Call for food packaging to contain sugar warning
Increased demands are being made for sugar to be labelled with warnings on product packaging as cigarettes are as the the World Health Organisation (WHO) urges people to reduce their consumption by half to a 12 teaspoons per day. The problem is that people do not usually realise where their sugar is coming from.
The effect that sugar has is clearly visible to anyone who can remember what things were like 25 years ago when people looked much thinner than they do today – particularly amongst the young.
The WHO recommends that no more than 10 per cent of an individual’s calories should come from sugar, however its draft guidelines state that a further reduction to 5 per cent “would have additional benefits”. This is less sugar than is found in a Mars Bar and much less than in a can of Coca Cola. Readers may recall that the size of Mars bars was reduced last year with no reduction in cost in a move to reduce the calorific intake.
The WHO guidelines apply to added sugar which is found in many processed and packaged foods as well as that which occurs naturally in products such as honey and fruit juice. The WHO says that these sugars are ‘hidden’ and that is why some are calling for warnings on packaging.
Dr Francesco Branca, director for nutrition for health and development at the WHO, says that 500 million people are obese.
One solution is to tax sugar which may make people think twice or at least raise money to pay for medical treatment for those who consume too much of it.
No-one has suggested yet such dire warnings as appear on cigarette packets but that step may yet come if obesity continues at present rates.
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