Products that contain sugar are being unfairly targeted by the government in its drive to reduce obesity, claimed the industry's Sugar Bureau.
At a conference of the Food and Drink Innovation Network, the Sugar Bureau director Richard Cottrell said that sugar was being wrongly blamed for rising levels of obesity. He blamed in part the influence of low-carbohydrate diets, which claim to encourage weight loss by cutting intakes of carbohydrates and sugars.
"The mythology put around by Dr Atkins that there is something especially bad about carbs is simply not true," he said.
In particular, studies had failed to implicate sugar as a major factor in childhood obesity, he said. "No reports have put up a case to say that sugar has a special role."
The government's attempts to establish a traffic light labelling scheme to flag up energy-dense foods will also do little to reduce the weight of the nation, said Cottrell.
"The fashion of saying energy-dense foods make you fat is just a way of recycling the idea that fat makes you fat. To suggest that alone is going to solve obesity is really being a bit optimistic."
Meanwhile, a study published in the International Journal of Obesity said that low-calorie drinks caused obesity by encouraging over-eating. The study on rats found that artificial sweeteners could disrupt the body's ability to regulate calorie intake.
However, Julian Stowell, director of scientific affairs at Danisco Sweeteners, said that tests had shown that some sweeteners, such as Litesse polydextrose and xylitol, reduced feelings of hunger.
Flatfish to grow again
Humberside fish processor Flatfish is planning to double capacity at its Grimsby site next year to meet escalating demand. It is also opening several retail outlets in the town.
Just two years after a £1.5m five-fold expansion, the company will increase its processing area from 929m2to 1,858m2. The turnover of the company, which sells products under the Blue Marlin brand, is now believed to be around £10m.
A specialist in traditional lemon sole and plaice products, Flatfish is exporting more to the Continent, thanks to promotional support from North East Lincolnshire Council at events such as Brussels' European Seafood Expo.
"This means we are set to move into new markets," said director Richard Stansfield.