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16
Jun 2014
Slap a 20% 'health tax' on fizzy drinks: Experts call for action to slash UK sugar intake
A tax could be put on fizzy drinks and biscuits could be emblazoned with health warnings in a new strategy to slash the nation’s sugar intake. A report commissioned by a Government agency says that targeting soft drinks would be an easy option in the war on sugar. It estimates that a 20 per cent tax on fizzy drinks – which would raise the price of a can from 70p to 84p – would cut the number of overweight Britons by more than a quarter of a million. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt gives a keynote address during the Chief Nursing Officer for England's Summit 2013 at the Hilton Metropole, Birmingham. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is under pressure to hike fizzy drinks' cost to tackle the growing obesity crisis. The leaked paper, which was written by heart doctors and health researchers, comes just weeks after the Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies warned that a ‘sugar tax’ may be necessary to tackle the country’s obesity epidemic. Figures show that British girls are the fattest in Europe, with almost a third overweight or obese. Around two thirds of adults are overweight or obese. The ‘options for action’ document, which was prepared for Public Health England, identifies six possible ways of reducing sugar intake: a tax on sugary drinks; foods being reformulated to contain less sugar; a cut in portion sizes; advertising rules being tightened; health warnings on sugary products; and encouraging farmers to grow fruit and vegetables instead of sugar beet. The draft report describes sugary soft drinks as ‘low-hanging fruit’ – or an easy target – and says a 20 per cent sugar tax would reduce obesity rates by 1.3 per cent. It argues that the move would have public support, ‘especially when health benefits are emphasised’. The paper, obtained by The Grocer magazine, is expected to form the basis of a report to be published on June 26. Public Health England said the Government had asked for its advice but any decision would lie with ministers. The Department of Health said it currently had no plans for a sugar tax. Coca-Cola Life, a naturally-sweetened drink with a third less sugar and calories than its regular cola which will be launched later in the year Campaigners say people need to learn how to enjoy drinks that do not taste sweet - whether loaded with sugar or sweeteners - because at the moment we are 'drinking spoonfuls of sugar' Coca-Cola Life (left), is a new naturally-sweetened drink with a third less sugar and calories than regular fizzy drinks and will be launched in the new year. But health campaigners say people need to learn how to enjoy drinks that do not taste sweet - whether loaded with sugar or sweeteners - because at the moment we are 'drinking spoonfuls of sugar', A can of Coca Cola or Pepsi contains nine teaspoons of sugar - or 35g. This is almost half of the maximum recommended daily intake of sugar. A can of Coca Cola or Pepsi contains nine teaspoons of sugar - or 35g. This is almost half of the maximum recommended daily intake of sugar.
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