Editor's view: Sugar is the new battleground

By Rick Pendrous contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Sugar

In the editor's view: Channel 4's Dispatches TV programme on sugar (pictured above) was 'appallingly biased'
In the editor's view: Channel 4's Dispatches TV programme on sugar (pictured above) was 'appallingly biased'
As I predicted in my leading article in the November 2013 issue of Food Manufacture, sugar is now the next battleground. However, little did I realise the lengths sugar's detractors would go to in their attempts to demonise this ingredient which, as well as bringing pleasure to people, is also required in small quantities for our brains to function properly.

Before anyone accuses me of being in the pay of the sugar lobby (as effectively happened to Nottingham University’s Professor Ian Macdonald, a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), in the appallingly biased​ Channel 4 Dispatches​ TV programme last month), yes, we are probably eating to much sugar. But we are also eating too many other calorie-dense foods.

Binge on ‘dietary foods’

Despite the growth of front-of-pack nutrition labelling, some people will always eat too much sugar-rich food, while others will binge on ‘dietary foods’. Neither is meant to happen.

I’d suggest we are predisposed to like sweet things. They give us pleasure and, historically, have helped us avoid foods that are poisonous and often taste bitter. But sugar is not addictive! That’s just bad science and cheap headlines.

British Nutrition Foundation

If consumers ever needed good nutritional science to help them navigate the maze of conflicting (and often dubious) information they are bombarded with, it is now. As Professor Judy Buttriss, director general of the British Nutrition Foundation, points out in this month’s Food Ingredients Health and Nutrition, a supplement within Food Manufacture​, the average intake of fibre another carbohydrate is too low!

And the fact that academics (of all persuasions) receive some of their funding from industry as well as many others sources to fund research is not news. Provided there is independence, openness and good governance, it's not an issue.

Reserve your copy of the monthly publication Food Manufacturehere​. 

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1 comment


Posted by G Jones,

Wow. You really don't seem to know what you are taking about. Sugar IS addictive. Plus, the brain can be adequately fuelled by glucose (or ketones if no glucose is consumed). We can get enough glucose from vegetables - we do not NEED to consume sugar in its pure form. Our brain will not cease to function if we do not consume sugar - indeed there are large populations in the world who do not consume sucrose at all and their brains functions just great. You should read Dr Robert Lustig's Fat Chance. Shame on you Food Manufacture for not getting your facts straight.

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