Be warned: sugar is the next battleground

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Rick Pendrous, editor, Food Manufacture
Rick Pendrous, editor, Food Manufacture

Related tags Nutrition

The food industry should be warned. Sugar will be the next battleground after saturated fats. Some medical experts and lobbyists claim that high levels of sugar in processed food is a far more serious issue than sat fats.

Last month the Department of Health (DH) launched its voluntary Public Health Responsibility Deal (PHRD) on sat fats. The PHRD has been under sustained attack from doctors’ groups and others, who want regulatory intervention rather than voluntary measures to stem growing obesity levels.

But we also had reports of research from the US, which suggested Oreo cookies were as “addictive”​ as cocaine. It followed various US studies claiming sugar was addictive. These claims have been dismissed by leading independent UK scientists.

Professor John Blundell, chair of psychobiology at the University of Leeds, was highly critical of the Oreo study. Blundell chaired a seminar of experts in the field organised by the British Nutrition Foundation last month, which concluded categorically that such addiction theses were flawed.

Just before the DH launched its PHRD on sat fats, Dr Aseem Malhotra, the interventional cardiology specialist registrar at Croydon University Hospital, published a paper in the British Medical Journal clearly intended to torpedo the PHRD launch. It disputed that naturally occurring sat fats in the diet were harmful. Malhotra is no fan of the PHRD, nor of the processed food industry. He argues that added sugar is behind rising obesity levels.

So, it is with great anticipation we await the findings of the UK’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition’s new report on the impact of dietary carbohydrates – including sugars – on health.

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