Letter to the editor: 'Industry must get its act together on sugar'

By Graham MacGregor

- Last updated on GMT

Added sugar is an unnecessary source of calories
Added sugar is an unnecessary source of calories

Related tags: Food industry, Obesity, Nutrition

Sir, Action on Sugar is a group of specialists concerned with sugar and its effects on health. We aim to reach a consensus with the food industry and government over the harmful effects of a high sugar diet, and bring about a reduction in the amount of sugar in processed foods.

I read your strong viewpoint in Food Manufacture (February 2014, p3), and I must say I think you completely missed the point.

Ours is a very simple message; that added sugar is an unnecessary source of calories, which has no nutritional value and causes dental caries. It could easily be reduced in a similar way to salt by setting up incremental targets that have to be reached by both the soft drink and food industry with a defined time limit. This would reduce sugar intake and therefore calorie intake, thereby helping with the obesity and diabetic epidemic.

£50bn a year 

We are not claiming there is anything uniquely damaging about sugar, apart from the fact that added sugar is a completely unnecessary source of calories and a cause of dental caries. It is predicted that we will be spending £50bn a year on obesity by 2050 and far more on Type II diabetes unless the food industry gets its act together.

Clearly this is not the only way of tackling obesity, but it is a simple one that will work and will reduce calorie intake. Our campaign could lead to a much more positive outcome for food and drink companies, which could lead the world in sugar reduction as they have with salt.

Graham MacGregor,

Chairman of Action on Sugar

Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine Chairman of Consensus Action on Salt and Health

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