Speaking at the recent Global Sugar Summit, AoS chairman Professor Graham MacGregor said that making the levy apply to any sugar sweetened drink would not have an affect on obesity.
“We’ve got to have multiple levers to get calorie intake down in order to deal with it and just having a soft drinks tax is not going to help,” said MacGregor.
Sugary drinks consumption down
Chris Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs, explained that a recorded decline in sugary soft drinks consumption by 50% in the past 15 years had not correlated to a decline in obesity, suggesting it was the wrong sector for the government to be focusing on.
Robert Lustig, professor of paediatrics in the division of endocrinology at the University of California claimed the real issue was processed food, pointing to the removal of fibre from products to increase their shelf-life as a greater problem than sugar.
‘Ultra-processed’ foods have received negative press in the past, thanks to a study published in Jama Internal Medicine last month that linked them to a higher chance of death.
However, the study met with criticism from the scientific community, thanks to its use of “very unclear and confusing terminology”, according to Institute of Food Science & Technology chair Julian Cooper.
“Foods, such as snacks, desserts and some meats, enable consumers to have convenient, safe and shelf-stable choices,” he added. “Approved additives keep food in a good condition, preserving nutritional quality.”
Meanwhile, restaurants, cafés and takeaways have been urged to help consumers adopt healthier eating, after it was revealed that more than three in five adults (61%) struggled to find information on the nutritional content of food out of the home.