Dental Tribune International

Charity shines spotlight on excessive sugar consumption

By Dental Tribune UK
August 28, 2019

RUGBY, UK: Though the April 2018 introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy—otherwise known as the sugar tax—has proved effective in reducing the sugar levels of many carbonated beverages, UK adults and children continue to consume far more of this sweet substance than is generally recommended. The Oral Health Foundation (OHF), a charity that seeks to reduce the burden of oral disease and improve well-being, has found that the British population supports further taxation of high-sugar foods in the form of a “pudding tax”.

The OHF recently conducted a nationwide poll in which 54% of the respondents affirmed their support for an extension of the sugar tax to puddings, cakes, biscuits and other confectionary foods. The proposed tax proved to be particularly resonant among those less than 35 years of age, with 84% of this demographic group agreeing that a pudding tax should be effected.

“The sugar tax has been a significant success, not only for oral health, but wider health and well-being too. In the long term, products with less added sugar will mean a healthier population. It will also save the NHS billions every year,” said Dr Nigel Carter, OBE, Chief Executive of the OHF.

“When it comes to sugar, 10% of a child’s intake comes from soft drinks, but more than twice that comes from puddings, ice cream and sweets. It means that replicating the model into a pudding tax is absolutely necessary,” Carter added.

The findings come on the back of the results of another survey from the OHF, which found that 28% of British adults consume high-sugar or otherwise unhealthy foods when put under stress, a figure that rose to 32% for office workers. In addition, 15% of the respondents stated that they had taken sick leave in the past two years as a direct result of an oral health problem.

“It is important to encourage healthy eating and to develop a more tooth-friendly culture in the workplace,” said Carter. “Snacks such as cheese and nuts are better than sugary treats. Milk and water is a great substitute for juices and fizzy drinks, while reducing the amount of sugar added to tea and coffee can make a big difference. By helping employees look after their oral health, the workforce will not only be healthier, they will be happier too.”

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