Let’s drink to a less sugary future

After much debate over the last few years the tax on sugary drinks available in our shops has been introduced both in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. It’s a measure that we welcome at safefood. From now on any sugar sweetened drink with 5g added sugar per 100ml is subject to tax.

There is overwhelmingly convincing evidence that adults and children who consume more sugary drinks are more likely to carry excess weight and experience tooth decay. From a nutritional perspective this makes sense as sugary drinks are of little nutritional value but contain plenty of calories in a form that our bodies can process quickly.

The drinks industry has responded very positively to the potential tax implications by lowering the amount of sugar in many drinks. Generally, most people don’t seem to have noticed any change in taste, but instead are becoming more aware of added sugar in their diet. Public Health England and Food Standards Agency are working with the food industry to reduce salt and sugar in our processed foods and we’ll see this extended to reducing fat. In Ireland similar strategies are being put in place. Reformulation has its technological challenges for the food industry but we have seen the achievements that can be made a short space of time with sugary drinks.

Many opponents to the sugar tax argue that sugary drinks play only a minor part in contributing to overweight and obesity in the UK and Ireland. This is true at a population level but there is a lot of variation from person to person in how much we drink. Teenagers, in particular, are high consumers.

amount of sugar cubes in Fanta Orange, 7up and Coca-Cola

If you want to know how much sugar is in your child’s favourite drink, we are currently updating our sugary drinks infographic and can see a big reduction already, particularly in cordials/squashes, which many parents give to their kids.

Start making milk and water the routine drinks for families at home. For tips on how to make changes go to START.

Posted: 03/05/2018 10:03:26 by Marian O’Reilly
Filed under: Childhood obesity, Drinks, Sugary drinks

About Me

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Marian O’Reilly
Hi, my name is Marian O’Reilly and I’m the Chief Specialist in Nutrition at safefood. My job is varied ranging from nutrition research, working on mass media campaigns to dealing with public queries on healthy eating. I live in Co. Cork with my husband and our one year son. I’m a lover of the outdoors and in my spare time will be found out walking.