08 Jan Reducing Sugar in Beverages Can Have Major Impact on Population Health
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kawther Hashem MSc RNutr (Public Health)
Nutritionist and Researcher
Action on Sugar
Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine,
Queen Mary, University of London
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: The calculations showed that a 40% reduction in free sugars added to Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) over five years would lead to an average reduction in energy intake of 38 kcal per day by the end of the fifth year. This would lead to an average reduction in body weight of 1.20kg in adults, resulting in a reduction in overweight and obese adults by approximately half a million and 1 million respectively. This would in turn prevent between 274,000-309,000 obesity-related type 2 diabetes over the next two decades. Policies such as this will reduce cases of overweight and obesity and type 2 diabetes, this will have a major clinical impact and reduce healthcare costs.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Reducing sugar in soft drinks will have a significant impact on the health of populations. Government’s must force companies to reduce the amount of sugar in their products immediately. We have become a nation hooked on the sweet stuff, expecting all our food and drink to taste incredibly sweet, and it is making us overweight and obese. Merely having the option of ‘diet’ or ‘no sugar’ products does not work. Food and drink companies must slowly and gradually reduce the sugar and the sweetness, as they have already done for salt (in the UK), so we can all get used to far less sugar in our diet.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: What is needed is action from governments and food and drink industry.
Gradual reduction of sugar in soft drinks without substitution as a strategy to reduce overweight, obesity, and type 2 diabetes: a modelling study
Kawther Hashem MSc RNutr (2016). Reducing Sugar in Beverages Can Have Major Impact on Population Health