Posted By Louise Henniker

Posted on15th February 2016

In England, one in four adults are now obese. By 2050, it will be one in two people (Public Health England, 2014).

Many health experts and nutritionists have begun to warn against excessive sugar consumption – and with good reason. We’re currently consuming on average about 24 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Did you know that just one can of cola contains nine teaspoons?

Yesterday’s March 2016 budget, the Government introduced a new sugar levy on the soft drinks industry to combat obesity.

This follows the World Health Organisation (WHO) calling for the introduction of a sugar tax, warning that ‘a failure to act will have ‘major medical, social and economic consequences’. In addition, NHS Chief Executive, Simon Stevens said he was proposing a 20% tax on all sugary drinks and foods in NHS cafes to be introduced by 2020 to help tackle the growing problem of obesity.

But what actually is sugar tax?

The tax will be levied on the drinks companies in two years’ time. Manufacturers will be taxed according to the quantity of the sugar-sweetened drinks they produce. There will be two categories of taxation: one for total sugar content above 5g per 100ml, and a second, higher band for drinks with more than 8g per 100ml.

‘This means a standard can of Coca-Cola, costing around 70p would have an 8p tax placed on it, and a can of Sprite would have an additional levy of 6p, when the sugar tax is introduced in 2018’.

The estimated £520m raised will be put towards boosting primary school sports.

However, could an inflated price wean the public off its sweet tooth?

Apparently, similar taxes have worked in five other countries, with some methods reducing consumption of fizzy drinks by up 25%. In Mexico, a sugar tax on fizzy drinks cut sales by 12% in its first year. And, in Hungary, the introduction of a tax on companies has led to a 40% cent reduction in levels of sugar products.

Why not download Change for Life; Sugar Smart free app. This powerful, fun app will show you just how much sugar is on our favourite food and drinks just by scanning the bar code.

Our infographic ‘Let’s not sugar coat it’ contains some informative stats about how much sugar we’re consuming, where we get it from and how it affects our health, as well as tips on how to reduce sugar intake.

Louise Pearson is our Research and Development Executive and infographics guru.

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