In August 2016, the government’s childhood obesity plan was published. One of the key commitments made in the plan was for Public Health England (PHE) to lead a programme involving all sectors of the food industry, including retail, manufacturing and the out of home, to remove 20% of the sugar from food that contributes the most to children’s diets by 2020.
To underpin this commitment, PHE led a series of discussions with the food industry including Elior, and following analysis of current sugar levels in foods set specific targets for nine key food categories that make the largest contribution to sugar intakes in children.
These targets were published at the end of March 2017 and PHE will be reporting progress towards the targets in September 2018 and March 2020. Government will use this data to decide if sufficient progress is being made and if ‘additional levers’ are needed.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) report on Carbohydrates and Health was used to ensure that the government’s position and advice regarding sugar consumption was up to date. SACN reviewed the latest evidence on the links between consumption of carbohydrates, sugars, starch and fibre and a range of health outcomes (including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, bowel health and tooth decay).
Key findings from the report include:
- High levels of sugar consumption are associated with a greater risk of tooth decay.
- The higher the proportion of sugar in the diet, the greater the risk of high energy intake.
- Drinking high-sugar beverages results in weight gain and increases in BMI in teenagers and children.
- Consuming too many high-sugar beverages increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In light of these findings SACN set a number of recommendations that the government have used to update their recommendations for a healthy diet, including the UK’s national food guide on eating healthily and achieving a balanced diet ‘The Eatwell Guide’.
Elior’s action on Sugar
Elior are committed to meeting the sugar targets in relevant food categories and will be reporting our progress to PHE.