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Diabetes UK calls for traffic light colours on all food labels to tackle Type 2 diabetes

Diabetes UK has responded to the Government’s consultation on food labelling, by calling for a front-of-pack traffic-light labelling system for food products, to help stem the rising tide of Type 2 diabetes.

We are supporting a label that includes traffic-light coding, ‘high’, ‘medium’ and ‘low’ text, with the optional addition of percentage guideline daily amounts, to be adopted on all food labels to help shoppers to make healthy choices.

Poor diet contributes significantly to the onset of Type 2 diabetes

We want people to be able to make healthier choices and understand the contents of different foods more clearly. Poor diet contributes significantly to the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Being overweight or obese are major risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and account for 80-85 per cent of the overall risk of developing the condition. 

Effective food labelling could also help people with diabetes manage their condition

Also in our consultation response, we have highlighted the importance of effective food labelling in helping people with diabetes (Type 1 and 2) manage their condition, as diets high in fat, salt and sugar increase their risk of developing serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and amputation.

Traffic light food labelling: high, medium or low – works better

Diabetes UK has also taken the opportunity to emphasise the importance of including carbohydrate content on all packaged foods, as this information is essential to people with diabetes.

Barbara Young, Diabetes UK Chief Executive, said, “We want to see labelling that uses a traffic light system – together with text setting out whether the product is high, medium or low and the optional addition of percentage guideline daily amounts – and we have made this clear in our response to the consultation. With around a quarter of adults in the UK classed as obese and at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes as well as other chronic conditions, it is important that we have food labelling that makes it easy for people to make healthy choices.

“Independent evidence shows that the traffic-light system works better than labels which show only Guideline Daily Amounts to help shoppers make healthy choices when buying food. This is not about telling people what to eat but instead empowering them to lead healthier and happier lives.”

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