Getting fit

Action on Sugar

action on sugar

It’s been all over the papers today: Sugar is the new tobacco! A group of health experts and academics are set to launch ‘Action on Sugar’ – a campaign that is trying to force the food industry to drastically reduce sugar levels in our everyday products.

While the diction rings slightly polemic (“sugary drinks (are) like the alcohol of childhood”), I wholeheartedly welcome the movement. Finally, someone is pushing hard to open our eyes and help our children and us to get out of the sugar trap. It’s no secret that sugar is addictive, and that sugar is one of the determining factors that keep the Western world in an obesity crisis. Yet companies are allowed to market their sugar loaded products as if they were part of a healthy diet, often aimed at children.

I am by no means completely against sugar. The occasional treat, a nice dessert or a slice of cake does not pave the route down to obesity. However, sugar in about everything we consume is dangerous, especially if these products are portrayed in a healthy way via marketing.

There is absolutely no excuse for the amount of sugar you find in some standard British cupboard items – other than counting on its addictive effects, thus increasing consumption, which leads to increased profits.

For example:

–       A can of Heinz tomato soup contains four teaspoons of sugar

–       More than a third of every bowl full of Kellogg’s Frosties is pure sugar

–       Almost a quarter of Kellogg’s Special K Honey Clusters is sugar

–       Nutella is made of 55% sugar

–       Your average slice of white bread contains about 1/3 teaspoon of sugar

I sincerely hope Action on Sugar is going to be successful. This is so much better than the suggested ‘fat taxes’ that are only going to make life worse for people who already have enough problems to face. Taxing alcohol and cigarettes has never stopped anyone to get on the stuff and ruin their health. Getting to the root of the problem will hopefully make a difference.

What’s your take on added sugar in everyday products?

16 Comments

  1. Big M says

    Totally agree, it is dangerous as sugar is smuggled in under the radar!
    It is so strange that some products such as corn in a tin does not contain any sugar in France and Germany but does in the UK. Is that because they can get away with it and it makes the product more addictive!?

  2. I feel the same as you. Always have and we’ve become even stricter on sugar post Christmas. We need to stop rewarding our children with sweet treats and creating weird food relationships from their formative years. Yes the odd treat is fine but it’s a slippery slope we need to keep on top of.

    All about low GI food in this house, seasonal, organic meat and diverse food. White pasta is rubbish too. I never understand parents who spend on clothes and feed their kids convenience unhealthy food. The French know what they’re doing. Pre schools there offer 3 course meals with a cheese course.

    Here here to change in the UK!

    Can you tell I’m passionate about this?

  3. I couldn’t agree more, bread has sugar, I mean seriously?

    tonight we made mango and coconut balls with agave nectar to sweeten and coconut oil….amazing and waaaaay better than any processed junk

    As parents we have a responsibility to make sure this campaign works

  4. My Huzz declared over Christmas that he wants to have a week per month ‘sugar free’ in our house. It’s yet to start, but it will definitely be a step in the right direct. So hard to avoid here. Even the regular bread has as sweet taste – thankful that my Huzz makes all our bread now.

    Yesterday I saw a few Instagram posts from Jamie Oliver (who is currently over here in San Francisco for his Jamie at Home stuff and Food Revelution). He raised the problem of sugar loaded chocolate milk being available to kids at school lunch – more sugar in it than in a can of soda!!! Apparently, the chocolate milk is included in the price of their school lunch, but a bottle of water had to be paid for!!! What!

    I really need to chuck out that Halloween candy that could feed a small country!!!

  5. Hilarious catchphrases!!! the new war on sugar. And as someone said, its now more acceptable in the Bay Area to be a heroin addict than a smoker. Will we be viewing the lolly eaters the same way. Im not a chocolate or candy eater, but I do crave break and marmalade which is just sugar really. Plus someone suggested to me that mama craving for a Sauvy at 5pm bewitching hour might really just be a craving for sugar.

  6. Great article! Love the fact Action on Sugar is getting such great support already. I’ve been blogging about sugar and half my friends think I’m a bit crazy until today. Let’s just hope everyone is propelled by the news to drive change with their spending by buying brands that aren’t so full of sugar!

