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We Brits are a nation of sugar addicts, eating around 700g a week according to recent figures, which is an average of 140 teaspoons per person.
Our fondness for the sweet stuff is, unsurprisingly, having adverse effects on our teeth.
After tackling school dinners, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is now turning his attention to the disastrous effect of sugar consumption on our nation’s health.
A petition launched this week has already generated over 100,000 signatures. This means the Government could now be forced to debate the introduction of the sugar tax, which could generate £1 billion per year. Backers say this revenue should be used to support vital preventative strategies in the NHS and schools.
The chef recently introduced his own sugar tax, with a charge of 10p on all drinks containing added sugar served in his Jamie’s Italian restaurants.
Jamie said: ‘Soft drinks are the largest single source of sugar consumption for school-age children and teenagers and sometimes, alarmingly, even younger children, and just one serving of these drinks may contain more than half of their recommended maximum daily sugar intake. Such drinks are a totally unnecessary calorie source and can have a significant negative impact on dental health.’
‘Soft drinks are the biggest single source of sugar among school-age kids and teenagers and so we have to start here.’
The BDA’s Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen said, ‘A tax on sugar – the source of most tooth decay – would provide vital funding needed to treat disease now and invest in a prevention programme to ensure everyone benefits from good dental health.’
While it’s unrealistic for most of us to cut it out entirely, you can reduce the amount of sugar in your diet by keeping sugary food and drink for mealtimes and try not to eat sweet snacks between meals.
You can also check food labels for sugar content. As a general rule, foods that are high in sugar contain more than 15g of sugar for every 100g of product.
Low-sugar foods are those with less than 5g of sugar for every 100g.