Love it or hate it, it seems we can’t help hearing about sugar. Particularly in relation to our health.
Sugarwise. The sugar levy. Sugar Smart. If you’re concerned about your child’s sugar intake and following the news, it’s easy to feel confused. Sugarwise, the sugar levy and Sugar Smart all focus on a common goal of reducing the amount of sugar we consume. Yet each of them take a different approach. What does each one mean for your family?
Sugarwise is the brainchild of Rend Platings. In 2015, this Cambridge-based mum learned a shocking fact – that the toddlers of today have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. It’s certainly not something any mum or dad wants to hear. The culprit? Obesity, diabetes, and other diseases often linked to excess consumption of sugar. That didn’t sit well with Platings, and so she founded Sugarwise.
The mission at Sugarwise is not just to raise awareness of this frightening statistic. They also aim to change the amount of free sugar in the foods we eat. This means not only sugar that’s added to food, but also sugars that are naturally present in things like honey, fruit juice and syrups.
To help them to achieve this, the Sugarwise campaign has several goals. They want to:
- Make it easy to identify foods that derive less than 5% of energy from free sugar. This is in keeping with WHO guidelines for sugar intake.
- Increase demand for products which are low in free sugars, by introducing a certification process similar to Fairtrade.
- Set criteria and test products to make sure they meet the certification.
By making it easier to find these foods, they hope that demand for certified low-sugar options will grow.
The Sugar Levy
The Sugar Levy is a new tax on soft drinks. The sugar tax is slated to go into effect in April of 2018. It will tax soft drinks with between 5g to 8g/100ml of sugar or more at a lower rate. Those with 8g/100ml sugar or more will be taxed at a higher rate.
The goal of the Sugar Levy is almost identical to that of Sugarwise. The key difference is the way in which they’re going about achieving that goal. By making soft drinks which are high in sugar more expensive, the idea is that they’ll be less attractive to customers.
Manufacturers will naturally have to respond to this decrease in demand, and will find reducing the added sugar in their products benefits their bottom line.
Sugar Smart is an awareness campaign. It is co-sponsored by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and food and farming charity Sustain. This campaign is again working to reduce the amount of sugar we consume, in keeping with the same WHO guidelines adopted by Sugarwise.
It has been launched in major cities around the UK and welcomes input from local authorities, businesses and food partnerships who want to support or run their own campaigns.
The Bottom Line
So what does this mean in your everyday life?
Sugarwise certification is putting foods with an easy-to-identify logo on shelves at the stores you visit. You know when you see that logo, that these foods meet the WHO requirements for sugars.
The Sugar Levy will, at first, hit your budget with a higher cost for the least healthy alternatives, encouraging more thoughtful consumption of sugar. Over time, the idea is to expand your healthier choices – the ones that are taxed at a lower rate.
Sugar Smart is getting out in the community creating awareness. They are engaging not only kids and families but also local communities and in their quest for better health and a long life.
All of these programmes are designed to help your family to make healthy food choices. So next time you’re out shopping, take a closer look at the label, and think, “Am I sugar smart?”