  7. My take on it? Nutella is so delicious! I don’t know if you had that advert in the UK where they were saying Nutella is a great breakfast food for kids! It was pulled here in USA in the end for obvious reasons. I didn’t know it had that much sugar in it though. This is a tough nut to crack because sugar is my crack. Chocolate is my cocaine. That said I try to limit it for my kids but if they see me stuffing my face with cookies it is probably not going to work that well. If only I had an iron will in the face of chocolate hob nobs.

  8. Helloitsgemma says

    A life long sugar addict, I do try and reduce but there is do much hidden sugar. I don’t feel the food industry have our best interests at their heart. For them it’s about profit and more sugar = better sales. Wholeheartedly agree -we need to sort our nations health. I hope this is a step towards it.

  9. Sugar is evil 🙂 and the whole world has forgotten that an ‘occasional treat’ does not mean dessert of biscuits every day, it means once a week or even less. It’s a tough truth to face but it’s true regardless – the human body does not need any more sugar than it gets from a few pieces of fruit. Food industry does not have the best interests of humankind in mind, they only care about money. We eat very little processed sugar in our household but the next goal for us is to cut back on dried (as well as fresh) fruit. I have considered myself to be very sugar aware but have been in denial about fruit and eaten way too much of it. From now on – more veggies!!! 😀

  10. Yes, I’m totally on side with this.

    As I understand it, sugar feeds cancer. I believe (and maybe someone will correct me if I’m wrong), that one of the scans that you have to find cancer, simply looks for a high concentration of sugar in one location in your body. So why would we want to add it to everything? Duuuh…

    It’s added to EVERYTHING. I noticed it was added to the cheap brand of dry dog food I bought recently (never again). Why would anyone add sugar to dog food? Can they even taste it? And it’s quite often disguised in the ingredients as “maltose”, “sucrose” or “maltodextrin”. And yes, it’s addictive.

    Like EmmaK, that Nutella ad that claimed it was a healthy breakfast food really annoyed me, especially the way that so many bloggers jumped on the bandwagon, and promoted the message in return for some great and very clever attention from PRs. When pushed, they backtracked and said “oh, just every now and again it’s ok, I didn’t mean EVERY morning”, but I thought they’d all been manipulated horribly. And no, it’s not healthy just because it has hazlenuts in it.

    The next generation will look back and really not believe that we didn’t do more to tackle the national sugar addiction. Think about it. You can eat low fat food all the time, and still have a weight problem. But if you cut sugar out of your diet, you’re never going to be fat, are you?

  11. A great post, and can only agree. I have always been in control on what my girls eat, and very careful about suggar, but need to start looking more after myself and hubby. We have never bought any suggar coated cereal, and girls get chocolate or sweet treats only if they eat all their vegetables and fruit, but have to accept that nutella is loved in our household… I do not do dried fruit as I am aware of the amount of suggar. I think if you eat a bit of everything in moderation it is the best option, and of course do your exercises. I am back on track with training for another marathon, and it feels so good 😉

  12. Hello! And a Happy New Year… I hope 2014 is good to you. Sugar, I quite agree, it’s dangerous stuff, terrible for moods and hormones and just about everything else. Like you, I like the odd slice of cake (and hot chocolate) but it’s amazing how much more gets consumed that we don’t know about, hidden away in savoury foods. I really want to cut back too.

  13. Lovely to see you and your gorgeous daughter this morning! As for sugar, well, I am a lifelong sugar addict and it is time for me to do something about it. That said, I find it easier said than done. tell me when you have time for a cuppa. x

  14. Bother. Left you a comment a day or two ago, and it’s not here. I seem to be endlessly going into people’s spam boxes. I wonder why.

    I just agreed with everything you said. Lots of evidence that sugar feeds cancer cells, by the way. Was horrified recently when I discovered that the dry dog food I bought had sugar in it. Why? Why on earth would anyone add sugar to dog food?

  15. i am all about this!!!!!! After doing whole30 and completely cutting sugar out (it is EVERYWHERE) i realized its powers. and how horrible it makes me feel. it is insane. i hate sugar, i’m convinced its evil!

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