This is one of the hottest topics in the news in the Uk right now and if like me you have an interest in health and well being, you have been listening intently to the debate for the past week or so. I thought I would give my opinion on this topic, as it is one of the items in the news where I actually have a strong opinion towards it.
Jamie Oliver has urged the Uk government to introduce a tax on sugary drinks, to help tackle the growing problem in this country of childhood obesity and, quite surprisingly, was met with resistance to this move by ministers. David Cameron has also been reported as saying that there are more effective ways to tackle the obesity problem in the UK… I am sure there are Mr Cameron, but surely making something so unhealthy with hidden calories and sugar would be a step in the right direction? Is it just me who thinks that is not a valid argument to stop this tax from being introduced?
The fact that sugary drinks are being targeted has been made clear by Jamie Oliver, in that unlike a chocolate bar or a sugary sweet, fizzy drinks have more sugar in them than people realise and, in my opinion, so much sugar in a drink is just empty calories, considering it is being drunk alongside whatever you are taking in through food.
A few of the problems with sugar are set out below;
• There has been growing concern about the damaging impact of sugar on health – from the state of people’s teeth to type-2 diabetes and obesity
• Like I mentioned above, sugar has been branded “empty calories” because it has no nutritional benefit
• Government advisers recommend no more than 5% of daily calories should come from sugar. That is about 1oz (25g; six or seven teaspoons) for an adult of normal weight every day. For children, it is slightly less
• The limits apply to all sugars added to food, as well as sugar naturally present in syrups and honey
• To put all of this into context, a typical can of fizzy, sugary drink contains about nine teaspoons of sugar – 9?!!!! This is the amount that a grown man should not go over, so I definitely would not want kids taking in that amount or (most likely) more per day! Bearing in mind that is in just one can… ONE!… add in sugar from diet along with that and you can see how making this less accessible would be a good start!
Below is a rough guide as to what the content of sugar in a can of fizzy drink compares to other items
The government claim they have a strategy to tackle childhood obesity and will publish this in the new year. I think it will be fairly interesting to see how they plan to tackle this issue, after practically shooting down a good idea for a step in the right direction. In my opinion they need to be more forward with their methods and not to be scared of these huge companies.
Jamie Oliver is quoted as saying that the government need to be “big and bold” and I completely agree with him here. The companies that, in Mr Oliver’s words, “are causing us ill health” have too much of a hold on the government and its time that they were put in their place! They don’t run this country!
Jamie Oliver is actually leading by example and has introduced, in his own restaurants, a levy of 10p on soft drinks with added sugar and is putting the extra money made from these drinks into a charity that directly funds food education for children and similar health initiatives. This Children’s Health Fund, as Jamie and his team have named it, will be supported and administered by the charity Sustain (Formed in 1999, Sustain is the alliance for better food and farming).
If you want to learn more about Jamie’s approach and project, then follow the link below.
I personally admire Jamie Oliver for taking a stand against something that is so big and will undoubtedly make him a target for people who are against it etc, because without someone publically presenting the facts like this, then nothing would continue to be done and this health report could have remained hidden. By turning this into a nationwide debate he has single handedly got everyone talking about this issue and taking a look at what they are putting into their bodies.
I am definitely for this sugar tax and think it would be a welcome change in the laws surrounding our food and health, and pointing us in the right direction towards becoming a healthier nation.