Celebrated TV chef Jamie Oliver called for a 20p tax on sugar-sweetened drinks in a documentary screened on Channel 4 last night (Thursday 3 September).
During the hour long programme, titledJamie's Sugar Rush, Jamie highlighted how eating and drinking too much sugar is a real problem in the UK, and many people aren’t aware of the ‘added sugars’ their families are consuming in everyday food and drink.
In one scene the chef visits a hospital patient with Type 2 diabetes who has recently had his leg amputated, and in another scene he meets a teenage girl who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at the age of 13.
Jamie also met with the bosses of some of Britain’s biggest restaurant chains to call on them to implement their own sugar tax. He said that studies show that a tax on sugar could have a significant impact on health in the UK, potentially reducing obesity levels by up to 200,000 people, and reducing sugary drink consumption by 15 per cent.
Experts call for sugar reduction
Jamie’s campaign follows the recent recommendations from a group of independent nutrition experts for a reduction in the amount of sugar people consume as part of their daily calorie intake from 10 per cent to 5 per cent. There is no evidence that consuming too much sugar directly causes Type 2 diabetes, but sugary foods and drinks are high in calories and consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain, which significantly increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes UK supports Jamie Oliver's drive to raise awareness of sugar dangers
Louise Ansari, Director of Prevention of Type 2 diabetes at Diabetes UK, said: “Diabetes UK fully supports Jamie Oliver’s ambition to raise awareness of the dangers of eating too many sugary foods and drinks and improve the nation’s eating habits, and supported his team with the Channel 4 documentary, Jamie’s Sugar Rush. Many people aren’t aware of the ‘added sugars’ they and their families are consuming everyday in food and drink making this a very real problem in the UK which is leading people to become overweight. In turn this is fuelling the dramatic rise in Type 2 diabetes, a serious health condition that can lead to devastating complications including amputations, blindness and stroke, and costs the NHS a staggering £10 billion every year.
“To tackle this serious and growing problem we want the Government to consider encouraging healthy lifestyles through introducing taxation on unhealthy foods including sugar. Along with this there are a number of other steps we would like them to take to help us all to lead healthier lives. These include: placing restrictions on marketing junk foods to children, introducing legislation to take out fats and sugars in food and reduce portion sizes to reduce overall calorie intake, and also putting greater investment into making it easier for people to be more physically active.”