found to contain the most sugar with 13 teaspoons per can in a survey carried out by Action on Sugar but its makers say the drink was "designed to be a treat".

Old Jamaica ginger beer was found to contain the most sugar with 13 teaspoons per can, according to a survey carried out by Action on Sugar. Credit: oldjamaicagingerbeer.com

A spokesperson from Old Jamaica Ginger Beer said: “Old Jamaica Ginger Beer is produced using a traditional recipe, which includes authentic Jamaican root ginger, to create its trademark fiery taste and is designed to be a treat."

"We also offer a light version of Old Jamaica Ginger Beer which delivers the same flavour intensity but with no sugar," the spokesperson added.

'Shouldn't be any warnings' about sugar in soft drinks

There "shouldn't be any warnings" about the amount of sugar in soft drinks because they are "perfectly reasonable" as part of a balanced diet, according to Gavin Partington, Director General at British Soft Drinks Association.

"It is perfectly acceptable to have a can of soft drink if you want to as part of a balanced diet," Mr Partins said.

"60% of the products on the market are in the low and no sugar calorie version and that is a real real success story," he added.

Amount of sugar in fizzy drinks is 'absolutely not required'

The amount of sugar in fizzy drinks "is absolutely not required" and "is not necessary for life", Katherine Jenner, Campaign Director of Action on Sugar, has said.

"We do have too much, we all have too much pretty much every day and the group that has the most amount of sugar is teenagers who love things like these fizzy drinks and actually they make up a third of their daily sugar intake," she told ITV News.

She added: "Now this is sugar that is absolutely not required. It's not necessary for life. It does not give us the energy we need- we get that from our food.

"So by demonising it we don't want to necessarily say that sugar should be cut out completely from the diet but we certainly don't need it in such huge amounts."

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Govt: UK 'needs to consume less sugar'

The UK "needs to consumer less sugar" and the Department of Health "eagerly awaits" advice from health and nutrition experts due to be published later this month, before it decides which measures to take.

A Department of Health spokeswoman explained:

As a nation, we need to consume less sugar. We are working with the food and drinks industry to reduce the amount of sugar in products and make healthier alternatives available.

And we are the first country in Europe to recommend simple voluntary front-of-pack labelling - this will make it easier for us to know how much sugar we are consuming.

We eagerly await the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition's independent report, to be published later this month, which will make recommendations around sugar consumption.

– A Department of Health spokeswoman

Sugar reduction targets like 'cutting down on salt'

Reducing the amount of sugar in food and drink could be a similar public health campaign to the cutting down on salt campaign, a health expert said.

Professor Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Wolfson Institute, Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar, said:

Replacing sugar with sweeteners is not the answer: we need to reduce overall sweetness so people's tastes can adjust to having less sweet drinks.

A similar approach has successfully reduced salt intake; people are consuming 15% less salt than they were 10 years ago, and now prefer less salty foods.

This policy is estimated to be saving 9,000 lives a year, plus healthcare savings of £1.5 billion a year. It is now time to do the same for sugar.

– Professor Graham MacGregor

Calls to set sugar reduction targets on soft drinks

The Government should set targets to reduce the amount of sugar in soft drinks, after research highlighted "shockingly high and unnecessary" levels in some fizzy drinks.

Most soft drinks contained more than the World Health Organisation's recommended daily sugar limit. Credit: PA

Action on Sugar wants Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt take tougher action on sugar levels in all food and drink products in order to fight the UK's burgeoning obesity epidemic, and warned of the high risk posed by fizzy drinks.

Three-quarters of the 232 drinks from high street supermarkets were found to contain over the daily recommended limit for sugar consumption, in a study carried out by Action on Sugar.

Some 79% of the fizzy drinks examined contain six or more teaspoons of sugar per can - more than the World Health Organisation's recommended maximum daily limit for all sugar consumption, the group said.

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