Sugar tax could help young people reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
The researchers added: “The health impact of the soft drinks levy is dependent on its implementation by industry. Uncertainty exists as to how industry will react and about estimation of health outcomes. Health gains could be maximised by substantial product reformulation, with additional benefits possible if the levy is passed on to purchasers through raising of the price of high-sugar and mid-sugar drinks and activities to increase the market share of low-sugar products.”
An NHS Behind the Headlines report on the study concluded: “It would make sense that these measures would result in positive health effects. However, this is only a modelling study, and while the researchers have attempted to make these estimates as true to life as possible, they cannot be completely accurate. Sugar-sweetened beverages, though commonly consumed by children and young people, are only one source of sugar. If sugar is still being consumed in high amounts through confectionery, baked goods, in ready-made meals and sauces, or added sugar to food and drinks, then this may not have such great effect.
“Current recommendations are that free sugars should not exceed 5% of our total dietary energy intake. This applies to all age groups from two years upwards.
“In real terms, this means: no more than 19g a day of free sugars for children aged four to six; no more than 24g a day for seven to 10-year-olds; no more than 30g a day for children from age 11 and adults”
The recently published draft legislation of the soft drink industry levy included plans for the tax to be introduced in April 2018, giving sellers of soft drinks time to reduce sugar in their products.
It is estimated that around £530 million could be raised - the equivalent of around 18-24p per litre of soft drink.
The Government said money raised from the tax will be spent on primary school sports in England, with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland free to decide how to spend their share.
Read the report in The Lancet
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