Read how the Sugarwise campaign is helping consumers to identify foods with added sugar, and is making a difference to peoples health.
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Food labelling campaign to help consumers identify added sugar
A new food labelling campaign aims to be the first of its kind to offer shoppers a simple way of identifying the amount of added sugar in foods.
Scientists have developed a test which is able to distinguish between the total amount of sugar in a product and the added sugar content. Those products which have a low added sugar content will be eligible to sport the ‘Sugarwise’ logo.
The idea was first proposed by Rend Platings, a mother who said she struggled to find food for her daughter which she knew was low in sugar. It also follows a number of recent campaigns, TV documentaries and high profile nutrition plans which all warn about the dangers of consuming too much sugar and advocate a diet low in sugar or completely free of added sugars.
Ms Platings explains: “When I looked at toddler and baby foods I was shocked to see the amount of sugars in them.
“There you are thinking you’re getting the best thing for your baby but some of the products are actually really high in sugars.
“I was shocked to hear my daughter’s generation may live a shorter life than their parents.
“It’s not that we don’t know about the dangers of sugar – we do. The problem relates to our lack of access to healthier choices.”
The Government’s Scientific Advisory Committee issued advice last year stating that added sugars should make up no more than 5% of a person’s daily calorie intake. Added or free sugars are broken down quickly by the body and are usually accompanied by very little fibre or other nutrients. They are added to foods and are naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices.
Health campaigners are hoping that clearer food labelling will take away any confusion for consumers and aid the fight against the obesity problem and sugar related illnesses such as Type 2 Diabetes and tooth decay.
Dr Tom Simmons, a research scientist from the University of Cambridge who helped to develop the Sugarwise test, believes the effect could be significant: “The majority of the population far exceeds the 5% free sugar guideline amount and, at the same time, obesity and sugar-related illness rates are soaring.
“Because of this, we developed the Sugarwise test and certification to let people make simple and informed decisions.”
First Response Training (FRT) is a leading national training provider delivering a wide and diverse range of training for all workplace sectors. They deliver a high volume of training for organisations across health and social care, early years, childcare and schools, as well as general industry. Their work with adult social care and early education includes the provision of Nutrition and Healthy Eating training courses.
Oliver Raisbeck, Managing Director at FRT, says: “For a long time, consumers were scared of eating products with fat in them, and would favour alternatives labelled as ‘low fat’, ‘fat free’ or ‘diet’. Often though, these alternatives have lots of added sugar and, as we have come to understand more and more, it is sugar that’s the biggest problem when it comes to obesity and related illnesses. The Sugarwise campaign will hopefully make people more aware of this and enable them to make smarter food choices.
“A nutritious, healthy and balanced diet should be low in added sugar and ensure a wide variety of foods are consumed. Our training course can help people to understand how this can be achieved.”