The findings in the SACN report include the first wide ranging look at the relationship between sugar consumption and health outcomes in the UK since the 1990s. The report found consuming sugary drinks was leading to unhealthy weight gain in children and young people.
For children, too much sugar is linked with a greater risk of tooth decay. In adults, it leads to them consuming too many calories.
Figures from the national diet and nutrition survey, referenced in the SACN report, found sugary drinks to be the highest contributor of sugars to the diet of children aged four to 10.
The study found that of sugars consumed: 30% came from soft drinks and fruit juice; 29% mainly from biscuits, cakes and breakfast cereals; 22% from sweets, chocolate, table sugar, jams and other sweet spreads; and 12% from yoghurts, fromage frais, ice-cream, and other dairy desserts.
While PHE has identified cutting sugary drinks as the first step parents can take, updated advice from its childhood obesity prevention campaign, Change4Life, also provides families with advice on how to cut down on other sugary foods. In addition, people are now being strongly advised to have only one 150 millilitre serving of fruit juice or smoothie per day, with a meal, as part of their five-a-day because of the high levels of sugar they contain.
When SACN published its draft report in June 2014, PHE embarked on a review of possible measures to reduce sugar consumption, including reformulation, marketing and promotions of high-sugar food and drink, and fiscal measures, looking at the impact they could have. The government asked PHE to use the evidence from this review to advise on actions it could take to lower sugar consumption, informing its wider obesity and diabetes strategy. PHE is finalising this evidence review and will publish it later this summer.
Read the SACN Why 5% report here
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