According to doctors and dietary experts, it is time to increase the tax on sugary drinks in the UK.
The British Medical Association (BMA) estimate that a poor diet costs the NHS roughly £6 billion a year and claims 70,000 lives annually thanks to obesity, diabetes and other weight related medical problems.
Dentists are concerned at the shocking state of British children’s teeth and have levelled the blame at sweets and sugary drinks.
Now, the medical profession is urging Downing Street to take on the Food Industry to get some of this sugar removed from drinks and sodas.
The BMA have also proposed a tax levy on fizzy drinks in order to subsidise the sale of fruit and vegetables.
So how much sugar is contained in fizzy drinks?
Everybody’s favourite Coca Cola is not as bad as some brands. Each 300ml can of Coke contains 8.75 teaspoons of sugar making it look like a health drink when compared to Mountain Dew Citrus Blast at 16.5 teaspoons of sugar per 500ml serving.
A can of Doctor Pepper contains 6 teaspoons of sugar per 300ml can. San Pellegrino Limonata (Italian sparkling lemon) may sound healthy but a 300ml can contains 8.5 teaspoons of sugar putting it in the same league as Coke.
The highest sugar scorer Rockstar Punched Energy Drink contains 19.5 teaspoons of sugar per 500ml serving, with a small carton of Ribena , a staple of many children’s daily lunch box containing a whopping 5 teaspoons of sugar per 200ml serving.
Calls for a Sugar Tax
Government ministers have repeatedly refused to consider a sugar tax. However, Professor Sheila Hollins, who led the investigative report, said:
If a tax of at least 20 per cent is introduced, it could reduce the prevalence of obesity in the UK by around 180,000 people.
According to Kawther Hashem, a nutritionist and researcher for the Action on Sugar campaign:
Parents and children are drowning in a world full of sugary drinks, cheap junk food and aggressive marketing targeting children.
Jamie Oliver launched a campaign calling for a tax to be imposed on sugary drinks back in May.
So how much sugar is safe?
The NHS recommends that the daily sugar maximum is 12 teaspoons (50g) for a woman and 17 teaspoons (70g) for a man. With most of us and our children regularly exceeding this figure is it any wonder that so many people in the UK are suffering from obesity and bad teeth?
What about Teeth?
Let’s face it, British teeth have a bad reputation worldwide and it seems it is about to get a whole lot worse.
Many hospitals are carrying out extra operations in order to cope with the 46,500 children admitted each year to have teeth removed under general anaesthetic after they are decayed by sugar.
Professor Hunt, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons has called for health warnings showing decayed teeth to be added to fizzy drinks and sweet labelling in the same way as we see diseased body parts on tobacco packaging.
So will sugary drinks soon be taxed?
We cannot see it happening anytime soon. Prime Minister David Cameron is reluctant “to put sugar taxes on hard-working people’ and of course he has a point.
The real culprits here are again the Food Industry and as long as people keep buying their sugary drinks, it seems unlikely that anything will change.
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